Fr Ormond Rush, who served on the Synod of Bishops’ theological commission, and has been appointed as one of the experts to advise at the upcoming Synod, has recorded a video explaining what Synodality is and what his hopes for the Synod are.
On 26 April it was announced that Pope Francis had approved changes to the membership of the Synod to allow women and lay people to be among the voting members for the first time.
There will be five religious women and five religious men to represent the religious orders. Seventy non-bishop voting members will represent “various groupings of the faithful of the People of God”, including priests, religious, deacons and lay members.
Regional bishops’ conferences and assemblies of the Eastern Churches are being asked to submit 140 candidates for the Pope to choose from, and half of these must be women. The synod office has also asked that young people be included.
In addition to the 70, Pope Francis can nominate non-bishop members, including lay women and men, of his own.
More information about this announcement is available here: https://www.synod.va/en/news/some-news-for-the-october-2023-assembly.html
Instrumentum Laboris approved
On 10-11 May, the 15th Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod met in Rome to discuss the Instrumentum Laboris: the working document for participants in the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (4-29 October 2023).
In plenary sessions and in language working groups, the Council members accompanied by some consultants reviewed, amended and approved the Instrumentum Laboris, which is scheduled to be published in early June.
Further information is available here: https://www.synod.va/en/news/the-project-of-the-working-document-for-the-synod-on-synodality.html
Together, Gathering of the People of God – An Ecumenical Prayer Vigil
At the same meeting on 10-11 May, the members of the Council developed information for an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil on 30 September 2023, prior to the First Assembly of the Synod. Young people aged between 18 and 35 from across Europe, from all Church backgrounds, are invited to Rome from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and will be welcomed for a weekend of sharing, to journey together as the people of God. For more information, please visit: https://together2023.net/
Those who cannot participate in this manner are encouraged to organise prayer vigils on or around September 30 in different parts of the world as a sign of communion with those gathered in Rome and to pray for the synodal process beginning at that time.
Rosyln Rajasingham from Sydney is coordinating a list of worldwide initiatives. You can get in touch with here and read more here: https://together2023.net/info-page/prayers-elsewhere-in-the-world/
We look forward to bringing you more information on these topics as we move closer to the first assembly.
Catholics across Australia participated in local consultation for the next international Synod of Bishops, which has the theme: "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission".
Pope Francis has invited the entire Church to reflect on this theme that is decisive for the Church’s life and mission:
"This is what we are called to: unity, communion, and the fraternity born of the realisation that all of us are embraced by the one love of God. The Synod offers us the opportunity to become a listening Church and a Church of closeness." (Pope Francis)
The 16th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place in two sessions: the first from 4 to 29 October 2023; the second in October 2024. The synodal journey is meant to be an opportunity "to foster an understanding of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, and to help everyone to live it in a journey of brothers and sisters who bear witness to the joy of the Gospel". You can learn more in the following article on ACBC Media Blog.
As part of the Diocesan Consultation phase, we were pleased to receive many submissions from individuals and groups in response to the Synod questions. Those submissions, together with the fruits of the Listening and Dialogue conversations as part of the Plenary Council journey, and the outcomes of the Diocesan Assembly in 2019 have found expression in the Diocesan Synthesis. People were grateful that their voices were heard. Encountering, listening and accompanying each other on our Christian journey is part of Pope Francis’ vision for a re-energised and synodal church.
This Synthesis has been submitted to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
People have had their voices heard. This is just part of the renewal envisioned by Pope Francis.
Visit the Synod Page at the Australian Catholic Bishops to view the syntheses from each Diocese in Australia.
Visit the Synod of Bishops to read about what is happening in the Church around the world.
..this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium..
"What would you say to Pope Francis about the church worldwide if you had the chance to talk to him?"
The discussion resources here may assist your parish in walking together as a more synodal church.
Suggested process for Parishes:
December 2021 – focus on Communion
January 2022 – focus on Participation
February 2022 – focus on Mission