Bishop to Open Diocesan Phase of Synod – As a part of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” Pope Francis has invited every Diocese in the world to inaugurate the beginning of the Synod with an opening Mass. In the Diocese of Venice, this opening Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, October 17, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Avenue in Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this Mass. In this Diocesan Phase of the Synod, Catholics in the Diocese of Venice are encouraged to participate in listening sessions, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
What is Synodality? Background for this Synod
By convening this Synod, 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.” Following in the wake of the renewal of the Church proposed by the Second Vatican Council, this common journey together is both a gift and a task. By reflecting together on the journey that has been made so far, the diverse members of the Church will be able to learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives, guided by the Holy Spirit. Enlightened by the Word of God and united in prayer, we will be able to discern the processes to seek God’s will and pursue the pathways to which God calls us – towards deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world. The International Theological Commission (ITC) describes synodality this way:
‘Synod’ is an ancient and venerable word in the Tradition of the Church, whose meaning draws on the deepest themes of Revelation […] It indicates the path along which the People of God walk together. Equally, it refers to the Lord Jesus, who presents Himself as ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn 14,6), and to the fact that Christians, His followers, were originally called ‘followers of the Way’ (cf. Acts 9,2; 19,9.23; 22,4; 24,14.22). First and foremost, synodality denotes the particular style that qualifies the life and mission of the Church, expressing her nature as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly, summoned by the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel. Synodality ought to be expressed in the Church’s ordinary way of living and working.
In this sense, synodality enables the entire People of God to walk forward together, listening to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, to participate in the mission of the Church in the communion that Christ establishes between us. Ultimately, this path of walking together is the most effective way of manifesting and putting into practice the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God (PD, 1).