Let us listen and dialogue as One Church – Archdiocesan Phase for the Synod

On 17 October 2021, following the call of Pope Francis, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei (CBCMSB) begins the diocesan phase of the XVI ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, October 2023 with the theme: FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION & MISSION.

Every Diocese in the conference will now actively engage in listening and in dialogue with Catholics of all ages. The intent is not to produce documents but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.

The Archdiocese of Singapore will participate in this largest consultative exercise in the history of the Church and begin a series of processes to listen to the people of God in Singapore which will culminate in an Archdiocesan Assembly on the 11th and 12th June 2022. The archdiocesan-wide briefing was done on the 3rd of Nov at 8pm.

What is the Synodal Process and How does it affect me?

~Archbishop William Goh on 17 Oct 2021 ~


Synodality is the “way” of being Church. Pope Francis says it is the “path… which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” The Synod preparatory documents describe this way or path as one where the faithful journey together and reflect together on how the Church can live communion, achieve participation and open itself to the mission as the pilgrim and missionary People of God, especially in the complexity of the world situation today.

The fundamental question for the consultation of the People of God

A synodal Church “journeys together”, and we want to understand how we are “journeying together” today. We are therefore called to engage in conversations to share our experiences. Through these, we discern what the Holy Spirit wants us to do in order to grow in our “journeying together”.

To gather these experiences, we invite you to share how your journey of faith has shaped you. We also want to listen to the hopes and worries you have for the future of the Church.

In addition to this main question, we want to explore in greater depth this sense of “journeying together”. You are invited to consider 10 themes that relate to how we are journeying together.

10 Themes of the Synod

  1. THE JOURNEYING COMPANIONS: In the Church and in society, we are journeying on the same road.

  2. LISTENING: Listening is the first step. We need to have an open mind and heart, and be without prejudice.

  3. SPEAKING OUT: All are invited to speak with courage and parrhesia, that is, integration of freedom, truth, and charity.

  4. CELEBRATION: “Journeying together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word and the celebration of the Eucharist.

  5. CO-RESPONSIBILITY IN THE MISSION: Synodality is at the service of the Church’s mission, in which all her members are called to participate.

  6. DIALOGUE IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY: Dialogue is a path of perseverance that also includes silences and sufferings, but which is capable of gathering the experience of persons and peoples.

  7. WITH THE OTHER CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS: The dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey.

  8. AUTHORITY AND PARTICIPATION: A synodal Church is one that is a participatory and co-responsible Church.

  9. DISCERNING AND DECIDING: In a synodal style, decisions are made through discernment, based on a consensus that flows from the common obedience to the Spirit.

  10. FORMING OURSELVES IN SYNODALITY: The spirituality of journeying together is an educational principle for the formation of the human person and of the Christian, of the families, and of the communities.

Understand what is synod is about

In this CatholicSG Radio’s The Faith Perspective podcast episode, Fr Valerian Cheong, Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Synodal Committee (Singapore), shares about the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops expanded to be a worldwide “grassroots” consultation which will open in Rome on the weekend of 9 & 10 October. He also shares about the 2-year Synodal process including the Diocesan phase that starts on 17 Oct 2021.

Listen to this engaging 30min conversation using either using the CatholicSG Radio podcast, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

CatholicSG Radio: https://bit.ly/3my022y

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3ArYVpL

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3oK6QwC

Group Conversation

The main ingredient in this group conversation is to listen. Listening to others, listening to God as well as listening to self.

Before Meeting:

  • Decide on one theme from the list of conversation themes. (Do the main theme first)

  • Send the conversation question(s) from the chosen theme to those coming for the meeting for them to reflect and think through.

  • Invite them to write down their thoughts as they reflect.

  • Invite members to pray for openness, patience and understanding at the meeting.

The Conversation:

  • Have a quick round of introduction and check in (how are you feeling today)

  • Begin with the Synod Prayer

  • Invite someone to be the scribe to write down the fruits of the conversation at the end

  • Explain the guide for the conversation (see guide)

  • 1st Round – Question(s) from the chosen theme (3-5 minutes each)

  • Pause – invite everyone to consider what was shared. Consider what spoke to you and/or what did not. What feelings arise? (2-3 minutes)

  • 2nd Round – Share what spoke to you? What made you uncomfortable? How do you feel about your response? (3 minutes each)

  • Pause – invite everyone to take in what was shared. Noticing what converges and/or what emerges.

  • 3rd Round – Share what you have heard in terms of what is common or what has surfaced? What is God saying?

  • Have the scribe to summarise the fruits of the conversation, get everyone’s consent before submitting to mycatholic.sg portal. (There is no need to mention names in the submission.)

  • Thank everyone and end with closing prayer.


  • Conversation is done with the consciousness of the Spirit moving among us

  • 3 rounds of sharing

  • After each round of sharing, there is a pause to take in what was shared and check in on what the Spirit might be saying

  • At the first round, there should not be any response to what was shared. Everyone is invited to share from his or her own experience.

  • Responses are made to what is heard. It is not for giving advise or to promote personal causes.

Awareness & avoidance of pitfalls:

  • Temptation of wanting to lead ourselves instead of being led by God

  • Temptation to focus on ourselves & our immediate concerns

  • Temptation to only see ‘problems’

  • Temptation of focusing only on structures

  • Temptation not to look beyond the visible confines of the Church

  • Temptation to lose focus of the objective of the Synodal process (how God calls us to walk forward together

  • Temptation of conflict & division

  • Temptation to treat the Synod as a kind of parliament

  • Temptation to listen only to those who are already involved in Church activities

Click here to download the PDF file.