March 2024: Editorial

March Editorial
Missionary Disciples     

In their contributions to Intercom this issue, Bishops Alan McGuckian and Brendan Leahy describe with great warmth their experience of the synodal gathering in Rome last October. From their different accounts it was a time not only for presenting different points of view but for deep listening to both the Holy Spirit and to one another. The method used, Conversations in the Spirit, enables a mindful and respectful process of talking and listening, a process which doesn’t stifle passion or prevent tension yet manages ultimately to hold those participating together. As Bishop McGuckian concluded, the Church will always live with a tension between teaching the truth and reaching out in love and he recommended Conversations in the Spirit as a way to approach everyday interactions with one another in our family lives, workplaces or parishes.

Looking forward to the synodal pathway conversation resuming in our own country with a view to returning to Rome in October 2024 for the second part of the Synod there are still many opportunities to engage with the process of discernment that already appears to be bearing fruit. No one questions the challenges facing the Irish church; the dearth of vocations, the legacies of the past and the paradigm shift in Irish attitudes to their Christian heritage and religious practice. New life can only come as Pope Francis has said if we dedicate ourselves to being ‘missionary disciples’ steeped in prayer, caring for our devastated world, walking with the poor, and providing shelter for the outcast.

As we journey through the discipline of Lent may we embed more deeply within ourselves the habit of listening and learning from the promptings of the Spirit which enables and empowers us to share in the glory of the resurrection of the Lord whose new life to which we bear witness spreads out through all of creation.

Paul Clayton-Lea 

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