AF News | Cities | Araguaína begins 1st phase of the largest democratic consultation in the history of the Catholic Church

The city of Araguaína (TO) will host the opening ceremony of the diocesan phase of the 2023 Synod, which is considered the largest democratic consultation process in the history of the Catholic Church. The purpose is to debate the future of the religious institution.

With the theme ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’, the opening of activities will be led by the Bishop of the Diocese of Tocantinópolis, Don Giovane Pereira de Melo, this Friday (10/15), from 7 pm, at the São Paulo Apóstolo Parish. On Sunday (17/10), each of the parishes will open the diocesan councils.

On October 27, the Bishop of Carolina (MA), Dom Francisco Lima Soares, will participate in meetings with priests, nuns and lay leaders in Araguaína.

POPE ASKS FOR A DIFFERENT CHURCH

Pope Francis held last Sunday (10/10) the opening session of the 2021-2023 synodal process.

The Synod is a 2-year process, starting from 10 October 2021 to October 2023. The diocesan listening phase runs until April 2022 and will be followed by a continental phase from September 2022 to March 2023. The last “ phase of the universal Church” will culminate in the traditional assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.

The theme of the 16th Synod of Bishops is: “For a Synod Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. This one will be unlike any other before. The expectation is that the largest number of believers, among the 1.3 billion who recognize themselves as followers of Catholicism, will participate in the process and be heard about the future of the Church.

Pope Francis has held 4 synods since taking over the Vatican. The first 2 debated the family, the 3rd had young people as a theme and the last, from 2019, brought the discussion about the Amazon to the center of the Church.

This Synod must discuss the Church itself, possible modernizations and must address controversial issues such as greater female participation in decision-making in the Church and more welcoming to groups still marginalized by traditional Catholicism.

“In the one People of God, therefore, let us walk together in order to experience a Church that receives and lives this gift of unity and is open to the voice of the Spirit”, said Pope Francis. He stressed, however, that the Synod is an “ecclesial moment”, not a parliament or an inquiry into opinions.

He pointed out that “communion” and “mission” can run the risk of remaining somewhat abstract unless synodality is concretely expressed at every step of the synod journey and activity, encouraging the real involvement of each and every one. “All the baptized are called to share in the life and mission of the Church.”