The Catholic Church’s national synodal process in the Philippines will start on Monday, July 4, in Tagaytay City.
More than 200 bishops, priests, and lay representatives of the diocesan synodal process will take part in the consultation that will last until July 7.
Monsignor Bernardo Pantin, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the meeting will mainly be a presentation of reports from the metropolitan synodal consultations that were held in archdioceses throughout the country.
“And in the end, they will come up with a national synthesis, which will be submitted to the Synod Office in Rome,” said Msgr. Pantin.
The Vatican has set August 15, 2022, as the deadline for submission of national synthesis from episcopal conferences all over the world.
The process aims to assess the challenges the Church faces today and to offer an analysis of the current situation.
In May last year, Pope Francis ordered that the 2023 Synod of Bishops begin with widespread consultation among laypeople.
The two-year process has three phases: diocesan, continental, and universal.
The theme chosen by the pope for the gatherings is: “For a synodal church: communion, participation and mission.”
Msgr. Pantin said that what happened in the diocesan level were people “journeying together” about their “concerns, hopes, dreams, aspirations and even their frustrations” about the Church.
“It really came up as an opportunity to voice up their opinions and sentiments about the Church,” he said.
The process involved not only Catholics but also those who belong to other Churches and even those who are not active in the Church.
From September 2022 to March 2023, bishops from various regions will meet for the “continental phase” and draft a document that will be sent to Rome.
All consultations and discernment are meant to assist participants, mostly bishops, who will meet at the general assembly of the synod in the Vatican in October 2023.