Featured Image: Brian Robert Marshall / St. Michael and All Angels, Buckland Dinham


“The category of communication includes a range of dissatisfactions and plenty of suggestions of how
to improve things, from church language being exclusive, old-fashioned and inaccessible, to the need
for the diocese and parish priests to communicate more effectively, internally and externally, including
better PR about the good works the Church does. It was noted that that the synodal experience made
it apparent that many Catholics were unfamiliar with the experience of talking about their faith and
lack the language and the vocabulary. Modernizing the communication strategy of the diocese with
more use of social media and better advertising of the work of the diocese and formation opportunities
was suggested. This connected with the idea of the laity becoming more educated about their faith and
contributing more to the liturgy, including offering homilies. Under this category, ecumenism was a
feature, as people suggested that church ought to be more outward looking and working alongside
other denominations and faiths.”

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

  • Needs to improve in all ways inclusive language of the liturgy, Communication between laity, clergy, parish and diocese.
  • Talking to each other about faith Formation opportunities
  • Ecumenism

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 11 25:27

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Points to Ponder

  • The message of salvation is simple, and accessible to all.
  • It is not complicated nor difficult to understand. How do we tell others?

  • 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 new ways of speaking    
B. That will enable the Gospel to be heard
A. We pray for God’s creativity
B. For all those developing new means of communication
A. We pray for God’s patience
B. in listening to those we find difficult to understand
A. We pray for God’s courage
B. As we engage with a world which might speak harshly to us
A. We pray for God’s Wisdom
B. To use new technologies with the discernment we need to nurture and not to damage
A: God who speaks so that all may hear you
B: Bless all that we have heard and honoured in our work today

A: God who has chosen your story to be part of our story
B: Enliven us with the grace of the stories we have shared and celebrated.

A: God who chose to be one with us, be with us now
B: As we recognise ourselves in the faces of this community around us   

A: God who has been faithful to us since the beginning of time
B: Keep us faithful to your Spirit amongst us as we are inspired to kindness and creativity and vision

A: God, whose Spirit of Wisdom has guided us through the annals and experiences of our histories
B: Guide us now as we discern the movement of that same Spirit amongst us

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