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Easter Blessings to you all. I hope that all went well for everyone, that the ceremonies were times of great blessing, and that you managed to get some rest after Easter. May this Easter season continue to be a time of joy and deep peace as the Risen Lord stands among us and greets us so often with “Peace be with you”.
At this year’s Chrism Mass I said that I want and I invite as many peo-ple as possible to participate in this year’s Synod. 350 people will attend the weekend in September, but thousands are able to participate in the process preceding the Synod. I hope too that thousands will pray , be-cause “we are a people together”.
Our preparation for the Synod becomes more intense over the next few months. Parishes have been asked to nominate their Synod participants by 1 May. There will be two pre-Synod sessions in May, one for the South Island parishes at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Centre in Richmond on Saturday 20 May from 12.30pm-3.30pm, and the other for North Island parishes at Bishop Viard College on Saturday 27 May from 1.30pm-4.30pm. These two pre-Synod sessions are for everyone, not just the participants who will take part in the Synod weekend. The sessions will provide a background to the Synod, and give those who attend the opportunity to experience the prayerful discernment process which will be the basis of the participation process in parishes and at the Synod itself. I ask those involved in parish pastoral councils, clergy, and lay pastoral leaders to encourage parishioners to come to the pre-Synod session in their area.
In the participation process which begins in early May thousands of people across the Archdiocese will have the opportunity to take part in a prayerful process of listening to one another and discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying. The material for this process will be made availa-ble in the first week of May. I want as many people as possible to take part in this stage of the Synod, as it will set the agenda and provide the material for the Synod weekend. I strongly encourage people to engage with the Synod topics, and to send in their thoughts, either individually or as part of a group.
As I also said in my Chrism Mass homily I hope that thousands of people will pray for the Synod. I can’t emphasize this enough, and ask that you pray and encourage others to pray.
We know that the Risen Jesus is with us, that he assures us of the gift of his Spirit, and that he gives us his peace and tells us over and over again “Be not afraid” and “I am with you always”. Please consider how you might take part in the preparation for the Synod, please pray.
With Easter blessings