Theme for the Synod 2023: Communion, Participation, and Mission
By Suzanna Joseph
On Sunday, October 10, 2021 Pope Francis initiated the two-year synodal process with a solemn Mass in St Peter’s Basilica. He said, “Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, together.”
The crux of the synod is to bring together global solutions to common pastoral paradoxes.
The synod entails three stages the first of which is to encounter he said, “We are called to become experts in the art of encounter, just as we see Jesus encountering those he met along his way.”
The second stage is to listen insisting that a true encounter only comes through listening to others. Listening like Jesus listens to us not just with the ears, but with the heart.
The third stage requires discerning, insisting that “Encounter and listening are not ends in themselves but must lead to discernment.”
He explains that whenever we enter into dialogue, we must allow ourselves to be challenged, to advance on the journey.
Pope Francis declared that the synod begins with a ‘Diocesan phase’ (October 2021 until April 2022). Followed by a ‘Continental phase’ (September 2022 through March 2023). Finally concluding at a ‘Universal level’ in Vatican with the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.
To that effect a consultative meeting was held on October 08, 2021 led by Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw. The main participants were members from the Commission of the Archdiocese of Lahore. During this meeting, they were tasked to create a brief which will be presented at the Synod of Bishops in 2023.