‘Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission: “It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s “renewal” proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission.’
—For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission Preparatory Document, p. 1
On Sunday 10 October 2021, Pope Francis officially opened the Synod of Bishops with the theme, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. The following weekend, a period of local consultation was launched in dioceses around the world, inviting all Catholics to take part in an intentional process of mutual listening that will span two years and engage the people of God in a journey of communion, participation and mission. This listening process will culminate in the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.
All Catholics are invited to take part in the diocesan consultation process to promote a sense of communion and journeying together. Individuals, parishes and other communities (schools, hospitals, lay movements, etc.) are encouraged, wherever possible, to provide opportunities for groups and individuals to provide submissions.
To ensure a greater opportunity for all the people of God to have an authentic experience of listening and dialogue, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has decided to extend the deadline for the presentation of the summaries of the consultations to 15 August 2022. The initial deadline for the presentation of the synthesis by Episcopal Conferences and bodies was April 2022 but after receiving various requests from around the world, the General Secretariat has chosen to extend the first phase deadline by four months.
The extension is welcome news for Melbournians who have only recently come out of lockdown and are now juggling the challenges (and joys!) of re-opening. In addition to local listening and discernment sessions, the Archdiocese will be offering a number of diocesan-wide consultation sessions open to parishes and individuals in November 2021 and early 2022. Hosted by the team at Proclaim: The Office for Mission Renewal, each session will offer an experience of the listening and discernment process which focusses on the three topics of the Synod: Communion, Participation and Mission.
For further information or for assistance with bookings please contact email email@example.com
A dedicated page has been set up on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference website to host content for the Synod, with links to the preparatory document and vademecum (handbook). Given the significant interest in the Synod of Bishops and its relationship with the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, information is also available about the anticipated timelines and milestones for both of these important journeys. The following resources have been prepared to assist groups and individuals in their reflection and discernment prior to making a submission:
A helpful video has been produced by the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, explaining the Synod process: