Published : 2022-02-22 a 00h00 |
Pope Françis announced last May a new Synod of Bishops for 2023. The theme will be « For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission ». ‘Synod’ is an ancient and venerable word in the Tradition of the Church, whose meaning draws on the deepest themes of Revelation […] It indicates the path along which the People of God walk together. It will be held in three phases: diocesan, continental and universal.
What is a Synod of Bishops ?
Synods have been held since the Vatican II Council (1962-1965). They have a consultative function, sort of a« mini Council » which serve to manifest the collaboration among Bishops and to deepen certain topics. Since their beginning, Synods have treated many important subjects for the Church.
“Everyone listening to each other and all listening to the Holy Spirit”
The Church of God is convened in Synod. The journey to this important Assembly entitled For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation andMission was launched by Pope Francis on October 9th and 10th, 2021. For the first time in the history of this institution created by Pope Paul VI who wished to pursue the collegial experience of Vatican II, the upcoming Synod will be decentralized; i.e., every local Church from all continents is asked to take part in its preparation.
A week following Pope Francis’ official announcement of a Synodal journey, dioceses on all five continents, under the presidency of their respective Bishops, invited men and women of faith to listen to one another and to the Holy Spirit. In solidarity with Pope Francis – who has promoted synodality since the beginning of his pontificate and who insists on a broad preparation of the Synod in order to listen to the People of God – the Synodal process starts at the ground level with each local Church. Once the initial phase is completed, the process will move through the Episcopal Conferences to the continental level on its way to the Synod of Bishops, in October 2023.
Of concern to all Parishes and Pastoral Units as well as baptized individuals, this first phase is of vital importance since it involves listening to the People of God who is guided by the Holy Spirit. “If listening is the method of the Synodal process, and discerning is the aim, then participation is the path.