On October 9, 2021, the Catholic Church will embark on an intentional process of mutual listening that will span two years and engage the People of God in a journey of communion, participation, and mission.
As part of his vision of the renewal of the Church, ever since his election, Pope Francis has eagerly desired to implement the forgotten ecclesiology of Vatican-II as so clearly indicated in Lumen Gentium. One of the central elements of this conciliar vision is to give all the baptized their due place in ecclesial life as the People of God. As a ground-breaking step towards its realization, the Pope will be inaugurating the unprecedented Synodal process on Synodality this weekend (on 9th Oct.) in the Vatican. This Synodal process which will last for some two years is meant to consult the whole People of God, in and through the dioceses, parishes, religious congregations and communities and other Church organizations.
Beginning with the opening session in Rome on October 9-10, the process will turn towards the local Churches for a nine-month time for listening, discerning, and dialoguing from October 2021 – April 2022. Then the journey will move outwards to the continental and universal phases, concluding with a meeting with the Synod of Bishops in October of 2023. The intention is to initiate a culture of consulting all the baptized and listening to what the Holy Spirit tells through them in the decision-making of the Church.
The Secretary-General of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Synods, Cardinal Mario Grech has appointed a 25-member theological commission to assist this synodal process which will climax with the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023. Among the three Asian theologians appointed to this Commission is the Sri Lankan Redemptorist Fr. Vimal Tirimanna who at present teaches moral theology half the year in the National Seminary in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and the other half of the year in Rome, at the Accademia Alfonsiana, the Pontifical Urbaniana University, and the Pontifical Beda College.