Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a Diocesan Synod?
The word synod means, literally, an intentional coming together on the way. In ecclesiology, the concept of synod connotes a coming together in response to the call of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed through the Diocesan Bishop, into an harmonious communion of dialogue. Its purpose is to promote not only our common good as a diocesan family, but also the good of the individual parish communities, as well as the interests and well being of the Church universal.
The synod achieves this purpose through ample and liberal discussion leading to the preparation of pastoral initiatives, practical provisions and measured directives for a well ordered apostolate.
It is of the very nature of Synod that the Diocesan Bishop, as the one who presides at this assembly, in virtue of his primary pastoral role as the bond of communion, engage himself actively and collaboratively in all the discussions, deliberations and dispositions of the synod so that in the synod’s culmination he may endow its proposals with the full scope of his authority as the presiding pastor of the Diocese.
Q. What actions does the diocesan synod take?
The synod makes recommendations to the bishop, who remains free to accept or reject the recommendations. If the bishop chooses to accept the recommendations, he may then promulgate them and make them diocesan law.
Q. What is the role of the Preparatory Commission?
The Preparatory Commission advises the bishop on setting up the direction for the synod, the process for selecting delegates for the synod and the process for deciding what the synod will consider.
Q. How does the diocese prepare for the synod?
This can be addressed in these areas:
- Diocesan-wide prayer and intercession for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Formation and reflection on the nature of the Church and its teaching.
- Reflection on the role of the bishop, as expressed in the three-fold service provided to the faithful by their bishop: teaching, sanctifying, governing.
- General education on the nature, role and function of the diocesan synod.
Q. What can we expect the synod to do?
We can expect the synod to provide occasion for reflection on our history and the many blessings God has bestowed on our diocese. The goal of the synod is to discern, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the path that the Lord is unfolding before us as we continue our pilgrimage and together strive to meet the challenges of a church always in need of renewal. The actions of the synod will result in a pastoral plan that will guide us as a diocese at least through the first decades of the 21st century, as well as in legislation, ordinances and guidelines that flow from the pastoral road-map. The Diocesan Bishop presides over the synod, and is the authority empowered by tradition and by the universal law of the Church to approve and promulgate the results.