Synodal Path | Diocesan Phase

 

The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue which began in October 2021 with solemn opening liturgies in Rome and in dioceses around the world. The diocesan phase of listening has been extended, and continues throughout Spring 2022, and the global synodal process will conclude in 2023.

The word “Synod” comes from a Greek word which means, “to be on the journey together.” Following an ancient model, the contemporary Synod of Bishops was established as an institution after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), to advise the Pope on important aspects of Church life and mission. Recent synods have included consultations on evangelization (2012), family life (2015), and young people (2018).

Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has emphasized that synodality involves the whole Church. The theme for the 2021-2023 synodal initiative is synodality itself, with the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” All are encouraged to be part of this process.

 

The Synodal Path in the Diocese of Youngstown

Throughout the diocese, listening and dialogues have and are taking place in parishes, among parish councils, and in regions. The worldwide Synodal Path (2021-2023) will also involve an implementation stage, again the local level.

Additionally, many have participated in our online survey and reflection tool. Because the diocesan phase has been extended by the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, all are invited to continue to utilize our online tool. It continues to be monitored by Msgr. John Zuraw, our diocese’s Synod Contact Person, as he works with consultative bodies to prepare the report that will go to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Bonar Crosier - Top

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.

The Holy Spirit affords the possibility of conversion for each and every one of us. That sameSpirit changed the hearts of those first followers of Jesus from fear to faith. We are all in need of conversion and we all need the Holy Spirit. Throughout this process I invite you to pray to the Holy Spirit so that our journey will yield a deeper sense of communion, participation and mission in our lives.

Second, 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.

Finally, as we walk together, let us not forget that we come to church so that we may go forth and be Church and walk together with Christ at the center. Saint John Chrysostom reminds us that “Church and Synod are synonymous.”

This is an exciting time for our entire Church. I ask you to pray with me that this journey will not only renew us but also bring us all closer together so, “That All May Be One.” Together, let us go forth and be the Church.

The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown