Synod Journal
Understanding the Synod for America
by John Bookser Feister

The Synod for America (November 16 - December 12, 1997) is the second of a series of five regional bishops' gatherings which will help the Church worldwide prepare for the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.

According to the working document drafted to guide the monthlong Synod of America, the Synod should promote a new evangelization that is clearly focused on Church communion, social justice and a strong proclamation of Christ. At the Synod, held at the Vatican, there will be representation from all bishops' conferences in North, South and Central America and the Carribbean. The idea is to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ by renewing the mission of his Church.

The Synod for Asia is expected to meet in the spring of 1998, followed by the Synod for Oceania—Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific—in the fall of 1998. There was a Synod for Africa in 1994.

The special Synod of Bishops for Europe is expected to be held in the spring of 1999.

All of these will culminate with a worldwide Synod of Bishops to be held on the eve of the millennium, in the fall of 1999.

Synods have been reintroduced into Catholic life since the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized a broadening sense of collegiality and participation within the Church. Synods serve an advisory role to the Holy Father, leader of Catholics worldwide.

John Bookser Feister is editor of American Catholic Online.

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