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Archdiocese of Chicago Launches its Participation in the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 24, 2021 with an Archdiocesan Synodal Opening Mass at Holy Name Cathedral

Pope Francis formally started the two-year synodal process with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 10. Dioceses around the world will begin their local efforts on subsequent weekends.


Chicago, (Oct. 21, 2021) – Pope Francis formally launched the two-year, three-stage process of the global Synod of Bishops with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 10. Dioceses around the world will launch their local efforts on subsequent weekends. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will preside over an Archdiocesan Synodal Opening Mass at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., Chicago. The Mass will be live-streamed at

Since the Second Vatican Council, popes have convened synods of bishops periodically to address certain topics in church life. Synods are gatherings of designated officials and representatives of a church, and they can take place on a diocesan, national or international level.

"’Synodality’" is a new word for most people,” said Rev. Louis Cameli who is leading the local effort with Monsignor Patrick Pollard. “The Holy Father goes back to the two Greek roots, syn-hodos, a word that simply means ‘on the road together.’ Synodality is a way of being Church that highlights our common or shared journey.”

By convening this Synod, Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on the 2021-2023 theme that is decisive for its life and mission: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” The Holy Father has called this synod a time of “mutual listening that involves the entire People of God. But this listening is not about garnering opinions, taking a survey, but listening to the Holy Spirit.”

“Synodality is an integral part of the Church and how she lives out her mission in the world, and everyone has a part to play in the life of the Church,” said Cardinal Cupich. “This is a spiritual discernment fostering participation from all through listening and discussion with our brothers and sisters who hold different and diverse opinions and views. As the Holy Father reminds us, God often speaks through the voices of those we easily exclude, cast aside, or discount. We must make a special effort to consider new points of view that may transform our way of thinking and invite renewal.”

During phase 1 of the local process, from October 2021 – April 2022, each diocese will promote a special time of prayer, listening and dialogue. Each listening phase will be adapted to local circumstances. Bishops will ask members of the church to read through a prepared handbook and answer a fundamental question provided by the Vatican: how is journeying together happening today in our local church and what steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our journeying together?

Cardinal Cupich has invited his consultative bodies to contribute to this effort. That includes the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Archdiocesan Women’s Commission, Diaconate Council, Presbyteral Council, Consejo Hispano and religious communities of women and men. Participants are asked to send their responses to the archdiocese by April. 1, 2022 through an online portal to be established in the coming days.

The archdiocese will then condense the responses into a 10-page paper to be submitted to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The conference will collect the responses from all U.S. dioceses and use them to create a national report to be sent to the Vatican by Aug. 15, 2022. Vatican officials will create a first draft of the synod’s instrumentum laboris, or working document, from the submitted texts by September 2022.

From September 2022 - March 2023, bishops meet in phase 2 of the process at the continental level to create texts about their discussions and submit them to the Vatican. A second draft of the instrumentum will be created from these texts and released by June 2023. In October 2023, the bishops meet in Rome for the final phase. The pope will use that document to inform his decisions following the synod.

“I’ve been asked what excites me about this Synod and it’s the Holy Father’s message,” said Monsignor Pollard. “On Sept. 7, Pope Francis proclaimed ‘that the purpose of the Synod is not to produce more documents. Rather, it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission.’ It is an incredible dream, a Spirit-inspired dream.”

With prayer at the heart of the synodal process, the Vatican has updated its “Click to Pray” app, offering an improved prayer experience for users. Launched by the “Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network”,  the app offers users a wide variety of options for daily prayer, the ability to set notifications to pray with Pope Francis on a daily basis, and to support the synodal process. "Click To Pray" 2.0 can be downloaded on iOS and Android platforms.

“I ask that all pray for the success of the synodal process, and for our efforts in the archdiocese,” Cardinal Cupich added. “Chicago has a strong history of contributing to the life of the universal church, and we should not hesitate to once again step forward and be true to that proud legacy.”

For more information about the 2021-2023 Synod of Bishops, please visit and The archdiocese will have synodal materials and resources available at