Canon Anthony Dwyer
Our Lady of Lourdes
1 Kirkwick Avenue
01582 712245

Church Address:
Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church
Rothamsted Avenue

Office Administrator: Mrs Melanie Armitage
Office hours: 9.30am - 12.30pm, Mon to Thu
Safeguarding Representative: Mrs Brigid Brennan

Our Lady of Lourdes is a Fairtrade Parish and a LiveSimply Parish.

“Go therefore make disciples of all nations”
Matthew 28:19

The Synodal Pathway in Our Parish

In October 2021 Pope Francis asked all congregations to go on a journey together with the Church. Synods are called by the church when it wants to come together to pay special attention and give full consideration to an issue. In this case, the issue being considered is what it means for the Church to listen and for the laity (this means people who are part of the Church but do not have formal roles such as Sisters or Priests – e.g. our Church community) and clergy to come together.

This process is called the Synodal Pathway.

Pope Francis has called all of us to be on that journey together and especially to reach out to those who feel distant from the Church. Through the Synodal Pathway we were asked to speak freely with each other about our experiences of and ideas and dreams for the Church. And importantly, we were asked to really listen to each other. That listening should take place in our parish, ideally in person together so we can connect with each other and strengthen our own parish community. However,  we were also asked to share our reflections so that the Church can listen to the laity and we will have a role in shaping the church.

It is a wonderful initiative and a wonderful opportunity.

All the parishes in the world have been asked to take part. Parishes feedback their reflections to the Dioceses and the Dioceses In turn feedback to the Vatican. Then there will be special sessions held in 2023 for all the Church leadership to discern on what the laity has shared.

However, it is also an opportunity for our own parish and Diocese to listen to the views of the laity and to move forward together and it tied in with our on-going work of Parish Renewal.

In Harpenden we held a series of meetings and conversations in November and December 2021 to fit with the Westminster Diocese timetable. We produced a write-up which was shared with participants and then with the Diocese. The report was also given out in Mass,  discussed at our parish meeting, and a copy of all the detailed feedback from meetings and submissions has been given to the Parish Council to share their response with the Parish.

In April 2022 Westminster Diocese shared its Bishops Report reflecting the input from the all its parishes. We are encouraged to read that the ideas and experiences from our parish resonated with many others, and the Bishops’ report is very much in the spirit of the views shared in our own parish.

The next step will be for all the England and Wales Dioceses to produce one national report which goes to the Vatican. When you hear this process, it is easy to think we are such a tiny part of so many voices, however, when all the voices produce a rich harmony, we can be encouraged to reflect the spirit of synodality is present in the process.