The first phase of the “Synod on Synodality,” listening at the diocesan level, has concluded. Synthesis Reports were prepared by each of Canada’s four Regional Episcopal Assemblies — Western, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions. These four regional reports were then received by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and used to draft a national synthesis, which has been submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod of the Holy See on August 15. The national synthesis document is divided into 11 sections, collectively reflecting on the major themes of this process and the voices heard.
This report is the culmination of a sincere listening exercise that occurred in every diocese across the country. What was most present in the regional reports has been included in the national synthesis, providing a thorough and thoughtful account of the exchanges which took place during the initial phase of the synodal process.
“Catholics in Canada want their Church to be relevant and engaged in our world's ongoing transformation. They recognize an urgent need for the Church to undergo a profound missionary renewal” said the Most Rev. Raymond Poisson, President of the CCCB, and member of the Canadian National Synthesis Writing Team.
“I found great encouragement and inspiration in the level of engagement I witnessed in this process. It showed that God remains at the centre of the lives of many Canadians, and that many families feel a positive connection with the impact Catholic parishes are having in their communities,” added the Most Rev. Richard Gagnon, former President of the CCCB, and also a member of the Canadian National Synthesis Writing Team.
The next phase of the synodal process will involve the development of a “Document for the Continental Phase” by the General Secretariat of the Synod in Rome. Once complete, this document will serve as the source document for reflection during the continental phase. For this purpose, the CCCB will be working closely with the USCCB. More information on the continental phase for North America will be released in the coming months. The synodal process will conclude with the Synod of Bishops in Rome in the fall of 2023.