Catholics throughout the world have been hearing about and participating in preparatory discussions for the Synod of Bishops that will take place in October 2023. Pope Francis has selected the overall topic of “Synodality” for this upcoming Synod and he has asked Catholics throughout the world to do preparatory work in their local dioceses and parishes to make the Synod more representative of the universal church.
Pope Francis has stated that “The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God.” It is not merely another meeting, political gathering or parliament, rather, it is a way that the People of God journey together to witness to the Gospel and listen to the call of the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of the Synod is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands. Themes: Communion, Participation and Mission.
Communion: The communion we share finds its deepest roots in the love and unity of the Trinity. Together, we are inspired by listening to the Word of God, through the living Tradition of the Church, and grounded in the sensus fidei that we share. We all have a role to play in discerning and living out God’s call for his people.
Participation: Participation is based on the fact that all the faithful are qualified and are called to serve one another through the gifts they have each received from the Holy Spirit in baptism. In a synodal Church the whole community is called together to pray, listen, analyze, dialogue, discern and offer advice on making pastoral decisions which correspond as closely as possible to God’s will.
Mission: Our mission is to witness the love of God in the midst of the whole human family. This Synodal Process has a deeply missionary dimension to it. It is intended to enable the Church to better witness the Gospel, especially with those who live on the spiritual, social, economic, political, geographical, and existential peripheries of our world.