Diocesan Focus

Communion, Participation and Mission
Diocesan Synod Report

Parish Focus

The Synod in our Diocese

Diocesan Assembly

Introduction to working parties and webinars

Our diocesan listening process gave us many stories, concerns and ideas – 400 pages worth!  Our 10 page report raised many of the issues, but also named five key areas where we thought more listening was needed.  We formed five working parties with diverse groups across the diocese to deepen and widen the voices heard, write a reflection paper to inform the Assembly, and hold a webinar to widen the conversation further.  Please find below details of the groups, their papers as presented to Bishop David, and the recordings of the webinars we held.  You are invited to step into the conversation by leaving your thoughts via the portal at the bottom of the page.


Working parties

  • The role and life of the priest in the post-pandemic Church, especially workload, vocation and pastoral care: chaired by Fr John Udris
  • An open conversation about finances, numbers of priests and parish life as we become more missionary and community minded: chaired by Tony McNiff,  Chief Operating Office and Majella Meehan, Finance Manager
  • More lay participation in the decision-making structures at all levels of the diocese, including the establishment of a Diocesan Pastoral Council and synodal structures at parish level (including parish councils): chaired by Avril Baigent, Synod co-lead
  • What women’s ministry exists and how this might develop, including the new roles of Catechist, Lector and Acolyte: chaired by Helen Burgess, National Catholic Women’s Board representative
  • Outreach to marginalised groups to hear their recommendations for better engagement: chaired by Fr Kevin O’Driscoll  and Deacon Jim Hannigan, Director of Caritas Northampton

Webinar recordings

Lay engagement in decision making

Finances for mission

Women’s ministry

Life of priests

Reaching the perpheries

Reports from the Working Parties

“Dear friends in Christ,
What have we done? Inspired by Pope Francis’ vision, we have listened to each other. Reports have been made at a national and continental level of this listening. In our own diocese, we have followed the initial listening phase with more listening. This has been done across five working parties. I want to thank everyone involved in this stage of our journey. And now we are holding a diocesan Assembly. We will continue to listen. But now is the time for action. We need to make decisions together. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to move us. We need to be inspired by Pope Francis’ call that each one of us becomes a missionary disciple. Only then will all the listening have been worthwhile.”
Bishop David Oakley

The Life of a Priest post pandemic

Reaching those on the perpheries

Lay engagement

Finance for mission

Developing women's ministry


We would like to extend the Assembly conversation as widely as possible around the diocese, always remembering the need for gracious listening and speaking, and discernment.  Please use this portal to respond prayerfully to any of the issues raised in the reports, or elsewhere in the Synod listening.  All reports will be read by the Assembly team and working parties.