Pope Francis has invited the entire Church to reflect on the path of synodality which he says is “decisive” for the “life and mission of the Church of the third millennium”. This global journey of communion, participation and mission includes a period of consultation with local churches around the world, with individuals and communities invited to submit responses that will form part of a listening process culminating in the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.
UPDATE: The local consultation period for the international Synod on Synodality has been extended. Submissions can now be received through the online portal until Sunday 13 March 2022. Don’t miss out on this chance to take part in a global conversation about the Catholic Church.
If you have not yet heard about the Synod, or of the questions being asked of us, we encourage you to check out our Guide for the Perplexed.
How then, you ask, can you submit your responses?
Firstly, visit this page which provides a clear overview of the synodal process and instructions on how to participate and make submissions. You’ll also see that a range of useful resources, prayers and a short explanatory video on the theme of synodality are available to view and download.
Secondly, visit this page for a guided reflection, designed to help you prayerfully enter into the spirit of the questions. The essence of a Synod is prayerful discernment – seeing what the Holy Spirit might be saying through you. Take your time with it.
Thirdly, this page contains the questions being asked of Catholics around the world. They’re broken down by the themes of the Synod: Communion, Participation, Mission. There are between three and four questions for each theme – big questions with no easy answers, hence the need to respond to them prayerfully. However, be warned: the submission only allows 250 words to respond with. Your best bet is to choose only one of the themes and see how you go. No matter what your thoughts are, you’ll need to be able to condense them into 250 words or less.
Finally, go to this page once you have reflected upon the questions and are ready to submit your responses. Follow the instructions and voila. They do make it optional to provide your name and information, but this is purely optional. Feel free to submit anonymously.
We know there’s a lot on right now and that our lives are only just starting to stabilise in the midst of the pandemic. And with the second session of the Plenary Council taking place later this year, the Synod on Synodality might seem like yet another “thing” to add to your radar.
However, by devoting some time to the questions being discussed, you will be participating – in however small a way – to the grand "walking together" that is the path of synodality, which Pope Francis says is precisely what 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.’
As a member of the Body of Christ, your voice matters; what God might be saying through you matters.
‘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
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:
The Diocese of Sale has prepared a special parish kit that helps groups to focus on each of the Synod themes: Communion, Participation and Mission: The kit includes: Two bulletin notices each week, Scripture reflection, Prayers of the faithful, quotes on synodality and PowerPoints for weekly Masses (January/February).
A helpful video has been produced by the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, explaining the Synod process: