The Global Synod at Catholic University

(Media Release, February 15, 2022) The Catholic University of America is fully engaging in the global synod process called for by Pope Francis, beginning with a public conversation on Feb. 28 between the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre and University President John Garvey, followed by campus-wide listening sessions to be held this semester.

The conversation with Archbishop Pierre and President Garvey will highlight the importance of listening to the Spirit as we journey with the Church, and comes just four days after the pope meets virtually with university students from across the Western Hemisphere. The conversation will be presented both in person — in the Della Ratta Auditorium in Maloney Hall — and online.

The Vatican has called for Catholic universities and faculties of theology to contribute to the universal Church’s discussion of synodality. Catholic University is one of the only universities in the country to respond with a plan that includes both internal discussion and external events, including events with bishops.

In addition to the conversation with the nuncio, Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minn., will come to campus for an event on healing and the Eucharist on March 16.

“While we listen together to what the Spirit is saying on campus, we also want to engage directly with our Church’s leadership on questions about synodality, healing, and the place of a Catholic university in the world today,” said President Garvey.

The Holy Father called this synod in part as a response to the abuse crisis in the Church, so The Catholic Project, created to foster effective collaboration between the clergy and the laity of the Church in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis, was primed to organize the University’s engagement. The Catholic Project is also reaching out to bishops, priests, and religious to get involved.

“The Holy Father has always been clear that the abuse crisis in the Church is not a crisis that can be solved without effective collaboration between the clergy and the laity — which is exactly what synodality is,” said Stephen White, executive director of The Catholic Project.

The synod discussion questions are organized around the themes of healing and reconciliation, the challenges faced by the University, and the place of the university in the Church and world today.

White will provide the responses from the listening sessions to the Archdiocese of Washington, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the public. “While this synod is primarily for our own community, it is also not just for us, but for the whole Church,” he said.

This kick-off event with the apostolic nuncio will be followed by listening sessions with students, faculty, and staff, led by a group of facilitators from across campus.

For more information about Catholic University’s synod sessions, visit

Catholic University will comply with all Washington, D.C., COVID-19 guidelines for in-person gatherings. Please visit our online registration page for more details.

MEDIA: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sara Perla at or 703-915-1228.