VATICAN, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 (CISA)-The General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops has released the Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality as a guide to support local churches all over the world.
The official handbook released September 7 along with the Preparatory Document is meant to offer guidance for the first phase of the Synodal Journey which will start from October 2021 to April 2022 in dioceses and bishops’ conferences leading up to the Assembly of Bishops in Synod October 2023.
“The two documents are complementary and should be read in tandem with one another. In particular, the Vademecum offers practical support to the Diocesan Contact Person(s) (or team), designated by the diocesan Bishop, to prepare and gather the People of God so that they can give voice to their experience in their local Church,” reads the document.
The Synod on Synodality aims at creating an opportunity for dialogue at the local level to ensure more faithful are involved in bringing to light the synodal roots of the Church.
“It is especially important that this listening process happen in a spiritual setting that supports openness in sharing as well as hearing. For this reason, you are encouraged to root the local experience of the Synodal Process in meditation on Scripture, the liturgy, and prayer,” reads the document in explaining the purpose of the Vademecum.
The documents accentuate the objectives of the Synodal process by asking the foundational question:” How does this “journeying together” take place today on different levels (from the local level to the universal one), allowing the Church to proclaim the Gospel? and what steps is the Spirit inviting us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?” (PD, 2)
The Vademecum and the Preparatory Document underscore the purpose of the first phase of the Synodal Journey by giving a framework of experience at the local level whose focus on,” maximum inclusion and participation, reaching out to involve the greatest number of people possible, and especially those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten,” is at the heart of the Synod’s theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”