At the formal opening of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality on October 10, Pope Francis expressed his desire that it be an experience in which everyone in the Church participates rather than an ‘elitist’ exercise.
The theme of the Synod is: ‘For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.’
Pope Francis prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide the discussions, thus preventing the Catholic Church ‘from becoming a “museum”, beautiful but mute, with much past and little future’.
‘The Synod is an ecclesial moment, and the protagonist is the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, there will not be a Synod,’ he said, calling for unity, above all among the bishops.
The Synod will have three phases spread over two years, seeking to involve the whole community of the Church – there will be meetings at diocesan levels, at national levels and also continental level, before the bishops meet again at the Vatican in October 2023.
In preparation for the Synod, the Vatican has sent all Catholic dioceses a document to reflect on and discuss. The document is for everyone and the consultation is co-ordinated by each local bishop.