In October 2021, the entire Church entered into a synod.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis opened the synod in Rome on the weekend of October 9-10, 2021 and every diocese across the whole world was called to celebrate the opening of the synod on the local level the following Sunday, October 17.  The theme for this synod is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”.

We should be aware that from 2021 to 2023, it will be a journey of sharing, reflecting, and listening at all levels across the entire Church!

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, where bishops from across the globe had gathered together between 1962 and 1965.  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 the Amazon.  In each case, bishops vote on a Final Document, then the pope writes his own text - called an “apostolic exhortation” – to open new pathways and shed new light on what was discussed at the synod, so that it can radiate across the entire Church.

What’s unique about this synod on synodality?

Unlike past synods, this one isn’t about addressing a particular issue but about becoming who God calls us to be as a Church, all of us together, amidst the reality of today’s world!  The Synod starting in October 2021 is totally unprecedented, for at least three reasons.

  1. It is no longer only a one-month Synod of Bishops but a two-year synodal process for the entire People of God, all the baptized!  All are invited and no one is to be left behind or excluded!

  2. It is a synod that aims on giving the entire Church a lived experience of synodality. It's not just about filling in a questionnaire, but gathering the fruits of what the Holy Spirit is saying to us here and now.

  3. 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, at every level of the Church, to renew our way of being and working together moving forward.

So what is synodality anyways?

Fundamentally, synodality is about journeying together.  This happens through listening to one another in order to hear what God is saying to all of us.  It is realizing that the Holy Spirit can speak through anyone to help us walk forward together on our journey as the People of God.

The point is not that we take two years to understand some new buzzword that will soon fade.  Synodality is no passing phase!  Rather, "walking together" is at the heart of what the Church is all about, as the People of God on pilgrimage in the midst of the world.  In the days of the early Church, Saint John Chrysostom said that for him "Church" and "synod" were synonyms, since the Church is all about walking together. In this sense, synodality is a way of renewing the Church from her deepest roots, in order to be more united with one another and better carry out our mission in the world.  Concretely, being "synodal" is a way of being and a way of working that takes a more grassroots, collaborative approach, taking time to discern the path forward together.  It highlights the fact that we all have something precious to contribute to the Body of Christ.  In this way, a "synodal Church" is a Church that listens: "It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn.  The lay faithful, the bishops, the pope: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), in order to know what He is saying to the Church" (Pope Francis, Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, October 17, 2015).

This will naturally call us to change our ways of doing things, in order to become more and more who we truly are as a Church: walking together, amidst the entire human family humanity, guided by the Holy Spirit.

So why a synod on synodality?

Yes, a "synod on synodality" may seem kind of like having a movie about movies or a book about books (or a dream within a dream for those who have seen the movie Inception).  But don't worry, this isn’t just some complicated mind trick.  Rather, it’s an invitation for the whole Church to have our voices heard.

We can only move forward if we work and walk together.  No Christian is an island!  Every limb and appendage is necessary in the Body of Christ!

Through this synod, the Church is saying: the voice of EVERYONE matters because God can talk though ANYONE -- not only bishops, priests, deacons, brothers, or sisters but ALL OF US!  Pope Francis has stated that this collaborative, inclusive approach of synodality is precisely the “the path that God expects of the Church in the third millennium.”  This is truly a revolution of the Holy Spirit towards the Church that God is calling us to be for tomorrow, starting today!

Of course, synodality is complicated to spell but it is even more challenging to put it into practice.  This is the whole point of the two-year synod that the Church begins this October: helping the whole Church to walk forward together, united in the mission we share.  This begins by paying attention to those who are often forgotten, excluded, or not listened to – hearing what God has to say to us through those we may ignore.  The path to a Church that listens and walks together starts with you and me. Let's walk forward together!

Holy Spirit of God, lead the Church on our pilgrim path

as we listen to You speaking through one another.

Enkindle Your love in our hearts to walk forward together

as a Church that accompanies all of humanity on our common journey to You.  Amen

At St. Gerard’s Church, the Synod Parish Group is led by Linda Maddaford and Carmella Molnar.

The Synod on Synodality, An invitation.  Pope Francis has called the whole church to a Synod process of consultation that will culminate in the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.  The synodal process is an invitation for all members to experience a spirit-lead way of contemplative listening and walking together.  Some of the themes we will discern in this manner are: Companions on the Journey, Dialogue in Church and Community, Discerning and Deciding, Forming Ourselves in a deeper Synodality.



March 6, 2022

The Synod on Synodality 2021-2023

“Synodality is the way of being the Church today
according to the will of God in a dynamic of discerning and listening together to the voice of the Holy Spirit.” Pope Francis

Synod comes from the Greek word synodos, which means together – way, to call an assembly.  Synodality then, means “Walking along Together”

With the convocation of the Synod on Synodality, 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. Our “journeying” together” is, in fact, what most effectively enacts and manifests the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God. Pg 4, Preparatory Document.

The St. Gerard’s Synod committee is here to lend our ears to the many peoples who may feel that they are not being heard or not being listened to. Our job is to listen to what our people need to say and what the Holy Spirit whispers through a set of questions.

We invite all parish members to experience a Synod Listening Circle as the Holy Spirit bring the fruits of our listening experiences, will you journey with us in Synodality? 

There are 3 ways to participate in the Synod

1. Sign up for Parish Listening Circles - reflections in a small group setting. We will prepare for parish Listening Circles in March and begin the circles after Easter.

2. Ask for a Kitchen Table conversation by March 31st – for those who do not want to speak in a group setting.

Contact Linda Maddaford, 306.783.3924 or Carm Molnar, 306.620.2284.

3. Individual reflections – a form individuals can fill out.


The main question for discernment is - A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?

Ten themes will be used to develop conversation and deep listening as we explore this fundamental question: How are we Companions on the Journey, How are we Listening, Speaking Out, Celebrating, Sharing Responsibility for our Common Mission, How do we Dialogue in Church and Community, Ecumenism, Authority and Participation, Discerning and Deciding, Forming Ourselves in Synodality.

More Information can be found on the Archdiocese website


The two main documents guiding the Synodal process are:

Preparatory Document For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission



and Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality


Prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit

Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus, the first words of the original Latin, meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, and is attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 - 4 April 636). As we embrace this Synodal Process, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace. For the Synodal journey from 2021 to 2023, we propose the following simplified version, so that any group or liturgical assembly can pray it more easily. The original version of the Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus can be found on the Synod website, www.synod.va

Adsumus, Sanctius Spiritus

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts.

Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.

All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen.