Pope Francis announced the Sixteenth Ordinary Synod of Bishops, which will take place in 2023 in Rome. His theme for the Synod is for a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. The term synodality means walking the same road together. We journey as a Church together, all of us – Pope, bishops, clergy religious, and those on the margins. The mission of Christ can only be accomplished by all of us collaborating together to make the Gospel heard I our time. Every age in Church history has had to figure out the best way to proclaim the Gospel and this is our time.
Pope Francis has asked for an extraordinary task to be done – that is, he wants to hear from every part of the Church throughout the world, those committed to the church, those who have left the Church, never been a part of the church, or who are poor, marginalized and don’t feel welcome in the Church. Some say that this is the largest single consultation in the world! We are all asked to join in and be a part in the ways best for us and to be as inclusive as possible.
In this consultation, Pope Francis asks us to consider this question of proclaiming the Gospel and continuing his mission through prayer and discernment together. His overarching question is: What does the Holy Spirit expect of the Church of the 21st Century?
Two subsequent questions to be used at the listening sessions to expound on this question are:
1. How is this “journeying together” happening today in your parish community, campus ministry, university, school, youth group, religious congregation or other area of Church life?
2. How are we “walking together” as a Church, and what steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our journeying together?
For our Listening Sessions, which can take place in December until February, we have clarified those questions in order to be more specific to our particular circumstances.
The Synod 2023 will have three phases:
Phase One: The Diocesan phase in which we will all be able to reflect and give feedback to the Archdiocese – December 2021-February 2022
Phase Two: The Continental Phase in which all dioceses will synthesize feedback and send a report to the bishops’ conference in Washington, DC (USCCB) by March 1, 2022. In turn, the USCCB will then synthesize feedback and send a report to the Vatican Synod Committee beginning April 2022.
Phase Three: The Universal phase, which will be the actual Synod of bishops in Rome in October 2023
Archdiocese of Newark Synod Website
USCCB Synod Website