Our Diocesan Synodal at St. Mary-Jackson and the Cathedral; Photos, Prayer, Timeline
Many blessings as the celebrating of Synod (Together) begins. Two Sundays ago, Oct. 10, our Holy Father formally opened a two-year process (Oct. 2021-April 2023) that will be in three phases called a Synod on Synodality (Walking Together), officially known as Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church.
In brief, the two-year process involves an expansion of an established institution called the Synod of Bishops. This means that Bishops around the world will consult with everyone from Parishioners to the Religious and Catholic Universities before coming together for a discussion in April 2023. The topic? How the Church can learn to rely more fully on this kind of consultation-and-discussion process–how it can become more Synodal (Together) in its governance.
What a wonderful time to start our Diocesan Synodal, Phase One, following the invitation from Pope Francis, as our Catholic Diocese of Memphis reflects 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)!
This past weekend, Oct. 16-17, each Church, including our Memphis Diocese, solemnly opened its Diocesan Synodal. For our Diocese, a Vigil Mass took place at our St. Mary Catholic Church in Jackson with Bishop Talley, Bishop Emeritus Steib, Fr. Graham and Fr. Cortese. (Fr. Perez was visiting another church). On Sunday, a Mass took place at our Mother Church, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, with Bishop Talley, Bishop Emeritus Steib, Msgr. Buchanani, Fr. Coy, Fr. Szczechura and Fr. Weber. Deacons, Seminarians and Altar Servers provided their faithful support, as usual, at each Mass.
· Oct. 9-10: Pope Francis opens the three phase event from the Vatican. · Oct. 16-17: Each Church, including our Memphis Diocese, will solemnly open its Diocesan Synodal.
· Oct. 2021-April 2022 (Phase One): 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.
· Sept. 2022-March 2023 (Phase Two): 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.
· Oct. 2023 (Phase Three): For the final phase, the Bishops meet in Rome. The theme: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.
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