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Synod 2021 2023 For a Synodal Church Communion Participation Mission

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In last month’s Catholic Telegraph, Father Earl Fernandes wrote about synodality as it pertains to Beacons of Light. Synodality means walking together as a community on the pilgrim journey that we live on earth. By virtue of our baptism, we are all called to the prophetic mission of spreading the gospel message. This responsibility does not lie strictly with the clergy, but with all the People of God guided by the Holy Spirit. By walking together, synodally, we can all contribute to realizing the Mission of the Church which is to evangelize all so that the salvation of souls is achieved through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Synods are meetings called by the Pope to seek input on a specific issue. This synod’s goal is to discern how we can become a Church where all members walk together to achieve her Mission. The synod’s official title reflects this: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.”


Preparing for a synod takes time, and this synod is no exception
– it will be held in 2023. The Holy Father asked that before that time every diocese in the world gather together the People of God to discuss and discern how we can be a more synodal Church.

In our archdiocese, two coordinators from each deanery will seek out, gather and consolidate thoughts and concerns from everyone, including the elderly, the young, the poor, disabled, the migrant and immigrant whether they are lay faithful, clergy, members of religious orders, those who have lost their faith – all the People of God!

The coordinators will facilitate town hall meetings in each deanery during January and February, invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that we journey together to discern God’s will. Once meetings conclude, coordinators will provide discussion summaries to Deacon John Homoelle, this archdiocese’s point person. He will distill all the deaneries’ input into one document and the archbishop will review it. It will be sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at the beginning of April 2022, and they will send a consolidated report of all the U.S. diocesan learnings to Rome.


The Holy Father seeks input on the following themes:
1. Listening – How is God speaking to us through voices we sometimes ignore?
2. Speaking out – What enables or hinders speaking up courageously, candidly and responsibly in our local Church and society?
3. Celebration – How do prayer and liturgical celebrations inspire and guide our common life and mission in our community?
4. Sharing Responsibility – How is every baptized person called to participate in the Mission of the Church?
5. Dialogue – To what extent do diverse peoples in our community come together for dialogue?
6. Ecumenism – What relationship does our Church community have with members of other Christian traditions?
7. Authority – How does our Church community identify the goals to be pursued?
8. Discerning – What methods and processes do we use in the Church in decision making?
9. Forming Ourselves – How does our Church community form people to be more capable of “walking together”?


Two documents about the synod provide more detail and can be found on the Synod 2021-2023 website (www.synod.va): The Vademecum (guidelines) for the Synod and the Preparatory Document (an abridged version of the Vademecum).

Although the Catholic Church’s roots in synodality trace back to the time of Peter and Paul, the Church has grown greatly since then. The Holy Father asks us to journey with him on a global basis to reignite that synodality with the Holy Spirit’s fire and input from all God’s people.

Want to be involved?

Send your name, contact information, parish, and how you want to be involved to [email protected].

This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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