The Archdiocese of Newark joined dioceses throughout the world in celebrating a special Opening Mass on October 17 to launch “Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church,” a two-year re-examination of the way the Catholic Church is listening to and walking with its parishioners.
The Mass was filled with parishioners from the four counties it serves (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union) as well as many clergy, religious women and men, parish pastoral council leaders, and archdiocesan staff members.
During his homily, Cardinal Tobin explained that a “synod” is a global process of discussion and reflection on a topic of particular importance to the Church. The current synod is meant to explore how the Church can improve its ability to collaborate with 21st century Catholics — which is why every parishioner’s voice will matter in upcoming listening sessions and discussions.
“It’s an effort to open ourselves to a permanent conversion of heart… a change of our Church at all levels,” Cardinal Tobin said, adding that the synod’s purpose is to “discover the divine will — God’s saving plan for us today, in our circumstances, in our time, in our places. And the process of the synod will make the people of God actors in the process of discernment rather than passive onlookers.”
Like other dioceses worldwide, the opening Mass was the Archdiocese’s first significant step in participating in the worldwide “synod on synodality” initiated by Pope Francis on October 10. Next, the Archdiocese will coordinate listening sessions for its 212 parishes, at which Catholics will be encouraged to share their opinions on what is expected of today’s Church. Sessions will be guided by universal questions for dioceses worldwide examining the perceptions of today’s Catholics.
In April, the Archdiocese will gather, analyze, and synthesize information from all parish listening sessions into one report that will be submitted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Similarly, dioceses across the U.S. and globally will submit their local findings, which will ultimately be consolidated into reports for discussion among the world’s bishops and the Vatican to help guide Pope Francis on decisions about how the Church should proceed in the future.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin emphasized the importance of the Church’s global synod during his homily in the Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on October 17.
Parishioners from throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties gathered to pray and celebrate an Opening Mass for the Church’s global synod in the Archdiocese of Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on October 17.