‘Journeying Together’ as the pilgrim people of God:

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Bishop opens diocesan phase of synodal process

The following is the text of the homily given by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at the Mass opening the diocesan phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

At this Mass, here in the mother church of our diocese, we begin the diocesan phase of the 2023 Synod of Bishops on the theme: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. Synodality is an integral part of the very nature of the Church. I imagine that most of you, when you hear the word “synod,” you think of a synod of bishops. One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council was the Synod of Bishops. There have been a number of Synods of Bishops since the Council, including the last Synod in 2018 on young people, faith and vocational discernment.

The Church has become increasingly aware that synodality is the path for the entire people of God. It’s a journeying together of all the faithful since all the baptized, both the hierarchy and the laity, are called to be active participants in the saving mission of the Church. There are a diversity of gifts and charisms among all the faithful for the renewal and building up of the Church. All of us have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation.

Pope Francis has invited the whole Church to reflect on this theme of synodality, the theme of the next World Synod of Bishops. He has asked Catholics throughout the world to be part of the synodal process, to reflect together on our journey as God’s pilgrim and missionary people. He is asking us to reflect prayerfully to discern God’s will for His Church at this time in history. The theme of the Synod, “For a Synodal Church,” has three dimensions: Communion, Participation, and Mission. We are being asked by the Holy Father to be open to the Holy Spirit and thus discern how God is calling us towards deeper communion, fuller participation and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world.

In this process, the Holy Father wants the bishops to be attuned to the living voice of the People of God. The objective of this Synod is to listen, as the entire People of God, to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in our time. We do so by listening together to God’s Word in Scripture and Tradition, by list