Synod 2021-2023

10-31-2021Pastor's CornerRev. Robert J. Deehan, V.F.

Recently, Pope Francis announced the next gathering of bishops from around the world, called a synod, which will take place in 2023. Ordinarily, every four years, the Holy Father proposes an important topic for the global Catholic Church to consider. A synod is a purely consultative process. It informs the Holy Father about the many issues related to the topic and offers recommendations on how to approach those issues as a Church going forward.

The synod that the Holy Father is calling for in 2023 will discuss ways of improving the process by which the Church on all levels is open to hearing the voices of people from all walks of life. This synod is called the Synod on Synodality, the more formal title is: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” Over the next two years, the various parishes, dioceses, religious communities and other entities of the Church around the world will be participating in a process that will ask as many people as possible to weigh in on the need for broader consultation within the Church and propose various ways to help bring that about. Pope Francis explains, “It is precisely this path of Synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”

Our Archdiocese of Boston will begin the process of consultation in preparation for this Synod of bishops in the form of a Preliminary Survey, which asks three simple questions.

  1. In one sentence, please share an idea about how parishes or other local institutions in the Archdiocese of Boston can do a better job of listening to the people in the parishes.
  2. In one sentence, please share an idea about how the Archdiocese of Boston can do a better job of listening to the people of the Archdiocese.
  3. In one sentence, please share an idea about how the universal Church can do a better job of listening to the voices of Catholics around the world.

You are invited to participate in the survey by clicking on this link: This survey is the first step. Other upcoming steps will be an opening Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Saturday, November 27. There will be discussions in the Presbyteral Council, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, and local Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Councils, using a set of questions, which will be distributed soon. Focus groups in various ministries, religious communities, and demographic populations will gather across the Archdiocese. This will include five regional sessions that will be open to the public. The collection of all of the feedback, and its compilation into a ten-page document, will be submitted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in April 2022. That and other sources of feedback from around the country and the world, will be forwarded to Rome for consideration by the Pope and the bishops of the Synod when they meet in 2023. A closing liturgy of our diocesan consultation process will be held at the Cathedral in late April of 2022. We’ll keep you informed about other upcoming opportunities for your participation.