Letter of the
XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
to the People of God

NEWS RELEASE – 01.04.2023

Continental Stage comes to an end

The consultation also ends but not the dialogue with the People of God

On Friday, 31 March 2023, the Continental Stage, that is, the second stage of the synodal process, officially ended and with it the time of broad-based consultation of the People of God. The inclusion of a time to listen, dialogue and discern among the Churches of the same geographical area after the Local Stage (diocesan and national) represented a new feature that was introduced by this synodal process.

This new stage was not confined to the mere celebration of seven continental assemblies, but was a real process of listening and discernment on a continental level. The question that formed the basis for these assemblies was the same and unique question of the synodal process as a whole, namely: How is our ‘walking together’ which enables the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accord with the mission entrusted to her, being achieved today at the different levels (from local to universal)? (PD No. 2).

Following the principle of subsidiarity, the organisation of this part of the process and the respective continental synodal assemblies were entrusted to local Organising Committees (or Task Forces) that were mostly part of the International Reunions of Bishops’ Conferences or the Eastern Catholic Churches. However, a special Task Force of the General Secretariat of the Synod accompanied their work. The heads of the General Secretariat of the Synod and the General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops ensured the presence of at least one of them in each continental assembly as a testimony of the closeness and desire of the Holy See to listen to the particular Churches.

The seven assemblies that, from the beginning of February to the end of March, have marked this time of the synod’s journey, were all ecclesial assemblies, that is, representative of the People of God (bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, laity). Their aim was to respond to the three questions contained in the DCS (no. 106) published on 27 October (for more details). Participants in these assemblies sought first to identify the ‘resonances’ aroused by reading the DCS and second, to indicate tensions and priorities. It was comforting to note how the participants in the continental assemblies recognized themselves in the paths identified in the DCS, notwithstanding that each one came from their own ecclesial and cultural perspectives which were sometimes profoundly different. The fruit of their discussions is contained in the Final Document that each Assembly produced and that will serve as a contribution to the work of the first session of the Synod of Bishops (4-29 October 2023). 

These documents were the fruit of an authentically synodal journey, respectful of the process so far, reflecting the voice of the People of God on each Continent. These seven continental documents will form the basis of the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. It is now up to the Preparatory Commission, set up by the General Secretariat of the Synod, (read more), to organise the working group called to produce it.
All assemblies have been a graced time for the Church. In addition to emphasising the great desire for renewal by walking together in unity with Christ, the continental process revealed deep joy and the love of so many faithful for their Church, the People of God, despite its shortcomings and weaknesses as well as the importance of listening as a tool and permanent dynamic of ecclesial life. These assemblies also confirmed the decision to opt for the method of “spiritual conversation” to foster true listening and community discernment in order to reach ecclesial consensus.

The General Secretariat of the Synod expresses its heartfelt gratitude to all those who have engaged in this process with great seriousness and enthusiasm. The Continental Stage led to a greater awareness of the importance of walking together in the Church as a communion of communities, strengthening the dialogue between Particular Churches and the Universal Church.

The conclusion of the consultation does not mean the end of the synodal process within the People of God; nor does it mean the interruption of the dialogue between the Universal Church and the Particular Church. Rather. Rather, it means leaving the local communities with the challenge of putting those “synodal reforms” into practice in the daily routine of their ecclesial action, in the knowledge that much of what has been discussed and identified so far at the local level does not require the discernment of the universal Church nor the intervention of the Magisterium of Peter.

The Final Documents published so far are available here

“‘Taking off your shoes’…articulates our experience of the Church as relational, contextual and missional, journeying together in humility and hope.”

Final Document of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality

Dear All,
Greetings of Peace!

I am pleased to share with you the Final Document of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality which was sent to Rome. This document is already available on the website of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conference.

In Christ,
Bishop Sebastian Francis

Final Document of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality

The Report for the Continental phase of the Synod

The Document for the Continental phase of the Synod (DCS) is the privileged instrument through which the dialogue of the local churches among themselves and with the universal church can take place during the continental stage.

It summarises the reports on the continental phase of the synod from the 11 dioceses and vicariates of the Conference.


The Report for the Continental phase of the Synod


The CBCMSB discussed the correspondence and instructions received from the Vatican, Rome, on the Synod at its conference in August 2021. Each diocese then launched the Synod on synodality around 17 October 2021, the week after its launch by Pope Francis in Rome. The Conference opined that each diocese is best left to their own initiative to understand the synod documents, craft questions and decide how to present these. In all dioceses, small teams were established and a synod contact person was appointed by the local bishop.



Press Conference for the presentation of the Continental Phase of the Synod on Synodality
Friday 26 August, at 01.00 pm CET

On August 26, 2022, a Press Conference will be held at 1 p.m. (CET) at the Holy See Press Office to present the second stage of the synodal process: the Continental Stage of the Synod on Synodality.

For the occasion, Cardinals Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, and Jean-Claude Hollerich, General Rapporteur for the next Synod, will also provide some data on the Syntheses that have reached the General Secretariat of the Synod and have been produced from the unprecedented worldwide consultation of the People of God that took place in the previous months, as well as some information on the ways in which the Document for the Continental Stage will be produced.

The event will be streamed live with simultaneous translation into English, Spanish, French and Italian on the Vatican News YouTube channel:

We invite you to forward this information to your respective parish, diocesan, associational synod teams… and to those who may be interested.

The event will provide a unique opportunity to better understand the goals and modalities of the continental stage and how we can all move forward together in our synodal journey.


Meeting of FABC on ecumenical dimension of synodal process

On Wednesday 12 January 2021, the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (OEIA) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, organized an online meeting on the ecumenical dimension of the synodal process.

Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus Prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit for an ecclesial assembly of governance or discernment (thus synodal)

Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality Official Handbook for Listening and Discernment in Local Churches

First Phase [October 2021 April 2022] in Dioceses and Bishops’ Conferences
Leading up to the Assembly of Bishops in Synod in October 2023



Malaysia Pre-Synod Assembly – Mon, 11 July 2022

Assembly: 9.30am – 5.15pm; Mass: 5.30pm
YouTube Link:

Chit-Chat with the Diocese of Penang

Synod on Synodality

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Penang,
Pope Francis is reaching out to you. He wants to listen to your feedback which is important for the growth of the Church.

We encourage you to participate in this process.





Penang Diocese Pre-Synod Team

Synodality: What Is That? 
by Bishop Sebastian Francis

Synod Resources

Visit the to download the latest resources, videos and materials.

Message for Synod of Bishops 2021-2023

Click to view the videos on the(BM, English, Mandarin, Tamil)



The Faith Perspective

A conversation with Professor Christina Kheng on how we can journey together during the Synodal Process. Christina Kheng is a Singaporean layperson who teaches Pastoral Leadership at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila. She’s been named by Pope Francis to be part of the Commission on Methodology supporting the Synod’s General Secretariat.


CatholicSG Radio Podcast Player

Apple Podcasts

Synod of Bishops 2021-2023

You may stay tuned to the channel on participation of this Synod and visit for more information.



Brunei Synod Webpage

Visit the Brunei Synod Webpage for updates.

Opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops in Local Churches

Sunday, 17 October 2021, 7.30am
Recorded Mass from the Apostolic Vicariate in Brunei Darussalam