A response to the Synod Continental Stage

A response on behalf of the Cardijn Community Rockingham, WA, to the Continental Stage of preparation for the Synod on Synodality 2023-24.



Feedback for the Continental Stage

The Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) gathers and restores to the local Churches what the People of God from around the world said in the first year of the Synod. It is meant to guide us and enable us to deepen our discernment, keeping in mind the basic question that animates the entire process:

“How does this ‘journeying together,’ … allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with the mission entrusted to Her; and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?” (PD, no.2).

You are invited to contribute your reflections on the Working Document for the Continental Stage. You can find the Document here: WORKING DOCUMENT

Your reflection will be done in groups using the Reflection Guide, which can be downloaded here:


If you have already summarised your group’s reflection, this short submission process should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.

This portal accepts short and succinct submissions only. Because of the nature of this synodal process and the very tight timeline, we regret that we are not able to accept additional information.

Firstly, what is the name of your group?

Cardijn Community Rockingham

Please describe briefly the members of your group, such as the type of group (e.g., parish/diocese), age range, special characteristics, ethnic makeup, interest area, etc.

We are a small group of local people from Rockingham, WA, who have shared a lifetime of experience of the YCW and the YCS, who are working to promote the movements for a new generation of young workers, students and others.

Your group was invited to reflect on three areas:


After having read and prayed with the DCS, what resonates most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent? Which experiences are new, or illuminating to you?


After having read and prayed with the DCS, what significant tensions or differences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective?

Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?


Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions:

What are the priorities, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world?

What should be discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?

On the next page you will be asked to submit your group’s response to each of the above three areas.


In ONE SHORT paragraph (less than 200 words), please provide a summary of your group’s reflection related to EXPERIENCES OF CHURCH.

We note that young workers face great challenges at work and in their lives: Casualised labour makes it difficult to plan financially, depriving them of a rhythm to their lives Schools, including Catholic schools fail to prepare young people for their working lives This is true not just for young workers but also adults facing great living expenses while their free time has been whittled away. Church youth ministries and parishes in general do not address these issues. Movements such as the Young Christian Workers (YCW) no longer exist or lack support from the Church.


In ONE SHORT paragraph (less than 200 words), please provide a summary of your group’s reflection related to CHALLENGES TO ADDRESS.

Vatican II spoke about the need for the Church to renew its approach “ad intra” but also “ad extra,” i.e. in its approach to the world. Indeed, Gaudium et Spes emphasised that the Church is IN the world. Pope Francis himself has emphasised the need for workers to feel at home in the Church.


Yet, paradoxically, the post-Vatican II period has witnessed the decline of the lay apostolate movements such as the YCW and YCS which helped form lay people for their role in the world, in their families, workplaces and communities. Catholic educational institutions do not systematically teach the lay apostolate Today there are few young priests available to act as chaplains for these movements. Youth ministers also lack understanding of movements like the YCW and YCS.


In ONE SHORT paragraph (less than 200 words), please provide a summary of your group’s reflection related to PRIORITIES AND CALLS TO ACTION.

The Church in Australia and around the world needs to rediscover the vocation of the laity – the lay apostolate as articulated at Vatican II in Lumen Gentium §31, Gaudium et Spes §43 and in the Decree on Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem. Movements such as the YCW and YCS – and/or new lay apostolate movements must be fostered by the Church. Lay apostolate formation must become a priority, including formation for priests, catechists and pastoral workers. This issue needs to be addressed in the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in 2023.

Can you please include 5 to 7 key points that capture the important parts of your group’s overall submission? (Maximum of 250 words)

    1. Ordinary workers, especially young workers and school leavers face many problems that the (Catholic) education system does not prepare them for 2. Prior to Vatican II, particularly since Pope Leo’s encylical Rerum Novarum, the Church had a strong awareness of these issues and programs and movements existed to reach out to workers and

young workers, including the YCW 3. Despite the strong teaching of Vatican II, this outreach and these movements have declined or even disappeared in many parts of Australia over the last 50 years. Yet the problems have not disappeared, and in many cases have worsened (casual labour, etc) 4. The Church therefore needs to renew its mission to workers in general and young workers in particular 5. It also needs to recall and renew its understanding of the Vatican II teaching on lay apostolate and the role, mission and vocation of lay people acting as a leaven to transform the world, beginning from their own lives, families, workplaces and communities 6. Priests, catechists, pastoral workers and others need formation in these areas in order to promote the lay apostolate 7. Catholic educational institutions need to introduce courses to train people in these areas

Lastly, please include your details in case we need to contact you about your submission. (These details will not be provided to anyone.)


Stefan Gigacz

Thank you for participating in the Continental Stage for the Synod of Bishops.

Please submit your response by clicking the ‘ -> ‘ button below. You will then have the option of downloading a copy of your response.




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