Journeying Together towards Christ

Communion, Participation, Mission

In October 2021 Pope Francis opened the latest Church Synod.  Synods have happened at various points over the last 2,000 years, yet the scope and approach to this particular synod was to be different as the whole ‘People of God’ were invited to take part.  Furthermore, an invitation was extended to every single person on the planet to join the journey.

We were asked to walk together and listen to each other.
The focus would be on peoples’ lived experiences.
There was to be no predetermined destinations.
We were asked to have open minds and hearts.
This journey is led by the Holy Spirit.

Since then, there has been a global process of listening, discerning, distilling and listening again.  And in October 2023, this part of the journey culminates in Rome with the meeting of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will also include representatives from all parts of the Church, both lay and clergy, reflecting on the theme: ‘For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.

Following this, there will be a year of continued listening and discernment before a further gathering is held in October 2024.   However, this will not mark the end of being Synodal, but a new beginning.

This whole process is summarised in the diagram below.

Plymouth Diocese and Synodality

From October 2021, Parishes, Schools, communities and organisations, groups and individuals throughout the Diocese have been involved in forming our response to Pope Francis’ call to the Church.  It has involved joy and celebration as well as sadness and hurt.  But we have listened to each other, even when we have disagreed.  We rightly celebrate this, and give thanks for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his courage and openness. 

Since then:

  • Parishes have been sharing their experiences of faith, church and more with each other.
    • Neighbouring parishes have been coming together to do the same.
      • School communities have been exploring their experiences of faith.
        • Marginalised groups are being reached out to.
          • Those outside our community are being invited to join us.

Click below to see our Diocesan Synod responses and resources.

If you would like to receive future newsletters or to share your experiences and ideas on how we can become more ‘Synodal’ email Fr Paul Keys at


As a Church, and as a diocese, the journey continues because we are a pilgrim people, who travel in faith, hope and love.

Where will it lead us?
We do not know.
But we are being led by the Holy Spirit.
Exciting times await!

Diocesan synthesis


Synthesis of England and Wales

A reflection from the Bishops of England and Wales

Working document for the Continental phase

Instrumentum Laboris


Walking Together : The Process