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Synod 2021 - 2023

Synod

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, Cardinal Blase Cupich celebrated a Mass for a Synod at Holy Name Cathedral, opening the process for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Pope Francis’ has said that “the purpose of this Synod, is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.” (Preparatory Document, #32)

In mid-September, the Pope said:  The Synod is for everyone, and it is meant to include everyone.

That is our hope by providing this web page to the people of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

At the bottom of this page there is a form that allows you to share your reflections.  Before you write take a moment to explore and to pray!

What is a Synod?

“In the first millennium, ‘journeying together’—that is, practicing synodality— was the ordinary way in which the Church, understood as ‘People united in the unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,’ acted” (Preparator Document, 11)

When there was disagreement and division in the early Church, bishops gathered to listen and discern the path forward.

These were the first synods which developed at all levels of the Church—local, regional, and universal. 

St. John Chrysostom said that “Church and Synod are synonymous.” (Preparatory Document, 11).

Synodality has thus marked the Church from her very beginning and has been expressed in various ways, as the style of the Church’s life and mission, as particular structures and processes, or through decisive events.

In the West, “synod” and “council” became synonymous, and Ecumenical Councils are the most authoritative expressions of formal synodal gatherings, always in communion with and under the authority of the Pope.

In 1965, Pope St. Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops as a permanent institution of the Catholic Church, setting the stage for the renewed understanding of synodality being emphasized and explored today.

- Archdiocese of Atlanta, October, 2021

For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission.

The Synod has three key words: communion, participation, and mission.

Communion expresses the very nature of the Church, while pointing out that the Church has received the mission of proclaiming and preparing the way among all the peoples for the coming of the kingdom of God, and is, on earth, the seed and beginning of that kingdom. (Lumen Gentium, 5) Participation follows on the faith received in Baptism. (1Cor. 12:13) In the Church, everything starts with Baptism.  Baptism, the source of our new life in Christ, gives rise to the equal dignity of the children of God, albeit in the diversity of ministries and charisms.  Consequently, all the Baptized are called to take part in the Church’s life and mission. (Oct. 9, Opening Address)

Cardinal Cupich has invited the members of the Presbyteral Council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Archdiocesan Women’s Committee, the Consejo Hispano, the Diaconate Council, and women and men religious to exercise their roles as consultants to the Archbishop.  During the coming months they will reach out to priests, deacons, laity and religious to encounter, listen, and discern their responses.

In his homily to begin the Synod on October 10, 2021, Pope Francis declared that:  The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the Word of God. The Holy Father concluded his homily with this exhortation:

Dear brothers and sisters, let us have a good journey together!  May we be pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening, and discernment.  In the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.  (October 10, 2021)

Synod Prayer

Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus. The first word of the original Latin meaning: We stand before You, Holy Spirit, which has been historically used at councils, synods, and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, and is attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c.560-4April636). This prayer invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace. Please pray for the Synod from 2021 – 2023!

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
make Youself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.

All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Sharing your thoughts

Please feel free to offer your reflections:

Communion, participation, mission are all forms of journeying together:

for me Communion means…..

for me Participation means…..

for me Mission means…..

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Please return your comments no later than April 1, 2022.