(Vatican Radio) Following the recent Synods of Bishops in the Vatican, a Scottish diocese will soon hold its own synod after more than a year of planning.
Bishop John Keenan, the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Paisley, announced last year that he would open a synod in Eastertime 2016, which would remain open until summertime. He told Vatican Radio about the major themes of the synod. Of particular importance are the ideas of New Evangelization and the participation of the lay faithful in the life of the Church. He added that just as the Holy Spirit spoke to the ancient Churches, as reported by Saint John in the book of Revelation, so He speaks to the Church in Paisley. It is Bishop Keenan’s intention to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say through the people of the diocese.
Much work has already been done in preparation. The diocese commissioned an impressive icon of Our Lady of Paisley, which has been touring around the parishes of the diocese. In Lent 2015, there was a series of catechetical sessions in Saint Mirin’s Cathedral led by prominent bishops from around the UK, including the papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown. Together with a preparatory commission, Bishop Keenan has also met with the people of the three deaneries within the diocese, hoping to find out how they understand their role in the Church today, both at a local and a universal level.
The Church in Scotland has faced a number of challenges in recent years. Bishop Keenan believes that the effects of the synod are already being felt throughout the country. He said that after being stuck in a cycle of accusations and scandal, the people are beginning to realize that the synod, with its themes of evangelization and lay participation, will allow them to move on and to open a new chapter in the life of their country.
In June 2016, after he has heard from the people of the diocese, Bishop Keenan will begin to write the synodal Decrees and Declarations, which will be sent to the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and to Rome for approval.
The Diocese of Paisley is a small yet densely populated diocese situated in the central belt of Scotland. It was erected in 1947 when Pope Pius XII changed the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Glasgow.