Pope Francis has issued a worldwide invitation to all the faithful to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops.
The theme of this Synod is “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”
The official handbook for listening and discerning, the Vademecum, has this to say about the purpose of the Synod: “In creating the opportunity for listening and dialogue on the local level through this Synod, Pope Francis is calling the Church to rediscover its deeply synodal nature. This rediscovery of the synodal roots of the Church will involve a process of humbly learning together how God is calling us to be as the Church in the third millennium.”
The Diocese of Owensboro would like to welcome all the faithful across our 32 counties to participate in upcoming listening sessions.
What is the Synod of Bishops?
- Until now, the Synod of Bishops has been a gathering of bishops with the Pope for the purpose of focusing on some aspect of life in the Church. However, what we are realizing more and more as a Church is that synodality is the path for the entire People of God.
What is Synodality?
- The word “synod” is rooted in Greek and means “same road” or “journeying together”. The word “synod” reminds us of a fundamental mystery of the Church – that we are a people gathered from every corner of the earth. Together we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God and our mission is to announce the Good News of the One who called us out of darkness and into His wonderful light. Since together we are the People of God, the Church is much better equipped to make pastoral decisions that reflect the will of God if it has first listened to the voices of its members – all of its members. Pope Francis reminds us that we have a special responsibility to seek out the voices of those who are easily and often overlooked in Catholic discussion and decision-making – the voices from the periphery.
Who can participate?
- The purpose of the first phase of the synodal journey is to foster a broad consultation process in a prayerful context in order to gather the wealth of the experiences of lived synodality involving the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful. Religious communities, lay movements, associations of the faithful, and other ecclesial groups are encouraged to participate in the Synodal Process. Each diocese is called to aim for the widest participation possible, including by those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten. The Diocesan listening phase is to include discussions within parishes, lay movements, schools and universities, religious congregations, neighborhood Christian communities, social action, ecumenical and inter-religious movements, and other groups.
- The first phase of the Synodal Process is a listening phase in local Churches and began in each diocese on October 17, 2021. The Diocese of Owensboro formally initiated its Synodal Process with an Opening Liturgy (for all the faithful) on Sunday, October 17 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Stephen Cathedral. Local (parish level) listening sessions will take place in January and February, followed by regional listening sessions with Most Reverend William F. Medley in March. Diocesan-level conversations will take place in spring 2022, prior to the drafting and submission to the USCCB before a synthesis of all conversations by the faithful of the diocese finally makes its way to the Holy See in 2023.
Resources for Parishes and Individuals
Synod Documents from the Holy See:
Letter from Bishop William F. Medley to the Faithful:
Regional Listening Sessions:
Documents from the Diocese of Owensboro:
General Synod Social Media Graphics (Canva templates available upon request)