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November 17, 2021

Synod consultations get underway in December

This is the official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Originally scheduled for 2022, the synod will take place in October 2023 to allow for broader consultation at the diocesan, national and regional levels. (CNS photo/courtesy Synod of Bishops)

A media release from the archdiocesan Synodal Team announced the official launch of Synod 2021–2023 in this Archdiocese will take place on Saturday, November 27 with Holy Mass at 10 a.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Members of the Synod team are: Ruby Alleyne (Co-Chair); Gregory McGuire (Co-Chair); Fr Urban Hudlin OP; Renee Smith; Margaret Richardson; Hanif Benjamin; Ronald Tagallie and Dennis Hamid.

On October 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally opened a two-year process for the Catholic Church all around the globe, called “a synod on synodality,” under the theme For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.

Over the two-year period, Bishops all around the world will organise consultations in every diocese before coming together for a discussion in Rome in October 2023 on the Church of the future.

The Synod journey began in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, October 17 when Archbishop Jason Gordon announced the Synod Team at Holy Mass at the Living Water Community Chapel.

The release explained the word ‘synod’ is derived from an ancient Greek term which means “coming together” or “travelling together.” Pope Francis has said that a synodal Church is a listening Church and that a synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together”.

Cited was Archbishop Gordon’s description of the Synod as “a momentous shift for the Church”. Over the next few months, all members of the Catholic faith will be invited to be part of nationwide consultations around fundamental questions of: How is this “journeying together” happening today in our local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take to grow in our “journeying together”?

The release highlighted that this Synod takes place in the midst of a global pandemic when people can understand “that we are one human family and that we are all inter-connected on this journey of life.”

Most of the consultations will be online which creates an opportunity for the Catholic Church to seek wider participation in the consultations or conversations, with groups and individuals within the Church, and fellow Christians and non-Christians.

The Church document, the Vademecum, in outlining the process for the Synod, has said that “no one – no matter their religious affiliation – should be excluded from sharing their perspective and experiences, insofar as they want to help the Church on her synodal journey of seeking what is good and true.”

Following the launch on November 27, consultations will be organised across the country from December 2021 to April 2022.

The Church will seek to “encourage maximum inclusion and participation, reaching out to involve the greatest number of people possible, and especially those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten. Special care [will] be taken to involve the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the elderly, people who live in poverty, and Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith.” Creative means will be used to involve children and youth.

Each diocese will produce a report which will feed into a document to be discussed by the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023.