Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Over the last six months, people throughout the Diocese of Scranton willingly responded to the call of Pope Francis by sharing their hopes, concerns and dreams for the Catholic Church in preparation for the 2023 General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Our diocese heard from thousands of individuals from every corner of the community, including young adults, long-time parishioners, those experiencing financial and health related challenges, survivors of clergy sexual abuse, prisoners and even those who are struggling with or have left the Catholic faith. Many shared that they had never been asked to reflect on the Church’s mission before.

Whether these individuals participated at in-person parish or community listening sessions or through an online survey, many themes began to emerge from what they shared. I would now like to share with you the Diocese of Scranton Synthesis of our Online Survey & Listening Sessions. This report has been submitted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and will be analyzed with reports from all the other dioceses across the country and combine into one Synod report from the United States that is sent to Rome.

It is important for all readers to keep in mind the contents of this document only represent the opinions, insights, thoughts and hopes of our local Synod participants. Pope Francis has continually emphasized that a synodal process is one guided by the Holy Spirit with patience and not a “search for immediate results that generate quick and immediate consequences.”

I am deeply grateful to all those who participated in the Synod process up to this point. While our synthesis has been submitted to the USCCB, this cannot be the “end” of our work. In fact, it is merely the beginning. I invite everyone to read and reflect on this synthesis and its content and look for ways that the Church of Scranton can continue to journey together in the months and years ahead.

Our diocese must strive to continue on a synodal path of bringing the faithful together to talk about their faith and the Church – and truly encounter and listen to one another. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to continue to bless, guide and inspire us!

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

 

Prayer for the Synod

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Synod?  

Like many of the words that we use in our Catholic tradition, Synod is an ancient Greek word that means assembling to determine the path forward. A Synod is a Process that gathers Christ’s disciples so that their voices can be heard. It is the Church’s belief that each and everyone’s voice is that of Christ. And when two or three of Christ’s Faithful are gathered, he is present and alive in their midst.

The history of the Church also shows us that the model of Synodality was a critical tool at times of crisis and challenge. A particular ‘synod’ was called to address various crises in the life of the Church and history tells us that, in those moments, the presence of the Holy Spirit was alive in their midst, leading the Church forward. The model of a Synod allows the presence of Christ to be given voice at this moment in our history.

 

What is the 2021-2023 Synod about?  

On March 7, 2020, Pope Francis announced that a Synod of Bishops would convene at the Vatican in October 2023, the theme of which will be For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.  As a vital first step in the Synod process, the Holy Father has invited each diocese around the world to listen to the voices of its people including those who are marginalized or may have fallen away from the Church.

By virtue of our Baptism, all of us are called to be active participants in the life of the Church through discernment, participation and co-responsibility.  Through a process of careful listening, our participation in the Synod process will enable us to better understand how the Christian community participates in the life of our Church in the Diocese of Scranton today and how that shared participation among our members might grow in the future.

(From Bishop Bambera’s Letter to the Faithful, October 4, 2021)

 

Why is this Synod taking place? 

Far from being a temporary or one-time experience in calling the Church to participate in the Synod process, Pope Francis is reminding us that the very mission of the Church requires the entire People of God to be on a journey together, with each member playing his or her crucial role, united with each other.  The Holy Father’s hope is that the experience of this unique world-wide opportunity will bring about a new springtime for listening, discernment, dialogue and decision-making in our Church, so that the whole People of God can better journey together with one another and the entire human family, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

(From Bishop Bambera’s Letter to the Faithful, October 4, 2021)

 

What is my role in this Synod?  

By calling for the 2021-2023 Synod on Synodality, Pope Francis is inviting the Church to gather and to listen to each and every Catholic to find the Church’s path forward at this time in our history.  This is a moment for the voice of God’s people to be heard to give voice to the direction of the Church. Pope Francis is providing the opportunity for this ancient and tested model to find relevance in light of today’s challenges and opportunities.

The Holy Father seeks to hear every voice.  Prayerfully consider participating either in your parish’s in-person consultation session or through the online survey or phone line listed above.

 

 

 

For more information or if you have questions about the Synod, please email us at synod@dioceseofscranton.org.