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Journey Together: Synod on Synodality 2021-2023

What is a synod?

Pope Francis gives the homily during a Mass to open the process leading up to the World Synod of Bishops, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 10, 2021. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters)

That is a question many have likely been asking themselves often since Pope Francis called for the World Synod of Bishops to take place in October 2023.

A synod is a gathering of bishops for specific kinds of issues. Synods are meant to be consultative, to be able to hear from those who are participating in the life of the Church.

Pope Francis has asked that the Synod of Bishops in 2023 would be about synodality, or how we as disciples are journeying together to reflect on and respond to the Holy Spirit’s call to us. The synod’s theme is “communion, participation and mission.”

Pope Francis formally opened the synod process with a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 10.

More details about the Holy Father’s Mass and the synod can be found in The Catholic Virginian.





Bishop Knestout gives the homily at the Oct. 17 Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond.

How will the Diocese of Richmond participate in a worldwide synod?

In his Oct. 18 “Christ Our Hope” column, Bishop Knestout discussed how our diocese will be participating in the synod:

Over the next several months, our ad hoc Diocesan Evangelization Commission will be working to facilitate responses from diocesan advisory groups as well as from parish councils on these synodal questions:

The answers to these questions will be analyzed and sent to the USCCB, who will submit a synthesis of all the U.S. dioceses’ responses to the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.


What has Bishop Knestout said about the synod process?

Bishop Knestout’s homily at the Oct. 17 Mass discussed the synod process. You can listen to it below. The full Mass is also available on our YouTube channel. Read in Español here.

How can I participate in the synod?

In his homily on Oct. 10, Pope Francis told those gathered that a synod is “a journey of spiritual discernment that takes place in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God.”

The faithful can reflect on how they encounter the Holy Spirit. Consider how you encounter others who are participating in the life of the Church. How are you journeying together with others to be in communion with the Lord?

And, of course, we can pray! “Here We Are, Holy Spirit” is a great prayer to invite the Holy Spirit into your heart for guidance on your journey.

If you would like to read more about the synod process, you can view the preparatory document and the Vademecum, or handbook, for the Synod on Synodality.