The Church of God is convoked in Synod. Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission:
“It is precisely this path of synodality this which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”
This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s “renewal” proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission. Our “journeying together” is, in fact, what most effectively enacts and manifests the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God.
Stay tuned in for more!
In the meantime, read the documents on the Synod provided by the Vatican below:
Synod is an assembly or meeting of church leaders. The word itself is derived from two Greek words: syn meaning together and hodos meaning way or journey.
Simply, synodality is about journeying together by listening to one another to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as we proclaim the Gospel. A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realizes that listening “is more than simply hearing” (Evangelii Gaudium). It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), in order to know what he “says to the Churches” (Rev2:7).
The objective of this Synodal Process is not to provide a temporary or one-time experience of synodality, but rather to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term.
We are to listen, as the entire People of God, to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church. We do so by listening together to the Word of God in Scripture and the living Tradition of the Church, and then by listening to one another, and especially to those at the margins, discerning the signs of the times. In fact, the whole Synodal Process aims at fostering a lived experience of discernment, participation, and co-responsibility, where a diversity of gifts is brought together for the Church’s mission in the world.
The Diocesan Phase: The first phase of the Synodal Process is a listening phase in local Churches. Following an opening celebration in Rome on Saturday, October 9, 2021, the diocesan phase of the Synod will begin on Sunday, October 17, 2021. Much of the richness of this listening phase will come from discussions among parishes, lay movements, schools and universities, religious congregations, neighbourhood Christian communities, social action, ecumenical and inter-religious movements, and other groups.
The role of Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Oriental Churches: Once the diocesan phase has culminated with a Diocesan Pre-Synodal Meeting and diocesan synthesis, the episcopal conferences and synods of Oriental Churches will compile the input and feedback that they have received from the dioceses and eparchies in order to formulate syntheses that aptly capture the contributions of participants at the local level. Episcopal conferences and synods of Oriental Churches are called to discern and assemble this wider synthesis through a Pre-Synodal Meeting of their own. These syntheses will then serve as the basis for the first edition of the Instrumentum Laboris, which will be published by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
The Continental Phase: This initial Instrumentum Laboris will be the “working document” for the seven continental meetings: Africa (SECAM); Oceania (FCBCO); Asia (FABC); Middle East (CPCO); Latin America (CELAM); Europe (CCEE) and North America (USCCB and CCCB). These seven international meetings will in turn produce seven Final Documents that will serve as the basis for the second Instrumentum Laboris, which will be used at the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023
The Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: Bishops and auditors will gather with the Holy Father Pope Francis in the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023 to speak and listen to one another on the basis of the Synodal Process that began at the local level. The aim of the Synod of Bishops is not to overshadow the diocesan, episcopal conference/synod of Oriental Churches, and continental phases, but rather to discern at a universal level the voice of the Holy Spirit who has been speaking throughout the entire Church.
Prayer for the Synod: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus
We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.
All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever.