Pope Francis announced that the next Ordinary Synod of Bishops would take place in October 2023. In preparation for this synod, the Vatican has approved a new three-stage process for the next gathering of the Synod of Bishops. It aims to involve the whole Church at diocesan, national and continental levels. The theme chosen by Pope Francis would be synodality itself: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”
During the diocesan phase, each bishop is asked to undertake a consultation process with the local Church. “The Second Vatican Council teaches that the People of God participate in the prophetic office of Christ. Therefore, we must listen to the People of God, and this means going out to the local churches.”
To assist in the synod, the Vatican will send dioceses a preparatory document, accompanied by a questionnaire and a vademecum (guide) with proposals for consultation. These documents will then be forwarded to each parish in the diocese. The pastors will be asked to review the questionnaire with the people in their parish and return the completed document to the chancery. The responses to the questionnaires will be compiled in preparation for the second phase of the synod process.
I have appointed Deacon Mick Fornelli to chair a committee of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau, who will shepherd us through this process.
Please see Deacon Mick’s more detailed article about the synod and process on The North Star Catholic website .
Pope Francis will officially “inaugurate the synodal path” over the weekend of Oct. 9-10 with an opening session and a Mass. In the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau, the synod on synodality will officially open on Oct. 17, 2021, with an inaugural Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The local process will run until April 2022.