A three-year 'synodal' process is taking place in the Catholic Church that culminates in two Synodal gatherings in Rome in October 2023 and a year later in 2024. The overall theme is "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission".
It’s an invitation for us, as Catholics, to ‘walk together’ and every member of the Church has the right to speak, and the obligation to allow those charged with the work of discernment the freedom to do so.
For the first time, the Synod Office in Rome has produced a comprehensive process which encompasses the stated aim of the Holy Father that the Church in today’s world should have a vision of missionary communion orientated to evangelisation.
After the first of two Synod of Bishops meetings in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales issued a plenary resolution on the Synod on Synodality after their November 2023 meeting.
Diocesan and national organisational reports were submitted to the Bishops’ Conference just before Holy Week 2022. After this, the National Synthesis Team worked to produce the National Synthesis – a document that reflecting on the reports received, discerned the main themes that emerged from the listening conversations, and collated them together to give a picture of the synodal process in England and Wales.
The process began in the Particular (or Local) Church and then moved to the level of the Bishops’ Conference. From there, discernment took place in the Regional Area – for England and Wales, it was steered by the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) – before moving to the Universal Church with two Synod Gatherings of Bishops in 2023 and 2024, sub et cum Petro.
You can read more on the Bishops’ Conference Synodal Process page. You can also download a printable PDF of this information. In addition, we have answered some Frequently Asked Questions on the Synodal Process and suggested approaches to the Synodal Pathway.
The Synod, which presents itself as a real “synodal time”, was opened by Pope Francis over the weekend of 9-10 October 2021 and subsequently in the individual dioceses by their respective bishops, on 17 October.
As highlighted above, the synodal journey is marked by three phases:
Diocesan Phase (Local)
October 2021 – April 2022
During which each individual faithful was invited to participate in the diocesan consultation. This phase ended locally with a pre-synodal assembly: the culminating moment of diocesan discernment.
A period of discernment then took place for bishops gathered in an assembly (Episcopal Conference). They listened to what the Spirit had inspired in the churches entrusted to them. A ‘synthesis’ was produced and sent to the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops along with the contributions of each of the local churches. You can read the National Synthesis for England and Wales.
The National Synthesis Team was responsible for collating and organising the Synod submissions received from the Dioceses of England and Wales as well as national Catholic organisations and other bodies to produce a National Synthesis for Rome. Members of the Team.
September 2022 – March 2023
This involved the task of discussing the text of the first Working Document from a European perspective. The Continental Assembly took place in Prague from 5-12 February 2023. You can download the interventions from the delegates from England and Wales.
Synod of Bishops (Rome)
October 2023 and October 2024
The synodal journey will culminate with two gatherings in Rome. The first was the celebration of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. #Synod2024
What exactly is synodality and what does it mean for Catholics in England and Wales? Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Father Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission, discuss the process and explain this invitation to communion, participation and mission.
Released on 20 June 2023, Instrumentum laboris will be the basis for the work of the participants in the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, which begins in the Vatican in October 2023.
The National Synthesis reflects on Synod reports received by the national synthesis team, discerning the main themes that have emerged from the listening conversations, collating them together to give a picture of the synodal process in England and Wales.
The Bishops of England and Wales, having carefully considered the Synodal National Synthesis, offer their initial reflections in the light of our shared faith in Christ and our shared belonging to his Church.
People with disabilities from the world's five continents were invited to actively participate in the Synodal Journey to share their realities in an open dialogue with the Holy See.
As we journey together towards the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome in 2023 that examines the synodal church in the 21st century, here we offer some useful information prepared by the Bishops' Conference on the process.
Pope Francis has highlighted the importance of ‘mutual listening’ and this will be at the heart of the synodal process throughout the Church and beyond the boundaries of the Church.
The National Synthesis Team is responsible for collating and organising the Synod submissions received from the Dioceses of England and Wales as well as national Catholic organisations and other bodies to produce a National Synthesis for Rome.