Gerry O’Hanlon SJ to speak on Synodality in Armagh

Jan 8, 2019 | 2 comments

Fr Gerry O’Hanlon S.J. will give a talk on his recent book, The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis: A Synodal Catholic Church in Ireland?” in the Ó Fiaich Library, Moy Road, Armagh, on Saturday, 19 January 2019 from 10.00 am – 1.00 pm. A rare opportunity for all of us, both ordained and non ordained, to join in a discussion afterwards. Tea/coffee served. Beidh fáilte mhór  romhaibh.


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In March 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s International Theological Commission published  “Synodality in the life and mission of the Church.”

The document defined synodality as the principle of “the action of the Spirit in the communion of the Body of Christ and in the missionary journey of the People of God”.


  1. Aidan

    Are there any ACI members who attended this talk by Fr. Gerry SJ willing to post a summary and critique for all those who couldn’t attend. It would be appreciated.

  2. Mary Vallely

    As I was chairing and facilitating this event I find it hard to make a fair judgement at this point. This is just an immediate reaction. We had about 60 in attendance, mostly over retirement age and a sprinkling of clergy, again apart from a very few serving priests, all retired.
    Fr Gerry O’ Hanlon was hopeful. He believes that the Irish bishops are beginning to listen and he has been invited to speak at various meetings on the topic of synodality. There was a healthy round of comments and questions from the buzz groups though a few older people there were shocked at the fact that we did not speak about Adoration and the Eucharist. They were not used to this format of gathering and expected more of a prayer service. As Gerry pointed out we need to learn how to listen to one another and it is not an overnight process. Clericalism has a pro for laity in that they can avoid responsibility and there is truth in that. Engaging with each other in open discussion is a process which is not a familiar one nor an easy one for many to learn. It takes time and practice!
    My one precious memory is of being hugged by an 80 year old retired Columban priest who said he had been dreaming of a synodal Church for years and that this was the start of that dream becoming reality. Certainly over the top emotionally but that moment of connection and pure joy shared will stay with me for a long, long time.
    Francis Campbell, a Newry man, and former UK ambassador to the Vatican, spoke to an ecumenical gathering in The Market Place theatre here in Armagh before Christmas. I quoted his advice to us about passing on the legacy which we have received. He said that it will only be handed on in a better state “if we engage,
    if we build, if we invite and promote.”
    If we ENGAGE…
    That’s what we were attempting to do in Armagh on Saturday 19 January. It’s a small step but hopefully it will lead to others. We need to build on this, to have parish engagements and diocesan synods leading to national synods and they must be ongoing. Gerry O’Hanlon was quite strong on that point, that we cannot have a one- off Synod, that these engagements ( my word) need to be ongoing.
    There will be a report written for the Armagh Diocesan web page, under our Justice and Peace slot ASAP when we can get together to pool notes. I will share the link here when that is done. Overall, it was a good meeting or gathering and we can only pray that we can build on it. Gerry’s book is well worth reading, clear, challenging, concise and not at all intimidating for non academics.


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