Worldwide, the Catholic Church is discussing how it will move forward into the third millennium. Pope Francis has asked lay people, religious congregations and other organizations to contribute their thoughts and ideas on how clergy and lay people can work together.
The two-year process, involving clergy, religious congregations and the laity, will culminate in October 2023 with a gathering of Bishops in Rome to recommend a path forward.
“The Second Vatican Council teaches that the people of God participate in the prophetic office of Christ,” explained Cardinal Mario Grech, leader of the Vatican office organizing the synod. “Therefore, we must listen to the people of God, and this means going out to the local churches.”
The participation of the laity in this synod is unique and extensive. Dioceses, working through parishes, are now holding consultations. Religious congregations and other groups are doing the same.
The Vatican poses the fundamental question this way: “A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”? “If the spirit is not present,” said Pope Francis, “there is no synod.” The Vatican has set up a special website devoted to prayers for the synod which call upon the Holy Spirit for guideance. You can join in prayer – or contribute your own prayer — by visiting https://www.prayforthesynod.va/en/.