What is a Synod?
The Synod of Bishops is a permanent institution established by Pope Paul VI, 15 September 1965, in response to the desire of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to keep alive the spirit of collegiality engendered by the conciliar experience.
Literally speaking the word “synod”, derived from two Greek words syn meaning “together” and hodosmeaning “road” or “way”, means a “coming together”. A Synod is a religious meeting or assembly at which bishops, gathered around and with the Holy Father, have opportunity to interact with each other and to share information and experiences, in the common pursuit of pastoral solutions which have a universal validity and application. The Synod, generally speaking, can be defined as an assembly of bishops representing the Catholic episcopate, having the task of helping the Pope in the governing of the universal Church by rendering their counsel.
This particular Synod is the 15th Ordinary Synod held since the establishment of the Synod of Bishops with the most recent being held in 2015 on The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.
The principal characteristic of the Synod of Bishops is service to the communion and collegiality of the world’s bishops with the Holy Father. It is not a particular organism with limited competence as that of the Roman Congregations and Councils. Instead, it has full competence to deal with any subject in accordance with the procedure established by the Holy Father in the letter of convocation. The Synod of Bishops with its permanent General Secretariat is not part of the Roman Curia and does not depend on it; it is subject directly and solely to the Holy Father, with whom it is united in the universal government of the Church.
Pray with Pope Francis
in journeying towards the Synod, your Church
turns her attention to all the young people of the world.
We pray that they might boldly take charge of their lives,
aim for the most beautiful and profound things of life
and always keep their hearts unencumbered.
Accompanied by wise and generous guides, help them respond to
the call you make to each of them,
to realize a proper plan of life and achieve happiness.
Keep their hearts open to dreaming great dreams
and make them concerned for the good of others.
Like the Beloved Disciple, may they stand at the foot of the Cross,
to receive your Mother as a gift from you.
May they be witnesses to your Resurrection
and be aware that you are at their side
as they joyously proclaim you as Lord.