Over the next few weeks we will be hearing a lot more information within all our parishes regarding the forthcoming Diocesan Synod in 2020. There will be information regarding its purpose, the preparations, the process of events and consultations leading up to it and the way it will be constituted regarding representation and decision making. The Synod which is basically a gathering of the Diocesan Church has been called so that we can ‘reflect on what God might be asking of us today and making decisions about the future of our church’. The actual word ‘Synod’ means ‘together on the road’, and the process will need to involve people to represent and speak for all aspects of the life of the church.
On the weekend of 20/21st October the Diocese will be celebrating Synod Sunday with a Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop and leaflets and handouts with information and dates. The priests have all been summoned to meetings about this over the next two weeks and in November there will be meetings in various parts of the Diocese for anyone who would want to hear more information on this and take part in the process.
Next Saturday evening at 6pm at St Vincent De Paul Church there will be a special Vigil Mass to formally welcome the White Fathers to the parish as they take over the responsibility for the pastoral care of the church and its parishioners. At present Fr Ferdinand and Fr Terry are in permanent residence at the presbytery and they now have a phone line installed in the newly refurbished presbytery and can be contacted on 709 8589. I have a large box of keys for the church and presbytery, half of which I think are now redundant but I shall look forward to presenting those and the parish registers back to them next Saturday.
For the next few weeks the Cathedral will continue to supply newsletters and service sheets until they are able to get a system up and running for producing their own leaflets. I will miss the occasional visits down to St Vincent’s to celebrate Mass and meet the regular parishioners there.
This week I will be attending the Catholic Cathedral Deans Conference which will be held in Newcastle this year. As part of the week we will be visiting Ushaw College and listening to a few talks in Durham Cathedral on the recent agreed statements between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, which is known as Arcic 111. I shall look forward to visiting some of my old stomping grounds from seminary days and when I was a student at Durham University.
Thankfully our sector of the city centre shouldn’t really be affected by the road closures for the Giants weekend with most of the events taking place in the afternoon and located on the Strand and the waterfront. Apparently twenty thousand people visited St George’s Hall on Thursday just to see one of the giants asleep. This weekend many more will be walking in the footsteps of giants – we walk in the footsteps of another kind of giant –those who were giants in faith and good works.
Canon Anthony O’Brien