What and Why

The Synod at Catholic U.

Why Synodality?

Pope Francis has invited the entire Church to join in a global synod: that is, to “walk together” to discern what the Holy Spirit is asking of the Church today. This discernment requires the whole Church to “listen humbly” (to Scripture and the teachings of the Church, to the “signs of the times,” to those on the peripheries, and to one another) and “speak boldly with conviction and charity.

The Holy Father’s call to synodality arose, in part, as a response to the abuse crisis in the Church. But the Synod is more than a response to a particular crisis. Synodality is, in essence, the Holy Father’s answer to the question, “How can the faithful, laity and clergy alike, more fully embody the vision of the Church laid out in Lumen Gentium by the Second Vatican Council?”

Answering that question is critically important, not only for addressing particular crises in the Church, but for the vitality of the Church’s mission in the world: to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls.

As Pope Francis said in his very first homily as pope: “We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord.” The synod, in other words, is not about reinventing the Church; it’s about building communion through participation for the sake of mission.

The Catholic Project, on behalf of President Garvey, is inviting the entire University community to ”walk together” as we join the global Church in this discernment, for the good of our University and in service to the mission of the whole Church.

See our press release or Stephen's column on the synod for more information!

How will the university's synod engagement begin?

The first event for the Synod Series will take place on February 28, 2022 (7-8:30 pm) [see event page to sign up]. President Garvey will be joined by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre to discuss what the synod is (and isn’t) and why Catholics everywhere should care. This initial event will set the stage for three subsequent events–the actual Synod Sessions–during which students, faculty , and staff will have the opportunity to “listen humbly” and “speak boldly” with one another about challenges facing the University and the church today. From these Synod Sessions, the Synod Team will produce a written report which accurately reflects the conversations and discernment of the Synod Sessions. This report will be submitted to the Archdiocese of Washington and the USCCB.

When will the listening sessions take place and what are the themes?

Weds, March 16: On Healing and Reconciliation

1. What is an instance in which you experienced genuine healing and reconciliation here at Catholic University?
2. How have you contributed to healing and reconciliation between others or between yourself and someone else?
3. Where is healing and reconciliation needed at the university and in the Church?

Tues, April 5: Challenges we face as a University

1. How can the University better foster a sense of communion, participation, and mission?
2. How have you contributed to the community and mission of the University?

Weds, April 27: The role of the University in the mission of the Church

1. What is an experience you have had here at the University which has exemplified for you what it means to be Catholic?
2. How do you see your education at Catholic U. as shaping your future vocation or mission in the Church?

Who are some of the facilitators?

David Cloutier, Theology and Religious Studies
Mike Gutelius, Head Football Coach
Regina Jefferson, Columbus School of Law and University Marshall
Taryn Okuma, English
Amanda Scheimer, Campus Ministry
Seth Smith, Assoc. Dean for Undergrad Studies
Susan Timoney, Theology and Religious Studies
Brandon Vaidyanathan, Sociology
Emmjolee Mendoza Waters, Campus Ministry

How do I sign up?

Everyone is welcome!


Where can I get more information?

The Office of the President, through The Catholic Project, is leading this initiative. We have invited members of Campus Ministry, Student Life, along with various other administrators, faculty, staff and students to join our “Synod Team,” which will help in the planning and execution of our events, Synod Sessions and, as appropriate, in the compilation and preparation of a final report.

The Catholic Project team is: Stephen White (executive director) and Sara Perla (communications manager). Email Sara at perla@cua.edu for more information.