If you follow Catholic news sources, you may have heard about the preparations that Pope Francis is asking all dioceses to make for the next Synod of Bishops in 2023. (A “Synod of Bishops” is a relatively new structure in the Church since the Second Vatican Council, designed to foster collegiality and collaboration between the Pope and the bishops.) The topic of the next synod will be “synodality” itself. I feel like I may have already lost many of you by using the word “synod” so many times in the first paragraph of this column, but the whole idea behind this gathering will be to discuss ways to make us more of a listening Church, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through all of us, not just the hierarchy. It’s a way of hearing the voices of all the local churches throughout the world to discern God’s will for His Church at this moment in history.
Bishop Rhoades recently preached on this at a special Mass celebrating the opening of the diocesan phase of this synod. I encourage you to read the full text of his homily at https://todayscatholic.org/journeying-together-as-the-pilgrim-people-of-god/, but I’ll include some highlights here. He described synodality as “a journeying together of all the faithful since all the baptized, both the hierarchy and the laity, are called to be active participants in the saving mission of the Church”. He said that “we are being asked by the Holy Father to be open to the Holy Spirit and thus discern how God is calling us towards deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world.” The Bishop cautions that we “must be careful not to think of the Synod as a […]