Synod Update from Rome


How to be a missionary synodal Church

Instrumentum laboris for the Second Session (October 2024)

Link to full details:

Link from the Synodal Pathway:


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  1. Peadar O'Callaghan says:

    Muiris Mac Conghail in the Preface to his ‘The Blaskets – Its People and Literature’ (1987), asks the rhetorical question “Which way will I open up the Blaskets to you?” and answers by saying that the best way is by opening up a small but important ‘library’ of books written by the islanders themselves. I was thinking of this recently slowly making my way through Peter Brown’s autobiographical ‘Journeys of the Mind – A Life in History’ (Princeton 2023).
    It was Mac Conghail who inspired me to first read Tomas O Crohan’s ‘Island Cross-Talk’ and later find a first edition in Irish of his ‘Allagar na hInse’ (1928).

    My first encounter with the scholarship of Peter Brown was when I sourced, in the early days of the Internet, a first edition of his collection of lectures and papers in ‘Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity’ (University of California Press 1982.) It was this book that led me on to read his work on Augustine and the rise of Western Christendom. Now in his eighty-seventh year he informs the reader in the Postscript of his new book that he has “… begun to read in Ge’ez (in Classical Ethiopic) texts that still echo, at a vast distance of time and space, the controversies and ascetic legends of Syria and Egypt of the fifth and sixth centuries, which had trickled down the Nile and the Red Sea to Ethiopia to yet another “micro-Chistendom”, founded in late antiquity and still surviving in the Horn of Africa.’ (p.699)

    Now that the embargo has been lifted (until 12 noon on 09.07.2024) on the working document for the October Synod Rome gathering I am struck by how different times have changed (Part III Places) and that someone has noticed: “ … it takes only a few underground or subway stops to cross the boundaries not only of the Parish but of the Diocese: a journey many people make several times a day”. [83]
    And that “… life always takes place in physical contexts and concrete cultures.” [86]
    I think ‘our’ Peter Brown would say ‘Amen’ to that – having drawn our attention to it in his inspiring research, travels and scholarship for decades challenging notions Christians have about themselves.

  2. Peadar O'Callaghan says:

    Though I wasn’t present at the annual Monsignor Patrick J. Corish Lecture given by Prof. Brown in St. Patrick’s Maynooth in 2014, I was struck by the painting/landscape on the wall directly behind him when I found his lecture on Youtube.
    I don’t know who the artist is/was and I may be wrong – but it seems like a scene of the village on the Great Blasket from An Trá Bhán. It is this image that connected me with his memoir I am reading.
    It is beautiful to listen to him recite at the end of this lecture A Coptic monastic prayer to the Great Archangel Michael:
    We find the intercession of Michael in the strenuous work of our hands
    In the quietness of the oxen and the growth of the lambs
    In the body of the wine and in the gladness which is in the wine
    In the fatness of the savor of the olives
    We find the intercession of Michael also when he is gentle towards those who are weary with toil and when he gives them strength.
    This transcription is my own (from the Youtube lecture) but its ‘spirituality’ is so different from the traditional prayer to St Michael recited in the past after Mass.

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