What is a Synod?

A “Synod” is a gathering of Bishops throughout the world, called by the Pope, to reflect together on contemporary issues of faith and life. Synods offer suggestions to the Pope, which may or may not become official teachings at a later time. The word ‘Synod’ may not be familiar to everyone. It literally means “common road.” So, we might think of this two-year process as time that our entire Church – laypeople, clergy, religious, youth, elderly, and our many cultures – walking together.

In September 2021, the Vatican released a Preparatory Document and Vademecum with questions for reflection for the Synod. They asked that dioceses throughout the world answer these questions to provide feedback on their local experience called the diocesan phase. This phase will go through to August 2022 having the dioceses hold listening sessions to hear the voices of the people during this time.

We are asking for your feedback for us to share this information with Pope Francis, Bishop Alberto Rojas, Bishop of San Bernardino and Riverside, and Bishops throughout the world to help them prepare for the Synod. We also hope that your feedback will help parishes in the Diocese of San Bernardino discern how to better engage and support their parish communities.

What is the theme of the Synod?

The theme of the Synod is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” The three dimensions of the theme are communion, participation, and mission. These three dimensions are profoundly interrelated. They are the vital pillars of a Synodal Church. There is no hierarchy between them. Rather, each one enriches and orients the other two. There is a dynamic relationship between the three that must be articulated with all three in mind. Find resources here.

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