Synod on Synodality
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Synod on Synodality

Communion, Participation and Mission

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On Sunday, October 10th, 2021, Pope Francis opened the 2021-2023 Synod at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This Synod begins a two-year process of listening and dialogue. The theme for this synod is, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” It will conclude with an international gathering of bishops in Rome in fall of 2023. This international synod is about a journey of sharing, reflecting and listening on all levels across the Church.


In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki celebrated Mass for the Synod on October 17, 2021 at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, Milwaukee, opening up the process for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  


Pope Francis said, “the purpose of this 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.” (Preparatory Document, #32)




What is a Synod?


A Synod is a prayerful gathering that helps the Church walk forward in the same direction. The word “synod” comes from the Greek syn-hodos, meaning “the same way.” Synods were common in the first centuries of Christianity, giving bishops opportunities to meet and discuss issues of importance for the life of the early Church.


In 1965, Pope Paul VI instituted the Synod of Bishops on the universal level of the Church, continuing the fraternal exchange that happened at the Second Vatican Council, when bishops gathered in Rome between 1962 and 1965 to discuss important issues facing the Church and the world.


Ever since, synods have been held every two to three years, drawing together bishops from across the globe, along with experts and other delegates, to talk about issues such as the Eucharist, the family, the New Evangelization, and young people.














What happens at a Synod?


Synod gatherings always begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, begging for guidance. Synods involve a process of listening, discussing and consulting.


After a period of consultation, a document called an Intrumentum Laboris, or “Working Document” is written to assist the dialogue.  At the Synod of Bishops in 2023, those gathered will vote on a final document. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, then may write his own text, called an “apostolic exhortation,” to open up and shed new light on what was discussed at the Synod, so to speak to the Church and to the world.














What is happening in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee?


Here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, we have a rich tradition of gathering, listening and consulting. In 2014, Archbishop Jerome Listecki held an archdiocesan Synod. For over a year, consultation and listening sessions were held throughout the archdiocese of Milwaukee, with over 15,000 people participating. Our local synodal process culminated in the 2014 Archdiocesan Synod.


Beginning in February 2022, a process of consultation for the 2021-2023 International Synod on Synodality will begin here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. This consultation will include consultative gatherings with various groups, parish gatherings, and opportunities for individuals to submit feedback. This local consultation will take place between February 2022 and June 2022.


After the local consultation process has finished, feedback will be compiled. A report is written, and then submitted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by August 2022. The USCCB will then compile a synthesis of responses, and submit it to the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.







How can I participate?


The period of local consultation for the Synod on Synodality has now closed. Along with other dioceses and eparchies around the world, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is writing a synthesis of the feedback received, which will be sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by June 30th. Please continue to pray for the Synodal process!


For more information, or with questions

Susan L. McNeil, M.Div. 
Director, Department for Catholic Social Responsibility
Director, Office for Lay Ministry
Director, Synod Implementation

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

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