What is the Synod For?
The title of the 2023 Synod of Bishops is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission” with the stated aim of the Holy Father that the Church in today’s world should have a vision of missionary communion orientated to evangelisation.
The Synod is concerned mainly with how Church teaching can be lived and applied in the changing contexts of our time.” The Synodal Process is not about a democratic debate or political battle. It is place of respectful mutual listening and experiencing the call of the Holy Spirit to move in new ways. What it will do is embed at all levels of the Church a new way of listening and hearing, of discernment and action which remains faithful to the truths received but expresses them in the context of a particular time.
The process begins in the Particular (or Local) Church and then moves to the level of the Bishops’ Conference. From there, discernment takes place in the Regional Area before moving to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in 2023, sub et cum Petro.
Each local Church is a fundamental part of the Universal Church, so what happens in each local Church contributes to the whole. Each is involved in the synod process which is one of “journeying together” towards Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life who calls his people into a unity of purpose.
Every member of the Church has the right to speak, and the obligation to allow those charged with the work of discernment the freedom to do so. It involves everyone. Schools, young people, hospital chaplaincies, university chaplaincies, prison chaplaincies, the religious and consecrated communities, and the societies of apostolic life.
This has been extracted from the letter from the Bishops’ Conference, the full text of which is here.
The Synod timeline is here
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.
(For a downloadable copy of this prayer is please click here)