Listening to the Faithful: Synod 2021-2024

… We recall that the purpose of the Synod, and therefore of this consultation, is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands … (Pope Francis)

2024 Synod Resources & Information

On April 20, the General Secretariat released the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the synod gathering of October 2023 where bishops from around the world and 70 lay people will gather in Rome. Here is a link to a PDF of the document.

The Synod on Synodality has entered its Continental Phase and been extended to 2024 to encompass a longer implementation period as well as a second bishops’ meeting.

For a summary of the Diocesan Phase and the new Continental phase, watch the video Listening to the Faithful from our 2022 National Conference. (For an earlier video, explaining the purpose and the background of the Synod, see “The Synod: What It Is and Why I Should Care.“)

The Continental Phase Working Document “Enlarge the Space of Your Tent,” should be your focus for continuing synod discussions in 2023. Click here to read the summary Voice of the Faithful sent to the office of the General Secretariat from the Continental Phase.

Click here for links to the Final Documents of the Continental Phase on the Vatican’s Synod 2021-2024 website.

Also please read the National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the Synod.

Click here to read Voice of the Faithful’s Synod on Synodality Report that has been submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. Note: The submission included the requested 10-page summary as well as the additional appendixes allowed by the Secretariat. The full reports from the scribes in all Synod sessions are in Appendix D.

Thank you for Making Your Voices Heard

The culmination of our many Synod sessions January through May, distilled to the 10 pages the General Secretariat required, went to the Vatican last week. As promised, we sent it directly to the Secretariat to ensure that your voices would be represented among the lay voices seeking to be heard in the Synod for Synodality. We included in the report three appendices, as was also allowed, including one with three separate reports from diocesan groups who had asked us to please submit their reports with ours. In addition to our Synod Submission, an additional appendix will be ready shortly, with the hundreds of pages of scribe reports from the 45 sessions we held.

We thank you for raising your voices–not just those of you who spoke through us, but also the hundreds of you who attended Synod sessions in your own dioceses to ensure lay voices pursuing our mission and goals would be heard there.

We especially thank Bev Spencer, who devoted hours of time to tracking registrations, assigning each registrant to two session dates, making sure facilitators and scribes were assigned for each session, and helping deliver links and preparatory materials when needed, along with any lists needed to tabulate the reports. Thank you to our Executive Director, Donna B. Doucette, who handled all the registration downloads and provided the preparatory videos and slideshows for our Synod sessions, and to Nick Ingala, our Communications Director, who kept the Synod page fresh and fielded all the inquiries to the office.

We thank the committee that helped us put all the sessions together, from setting up the questions and formats to hosting pilot sessions: Chris & Ethel Doyle, Don Garbison, Karen James, Margaret Roylance, Susan Vogt, and Paul Welsh. Thanks also to Mary Pat Fox and Margaret Roylance who helped Donna condense the hundreds of responses into a 10-page summary. And thank you to every one of you who served as scribes and facilitators during the six months; your assistance was invaluable!

We have posted the Synod report on our Synod page, and we will add Appendix D with the scribe notes as soon as possible.

All the resources that were available during the sessions will remain here, for later and ongoing reference. The initial global listening phase is only the first step in the ongoing return of our Church to its roots as a synodal Church, in action and in decision making. Resources to guide your efforts in the future will remain relevant.

Conversations on Synodality” webinar with Prof. Rafael Luciani and Prof. Kristin Colberg now available on VOTF Vimeo channel.

2024 Synod Resources

  • Click here to go to the Vatican’s website on the Synod on Synodality
    • KEY DOCUMENTS: Vatican’s Preparatory Document for the 2023 Synod and the Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality, which is the official handbook for listening and discernment in local churches during the first phase of the 2023 Synod from October 2021 through April 2022 in dioceses and bishops’ conferences leading up to the Assembly of Bishops in Synod in October 2023
    • Timeline graphic showing the stages leading up to the October 2023 Synod bishops’ meeting
    • Comprehensive guide to conducing mini-synods to gather information and listen to views in advance of preparing input into the 2023 Synod process
    • Slide presentation on synodality and the 2021-2023 Synod process prepared by the Gereral Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops
  • Access via Boston College’s Student Voices Project 2022 for high school, college, and graduate students to talk about the Synod. Scroll all the way to the bottom for the initial survey link.
  • Definitions of papal documents, placing the Synod and its process among the most important documents a pope issues
  • The Synodus Episcoporum: For a synodal Church communion, participation and mission — XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
  • Voice of the Faithful’s inclusive document “Information Resources on Synods, Synodality and the 2023 Synod”
  • Leadership Roundtable’s Synod on Synodality resources.
  • Links to all of the Vatican II documents (also see “How do we prepare for a synodal process? Start with the documents of Vatican II,” by Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter)
  • “The Church on the way: Prayer for a synodal Church” from the Vatican
  • Sign up for The Synodal Journey Newsletter by the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops
  • Synod Consultation Plans, map of U.S. archdioceses and dioceses from National Catholic Reporter that have synod consultation plans
  • RESULTADOS Asamblea Ecclesial, Forty-one pastoral challenges identified during the synodal process in Latin America and the Caribbean during summer and fall 2021
  • Prayers for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops — “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission” (2021-2024).
  • Biblical Resources for Synodality, by Commission on Spirituality, Biblical Sub-Group, March 2022
  • Towards a Spirituality for Synodality, by Commission on Spirituality Sub-Group — Spirituality for Synodality, June 2022

Videos About Synodality

“Listening to the Faithful: The State of the Synod”: update on the Diocesan Phase and preview of the Continental Phase by Donna B. Doucette, VOTF Executive Director

“Why participate in the Synod?”

Sr. Natalie Becquart (of the General Secretariat) on synodality:

“A new way of being Church” by Prof. Rafael Luciani (one-hour lecture):

“From Episcopal Collegiality to Ecclesial Synodality,” a lecture by Prof. Massimo Faggioli:

“Webinar: For a Synodal Church,” by Discerning Deacons features Profs. Kristen Colberg, Rafael Luciani, and Hosffman Ospino–all specialists in ecclesiology and synodality–speaking about what Pope Francis is inviting us to do. 

“From the Margins to the Center” by Fr. Robert Choiniere for the New Ways ministry:

VOTF video on what the Synod is and how to participate, presented by VOTF Executive Director Donna Doucette (videographer Vincent Rocchio)

Toward a Synodal Church: Co-Responsibility and the Lay Apostolate, presented by the Catholic Appostolate Center 

​2024 Synod Media Coverage