NEWS OF THE SYNOD (2024-02-08)

The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis in 2021, continues on its path towards the universal assembly in October 2024. As part of this process, the Synod Secretariat at the Vatican has now invited all local Churches to select two or three themes from the synthesis report that are particularly relevant to their local situation.

After reading the report and our diocesan Synod report, the Pembroke synodal committee has chosen the following themes for discussion in our diocese:

Theme 1 – The Church as a Place of Healing and Discipleship

Recognizing the Church’s woundedness and its ongoing mission to reach out to and embrace those affected by the challenges of modernity, consider how the Church and parishes in particular, can adapt and pastorally innovate in response to the needs of a wounded world.  How can the Church serve as a welcoming “home” where encounters with the Living God and discipleship in Christ can occur, offering healing, support and direction amidst the complexities of contemporary life.

In simpler terms, this means acknowledging that the Church faces challenges and has a responsibility to help people who are struggling in today’s world. It asks how the Church, especially local communities, can change and come up with new ways to help those who are hurting. It also asks how the Church can be a comforting and supportive place where people can connect with God and learn to follow Jesus, finding guidance and healing in their lives.

Theme 2 – Missionary Mindset 

Explore the concept of fostering a missionary mindset within the parish community. Examine how the parish can encourage parishioners to see themselves as ambassadors of the faith and actively engage in spreading the Gospel message. In other words, this means looking at how the parish can inspire its members to think like missionaries. It involves figuring out ways for people in the Christian community to see themselves as representatives of their faith and to get involved in sharing the message of the Gospel with others.

These themes are important as we must continually seek to renew our ecclesial life and witness in the world. The diocese’s parishes and other groups are invited to organize discussions around these themes using the method of spiritual conversation. These discussions are not intended to be academic or theoretical, but rather prayerful and concrete, guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

The diocesan committee for the Synod on Synodality wishes to thank all groups that will organize these discussions. The committee will synthesize the fruits of the discussions undertaken in a synthesis report which will then be sent to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

NEWS OF THE SYNOD (2023-10-28)

The Vatican released the Synod on Synodality’s “synthesis report” outlining key proposals discussed during the assembly’s conversations. The document proposes a “Synodal Church” that implements synodality throughout Church governance, theology, mission, and discernment of doctrine and pastoral issues. Here is the link to the report

The participants discussed the importance of walking together as baptized persons, in the diversity of charisms, vocations, and ministries, not only for our communities but also for the world. They also discussed the challenges facing the Church and the world today, such as migration, multiculturalism, and multireligious contexts, and the need to find ways to create dialogue between religions and cultures. The participants proposed a style of presence, service, and proclamation that seeks to build bridges, cultivate mutual understanding, and engage in evangelization that accompanies, listens, and learns.

The Synodal Church model was also discussed as a way to enhance the participation and mission of all members of the Church, especially the laity and the marginalized.

NEWS OF THE SYNOD (2023-10-27)

The XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops recently concluded, and in a letter addressed to the People of God. (

The assembly emphasized the importance of pastoral and missionary conversion, emphasizing that its role is to proclaim the Gospel and serve God’s love for the world. The centrality of love, especially Trinitarian and Eucharistic love, was highlighted. The Church hopes to encourage missionary communion and synodality among its members, emphasizing the need for genuine involvement from all.

To achieve this, the documents say, the Church should listen to all voices, especially the marginalized and victims of abuse within its ranks. It should also engage with laypeople and families. The prophetic voice of consecrated life and those seeking truth should not be ignored.

The letter concludes by emphasizing the Church’s mission to cooperate with the world, embracing synodality as a path for the Church in the third millennium.


In October 2021 Pope Francis launched the path of synodality “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. From 2021 to 2024 the entire Church has embarked on a journey of sharing, reflecting and listening. Dioceses worldwide have been asked to pray and reflect on how to “journey together” to better accomplish the mission of the Church.

Mid-June, dioceses across the Ontario province submitted their synod reports to the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) which synthesize what was heard from each of the 12 dioceses and produced a provincial report that was passed on to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).  

The Diocese of Pembroke Synod Synthesis Report can be found here.

The ACBO Regional Synod Synthesis Report can be found here.

The CCCB also received reports prepared by Canada’s three other Regional Episcopal Assemblies – Western, Quebec and Atlantic regions. It then wrote a national synthesis and submitted it to the General Secretariat of the Synod of the Holy See on 15 August 2022. 

The Canadian national synthesis can be found here.

In preparation for the next stage of the Synod, the Vatican released a working document on October 27 2022. The purpose of this document is to present a global view of what faithful from around the world believe needs to be done for the Church.

The document, titled “Enlarge the Space of your Tent,” is in fact a summary of reports from national bishops’ conferences, who compiled the reports based on contributions from individual dioceses.

It will serve for the continental stage of the synod, in which episcopal conferences on all seven continents will hold assemblies to reflect on and discuss the contents of the document. These assemblies will then submit a new report based on these discussions, which will be used to draft the working document for the final, universal phase in Rome.

Begun in October 2021, the “Synod on Synodality” was recently extended by Pope Francis through October 2024, to allow for more time for reflection and discernment from both the local and universal Church. The Universal Phase of the Synod will be held in two parts, the first in October 2023 and the second a year later in October 2024.


A Word from our Bishop

All the diocesan Churches of the world have now entered into a great process called “synod”. Pope Francis officially launched this process on Saturday and Sunday, 9 and 10 October 2021 in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He invites all the faithful, men and women, religious men and women, and clergy to embark on a vast consultation movement that will reach its climax in two years. We hope that we will thus be able to better discern the missionary paths for our Church of today and tomorrow. May our synodal process be imbued with the life-giving anointing of the Holy Spirit and truly respond to the desires and expectations of the divine Heart of Jesus.

Sincerely yours in Christ our Redeemer,

+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R.

The Synod’s Objective in the Diocese of Pembroke

  • To discover which processes can help our Church live communion, achieve participation, and open Herself to mission. (Preparatory Document, Paragraph 1)
  • To consult the faithful for the Evangelization project.
  • “Plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands, and inspire in young people – all young people, with no one excluded – a vision of the future filled with the joy of the Gospel. (Address by Pope Francis at the opening of the Synod)

The Consultation

The questions for our synodal process were as follows:

To become an evangelizing Church that reaches out to the disaffected Catholics, to the poor, and to those who do not know Christ…

1. How can we, the faithful and our Christian communities, be more open to evangelization? (Mission)

  • It is common for Catholics to be uncomfortable with the word evangelization and its practice. We don’t see ourselves evangelizing others. Although evangelizing is simply sharing God’s love with our whole life, many Catholics see it as proselytism (recruiting members for an organization). Specifically, the question asks how we can become less averse to evangelization and more open to it. How can we desire more to call those who do not know God to believe that He is a God of love, compassion, and mercy?

2. How can we, the faithful and our Christian communities, better respond to the universal call to holiness through a greater love for God and for one another? (Communion)

  • Simply put this question asks how we can be better Christians by having, and showing, more love for God and one another. Among other things, how can we be attentive to the needs of the people around us and respond to them?

3. How can the priests, deacons, religious and all the faithful be mobilized to evangelize? (Participation)

  • Another way to phrase this question would be: What do you think could motivate all Catholics in the diocese to become more involved in spreading God’s love to those who do not know him?

4. What are your dreams, hopes and vision for the future of the Diocese of Pembroke?

5. How can we continue this consultation and dialogue after the Synod?

The Universal Process of the Synod


About Evangelization and Communion

Pope Francis explains that “evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of these are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”.  A spirit-filled evangelization is one guided by the Holy Spirit, for he is the soul of the Church called to proclaim the Gospel. Enthusiasm for evangelization is based on this conviction. We have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message which cannot mislead or disappoint. It penetrates to the depths of our hearts, sustaining and ennobling us. It is a truth which is never out of date because it reaches that part of us which nothing else can reach. Our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love”. (Evangelii Gaudium)

Fraternal life, or communion, is an essential element of the Christian life. It is the manifestation of that love which wells up in the heart of the Father and is poured into our hearts by the Spirit whom Jesus has bestowed on us. Communion with each other is the sign of profound union with God.  By calling us to communion, God calls us to share in his life. Christ formed the Church, that makes visible the sharing of goods, for fraternal love, for shared projects and activities; and this comes from having accepted the invitation to follow him. (Acts 4:32)

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