Synod 2021 – 2023


Pope Francis and the Synod office in Rome are inviting the whole Church to become Synodal.

‘Listening with the Heart’ – Clifton Diocese Synodal Response
On Wednesday 22 June, our diocesan family joyfully gathered at the cathedral. Bishop Declan invited every parish, school, and religious order to an Evening Liturgy and presented the Clifton Diocesan Synodal report. The liturgy began with music from the St Nicholas of Tolentino choir leading us into a reflective and joyful celebration. In his own reflection Bishop Declan’s words focused on the overarching themes that emerged from the many responses that the Synod team received. He encouraged us all to see the Synodal journey as a new way to move forward and grow as a Church within Clifton Diocese.


Below is Bishop Declan’s Reflection.

Clifton Diocese continued its synodal journey with three events facilitated by Danny Curtin. Two sessions were in person, at St John the Baptist in Trowbridge and St Nicholas of Tolentino in Bristol, and one was online. Danny spent time reflecting on what has come from the synodal process so far, highlighting in particular Bishop Declan’s comments on Clifton Diocese’s own synodal document, and on the national reflection document. Our Synodal journey is grounded in prayer, and in the desire to discern the will of the Spirit, and Danny reminded us that this prayerful centre is what distinguishes a synodal meeting from a business meeting. Just because synodal meetings are not business meetings does not mean that no action follows from them. In the facilitation sessions, Danny provided some tools to help parishes concretise the hopes that grow in synodal listening and meetings. These are the 8 Archetypes of Engagement and the six-step Cycle of Engagement.

Wherever you, and your parish, are in the synodal journey, these tools can help build up your community. A simple synodal step anyone can take this advent is to reflect on the 8 Archetypes of Engagement. Which one sounds most like you? Are there any that you don’t like, and push you away? Which of the archetypes do you see in the people around you? Ponder these questions as Advent progresses. If someone invites you to join in something, use the archetypes to see if you can engage where you feel called. “I’m happy to help set up the chairs or clean the space [Help Archetype], but I don’t want to plan the event [Strategy Archetype]” Or if you’re hoping to get involved, reach out to others in your parish. “I have some ideas I’d like to chat about [Generative Archetype]” or “I like what this group does. Could I join and help out?” [Support Archetype]

But, as Danny, Bishop Declan, and Pope Francis remind us, prayer is at the heart of our synodal journey. Prayer keeps us connected with the Holy Spirit, and allows the Lord to guide us. So in the words of St Paul, “Pray Constantly!” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Click the image below to see the slides.

Enlarge the Space of your Tent – an opportunity to respond to the Continental working document of the Synod – 15 December 2022

To support this process and to help you to respond, we held an online session to allow you to understand the content of the document and to explain to you the three questions to which we are being asked to respond. Fr Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission and National Ecumenical Officer at Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, facilitated the session for us and Bishop Declan started off the presentation with a message.

The presentation can be viewed below.

Prayer for the Synod

Adsumus Prayer for the Synod

Preparatory Document

Synod Vademecum


The documents below are the Delegates’ Guide to Synodal Pathway. They are for clergy, parish representatives and those organising the synodal pathway. Videos for the information day can be found below.

Delegates Guide to Synodal Pathway

For a Synodal Church – Facilitator’s Guide

For a Synodal Church Toolkit

Interactive Listening Activities

Questions Communion Participation Mission

Recorder notes

Submitting Data

Report on the Process

Synodal Conversations – Participants Materials

A guide to listening deeply

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

Group Session Record Form

Parish Listening Exercise – Process Flow

Conversation Starters for non-parish based synodal groups

Report on the Process

In collaboration with the University of Newcastle in Australia and the Catholic Women’s Council, Catholic Women Speak is conducting an online survey—available in six languages—to gather feedback from women around the world for the Synod:

Bishop Declan welcome’s the Synod process

The next two years in the life of the Church

what exactly is synodality and what does it mean for Catholics in England and Wales? Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Father Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission, discuss the process and explain this invitation to communion, participation and mission.

Bishop Declan introduces the information day

Fr Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission and National Ecumenical Officer at Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Sarah Adams, Adult education and evangelisation department

Synod Listening Conversation presentation 12-01-2022

Journeying Together Information Session

Slides to accompany the audio above: Journeying Together Information Session