Whanganui parish priest going to priests’ pre-Synod gathering

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference has selected Whanganui Parish Priest Fr Craig Butler to attend a pre-synod world meeting of parish priests at the Vatican.

Butler (pictured) will represent New Zealand’s Catholic priests at the gathering from 28 April to 2 May.

He and 300 confreres from across the globe will share views and experiences at the “Parish Priests for the Synod: An International Meeting”.

Their input is being sought to help prepare for the Synod on Synodality’s second session this October.

The parish priests were chosen because they meet the selection criteria set by the Vatican for bishops’ conferences.

These criteria expect those selected to have “significant experience in the perspective of a synodal Church” while also ensuring attendees are from “a variety of pastoral contexts”.

Priests views sought

Butler says he has written to New Zealand’s priests recently explaining his trip’s purpose.

While noting he can’t possibly represent everyone, he wants them to tell him about how they are finding the synodal process.

He says he hasn’t always been engaged with the process himself.

“While I wasn’t hugely involved with the Synod process at the parish level when it began, when I became Local Administrator I became very involved.”

He now sees the experience quite differently.

“It’s a wonderful way to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say to us from people whose voices are not always heard.”

The meeting

During the five-day meeting, the parish priests will participate in roundtable discussions, liturgical celebrations, workshops on pastoral proposals, and dialogue with experts.

By listening to and valuing each other’s experience of parish priests, they’ll have the opportunity to experience and contribute to the “dynamism of synodal work at a universal level”.

Their discussions will contribute to the Instrumentum Laboris – the working document for this October’s synod assembly.

“I’m looking forward to the experience and the chance to meet Pope Francis there, something I never thought I would experience” he says.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

Tags: , , , , ,