• on September 29, 2021

Diocesan Phase of the Synodal Initiative

Online Reflection Tool and Survey
Open until November 30, 2021
Details: See below under “About the Synod and How You Can Participate”

Bishop Bonnar’s Homily for the Opening Mass: Video | Print

See below for details and more resources.

Invitation from the Most Rev. David J. Bonnar
Bishop of Youngstown

The word “Synod” comes from a Greek word which means, “to be on the journey together.” All of us by virtue of our Christian baptism are on a path together. It is important that as we continue the journey that we first, open ourselves to the grace of the Holy Spirit.

. . . as we journey together, I invite you to listen not only to the Holy Spirit but also to voice of others. Our journey is one that is always to be rooted in dialogue. While we have much to share, there is also even more for us to learn especially when we step back and attentively and prayerfully listen to others. The framework of the Synodal journey involves a host of questions for us to ponder in our dialogue. We will be offering opportunities throughout the diocese in the future for dialogue which will eventually become part of the record. This is a time for us all to dream together.

Invitation from Rev. Msgr. John A. Zuraw
Chancellor and Diocesan Synod Contact Person

Recently Pope Francis announced that there would be a worldwide synod exploring ways in which the universal church can improve its ability to listen to the faithful. The theme for the synod if “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” The synodal initiative will begin at the diocesan level.

We are acutely aware the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church as he has guided her in the upper room at Pentecost. Pope Francis reminds us that we continue to reflect on our life and mission to better impact the world and increase our ability to encounter Christ.

This is your opportunity to participate in the Synod by offering your thoughts on the series of questions.

About the Synod and How You Can Participate

Opening Mass | October 17, 2021
Bishop Bonnar’s Homily for the Opening Mass: Video | Print
Full Mass | Worship Aid

Parish Consultation
General Consultation of the Faithful
October and November 2021


Online Reflection Tool and Survey
Open until November 30, 2021

Note: This online reflection tool and survey is for everyone, in addition to parish council consultations throughout the diocese.


Responses and insights can also be emailed to Msgr. John Zuraw no later than November 30, 2021 – see the questions below.

Questionnaire – For A Synodal Church

Suggested Bulletin Inserts

Tools for Reflecting, Sharing, and Responding to Synod Questions

Worldwide Preparatory Document | About the Logo

More resources to come

The worldwide synodal initiative leads to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2023. Pope Francis began the 2021-2023 Synodal Path globally with multiple events the weekend of October 9 and 10, 2021 in Rome, including Mass on October 10th. The pope invited bishops in dioceses around the world to then celebrate opening Masses at their local cathedrals, including the October 17th Mass at St. Columba Cathedral.

Following an ancient model, the contemporary Synod of Bishops was established as an institution after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Recent synods have included consultations on evangelization (2012), family life (2015), and young people (2018). The theme for the 2021-2023 synodal initiative is synodality itself, with the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” The synodal initiative will begin with wide consultations among the faithful at the local and diocesan level, and then continue in phases until 2023.

In addition to his letter (see above), Bishop Bonnar remarks that the synodal process “is the continuation of Pope Francis’ missionary dream seeking to bring the Good News to the world, especially to the peripheries with the hope of bringing renewal to the Church, a renewal that breathes new life and change into the Church from the Holy Spirit.”

In his remarks to open the worldwide synodal path, Pope Francis highlighted the opportunity to move “not occasionally but structurally towards a synodal Church, an open square where all can feel at home and participate.” The pope also emphasized the opportunity to become “a listening Church” and a “Church of closeness.”

Next Steps in the Diocesan Phase of the Synod

Deanery Consultation
November 15-17, 22, 29-30

Creation of the Diocesan Synthesis Draft
December 2021 and January 2022

Diocesan Consultative Bodies Feedback

Late January and Early February 2022

Review of Final Diocesan Document
February and Early March 2022

Late March 2022 (Due April 1)
Diocesan Report Given to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The global synodal process will then continue in stages, leading to the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

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