Irish steps on a digital synodal pathway

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Posted 24th June

The Centre for Mission and Ministries at St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth and the Irish Institute for Pastoral Studies from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in collaboration with Aspal, Ireland's new Digital Faith Formation Platform, are delighted to support an offering to the Irish Synodal Pathway to deepen our understanding of synodality.

This digital short course sees six modules explore what it is that Pope Francis intends by inviting us on a synodal journey as Church at this time. Users will have the opportunity to join with leading theological experts Sr Nathalie Becquart (Under-Secretary for the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops), Dr Rafael Luciani (a Lay Venezuelan theologian, appointed as Expert of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops) Sr Therese Fitzgerald (Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Scripture Scholar and member of the Irish Institute of Pastoral Studies), Fr Gerry O’Hanlon (Former Irish Provincial of the Irish Jesuits, and currently Social Theologian with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice), Dr Jessie Rogers (Dean of the Faculty of Theology, St Patrick’s Pontifical University and Lecturer in Sacred Scripture), and Fr Eamon Conway (Head of Theology & Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College) and as they explore various topics introducing synodality.

The wide variety of topics covered by this course all help the user to better understand what Pope Francis intends by inviting all in the church on this synodal pathway at this time. Those topics include: Synodality and Culture; The Spirituality of Synodality the Role of Women and Youth; Synodality, Insights from the Acts of the Apostles; Synodality, A Way of Being Church in the Third Millennium; Synodality and the Second Vatican Council; and Synodality and Discernment. Each of these topics covered is then reflected upon, in a separate conversation, by Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon (Theologian and Director of the Irish Institute of Pastoral Studies) and Dr Jessie Rogers as they highlight key elements or insights from each contribution. Users are also invited to submit a reflection on the chosen topic for feedback. This exciting collaboration allows users from across the Island of Ireland to have easy access to such leading voices on the topic of synodality, precisely at the time when the national and universal synodal journeys are taking place in Ireland and throughout the world.

Referring to the benefits of using Aspal to discuss synodality, Dr Jessie Rogers, Dean of Theology at St Patrick’s Pontifical University commented; ‘’Aspal allows people to access good quality input individually or in groups, at a time and place that works for them. We're hoping that this material on synodality will empower parishes and other groups to get meaningful conversations happening.’’

Reflecting on Aspal’s ability to support such faith projects as this course on Synodality Fr Dermot Ryan, Director Adult Faith Development, Aspal noted “For anyone who wishes to deepen the faith and knowledge of Church teaching, I would encourage them to register on the Aspal app by logging on to and from there they can choose the course that they wish to follow. A lot of the content on the app will be free, such as this very exciting course now offered on the Synodal Pathway”.

Aspal is greatly supported by the generosity of the Benefact Trust and collaborations such as this are now possible thanks to the creation of the supporting technology made possible by this assistance. Aspal is allowing parishes from across the island of Ireland to have access to the highest quality faith formation, often from the comfort of their homes.

Aspal is a new cutting edge digital platform for faith formation. Easy to use with the ability to access content anywhere and at any time, this App and digital platform allows people to deepen their faith from the comfort of their own home and at any time that is convenient for them. Imagine having access to the best theologians from around the world available to you in your own home town, village or parish. The team at Aspal have made that possible.

More details and some taster videos can be found at: