Synod 2021-2024 ~ For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission

March 2024 Synodal Gatherings

As we continue on our journey, initiated by the Holy Father, for a Synodal Church, the Diocese of Gaylord will be hosting follow-up Synodal Gatherings.  In 2022, the faithful throughout our diocese gathered to discuss “what” we could do as a Church to be more communal and evangelize the Body of Christ. Now, we gather to discuss the “how.” 
Join Bishop Walsh at one of the March 2024 Synodal Gatherings: 

  1.   March 4, St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, Parish Hall, 6-8 pm
  2.   March 11, St. Francis of Assisi, Traverse City, Parish Hall, 6-8 pm
  3.   March 18, All Saints, Alpena, Parish Hall, 6-8 pm

Discussion will focus on two questions: 

  1. How can the structures and organizations of the Church help all the baptized to respond to the call to proclaim the Gospel and to live as a community of love and mercy in Christ? 
  2. Where have I seen or experienced successes – and distresses—within the Church’s structure(s), organization, leadership, life that encourage or hinder the mission? 

These discussions will help gather testimonies and good practices that will be shared at the second Vatican session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2024. 

What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church today? 

The whole People of God – ordained, religious, and lay alike – are commissioned to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ in the world. In the Holy Spirit, living in all the faithful, each member of the Church is given a part in drawing the world into communion with Christ. This participation of the baptized in the Church’s sacred mission, each according to their proper role, is called synodality. 

Prior to the 2023 meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Pope Francis asked the People of God to contribute their prayerful reflection on the life of the Church in order to discern together how to be a more communal and evangelizing Body of Christ. This invitation for the Universal Church was to be exercised in three stages: First, the bishops consult the People of God about a particular question, carried out in local parishes. Second, the bishops hear the response of the faithful and discern how the Holy Spirit is speaking in it. Finally, Pope Francis considers the bishops’ discernment and implements directives in response.

After the Opening of the Synodal Process in October 2021, the Diocese of Gaylord conducted synodal consultations in parishes and parish clusters over the past several months. In these synodal consultations, the faithful were asked to reflect upon the following questions:

  1. “What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church today?”
  2. "What should we do to improve our parish?”
  3. "A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?”

Diocese of Gaylord Synthesis Report

On July 25, 2022, the Most Reverend Jeffrey J. Walsh, bishop of Gaylord, shared the following in response to the completion of the diocesan synodal consultations:

“After several months of outreach at the parish and diocesan levels, the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality has concluded, and I am pleased to present the final report on this Feast of St. James. May the intercession of Saint James bolster our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith!

“This Synthesis Report summarizes volumes of input from those who participated in small group discussions, completed online forms, or submitted comments via letter, email and/or social media. I want to thank everyone who took the time to express their views and listen with respect to what others had to say, whether they agreed or disagreed. The Synodal process is much like life itself. Being a Synodal Church requires openness, flexibility, patience, collaboration, orthodoxy, courage, and ultimate trust in God’s Providence.

"In a particular way, I would like to thank Mr. Andy Moe and Fr. Matthew Furgiuele for their work in compiling and synthesizing the material for this final report. It was no easy task. May God bless all our efforts as the Synodal process continues to unfold at the regional and national levels until it reaches Rome for our Holy Father’s discernment.”

This diocesan Synod Report was published and submitted to regional bishops’ conference. Next steps in the synodal process include each regional bishops’ conferences synthesizing diocesan reports and submitting their findings to continental bishops’ conferences. These continental gatherings will then submit reports to the General Synod of Bishops in Rome, where the final discernment process will take place and recommendations will be made to Pope Francis. For more information about the Synod, please visit the website of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops.   

Click below to read the Diocese of Gaylord Synthesis report:

Regional and National Syntheses Reports

On September 23, 2022, Bishop Walsh shared the following in response to the publishing of the Regional and National Syntheses reports: 

“I am pleased to announce the publishing of both the Regional and National Syntheses of the Synod on Synodality. This process of synthesizing thousands of reports has been no small task. Please take some time to read them as we continue to reflect on our experience of Church and what the Holy Spirit is inspiring. My recent time in Rome confirmed the importance of this Synod process to Pope Francis’ understanding of a 'listening Church' discerning God’s holy will.”

Click below to read the Regional, National and North America Continental Syntheses reports:

Bishops conclude the North America Continental writing retreat with prayers for strengthened Communion