Category Archives: Interruptions

January 10: A Synodality training course.

We shared this post last month when it had just come in from the Synod Office in Rome. Now, with days to go before the first deadline, here it is again, when you probably have more chance of reading it and maybe signing up. Not too late to wish you a happy and peaceful New Year! WT.

General Secretariat for the Synod – media@synod.vaView this email in your browserNEWS RELEASE – 16.12.2022  ESP – FRA – ITA  – POROriginal: ITALIAN
Registration now open for the Multilingual Course on Synodality promoted by the Evangelii Gaudium Centre 
It is with a first introductory lecture entrusted to Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, on 17 January 2023 that the multilingual course on synodality promoted by the Evangelii Gaudium Centre of the Sophia University Institute will begin.
The course, realised in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod, will consist of four stages: three academic modules and a residential meeting. They will deal with topics related to the synodal process: what is synodality? Is it in line with what is expressed in the Magisterium of the Church and Canon Law? How is it possible to live it in the Church?
Addressed to the entire People of God (from bishops to pastoral workers, from priests to consecrated men and women, from seminarians to lay people), the course aims to offer a wide-ranging theological and pastoral preparation with the objective of providing the Christian community with a model for the communal exercise of Christian thinking and acting. The lectures will be held on the ZOOM platform.
It is possible to register for the entire course or for a single module. The lessons will be held in Italian, with simultaneous translation into Spanish, Portuguese and English.
The course is also aimed at members of the same community (parish, association, friends,..) who will thus be able to gain direct experience of the method of listening, dialogue and discernment at the basis of the Synodal Church.
For information and registration contact:  
Those who intend to register for the entire course must do so by 15 January 2023.
Those wishing to follow one or more modules, on the other hand, have a deadline of:
 4 February for the 1st Module;
4 March for the 2nd Module;
6 May for the 3rd Module.Links to register:

Copyright  2022 General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
General Secretariat for the Synod of BishopsVia della Conciliazione, 34Vatican City 00120Vatican City State (Holy See)

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31 October: The latest synod newsletter with links to documents.

General Secretariat of the Synod – media@synod.vaView this email in your browser#newsletter n.20 – 10/2022 – Available also in FR – PT – ES – ITShareTweetForwardShareGood morning everyone!

The week just gone was marked by the publication of the Working Document for the Continental Stage. In order for “this stage to be organic to the synodal process, it is necessary” as Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, emphasised at its presentation during the press conference (27 October 2022) “that the Continental Assemblies also be bound to the circular dynamic of prophecy-discernment. This can only happen by returning the Document to the subject of prophecy, that is, to the People of God living in the particular Churches.” It is now up to each one of us to enlarge the space of the Tent, that is, to continue the work of listening, dialogue and discernment in this Continental Stage.

The document, available on our website in various languages, was sent to all the bishops of the world so that they could organise synodal moments of reading and discussion. “The choice does not respond to an organisational criterion, but to a synodal principle: by sending the Document to the Bishops in the particular Churches, we return to the People of God the fruits of the process begun by the consultation in the particular Churches,” said the Secretary General of the Synod. “If, in fact, we can recognise what the Spirit is speaking to the Church by listening to the People of God, to that People living in the Churches we must return this Document. The Bishops will be asked to listen “at least” to the synodal commissions and participation bodies. But it would be nice for each Church to read the Document with a broad involvement of the People of God”.

It is also up to you to take the initiative, always communally and always informing the diocesan ordinary, e.g. trying to verify whether and to what extent the discernment previously carried out is recognised in the Document. According to the indications given by Cardinal Grech, “possible observations on the Document can be sent by the individual Churches to the Bishops’ Conferences, which can in turn produce a more organic synthesis for the continental stage, which will contribute to the discernment of the continental Assembly”. It is therefore important that those who wish to contribute to the synodal conversion of the Church, do so through their own bishop, as “the principle and foundation of unity in their Churches” (LG 23).

Also at the international level, there is no shortage of synodal initiatives, such as the one tomorrow, 1 November, during which Pope Francis will dialogue with a group of students from African universities broadcast live online; the international symposium on synodality in the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches that will take place at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) on 2-5 and 23-26 November 2022, at the initiative of the Pro Oriente Foundation (Vienna) and the Angelicum Institute for Ecumenical Studies; the one promoted by the UISG-USG (the respective Unions of Superiors General and Superiors General) to present the Continental Stage on 2 November; or the webinars organised by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC) with the theologian Gilles Routhier, a member of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod starting on 3 November.

Happy All Saints’ Day!

Thierry Bonaventura
Communication ManagerThe Document for the Continental Stage
The DCS is available in several languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese). In a few days it will also be available in Arabic and soon in Polish and German (by the middle of the month). The text is available in various formats (paginated, pdf and word) together with the infographic and FAQ on the Continental Stage. The indesign package (paginated editable version) is also available.Go to the DocumentGo to the editable version of the DocumentBuilding Bridges across AfricaOn 1 November, Pope Francis will dialogue with African university students during an event hosted by DePaul University entitled ‘Building Bridges across Africa: A Synodal Meeting between Pope Francis and University Students’, with the theme ‘Ubuntu: A Culture of Encounter; We All Belong’. The event, organised in collaboration with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and under the patronage of the General Secretariat of the Synod, can be followed live on De Paul University’s YouTube channel (

It is scheduled to begin at 4.45pm Nairobi time (UTC +2.45). For the occasion, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, recorded a message to the young African students in which he urged them to cultivate intergenerational dialogue: “If the Church cuts the young generation out of its life, it is condemned to bleed to death,” said Cardinal Grech. Therefore it is important to help each other to walk together’. One of the ways in which the younger generation can engage in society is through intergenerational dialogue. They said that young people have the power to open the door to the future, but adults hold the key to the future. So, it is important to enter into this intergenerational dialogue’. This will be the second time Pope Francis will participate in a Building Bridges event with students, as the first was with students from North and Latin America hosted by Loyola University Chicago last February.

Watch Cardinal Mario Grech’s video message to African university students with subtitles in Spanish, French and Italian.Listening to the Christian EastAn international symposium on synodality in the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches will be held at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) on 2‒5 and 23‒26 November 2022, upon the initiative of the Pro Oriente Foundation (Vienna) and of the Angelicum Institute for Ecumenical Studies.

Organized under the patronage of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, the symposium, entitled “Listening to the East”, in which more than 100 theologians will take part, is aimed at listening to the various understandings and experiences of synodality of the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches.
The symposium will feature a first conference on the Orthodox tradition (program), and will be opened by Cardinals Kurt Koch and Mario Grech, together with Metropolitan Job Getcha, Co‒President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

A second conference will include a first part on the Syriac tradition (program) and will be opened by the abovementioned Cardinals, together with His Holiness Mar Awa III, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. A second part will be dedicated to the various Oriental Orthodox traditions (program), with the participation, in particular, of His Grace Kyrillos, Co-President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Another symposium on the synodal traditions of the Christian communities of the West will be held at the Angelicum on 26‒28 January and 16‒18 February 2023.For further informationUISG – USG WebinarFor further informationIFCU’s Webinars with Gilles RouthierFor further informationPray for the SynodIn order to support the synodal journey and ask for the Spirit’s assistance, together with the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and UISG, we have set up a website in 5 languages: Church on the Way. Pray for the Synod. You too can send your prayer. See how to do it… Issue 6 of African Sinodality is now availableDownload the Newsletter “African Synodality”Copyright  2022 General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, All rights reserved.
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Conference: Christian responses to the migration crisis

The English Channel from Dover’s White Cliffs
  • Sep 11th, 2022: shared from Independent Catholic News.

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, Dr Ulrich Schmiedel of the University of Edinburgh and Rev Dr Keith Clements will be speaking at an online conference this coming Saturday, addressing the question of what should be the Christian response to those who seek asylum and refuge in our country, and asking what insights can be derived from the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Contributions will also be invited from groups currently working on the ground to meet the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Calais, Kent, and the North of England.

This free conference: Faith and Frontiers: Christian responses to the migration crisis takes place on Saturday 17 September 10am – 4pm.

To book a place see:

Tags: RefugeesMigrationBishop Rose Hudson-WilkinDr Ulrich SchmiedelRev Dr Keith ClementsDietrich Bonhoeffer

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Her Majesty the Queen

Her Majesty the Queen
Her Majesty the Queen 
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022

The people of St Thomas of Canterbury parish community join with the rest of the nation in mourning the death of Her Majesty the Queen. Confident in the gift of everlasting life given at baptism we now pray for her.

Incline your ear, O Lord, to our prayers by which we humbly entreat your mercy, that as you graciously numbered your servant Elizabeth, among your people in this world, you may now set her in a place of peace and light and grant her a share in the company of your Saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Here is a message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

Canon Anthony Charlton

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Praying, with thanks, for Queen Elizabeth

Picture from Wikipedia.

From Rev Jo Richards, Rector of Saint Dunstan, Saint Mildred and Saint Peter, Canterbury.

We give thanks for the life of Queen Elizabeth, but also mourn her loss. Not only has she been a Christian witness but led by example, a true disciple of Christ who will be missed by many, all around the world. Someone who has just always been there. 

‘Go forth from this world O Christian soul, in the name of the love of God the Father who created you, in the mercy of Jesus Christ who redeemed you, in the power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens you. Amen’

A Prayer on the death of her Her Majesty The Queen

Gracious God we give thanks for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth

For her faith and her dedication to duty.

Bless our nation as we mourn her death

and may her example continue to inspire us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord


Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen.

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Honouring Mary at Westminster Abbey

A tapestry in the chapel of Minster Abbey, with three saints of the Community, Mildred, Domneva, and Eadburga.

Source: Conference of Religious

An annual service of devotion to ‘Our Lady of Pew’ takes place at Westminster Abbey today. The Chapel of ‘Our Lady of Pew’ features a beautiful statue created by a Benedictine nun of Minster Abbey in Kent.

Sister Concordia Scott OSB sculpted the fine alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child in the niche of the Chapel. It took 14 months to complete and was placed there in May 1971.

The original statue that was there disappeared centuries ago. The design of the 20th-century piece was inspired by a 15th century English alabaster Madonna at Westminster Cathedral.

Sister Concordia Scott (1924 – 2014) was Prioress of the Minster Abbey community from 1984-1999.

Read the full story here, as found in today’s Independent Catholic News. Minster Abbey is home to our contributor, Sister Johanna Caton.

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3 June: Pope Francis sends greetings on Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee.

File photo showing Pope Francis greeting Queen Elisabeth and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh in the Vatican

A thoughtful greeting from Pope Francis to Queen Elizabeth.

Yesterday saw the start of a weekend of celebrations across the United Kingdom on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne.

Marking this milestone, Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Queen offering his prayers and good wishes. In it, he says: “On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”

In recognition of the monarch’s commitment to the care of God’s creation, Pope Francis is donating a Cedar of Lebanon to the Queen’s Green Canopy project.  He expressed the hope that this tree, “which in the Bible symbolises the flourishing of fortitude, justice and prosperity, would be a pledge of abundant divine blessings” upon her realm.

The project invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. 

Vatican News.

We invite readers to pray for the Queen and the people of her realm, and especially for unity, prosperity and peace. Let us pray, too, for the people of Lebanon to recover these same gifts.

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Good Friday gifts

The solemnity of today will be overwhelmed by the joy of Easter, but there were tokens of the coming feast for those with eyes to see.

Before the sun was properly up I was looking into the back garden. What was that hunched figure inspecting the flowerpots? A hedgehog woken from hibernation and going about its business, ridding us of a few pests. That was enough to mark the day.

After the prayerful L’Arche Good Friday service some of us found our way to the Glebe garden, where a shrine had been built of willow wands. If this was intended to be a place of quiet reflection it soon became a meeting place for people who had barely seen each other during covid; another hint of the resurrection to come.

Flitting across the garden was a brimstone butterfly, a caterpillar died but transformed into a creature of beauty no less wondrous for being totally expected.

Then to my task of adorning the church porch. The Easter garden needed the finishing touches, Mary’s jar of ointment and the grave cloths hidden behind the door (a scallop shell to be rolled to one side). What concerned me was the Easter lilies. We had some in flower the last two years, but it had been touch and go this time. Since today was warm, the first flowers were unfurling to be bright and white on Easter Day.

In the evening down to the Cathedral to hear Faure’s Requiem, with its upbeat finish: May the Angels welcome you to Paradise, may the martyrs meet you and lead you to the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Walking home from the Cathedral in the glowing dusk, under the Easter full moon, three blackbirds, singing their hearts out, serenading the new life hatched in their nests. They will be busy tomorrow, as no doubt will I, but by these tokens and by other sure evidence I know that my redeemer liveth.

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Meat free Lent, XIX, XX: a bumper edition

Good morning to you all on this lovely spring morning.

Here are yesterday’s and today’s meat free recipes; we should have caught up with ourselves again. As we prepare the taboule, we could remember to pray for the people of Lebanon, whose situation has dropped off the front page though their needs remain stark. Will T.


Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

This salad is supposed to originate in current Lebanon but is consumed all around the Mediterranean.  This is a family variation from Provence. It can be a starter, a snack, part of a varied salad meal or a main course. Fresh flavoursome juicy tomatoes are essential. Use only medium size couscous or bulgur; large size will make it gritty; small size soggy. It can be prepared in the evening or early in the morning and served for lunch.

200g medium size couscous or bulgur 
300g tomatoes 
100g of cucumber 
A small red or white onion 
A handful of fresh mint 
A handful of pitted black olives 
A handful of chickpeas (optional) 
Olive oil, salt, lemon juice.

1.       Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into fairly small cubes in a large salad dish. Add salt and set aside for 20 minutes to extract the vegetable juices.

2.       Add the small, chopped onion or ½ onion (you don’t want that taste to dominate), olives, chickpeas, and 2/3rd olive oil for 1/3rd lemon juice. To judge the amount of oil and lemon juice, consider that the vegetables need at that point to swim in the liquid. Add the couscous and stir.

3.       Set aside in the fridge for at least one hour. Stir with a fork; at that point you might have to adjust slightly the amount of couscous if the dish appears too soggy. The dish now needs to rest for at least 2 hours before in can be served. Better leave it overnight in the fridge.

4.       Before serving, stir again with a fork to avoid having clumps of couscous as you want a light fluffy salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Depending on strength of the oil you use, you might have to add lemon juice. 

5.       Add the fresh chopped mint (use only fresh mint and like the onion, don’t over-do-it). Some people prefer to use flat leaf parsley. Stir again and it’s ready to serve.

It keeps well for about 24 hours. After preparing it once, experiment! Different types or no olives. Spring onions, parsley, pre-cooked cubes of sweet peppers.

Pasta dishes

Dr Peter Toon – St Stephen’s Church

Pasta is originally Italian peasant food, and often they could not afford meat, so there are many recipes for pasta sauces without meat or fish. Here are a few examples:

a) mushroom sauce – whilst the pasta cooks, gently fry mushrooms, onions (and garlic if you like it) in olive oil with a little salt.  (Add a little brandy or wine if you like.)  When the pasta is cooked drain it, and then mix in the cooked vegetables with a little soya cream, grate some nutmeg over it and mix well.

b)  sweet pepper sauce   – finely chop red or yellow peppers and cook them slowly with a little salt in olive oil with onions, garlic, both or neither.  When they are completely softened (which can take 20-30 minutes), add a tin of chopped tomatoes and start cooking the pasta.  Cook the sauce slowly, uncovered, to reduce the tomatoes until it the thick but not dry.

c) pesto sauce – for when you are feeling lazy!   Ready-made traditional green pesto and also red pesto sauces can be bought from most supermarkets and unlike many ready-made pasta sauces it takes good. Just cook the pasta, open the jar and spoon it over.

d) Quorn Bolognese – as with shepherd’s pie you can use Quorn mince in this well-known sauce

e) walnut sauce – unusual but very tasty with pasta.  Basically, you grind walnuts very finely with garlic and a little salt so you end up with a paste.  If you soak the walnuts beforehand it is easier to grind them.  You might add a little walnut oil, soya cream to make the sauce the right consistency.

f) leek sauce – 1-2 leeks per person, according to size. You need to chop the leeks very finely for this sauce – 3-4 mm at most in each dimension.  Sweat them very slowly in butter or oil, with a teaspoon of salt.  After 5 minutes or so, add a glass of white wine – continue to cook slowly, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding a little water if they are getting dry to avoid browning.  When they are soft, add a generous amount of cream – I use soya cream but crème fraiche would be good too. Mix with pasta and sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

 You can grate some parmesan over the top of these dishes if you like, but they taste fine without.

Have a good day, God Bless


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Pope Francis’s prayer for Peace in Ukraine.

Crucifix in WInchester Cathedral.

Pope Francis shared this prayer at his weekly general audience on 16 March. It was written by Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples.

Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, son of God, have mercy on us sinners. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, in the 20-year-olds sent to the frontline, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, who continues to see hands armed with weapons under the shadow of the cross, forgive us, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Forgive us if, not content with the nails with which we pierced your hand, we continue to drink from the blood of the dead torn apart by weapons. 
Forgive us if these hands that you had created to protect have been turned into instruments of death. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother, if we continue like Cain to take the stones from our field to kill Abel. 
Forgive us if we go out of our way to justify cruelty, if, in our pain, we legitimise the cruelty of our actions.       Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, we implore you to stop the hand of Cain, 
enlighten our conscience, 
let not our will be done, 
do not abandon us to our own doing. 
Stop us, Lord, stop us, 
and when you have stopped the hand of Cain, take care of him also.
 He is our brother. 
O Lord, stop the violence. 
Stop us, Lord. Amen.

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