Change and Modernisation

Featured Image: Father & son:  Katang father and son dig for crickets.JPG   BigBrotherMouse, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


“People feel there is an opportunity to change, grow and thrive with continued engagement building on
the Synodal process. Discernment needs time. If the first step of the synodal process is the gathering
of the information which is necessary for following a discernment cycle of ‘recognising’, ‘interpreting’
and ‘choosing’, with the eyes of the disciple, for the Kingdom, then there is a larger, more focused,
diocesan-wide discernment process which is yet to be engaged in. Many of the concerns can only be
addressed by the Universal Catholic Church. Many more can be the day-to-day business of diocese,
clergy and people at local level. As the results of the listening are shared widely, the call and movement
into action will be the fruits of that wider discernment.”

from The Synthesis Report on Hallam Diocese Synodal Journey by the Diocese of Hallam: April 2022
This retreat material uses the diocesan synod report as the basis of a prayer journey. The themes raised in synod meetings by the people of God in the diocese of Hallam were gathered into a synthesis report which Bishop Ralph conveyed to the Bishops  Conference of England and Wales. This was incorporated into the Continental report sent to Rome in 2022. While these are not necessarily his views, Bishop Ralph is fully supportive of the synodal process and encourages the synodal method of Conversations in the Spirit, prayerful reflection and further discernment with these themes.

Opening prayer

If you are using this prayer by yourself at home, then remember that you are not alone. You are a valued member of this group, you are sharing this retreat together. Each person will pray and ponder in their own time and place, but the Spirit is with each and every one and all of you. You are together in God.

A: God, you have gathered all your people in Synod, We give you thanks for the joy experienced by those who decided to set out to listen to God and to their brothers and sisters, with an attitude of welcome, humility and siblinghood. Help us to enter these pages as on “holy ground”.

A: Creator of the world, eternal God,
B: we come together from our own places for a little while.

A: Redeemer of humanity, God with us,
B: we have come with all our differences seeking common respect

A: Spirit of unity, go-between God,
B: we have come with stories of our own to a place where stories meet.

A: So here, in this space, let us take time together. for when your people gather and stories are shared, there is much to celebrate and honour.
B: In your name, three in one God, pattern of community. Amen.

Adapted from “Iona Abbey Worship Book”, 2001. copyright © WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland. Reproduced by permission.

Summary of the Diocesan Report

  • A simpler Church more firmly grounded in the essence of the Gospel message”
  • A spectrum of views:
    • Changes to Canon Law, attitudes to sexuality, women, role of laity, role of social media priestly formation and celibacy.
    • “No change”.

A. First impressions

  • What I like about this summary is ………
  • What I do not like about this summary is ……..
  • This summary makes me feel ……..


Luke 9:57-62

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head2.

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Points to Ponder

  • Jesus is not settling anywhere – always on the move.
  • The time is Now, and nothing must get in the way of our response to the call of Jesus to follow Him.

Reflect, Respond. Share

B. Reflect

  • In this passage Jesus is saying to me …
  • My response to this is …
  • This makes me feel …

C. Respond

  • If I was to review my responses to parts A and B I would say …
  • Something I have discovered is …

D. Share

  • A few days later, read what you have written for C. Is there something that you are comfortable to share with the group? It could be what you have written, or maybe a poem, painting or photo could better express what you want to say.

Closing prayer

A: As we continue in our retreat together, in this day and in our lives
B: May we be grateful for the blessings of this day, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for the new stories and new ways of thinking we have explored, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for kind company, heedful to God, heedful to ourselves and heedful to each other, today and each day

A We pray for God’s providence
B. In a world which can seem unpredictable and chaotic
A. We pray for God’s engagement
B. With new ideas, with new ways of living
A. We pray for God’s delight
B. In the beauty of creation, the wonder of change and growth
A. We pray for God’s courage
B. As we face up to our responsibilities towards our neighbour and our planet
A. We pray for God’s wisdom
B. As we reveal God-of-our-time and of all eternity.

A: God from whom all gifts come, who shares our adventure, and delights in our friendship
B: We thank you for your presence with us as we continue in our retreat this day, and each day of our lives. Amen