Archbishop John delivers lecture on the Synodal mission of the People of God

Archbishop John’s Hayes-Towey Memorial Lecture at St Mary’s

Archbishop John Wilson delivered a lecture at St Mary’s University on the Synodal Mission of the People of God.

The Archbishop was elected as one of the bishop-delegates by the Bishops of England and Wales to be present at the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome and used his experience there to help inform the audience on the synodal path.

At the lecture, Archbishop John explained what the Catholic Church is seeking to achieve through the Synod on Synodality. It is, the Archbishop said, a pathway of journeying forward together: “the Way who is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Truth, and our Life, with everything this means for the mission towards our world which he entrusted to His Church”.

Within the lecture, Archbishop John provided background on the synodal process which is constructed around three foundational ecclesial themes: communion, participation and mission. The Archbishop said these fundamental questions are the starting blocks for “developing the synodal mission of the People of God.”

On the theme of the People of God, the Archbishop began by making clear this term is biblically rooted and a key component of the Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium. He said:

“Aligned with the notion of pilgrimage, the Church, both as sacrament of salvation and pilgrim people, journeys forward in faith until the coming of the new heavens and new earth”.  

The Archbishop added that in this sense, “the People of God is an all-embracing descriptor for everyone baptised into Christ”.

Archbishop John emphasised the interrelatedness of the People of God and the ordained ministry and said how getting this relationship right is “indispensable for an authentic and mission-focused post-conciliar Church”.

The synodal mission of the People of God, the Archbishop said is “best characterised by the Pope’s now familiar phrase ‘missionary disciples”. The Archbishop explained this is because Pope Francis links the “responsibility for evangelisation, something shared by all the baptised” to “the sensus fidei, that instinct of faith which enables disciples to grasp divine truths”.

The lecture, titled ‘Building Relationships of Communion – the Synodal Mission of the People of God', was a special event, in memory of Professor Anthony Towey, a former editor of the Pastoral Review, which is a quarterly journal linked to the Tablet and Professor Michael Hayes. Archbishop John was taught by Professor Anthony while he was a student in Rome and spoke of Professor Michael’s impressive academic achievements.

You can read the rich and engaging in lecture in full below.

Download Lecture