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What is a Synod? by Irish Catholic Bishops

What is a Synod? by Fr. Mike Renniger, USA

A Synod on Synodality by Rahai of India

What is a synod?

Synod comes from the Greek, meaning "common road." A synod is a meeting of bishops for the purpose of discussing a particular theme.  Prior to meeting, the bishops are to gather information from the local churches.


A synod is Pope Francis' way of listening to all people, especially those on the fringes.

What is the goal?

"The objective of this Synodal Process is not to provide a temporary or one-time experience of synodality, but rather to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term." (Vademecum, 10)

What is the theme?

The theme is Synodality, itself.  
Pope Francis' plan is for ordinary Catholics to have their say, beginning with the opening of the local "listening phase" on Oct. 9, 2021. Every diocese in the world has been invited to join the conversation and contribute their input. (see

What is the main question?

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, "journeys together." How is this "journeying together" happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our "journeying together?" (PD, 26)

Synod Timeline

October 2021  

Diocesan Phase
Local parishes & groups host listening sessions for prayer & discernment

June 2022  

National Phase
National bishop conferences submit

summary reports.

Sep 2022 - Mar 2023 

Continental Phase

7 continental meetings: will gather: Oceania, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America & North America

June 2023  

Vatican prepares the 2nd Instrumentum Laboris (working document)

October 2023  

Universal Phase, Pt.1
The Synod gathers in Rome

October 2024  

Universal Phase, Pt.2
Synod gathers in Rome  for a second time

Rocky Island

Quotes from the Vatican's Working Document for the Continental Stage


"We have discovered that synodality is THE way of being Church. 
The Holy Spirit is asking us to be more synodal."  
England & Wales 

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