The first phase of the Synodal Process is getting an extension, the Vatican announced October 29, 2021.
The numerous communications we have received in these first weeks of the synodal process from the Episcopal Conferences, the dioceses, and the eparchies are truly an encouraging confirmation to all those in the Church who are working to celebrate the first phase of the synodal process – the theme of which is For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission – consisting of consultation with the People of God. For all this, we are truly grateful, the Vatican said in a statement by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
During this period, we have heard, over and over again and from various quarters, the request to extend the duration of the first phase of the synodal process in order to provide a greater opportunity for the people of God to have an authentic experience of listening and dialogue.
Aware that a synodal Church is a Church that listens, considering that this first phase is essential for this synodal path and evaluating these requests, always seeking the good of the Church, the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops has decided to extend until August 15, 2022, the deadline for the presentation of the summaries of the consultations by the Episcopal Conferences, the Oriental Catholic Churches sui iuris and the other ecclesial bodies.
Pope Francis officially launched the two-year synodal process, themed “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission,” on Sunday, October 10.
A week later, on October 17, the diocesan phase was kicked off in dioceses across the world.
The initial deadline for the presentation of the synthesis on the part of the Synods of Oriental Churches and the Episcopal Conferences was April 2022 but this latest decision from the General Secretariat extends the first phase deadline by four months.
A second, continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023, while the third, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.