Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission: ‘It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.’ This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s ‘renewal’ proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission.—For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission Preparatory Document, p. 1
On Sunday 10 October 2021, Pope Francis officially opened the Synod of Bishops with the theme For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. The following weekend, a period of local consultation was launched in dioceses around the world, inviting all Catholics to take part in an intentional process of mutual listening that will span two years and engage the people of God in a journey of communion, participation and mission. This listening process will culminate in the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.
Parishes and communities in the Archdiocese of Melbourne are encouraged to visit the regularly updated Synod 2021–2023 page at Melbourne Catholic, to help them prepare and participate in this process.
This page provides a clear overview of the synodal process and instructions on how to participate and make submissions, as well as a range of useful resources, including information from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, a series of listening and discernment guides for communities and individuals, prayers for the Synod, and a short explanatory video on the theme of synodality.
Particularly useful for parish liturgy teams is a special parish kit prepared by the Diocese of Sale to help groups and parish communities focus on each of the Synod themes: Communion, Participation and Mission. The kit includes two bulletin notices for each week, Scripture reflections, prayers of the faithful, quotes on synodality and PowerPoints for weekly Masses (though to the end of February 2022).