Synod 2021 – 2023
The entire Catholic Church is called to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops! This Synod is entitled: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
Pope Francis has called the entire People of God to journey together. This Synod is not just another meeting with oral presentations and written reports. This Synod is a process of journeying together by listening, dialoguing, praying, discerning and making decisions together for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis is asking each local diocese to gather – clergy, religious and laity together- to listen to each other. The “goal” of this journeying together is not to create a new vision or pastoral plan with objectives. Rather, the goal of our journeying together is to be present with one another, to listen and learn with each other, and to grow closer to the Lord and His Church.
Click here to read Cardinal Gregory’s letter to the faithful on the 2021-2023 Synod.
“This Synod offers us the opportunity to be with each other, to invite our family and friends back to the faith, to listen to each other’s joys and sorrows, and share our hopes and dreams for our parishes.”
– Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory
What does the word Synod mean?
Synod is a greek word (synodos) meaning a meeting or assembly. The two Greek words that make up synod are syn meaning together and hodos meaning way or journey.
What is the Synod of Bishops?
A helpful short definition of the Synod of Bishops is a gathering of bishops that:
- fosters closer unity between the bishops and Pope.
- provides counsel to the Pope on matters of faith and morals, and discipline of the Church.
- studies questions concerning the Church in the world (c.f. Code of Canon Law c. 342).
Voting in the Synod of Bishops is limited to bishops present at the synod gathering. However, clergy, men and women religious, theologians, catechists, canon lawyers, and lay experts all participate in the synod gathering with bishops by providing their counsel.
What is Synodality?
Synodality and the synodal process are not a gathering or meeting of bishops, nor are they the administrative arm of the Church. Rather, synodality is the path and process of the Church as communion. It is the communion of all the baptized who are listening to each other, dialoguing with each other and praying together to hear the voice of Holy Spirit as we all seek holiness and proclaim the Gospel. Synodality involves clergy, religious and laity listening and speaking, praying and discerning together, and placing the hopes and concerns of the People of God at the foot of the bishops, who, united with the Pope, decide matters of faith and morals in order to preserve the faith and strengthen the Church throughout the world.
What is different about this Synod?
This Synod is unique for two reasons. One, the Holy Father is asking that the entire Church participate in this Synod. The faithful, clergy and religious are invited to pray, listen, and talk together with the Bishops before the 2023 gathering of Bishops in Rome. In our Archdiocese, we will pray, listen and talk with one another through parish listening sessions and Archdiocesan listening sessions.
Second, this Synod is a unique gift for our local Church. It is a gift of time – a chance to take a step back and reconnect with our parish communities. It is an opportunity to invite people not only back to Sunday Mass but also to parish life. This invitation to parish life starts with listening – listening to each other’s joys, hopes, sorrows and anxieties. Listening to each other is the basis of dialogue, friendship and community life. This Synod is not about changing doctrine or church structures, but rather encountering each other as brothers and sisters in Christ in post-pandemic world.