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The Synod: 2021 – 2023

In October 2021 Pope Francis announced that a Synod of the Catholic Church would take place. 

What is a ‘synod’? 

A synod  is a process of listening and discerning what God is saying to the Church, the People of God.

Pope Francis is enthusiastic that the whole Church explore our collective journey as a people of faith and hope in the light of the Gospel. The pandemic has changed the way we worship and organise, so this is a good opportunity for us all to reflect on our lived experience as a people of faith. 

The Pope has encouraged the world’s bishops to organise and engage in a wide listening process in their respective diocese, this is to include those who no longer participate in the parish community, and those on the margins of society. The Church is always aware of the dynamic relationship between the Gospel and life, and this synodal process is an important opportunity for all of us to listen to one another and prayerfully discern where God is leading the Church. 

And so, the Clifton Diocese has asked for delegates from each parish to coordinate this ‘listening process’, there are four members in St Augustine’s. These delegates went to an information and training day and have met with Fr Frank to organise this process in our parish. 

On Wednesday 19th January at 7pm to 8-30pm (in the parish hall) and on Thursday 20th January 10.30 – 11.30(in Church, after mass) the delegates will host meetings where anyone in the parish can share their thoughts and views on what God wants our church to be and to do. Notes will be taken of all salient points anonymously. Individuals can also email the Synod Team c/o the Parish office (e-mail ) and these will form part of the collective reflection. 

The last exercise for the delegates is to collate all the responses, read, and then produce a document which accurately reflects the main views of parish members. This document will be published on the parish website. 

Please participate in this process and thankyou for all your contributions.

Paul Evans (Synod Delegate)

Thank you Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for The Baptism of the Lord Year C
1st Reading from the prophet Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11.
The book of Isaiah is not the work of the one man, Isaiah ben Amoz; but he is the inspiration for this collection of prophetic works. He most probably formed a school of disciples who studied at his feet. He came from upper-class Jerusalem family and had his first vision in the Temple in the 740 B.C. when he was 25 years old, and this vision established him in his prophetic vocation. Chapter 40 is the commencement of the Second Isaiah’s writings, which are set in Babylon about the time that Cyrus, king of Persia took Babylon and allowed the exiles held captive there to return home. This was not universally seen as a liberation, so these works are to inspire the exiles to realise that God is with them and the gods of the Babylonians were not up to much, and encourages these exiles to imagine what it will be like to go back home to Jerusalem, hence we begin with “Comfort, comfort my people”, says God. Their time of trial is over now and their God is waiting to lead them back home to re-build the Temple, and resume giving glory to God within their own culture and traditions and be close to God. He will, once again, be able to tend his flock like a good shepherd and gather his lambs I his arms. God is always looking to comfort us and tend for us, if we but will allow him to do so. We are, indeed blessed who acknowledge him as our Lord and God.

Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-30.
A song in praise of God’s goodness and continues the theme, set by Isaiah’s reading. God is merciful and forgives all our faults and renews us. Our God is always trying to build us up and console us.

2nd Reading from the letter of St. Paul to Titus 2: 11-14, 3: 4-7.
Paul is saying that if the Church is to be a place where Christ can appear, then the Church leaders need to keep a firm grip on the appropriate patterns of behaviour that are adhered to, and there must be no un-godliness, or worldly behaviour, and we need to give the signs of the chosen people by our good works. This is to be our response to the fact that Jesus gave himself in order to ransom us. As a result, we need to have good relations with the non-Christians because we were in the same situation as them before our redemption by Jesus. We should show kindness or maybe “Christ-ness.”

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22.
Luke here clearly indicates that John, himself, declared quite openly that he was not the Christ, and we encounter, once again, Luke’s reference to the Holy Spirit; but it is reference to Jesus, not John. Luke is quietly trying to convince John’s disciples that they need to look to Jesus to find the Messiah, just as John, himself, had done. Luke’s Gospel is very much about prayer, and this is the first of many occasions when he will show us Jesus at prayer. What a prayer, indeed, the heavens are torn open by his prayer and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove to anoint his mission, and the voice of the Father utters, “You are my Son, the beloved – in you I am well pleased.” Jesus is the beloved Son, and we can rely upon him, his way of life and his teachings. We can confidently journey as people of the Good News proclaimed by Jesus. Let us, therefore go forward following Jesus by living appropriately the Gospel life. We are indeed very Blessed to have been ransomed by Jesus to become members of his family.

God Bless you all & a Happy & Holy New Year.
Deacon Vincent

Photo: Mass at John Baptist chapel in Ein Keren, Baptismal Site (River Jordan)
© Mazur/

St Nicholas' Church LGBT+ Mass

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