With fewer than three months before a multi-year synodal process is set to begin, U.S. bishops are expected to discuss in coming weeks logistics for the diocesan phase of consultation that will precede the Church’s 2023 assembly of bishops on synodality.
With diocesan, national, and continental listening and prayers sessions on the Church’s schedule ahead of a 2023 meeting in Rome, the U.S. bishops’ conference has appointed a staffer to serve as coordinator between dioceses and the USCCB.
The Vatican announced in May that its upcoming “synond on synodality” would take place in October 2023, after the series of consultations and meetings in dioceses around the world set to begin in October 2021.
The synod was not on the agenda of the June virtual meeting of the U.S. bishops, but bishops have told The Pillar they expect that logistics will be discussed at forthcoming regional meetings.
According to the Vatican’s May 21 announcement, dioceses will be expected to hold opening Masses of the synod process in late October, before conducting listening sessions and consultations with local Catholics, which will be guided by questionnaires and guidelines that will be sent to local leaders from the Holy See.
“Consultation with the People of God in each local church will conclude with a presynodal meeting, which will be the culmination of diocesan discernment,” the Vatican’s synodal timeline explained.
Diocesan consultations are expected to include questions for laity, religious, and clerics, and conclude in April 2022. Religious orders, Catholic universities, and “international lay movements” will also take part in the initial consultation phase.
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