Vatican City, 14 June 2021.- From Monday 14 to Thursday 17 June, the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops will meet bishops' conferences from all over the world Through a series of videoconferences, the Bishops’ Conferences gathered in linguistic groups will have the opportunity to discuss the synodal journey as described by the Document on the synodal process sent at the end of May.
"Even before the official opening in October by Pope Francis, as the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, we felt the need to listen to all the bishops’ conferences in the world with a frank and sincere exchange. We want the whole episcopate to feel accompanied on the synodal journey that they are about to undertake at the diocesan, national and continental level. We also want the celebration of the Synod itself to be a strong synodal experience in itself”, says Cardinal Mario Grech.
The Synod, which presents itself as a real "synodal time", will be opened by Pope Francis on 9-10 October 2021 and subsequently in the individual dioceses by the respective bishops, on 17 October next. The synodal journey will then be marked by three phases:
- a diocesan phase (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;
- a national phase during which discernment will be entrusted mainly to the Episcopal Conferences;
- a continental phase (September 2022 - March 2023) which will have the task of discussing the text of the first Instrumentum Laboris.
Finally, the synodal journey will culminate with the celebration of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission".
The Synod of Bishops was instituted in 1965 by Saint Paul VI. Recently, Pope Francis has profoundly renewed it with the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis communio (2018), inserting it in the framework of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church.
The Synod avails itself of a General Secretariat composed of a General Secretary, currently Cardinal Mario Grech and two Undersecretaries, H.E. Mons. Luis Marín de San Martín and the Xaverian sister Nathalie Becquart.