A year after opening in October 2021, the Synod “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, mission” has taken a decisive step forward. Indeed, it has even expanded. At the Angelus on Sunday, October 16, Pope Francis announced that the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place in two phases: to the session already scheduled for October 2023 a second one will be added for October 2024.
“This decision,” explains the General Secretariat of the Synod, “stems from the desire that, because of its breadth and importance, the theme of the Synodal Church should be the subject of prolonged discernment, not only by the members of the Synodal Assembly, but by the whole Church. […] Therefore, the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will also assume a dimension of process, taking the form of ‘a journey within a journey,’ with the aim of fostering a more mature reflection for the greater good of the Church.”
The Church is already moving toward those dates, and the journey has entered its Continental Stage, a novelty of the current Synod. In fact, on October 27, 2022, the Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) was officially presented. Its title – “Enlarge the space of your tent” – takes up an expression from the book of Isaiah (54:2) as its symbolic reference. These pages are dedicated to the presentation of that document.