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Journeying Together Synod 2021-2023

The Synod on Synodality: Communion, Participation, Mission

As part of Pope Francis' call for every diocese to hold listening sessions with a special focus on people who are marginalized in the Church and community, Arkansas Catholic is running a four-part series on groups of Catholics the Church is striving to listen to during the Synod on Synodality.

The Synod on Synodality

In September 2021, Pope Francis invited Catholics worldwide to take part the Synod on Synodality, a two-year process of discussion and reflection in preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops to take place in October 2023. This process begins with a diocesan phase followed by a national phase, regional phase concluding with the meeting in Rome.

The Diocese of Little Rock began its diocesan phase with a Mass Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock. Our diocesan theme is: "Journeying Together: Communion, Participation and Mission." Synod is Greek for "walking together on the same path." A synod is a process in which the Church discerns a particular issue. Since becoming pontiff, Pope Francis has held synods on the family (2014), youth (2018) and the Pan-Amazon region (2019). | Read Arkansas Catholic.

In his homily at the Cathedral to open the synod, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor explained the three touchstones of the process:

  • Communion — unity amid diversity, which finds its deepest roots in the love and unity of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Participation — builds on communion and seeks the involvement of everyone in this process of deep, respectful listening to each other.
  • Mission — Then once we have a shared sense of direction, the Holy Spirit leads us forth to share the love of God with the whole human family, and especially “those who live on the spiritual, social, economic, political, geographical and existential peripheries of our world.”

Pope Francis asked every diocese to hold listening sessions with a special focus on people who are marginalized in the Church and community. Bishop Taylor appointed Sister Mickey Espinoza, MCP, director of the Hispanic Ministry Office, and Liz Tingquist, director of the Catholic Campus Ministry and Catholic Youth Ministry offices, to lead the process in our diocese.

Each parish or deanery in the Diocese of Little Rock, led by a synod representative or team trained on how to conduct the process, will hold discussions through April 2022. They will then compile a report and turn it into the diocese. The diocesan team will summarize the parish reports into a 10-page document for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB will then write a report to the Vatican for the synod's general assembly in October 2023.

In October 2021, Arkansas Catholic previewed the Synod on Synodality with this article - Diocese will look at marginalized groups during synod.

The four-part special series are scheduled to run in the following issues of Arkansas Catholic:

Part 1 - Jan. 8, 2022

Part 2 - Feb. 5, 2022

Part 3 - March 5, 2022

Part 4 - April 2, 2022

 

Synod Part 1 - Teenagers are easily led away from faith

By Aprille Hanson Spivey, Published: January 10, 2022   

Part 1 of a four-part series on groups of Catholics the Church is striving to listen to during the Synod on Synodality. From the time she was born, Annie Wendel’s family fostered in her a love of the Catholic faith. “My family was extremely involved in the Church. We were always the people that sat in the front row every Sunday at Mass. During the summer, my mom would have my siblings and me serve at daily More...