Decree on the Opening of the Preparatory Diocesan Phase of the Sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

Whereas on September 15, 2018 Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio in which it was decreed that Synods of Bishops are to begin with a Preparatory Phase in which the People of God will be consulted on the theme of the Synod Assembly (EC Art. 5 §2) within the particular Churches by means of recourse to the participatory bodies provided for by the law (EF Art. 6 §1); and

Whereas on April 24, 2021 Pope Francis approved a new synodal program for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops titled “For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission”; and

Whereas this synodal process initiates with a diocesan phase from October 2021 to April 2022 so that the People of God, who are themselves the subject of the sensus fidei, might be consulted and listened to in conformity to the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio; and  

Whereas the Instructions (Vademecum) on the Synod on Synodality dated September 7, 2021 states that the diocese may make use of existing diocesan “synodal” bodies such as Parish pastoral Councils and the Diocesan Pastoral Council to organize, give life, and facilitate the Synodal Process at the local level, provided that efforts are made to reach out to the peripheries and to those whose voices are seldom heard;

Whereas Pope Francis formally opened the Synod by means of a Holy Mass on October 10, 2021 after which time he desired local liturgies to mark the opening of this synodal process in the local Churches;


that the Prepartory Diocesan Phase of the Synod shall commence in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston by means of a Holy Mass on October 20, 2021;

This ongoing consultation and discernment will conclude with a pre-synodal meeting at which time the conclusions will be gathered and submitted to the Episcopal Conference at a date determined by said body of bishops.

Given at the Chancery Offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on October 20, 2021.    


Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

Most Rev. Italo Dell’Oro, CRS