Update on the Synod Process for the Diocese of Aberdeen

Where are we in the diocesan synod process launched by Bishop Hugh with his homily at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday 17th October?

The time for the whole of diocesan phase of the synod process has now been extended until August 2022.  This means we can proceed with less sense of rush.

Between now (December 3rd) and mid-January we are preparing for the parish consultations and conversations to be held from mid-January till Pentecost 2022.

Two diocesan contact persons are required for the whole process in the diocese. Bishop Hugh has asked Deacon Tony Schmitz and another person to fulfil this role. These, together with Glen Reynolds, the diocesan Evangelistion and Communications Officer, will be supported by representatives from the four deaneries. We now have a dedicated email: synod@rcda.scot for the process. Any questions can be referred to us, and any individual contributions to the synodal discussions can be forwarded to us at this email address. We ask that any submissions from individuals or non-parochial groups be no more than 400 to 500 words. Some submissions from individuals have already been received.

We are beginning at a deanery level. Within each deanery, with the help of the Deans, we have identified Co-ordinators/Facilitators to promote consultations and discussions within parishes.

Bishop Hugh has now written to those proposed, inviting them to accept this Co-ordinator/Facilitator role. Those who respond affirmatively will meet with the Diocesan Synod Team, physically or online, and work together to outline the process for the parish discussions, following the guidance of the Vatican’s Vademecum (visible on this website). The initial meetings between the Diocesan Synod Team and the Co-ordinators are to take place in the course of December.

The questions for discussion have been provided by the Holy See and will be posted on this website this week. The Coordinators/Facilitators will be familiarised with these though some adaptation to our circumstances will be required and equipped to present them accessibly.

It is expected that this initial phase of preparation will take us through  December and run into the first half of January. Then the parish discussions could begin.

It is proposed that, normally and wherever practicable, those who facilitate the discussions in a particular parish are not themselves members of the parish. (Of course in some of the far-flung parts of the diocese, this may not be possible.)

Other groups – lay associations, religious communities and others – are also invited to be part of this process, though some may engage through their own internal structures. Our first approach, however, will be to the parishes. It is not necessarily the case that a single meeting in any particular parish will cover all the ground. This will be discerned locally.

It will be the task of the Coordinators/Facilitators to convey an agreed summary of the parish discussions to the central Team, in anticipation of the final document each diocese is to produce by August.

It is expected that the discussions within parishes will be succeeded by processes engaging the whole diocese. We anticipate that this will be developed between Pentecost and August.

It is worth repeating and stressing that, outwith these formal arrangements, anyone who wishes may contribute individually and, as mentioned above, send their observations directly to the Diocesan Contact Persons at synod@rcda.scot.

A range of relevant material can be accessed on this diocesan website. This page can be reached most directly by clicking on: www.rcda.scot/synod/. Regular updates from the diocesan synodal team will be posted here. Posters, and other guidance will be provided in due course.

It is vital that all the parish conversations take place in a context of prayer and lectio divina, and that the missionary intention of the whole exercise is not lost sight of. Posters, and other guidance will be provided in due course.

Deacon Tony Schmitz and Diocesan Synod Team
Friday, 3rd December 2021
Memorial of St Francis Xavier


RC Diocese of Aberdeen Charitable Trust.
A registered Scottish Charity Number SC005122