‘Synodality Explored – Facing The Future Together’ Conference In Association With Notre Dame University Australia

‘Synodality Explored: Facing the Future Together’


In Association With Notre Dame University Australia


On Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th an international conference on Synodality takes place in conjunction with Notre Dame University, Perth, Australia. The theme of the two-day conference is ‘Synodality explored – Facing the Future’ and it will be facilitated by Prof. Eamonn Conway, who is now based at Notre Dame University, Australia.


 Programme for Friday, 19 April



The Synod:  A Global View



10.00:           Opening Prayer

10.15:            Keynote  Address – Cardinal Mario Grech

11.15              Coffee

11.45             “Imagining Co-Responsibility in the Irish Context – A Synodal Adventure” – Rev Declan Hurley 

1.00                Lunch

2.15                Our Church on a Missionary Footing – Professor Renée Kohler- Ryan 

3.30                Break

3.40                Open Forum

4.15                Closing Prayer




Programme For  Saturday 20 April


The Synod: Ireland and the World






10.00              Opening Prayer

10.15              The Synod: Ireland and the World – Cardinal Mario Grech and Julieann Moran

11.15              Coffee


11.45             Parishes, People, Synodality – made for each other… Dr. Dermot Ryan

(An exploration of the way in which we are all called to a synodal life through our parish communities and structures)


1.00                Lunch

2.15                Becoming a More Inclusive Church – Austin Burke, Sr Josephine Enenmo, Julian Drapiewski

 3.30                Break

3.40                Open Forum

4.15                Closing Prayer




Guest Speakers



Keynote speaker on both days will be Cardinal Mario Grech. Cardinal Grech has been Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops since September 2020. Formerly Bishop of Gozo, Malta and President of the Maltese Bishops’ Conference, he was created a cardinal on Oct 25 2020.

The conference will be facilitated by Prof. Eamonn Conway. Father Eamonn Conway is a priest of the archdiocese of Tuam. Having served as Head of Theology & Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College from 1999-2023, he now holds the Inaugural Chair of Integral Human Development at the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA). His early research interests included the works of Karl Rahner and Hans Urs Von Balthasar and in recent years he has been at the forefront of researching and advocating for the distinctiveness of Catholic Education. He is currently working on a book on the interface between Catholic Education and Integral Human Development for CUA Press (Washington DC). A  past president of the European Society for Catholic Theology and the Peter Hünermann Foundation, he has researched and published widely on synodality.  In July 2023 Pope Francis appointed him to serve as an expert advisor to the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.


Day One: 

Fr. Declan Hurley served as Co-Chair of the National Steering Committee for the Synodal Pathway in Ireland. He defended his doctoral thesis on the Book of Job at the Institut Catholique, Paris, in 2008. He currently serves as Administrator of Navan Parish (Diocese of Meath) and Vicar General.

Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan is Deputy Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Philosophy & Theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.  She served as a delegate to the Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia 2021-2022 and was appointed by Pope Francis as a voting Member of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops representing Oceania. Professor Kohler-Ryan teaches Aesthetics, Philosophy of the Human Person, and Political Philosophy, as well as courses that emphasise the importance of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. She has published Companions in the Between: Augustine, Desmond, and their Communities of Love, and has a forthcoming book on Stein’s Essays on Woman. She serves on the Reference Group for Studies in Catholic Thought, which reports to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.


Day Two:


Julieann Moran is the General Secretary of the Synodal Pathway of the Catholic Church in Ireland. She was formerly the National Secretary for the Society of Missionary Children at Missio Ireland, where she spent her time raising mission awareness and developing evangelisation resources for dioceses, parishes, and schools across the island of Ireland. From 2010 to 2016 Julieann was the Project Officer for the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development with the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and has much expertise in delivering workshops, training, and other programmes that focus on enabling people to discover and develop their faith.


Rev. Dr Dermot Ryan is a priest of the Diocese of Ossory. Having served as a Curate in Ferrybank (2001-2004) he undertook post-graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, completing a thesis on the Ecclesial Vocation of a Theologian. On return to his native Diocese he served in various appointments: Curate of Mooncoin; Chaplain of St Kieran’s College; Curate of Thomastown; and he is currently President of St Kieran’s College, and Administrator of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish. He also serves as the Director of Adult Faith Development for the Diocese of Ossory. In addition to his other diocesan responsibilities, he lecturers in Systematic Theology at Carlow College and has developed the MyFaith Sacramental Preparation Programme and the Aspal Digital Faith Platform.


Austin Burke is 23 years old and from Ballina Co. Mayo and is pursuing a Degree in Business at TUS in Limerick. Austin is an organist in St Muredach’s Cathedral and St Patrick’s Church in Ballina and on the Pilgrimage Island of Lough Derg in Co. Donegal each summer. He also plays music in Lourdes for The Irish Pilgrimage Trust on their Easter Pilgrimage Week.

Josephine Enenmo is a Nigerian and a religious sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Apostles (OLA). She is currently the director of Religious Formation Ministry Programme, Dublin.



The conference will take place in St. John’s Welcome Centre and all are welcome to attend