Sister Kathleen McGarvey, Provincial Leader of the OLA Irish Province was one of the fourteen delegates from Ireland to participate in the assembly held in Prague from 5 – 12 February.
The Prague assembly is one of seven continental assemblies taking place in February and March in preparation for the first of two back-to-back gatherings of the Catholic Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome in October 2023 and October 2024. Over the course of the week, representatives of all the national churches across Europe provided insights into their national synod processes.
These are the 8 priorities listed in the final remarks from the Continental Assembly:
- deepen the practice, theology and hermeneutics of synodality. We have to rediscover something that is ancient, belongs to the nature of the Church, and is always new. This is a task for us. We are taking the first steps on a path that opens up as we go along it;
- address the question of an all ministerial Church, as the horizon of a reflection on charisms and ministries (ordained and non-ordained) and the relationships between them;
- explore the forms of a synodal exercise of authority, i.e. the service of accompanying the community and safeguarding unity;
- clarify criteria for discernment on the synodal process and which decisions belong on which level, from the local to the universal.
- take concrete and courageous decisions on the role of women within the Church and on their greater involvement at all levels, also in decision-making and decision-taking processes;
- consider the tensions around the liturgy, so as to synodally re-understand Eucharist as the source of communion;
- foster the formation to synodality of the whole People of God, with particular regard to the discernment of the signs of the times with a view to carrying out the common mission;
- renew a lively sense of mission, bridging the gap between faith and culture to bring the Gospel back to people’s feelings, finding a language capable of articulating tradition and aggiornamento, but above all, walking with people rather than talking about them or to them. The Spirit asks us to listen to the cry of the poor and the earth in Europe, and in particular the desperate cry of the victims of war who demand a just peace.