A global grassroots listening process is underway in the Catholic Church, which will be known as the “Synod on Synodality.”
“Synod” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “walking together on the road.” There have been many synods in the history of the Church, but Pope Francis tells us this particular synod is a way of listening to and discerning what the Holy Spirit is telling us at this moment as the Church enters its third millennium.
Over the next two years, the Church will undergo this synod process. The process began on Sunday, October 10, when Pope Francis celebrated a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, was there for this historic occasion.
The synodal journey will next go to the dioceses around the world where local Masses will be celebrated for synodality. Cardinal Collins will celebrate a Mass on Sunday, October 24 at noon at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica to kick-off the synod process in the Archdiocese of Toronto. You can watch a livestream of that Mass here.
This synod will put a special emphasis on listening to the people of God. The Church will hear the opinions and feedback of the faithful through February 2022. Then the Church will examine this feedback at a continental level from September 2022 to March 2023. These findings will then be discussed at a traditional synod of bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.
The goal of the synod process is to listen honestly to as many people as possible (including those who are not regular church attenders) in order to create practical recommendations to further our mission of evangelization. According to the Vatican, the goal of this synod is not to create more documents, but to “inspire the people of God to dream about the Church we are called to be.”
Over the coming months, the Archdiocese of Toronto plans to consult widely with those living in the Greater Toronto Area. We hope you will add your thoughts and we will share more information about that process soon.
To hear Cardinal Collins’ message for the beginning of the Synod on Synodality, please click here.