Synod 2021-2023: Let Us Walk Together as a Church with the Holy Spirit
The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue beginning with a solemn opening in Rome on October 9 and 10, 2021 and in the Diocese of Tyler on October 17, 2021. The synodal process will conclude in 2023. The main portion of the diocesan phase will take places in the Spring of 2022.
Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission: “It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s “renewal” proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission.
As Bishop of Tyler, I invite the parishes and communities of the Diocese of Tyler to participate in this process through prayer, listening, and sharing.
“We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.”
– Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
The Diocesan Phase
Bishop Strickland has asked all pastors to engage in a guided process of discussion and prayer with each of their communities. This process will occur in the Spring of 2022. A diocesan synthesis will be prepared based on all the collated feedback from across the diocese.
Form for Parish Synthesis Submission: Online
What is Synodality?
Synodality denotes the particular style that qualifies the life and mission of the Church, expressing her nature as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly, summoned by the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel. Synodality ought to be expressed in the Church’s ordinary way of living and working.
Synodality, in this perspective, is much more than the celebration of ecclesial meetings and Bishops’ assemblies, or a matter of simple internal administration within the Church; it is the specific modus vivendi et operandi of the Church, the People of God, which reveals and gives substance to her being as communion when all her members journey together, gather in assembly and take an active part in her evangelizing mission.
What is the aim of this Synod?
This Synod is intended as a Synodal Process. The aim of this synodal process is not to provide a temporary or one-time experience of synodality, but rather to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term.
A basic question prompts and guides us: How does this journeying together allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with the mission entrusted to Her; and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?
Themes of the Synod
Communion: The communion we share finds its deepest roots in the love and unity of the Trinity. Together, we are inspired by listening to the Word of God, through the living Tradition of the Church, and grounded in the sensus fidei that we share. We all have a role to play in discerning and living out God’s call for his people.
Participation: Participation is based on the fact that all the faithful are qualified and are called to serve one another through the gifts they have each received from the Holy Spirit in baptism. In a synodal Church the whole community is called together to pray, listen, analyse, dialogue, discern and offer advice on making pastoral decisions which correspond as closely as possible to God’s will.
Mission: Our mission is to witness to the love of God in the midst of the whole human family. This Synodal Process has a deeply missionary dimension to it. It is intended to enable the Church to better witness to the Gospel, especially with those who live on the spiritual, social, economic, political, geographical, and existential peripheries of our world.