Synod on Synodality

Fall 2022 Update:
The Local Phase of the Synod on Synodality was conducted from 2021 into 2022. As the Synod continues towards a more global scale, the Diocese of Youngstown’s summary report has been forwarded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Bonnar is also inviting parishes in the Diocese of Youngstown to continue to reflect locally on the Summary Report as we continue to plan for the future.

With the establishment of the Synod on Synodality, Pope Francis has reminded us that we are on a journey together. More importantly, the Holy Father has invited us to reflect on this journey together asking us on every level to converse with one another.

For the past year, we have been in a process of dialogue across the world reflecting on a series of questions involving the life and journey of the Church which we live out largely in our individual parishes.

As a diocese, the next step for us in our reflection will be to take this report back to our parishes and determine what we can learn as we seek to live out our Mission:

What does the parish plan to do with this Summary Report in reviewing it? (Staff, Pastoral Council, Small Groups, Bulletin notices)

What insights has the parish gained from reflecting on the Report?

What additional insights or initiatives that did not appear in the document itself would you like to communicate to the Diocese for further consideration?

The journey continues! We are all in this together! Stay tuned!

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

 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 spanned from Fall 2021 through 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 taken 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 an online survey and reflection tool. 

The discussions from the local phase in the Diocese of Youngstown were gathered into a summary report, which was forwarded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and will continue to be a source for further reflection.

2024 Updates

In October 2023, the Assembly of Bishops decided to ask two more questions to aid their discernment. The Diocese of Youngstown held synod listening sessions about successes and distresses in our parishes, which contributed to a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) report. The Assembly of Bishops will meet again in Rome in October 2024.

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