Synod 2023: Communion, Participation, Mission


The synod is an invitation for us, as Catholics, to ‘walk together’. The pathway for the synod is entitled:

For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

Fr. Jan, in the video reflects that these three areas are profoundly linked with the diocesan Church.

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. The Preparatory Document, published by the Vatican, reflects:

“The synodal journey unfolds within a historical context marked by fundamental changes in society and by cultural transition in the life of the Church which cannot be ignored…” (#4)

The document goes on to reflect:

“… synodality represents the main road for the Church called to renew herself under the action of the Spirit and by listening to the Word…” (#9)

Listening and Journeying Together

The meaning of the journey to which we are all called is above all that of 

“… discovering the face and form of a synodal Church in which ‘everyone has something to learn”

Pope Francis, in his letter to the Faithful of the Diocese of Rome, reflects that the Synod…

…is not about garnering opinions, not a survey, but a matter of listening to the Holy Spirit, as we read in the book of Revelation: “Whoever has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches” (2:7). To have ears, to listen, is the first thing we need to do. To hear God’s voice, to sense his presence, to witness his passage and his breath of life.

The Process

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 – for England and Wales, it would be steered by the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) – before moving to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in 2023, sub et cum Petro.

The Fundamental Question

The fundamental question that guides this consultation of the People of God, as mentioned at the beginning, is the following:

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?

In order to respond, you are invited to:

  1. ask yourselves what experiences in your particular Church the fundamental question calls to mind;
  2. reread these experiences in greater depth: What joys did they provoke? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds have they brought to light? What insights have they elicited?
  3. gather the fruits to share: Where, in these experiences, does the voice of the Spirit resound? What is he asking of us? What are the points to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken? Where do we register a consensus? What paths are opening up for our particular Church?

The Synod Prayer

Click on the prayer to enlarge