Celebrating Synod Across All Dioceses in Masses this Weekend; Three Phases in Two Years

The following communications will help us to understand Celebrating Synod (Together).

Last Sunday, Oct. 10, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica for the solemn opening of the Synod of Bishops, which is taking place in three stages over the next two years (Oct. 2021-April 2023). Each Church, including our Catholic Diocese of Memphis, will solemnly open the Synod of Bishops this weekend Oct. 16-17.

Bishop David P. Talley will be celebrating Mass for the solemn opening of the Synod of Bishops at St. Mary Catholic Church in Jackson today, Saturday, 4:00pm, and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis tomorrow, Sunday, 10:00am. Each church will live stream its Holy Mass.

What a wonderful time to start this important journey as we reflect on the beauty of our recent Eucharistic Congress and as we continue to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. ¡Adelante! Going forward together, on mission…that all may be one (John 17:21)!



Earlier this year, on May 21, Pope Francis announced to the Church that the Synod of Bishops, postponed due to the pandemic, would be preceded by a Synodal Process that includes “listening to all of the baptized” in every local Diocese before the Bishops gather again in 2023.


In comments to the media, Cardinal Mario Grech, head of the Vatican’s office of the Synod of Bishops, said the change “from an event into a process” was chosen because “the time was ripe for a wider participation of the people of God in a decision-making process that affects the whole Church and everyone in the Church.


The Second Vatican Council teaches that the people of God participate in the prophetic office of Christ,” said Cardinal Grech. “Therefore, we must listen to the people of God and this means going out to the local churches.” He emphasized the importance of allowing everyone to have their voices heard, “God willing, one of the fruits of the Synod is that we might all understand that a decision-making process in the Church always begins with listening, because only in this way can we understand how and where the Spirit wants to lead the Church.”


The theme of the Synod of Bishops concluding the Synodal Process is For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. It will convene in Rome in the fall of 2023.



Here is the Synodal Process…


  • 9-10: Pope Francis opens the three phase event from the Vatican.


  • 16-17: Each Church, including our Memphis Diocese, will solemnly open the Synod of Bishops.


  • 2021-April 2022 (Phase 1): The first phase is held in Catholic Dioceses. Each Diocese conducts meetings with local Catholics and hosts its own Pre-Synodal gathering to produce a summary to submit to the National Bishops Conference. In a period of discernment, the National Conference reviews the texts received from the local Dioceses and composes its own document to submit to the Vatican’s office for the Synod of Bishops. Vatican officials will create a first draft of the Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris (working document) from the submitted texts by Sept. 2022.


  • 2022-March 2023 (Phase 2): In the second phase, Bishops meet at the Continental level. They will gather on each Continent to create texts about their discussions and submit them to the Vatican. A second draft of the Instrumentum will be created from these texts and released by June 2023.


  • 2023 (Phase 3): For the final phase, the Bishops meet in Rome. The theme is: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.



Pope Francis, in his address to Bishops commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops in 2015, defined Synodality: What the Lord is asking of us is already present in the very word Synod. Journeying together (Laity, Pastors, the Bishop of Rome) is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice. A Synodal Church is a Church that listens, which realizes that listening ‘is more than simply hearing.’ It is a mutual listening where everyone has something to learn. The Faithful People, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other and listening to the Holy Spirit, the ‘Spirit of Truth’ (John 14:17), in order to know what he ‘says to the Churches’ (Rev 2:7).



For additional information on the Synodal Process, please click on the links:




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