Synod 2021 - 2023

Bishop Gary Gordon invites you to help chart a course for our journey together, now and in the future, as the people of God. 

Nearly five hundred people in the Diocese of Victoria participated in Synod 2021-2023 through 88 Listening Circles and 22 written submissions.

Our Diocesan Synod Team worked to combine these responses into a report that was submitted to the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops (AWCB) in June. The AWCB combined all the responses from Western and Northern Canadian dioceses into a single document, which will be sent to Rome to be combined with the responses from every part of the world, in preparation for the final Synod 2021-2023 meeting in October 2023.

The Diocesan Synod Report and the AWCB Synthesis Report will be shared on this website in August 2022.

Based on the experiences of this process, the Synod Team is discussing how to continue the spirit of synodality in our Diocese through ongoing opportunities for sharing, listening, and discernment. Together, we will keep working to chart a course for our journey, now and in the future, as the people of God.

What is a Synod?  

A synod is a listening and discernment process. The word synod is derived from an ancient Greek term that means “coming together” or “traveling together.”

In this synod on synodality, Pope Francis is inviting Catholics everywhere to re-learn the ways of being church together, to create spaces of encounter and mutual listening that incorporate the gifts of all the baptized, as we face the many challenges of renewing the life of the Church for our time.

For more information, visit the official Synod website at Synod.va, and watch the video below:

How did the Diocese of Victoria participate in Synod 2021-2023?  

Synod 2021-2023 has implications not only on the universal Church, but also on the local Church - the people of God. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria developed a process that we used as a diocese, parish, or ecclesial group.  This process is based on gathering responses to the fundamental Synod questions.

There were three ways to participate:

  1. Take part in an in-person Listening Circle
  2. Take part in an online Listening Circle
  3. Complete our Listening Church response form

More information about these options are in the sections below.

Participants were encouraged to share, with honesty and openness, their real-life experiences, and to reflect together on what the Holy Spirit might be revealing to the Church, the people of God, through the things they share with one another.

The responses from everyone who participates were collected so that the synthesis from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria could be sent on to other levels of the Church. Eventually, syntheses from dioceses around the world will be used in the 2023 Synod of Bishops.

Fundamental Synod Questions  

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, "journeys together":

1) How is this "journeying together" happening today in your church or community?

- As you reflect on “journeying together”, what are the ways you feel you are experiencing this?
- Are there ways you wish you could experience it?
- Can you think of anything that prevents you from experiencing it?

2) What steps does the Spirit invite us to take to grow in our "journeying together"?

- What comes to mind when you envision ways you would like to be more engaged in "journeying together”?

3) As you were answering questions 1 and 2, what thoughts and emotions stirred in you?  These insights might relate to how you envision being part of "journeying together" in new or expanded ways.

Listening Circles  

We designed our Listening Circles to focus on listening to one another. They happened in two parts:

1. Sharing reflections/experiences based on the Fundamental Questions
2. Sharing responses to others’ reflections/experiences

A third part, the discernment of the Holy Spirit, was conducted by the Synod Team.

The Listening Circles were a time for sharing personal reflections and experiences, and for listening. They were not a time to debate issues, try to solve problems, or come to conclusions.

Each session took up to two hours. People shared their experiences and responses in a small group of no more than six people. The small groups collected the experiences and responses as a record of the sharing.

Before people participated in a Listening Circle, we encouraged them to read the Participant's Package.

Hosting Listening Circles  

We encouraged parishes, faith groups, and other communities to host their own Listening Circles.  The links below have resources that helped people organize and run a Circle:

Our Listening Church response form  

People who were not able to participate in a Listening Circle, or who wanted to offer their own personal reflections, were invited to complete our Listening Church response form.

Pope Francis' Synod Opening  
Bishop Gary Gordon's Synod Homily  

In the Diocese of Victoria, Bishop Gary formally launched the first phase of the Synod on Sunday, October 17th at St. Mary’s Church in Port McNeill. You can watch a recording of the livestream below:

 

Bishop Gary Gordon's Synod pastoral letter and video introduction  

Read Bishop Gary's pastoral letter here, and watch his video introduction to the Synod below:

 

Reflection: Synodality makes us 'dare to listen'  

Dominican Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the order of the Preachers, reflects on the importance of "daring to listen" as part of the Church's path toward the 2023 Synod of Bishops.

Synod prayer  

Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus: Prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit 

The prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years.  Attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 - 4 April 636), its name comes from the first words of the Latin original, and mean: “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,”

As we are called to embrace this synodal path of the Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to operate within us so that we may be a community and a people of grace. For the Synod 2021-2023, we will use a simplified version that any group or liturgical assembly can pray more easily:


We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever.
Amen.