Our Diocesan Assembly took place on Saturday 15th July at Thornton College. The Diocesan Assembly is the latest part of the synodal journey. The day of listening began with a prayer asking the Spirit of Truth to transform us anew. Jo Boyce of CJIM music led us in worship and encourage the Spirit to come breathe on us.
Bishop David encouraged people to share and to listen saying,
“I want to know where the Holy Spirit will be leading us as a diocese”
Responding to the diocesan phase of the Synod, the Assembly gathered delegates from each parish who were invited into workshops to share on different subjects. The findings were recorded and fed back.
The joyful mood continued in to the final praise, and as the singing raised the roof Bishop David encouraged us to make synodality something we are as opposed to something we do saying,
“Sometimes we want to walk alone, or we want to walk with those who think the same way that we do, we find those who think in a different way to ourselves quite challenging, and then people sometimes walk at different speeds, we find ourselves out of step with others”
At the end of the day, Bishop David announced the construction of a Diocesan Pastoral Council. Pastoral Councils were recommended by the Bishops at Vatican II and Bishop David looks forward to convening the council in the Autumn.
The concept of the pastoral council was first articulated in the 1965 Vatican II Decree on Bishops, Christus Dominus. The decree recommended that bishops establish diocesan pastoral councils with a threefold purpose. The purpose is to investigate pastoral matters, to ponder or reflect over them, and to reach conclusions that the council can recommend to the bishop.
It is greatly desired that in each diocese a pastoral commission will be established over which the diocesan bishop himself will preside and in which specially chosen clergy, religious and lay people will participate. The duty of this commission will be to investigate and weigh pastoral undertakings and to formulate practical conclusions regarding them. (Christus Dominus par 27.)
The Code of Canon Law (Church law) recommends Pastoral Council saying
“In each diocese, to the extent that pastoral circumstances recommend it, a pastoral council is to be established whose responsibility it is to investigate under the authority of the bishop all those things which pertain to pastoral works, to ponder them and to propose practical conclusions about them.”