"Welcome to the Archdiocese of Liverpool during a very exciting time for us as things are changing and developing in many ways. On the first Sunday of Advent 2021, we launched our Pastoral Plan, the fruit of our Archdiocesan Synod 2020.
"The plan begins with Christ at the centre and then points out the signposts of our journey with six areas of development. These six areas will evolve and be worked on in the years to come as part of our mission in 'Becoming the Church God is calling us to be', empowered by the Spirit of the risen Lord."
We are the Metropolitan See for the Roman Catholic Church in the North of England. We provide pastoral care for the Roman Catholic community in an area which includes Merseyside, parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and the Isle of Man.
At our Synod, we looked at the archdiocese’s present realities and challenges for the future. Following thousands of submissions and practical proposals, our Pastoral Plan - 'Becoming the Church God is calling us to be' - was developed and focuses on six development areas.
To help us become a Church that accompanies people, we will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into the art of accompaniment, which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.
In the spirit of synodality, we resolve to grow in understanding that all the baptised share in the one priesthood of Christ. This invites us to support the fact that most people live out their vocation in their family and working life. We will also try to find new ways in which priests, deacons and lay people can be formed for ministry together.
Synodality is the expectation that everyone will be heard, that the Spirit speaks to us through all parts of the Church’s body – the laity, and the clergy, the lost, the seeking and the found. A listening heart will strengthen the bonds that bind us together and to Christ.
We need to renew our structures and find ways to use our properties more effectively without losing sight of what is good and precious. The parish has turned out to be a resilient structure in time of crisis.
Synodality gives us the opportunity to reimagine what a parish could be. Families of parishes could share resources while being led in bold and courageous new ways, and strengthen the bonds of the extended family of the archdiocese.
When Pope Francis asked us to “spend time with the future”, the future he was referring to was our young people. The work of rebuilding and renewing will be meaningless if we do not pass it on. We will focus on ensuring that the voices of young people and young adults are heard.
We will explore new ways to support our priests and create a space for them to grow and flourish. Caring for our priests is not only important in the short term but is essential in the long term in encouraging vocations.
In 2018, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon announced a synod for our archdiocese. Through it we listened to hundreds of Synod members and took into account over 25,000 submissions and 3,500 practical proposals.
You can download and read the full Pastoral Plan here.