A collaboration from Julian Paparella - Salt &
What exactly is a synod?
A synod is a gathering, traditionally of bishops, that
helps the Church to walk forward together in the same direction. The word
“synod” comes from the Greek syn-hodos, meaning “the same way” or “the
same path.” Synods were common in the first centuries of Christianity, giving
bishops the opportunities to meet and discuss issues of importance for the life
of the Church. In 1965, Pope Paul VI instituted the Synod of Bishops at the
universal level of the Church. He wanted a way of continuing the fraternal, collegial
exchange that had been experienced at the Second Vatican Council. Since then,
synods have been organized every two or three years, bringing together bishops,
experts, and various delegates to discuss topics like the Eucharist, the Word
of God, the Middle East, the new evangelization, the family, young people, and
So what’s unique about this Synod on synodality?
Unlike past synods, this one is not about addressing a
particular issue, like most synods before, but about becoming who God calls us
to be as a Church, all of us together, amidst the reality of today’s world!
It is no longer only a one-month Synod of Bishops but
a three-year synodal process for the entire People of God! All are invited and
no one is to be left behind or excluded! Lay people have played a significant
role in the preparation of this Synod, and now, for the first time ever, lay participants
are full voting members.
is a synod that aims on giving the entire Church a lived experience of
synodality. Il is about becoming a more synodal Church all around the world.
The aim of the Synod is not just to talk about synodality, but to put
synodality into practice from now onwards, in every diocese, parish, and
country across the whole world. This calls all of us to renew our way of being
and working together moving forward.