Pope Francis formally opened the Synod in Rome (9/10 October) with dioceses across the world following the weekend after (16/17 October).

A Mass to mark the Opening of the Synodal Pathway in the Archdiocese of Birmingham took place at St Chad’s Cathedral on Sunday 17 October, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley.

His Grace has also released a Pastoral Letter to mark the occasion, which calls upon us all to play our part in the Synod.

The overall theme is ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission’.

The synod process is one of ‘journeying together’ towards Christ – the Way, the Truth and the Life – who calls his people into a unity of purpose and mutual listening between people and pastors.

Every member of the Church is invited to speak, and the obligation to allow those charged with the work of discernment the freedom to do so.

We will be involving schools, young people, hospital chaplaincies, university chaplaincies, prison chaplaincies, the religious and consecrated communities, the societies of apostolic life, those with a distinctive charism in the church, together with Catholic organisations and charities, in this very important mission.

The work to be undertaken across the Archdiocese during the Synodal process will be done in conjunction with the ongoing implementation of the Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God’s Plan.

We are already working towards a Catholic diocese which is:
· Faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
· Full of intentional disciples in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and neighbour
· Where many more lay people are engaged in collaborative ministry.

As part of the Synodal process we will be seeking a Synod representative from each parish and outlining areas for discussion.

Your parish priests will be focusing on the Synod at their forthcoming Pastoral Area Days and sharing further information with you in due course.

A dedicated section of the diocesan website will also be populated with information and resources to help you on the Synodal Pathway.

The Synod Process
The process begins in the Particular (or Local) Church and then moves to the level of the Bishops’ Conference. From there, discernment takes place in the Regional Area – for England and Wales, it would be steered by the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) – before moving to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in 2023, sub et cum Petro.

Diocesan Phase (Local)
October 2021 – April 2022
During which each individual faithful can participate in the diocesan consultation. This phase will end locally with a pre-synodal assembly: the culminating moment of diocesan discernment.

National Phase
A period of discernment will begin for bishops gathered in an assembly (Episcopal Conference). They will listen to what the Spirit has inspired in the churches entrusted to them. A ‘synthesis’ will be drafted and in due course sent to the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops along with the contributions of each of the local churches (before April 2022).

Continental Phase
September 2022 – March 2023
Which will have the task of discussing the text of the first Instrumentum Laboris.

Synod of Bishops (Rome)
October 2023
Finally, the synodal journey will culminate with the celebration of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Join the Synod journey