Grech told Vatican news: “We have created four commissions to support the work leading up to the synod: one for theological study, another to help us grow as a Church in the spirituality of communion, a third for methodology, and finally a fourth that will be dedicated to the aspect of communication.”
Pope Francis is expected to “inaugurate the synodal path” over the weekend of Oct. 9-10 with an opening session and a Mass. All dioceses are invited also to offer an opening Mass on Sunday, Oct. 17.
During the initial “diocesan phase,” each bishop is asked to undertake a consultation with the local Church from October 2021 to April 2022.
The Vatican will then release an instrumentum laboris (working document) in September 2022 for a period of “pre-synodal discernment in continental assemblies,” which will influence a second draft of the working document to be published before June 2023.
The process will culminate with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.
Asked if the synodal process required too much of local churches, Grech said: “All this is not really a process that complicates the life of the Church. Because without knowing what the Spirit is saying to the Church, we could act in a vacuum and, even without knowing it, against the Spirit.”
“Once we have rediscovered the ‘pneumatological’ dimension of the Church, we can only adopt the dynamism of prophecy-discernment, which lies at the heart of the synodal process. This is especially true when thinking about the third term at play: mission.”
The cardinal recalled that the 2018 youth synod referred to “missionary synodality.”
“Synodality is for mission, it is listening to how the Church becomes itself by living, witnessing and bringing the Gospel. All the terms proposed by the title are connected: they stand or fall together,” he said.
“Let us also ask to be deeply converted to synodality: it means converting to Christ and his Spirit, leaving the primacy to God.”