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 About the "Synod"

What is a synod?

A synod is a select group of priests, deacons, religious and laity who offer assistance to the diocesan bishop for the good of the whole diocesan community. In the synod the delegates contribute their wisdom, holiness, and experience in addressing matters of importance to the life of the diocese, thereby assisting their bishop in his pastoral responsibility to shepherd his flock.

What does the word synod mean?

Synod (syn-od, pronounced sin'ud) comes from Greek roots meaning to come together with + to move forward on a path. We are familiar with many "syn" words: synthesis, syndicate, synthesizer, synthetic, syndrome, synagogue...all imply to come together with, but only a few words come from the "od" root: odometer, odyssey. In a synod people come together with their bishop to move forward on a pathway.

Is a synod something new in the Church?

Not at all. The Church has used the word, synod, for over 1500 years to describe an official meeting the Bishop held with the clergy, seeking their wisdom and experience in formulating Church legislation. Since Vatican II, the synod has been revived as a major instrument of spiritual and pastoral renewal. Pope John Paul II has used synods as a means to carry out renewal within the universal Church. The Church recommends that bishops use synods to renew their dioceses. Many US dioceses have held a synod.

Why did we hold a synod now?

The changes that accompany our entry into the 3rd millennium of Christianity challenge the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to address many new realities. No one person has full clarity of vision to see what direction to take. But together as Church, urged by the grace given at our Baptism, nourished by Eucharist and strengthened in Confirmation, we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to unite around a new vision:

  • to participate more fully in the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit,
  • to address the challenges to the Church that our rapid growth has
    brought,
  • to celebrate our diverse gifts and use them in service of one another,
  • to reach out to the many who have not found a home in the Church or
    who have lost that home.

What was the goal of the synod of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

The goal of the synod was to set pastoral priorities for the future based on a renewed vision of Church. The priorities and outcomes of the synod were put into legislation and a pastoral plan that will guide how we as a Church move forward into the future.

Who called the synod?

Cardinal Roger Mahony convoked an Archdiocesan Synod in the concluding paragraph of his Pastoral Letter on Ministry, As I Have Done For You, published on Holy Thursday, April 20, 2000.

If the synod is over, why this site?

While the formal Synod sessions are over, the work of implementing its work continues. The Synod itself called for an Office of Synod Implementation to ensure that its decrees were carried out. Cardinal Mahony has stated that the Synod documents will direct the planning and organization of the Archdiocese for years to come

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