Pope Francis has asked the whole world to engage in prayer, attentive listening and reflection, and
conversation on how the Holy Spirit is calling the Church of the 21st Century to proclaim the Gospel and
mission of Jesus in today’s world. He believes that this can be a way to be creative and renewed
through this Synod on Synodality, just as the Church has done over the centuries.
Synod is a combination of two Greek words meaning, walking or journeying the same road together.
We know from experience in our families, ministries, religious communities, businesses, etc., that if we
are not walking together, we don’t achieve harmony, creativity, and the goals we set out to accomplish.
To Pope Francis, the practice of living as a synodal Church means three things:
Prayer, attentive listening and reflection, and conversation lead to conversion to Christ and
commitment to active participation as disciples in the mission of Christ.
The people of God speak with one another and listen to one another about questions and
experiences that matter in their living as disciples in the Church – and sometimes the conversations
can be affirming and sometimes difficult.
The communion of Jesus exists for a common purpose. Mission flows naturally from the
experience of communion through collaborative ministry, recognizing our baptismal call as
disciples of Christ.
Through these listening sessions, Pope Francis hopes that we will take a “long, loving, look” at our reality
in the Universal Church, our parishes, religious congregations, ministries, among the young, the voices
and needs of those on the margins and socially excluded – all of God’s people. The focus is on renewal
and outreach to all. But first we must confront the difficult topics. Some of those topics may be parish
leadership, roles of women, outreach to the poor and the marginalized, inward looking rather than
outward looking, clericalism, the role of the Church in contemporary society, the divorced and
remarried, persons with disabilities, and more. We are to be a listening Church – to each other and the
Holy Spirit at work in our world to meet the needs of our time.