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Synodality at Villanova

logo for synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church

In October 2021, the People of God embarked on a process titled "Synod 2021 – 2023: For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission." Called by Pope Francis, this two-year synod is a "journeying together." It asks the People of God, at every level and in every place, to reflect on where the Church has been so that, going forward, it can better live in communion, promote participation and carry out its mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

Philly Catholic Higher Ed Gathering

large group of college students and adults with archbishop of Philadelphia in the center

Thank you to all who participated in an evening sharing, listening and prayer at the all-campus gathering April 4 at La Salle University! See photos and updates from the event.

The Church Wants to Hear From You

Dioceses around the world have invited parishes, higher ed and other entities associated with the Catholic Church to listen to and consult the People of God. This first phase of the synod lasts through April 2022.

Read more about what a synod is and its role in Church history.

Why Is This Process Important?

Francis explained in his address to the Synod on Young People in 2018:

"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, and inspire in young people—all young people, with no one excluded—a vision of the future filled with the joy of the Gospel." 

Attend a Listening Session

We want to make sure all Villanova students have the chance to speak up and be heard. Volunteers known as "animators" began hosting campus sessions for undergrads and grads, including those who no longer feel connected to the Church, in February.

If you haven't attend yet, please join us for one of the following in-person or virtual sessions (schedule updated 3/21):

Monday, March 21 | 4:30–6 PM| Virtual 

Wednesday, March 30 | 6:15–7:45 PM | Devon Room, Connelly Center

Sunday, April 3 | 1–3 PM | Connelly Center*
*This is a regional session for young adults offered by the archdiocese and requires registration. It is not University sponsored.

Don't see an option that works for you? Or want to have a session for your student group? Schedule your own listening session. Contact one of the campus animators for details.  

Sign Up to Be a Delegate

Join the Villanova student delegation for this historic opportunity to share and listen with peers at a gathering at La Salle University, 6-9 PM, Monday April 4.

Students from all the Philadelphia Catholic colleges and universities, as well as several Newman centers, will also take part. Shortly after dinner and initial conversations, Archbishop Nelson Perez will join us to listen to the voices of those gathered.

Your Input Matters

After each listening session, animators write up the discussion. These reports will be presented at the April 4 La Salle gathering.

How You'll Be Heard

A synthesis of all findings will be sent to the Archdiocese and, eventually, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB will include this synthesis in its national report to the Vatican. 

2023 Rome Gathering

After months of collaboration and drafting and reviewing at the national and international level, the Vatican will host the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023. Following that event, the implementation phase will begin. 

Kathleen J. Byrnes, JD
Vice President for Student Life

Sister Amanda Carrier, RSM
Graduate Student, Theology

The Rev. Kevin DePrinzio, OSA, PhD
Vice President, Mission and Ministry

Kathryn Getek Soltis, STL, PhD
Director, Center for Peace and Justice Education
Assistant Professor, Christian Ethics

Brian McCabe '11 MS
Associate Director for Outreach and Student Formation

In a spirit of synodality, the following entities have come together to ensure that the voice of Catholic higher ed in Philadelphia is heard:

Cabrini University
Chestnut Hill College
DeSales University
Gwynedd Mercy University
Holy Family University
Immaculata University
La Salle University
Neumann University
Rosemont College
Saint Joseph’s University
Villanova University
Drexel University Newman Center
University of Pennsylvania Newman Center
West Chester University Newman Center
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Learn more about this Philly-area effort, which Villanova helped to spearhead.

Learn more about the 2021 – 2023 Synod.

Read the Preparatory Document.

Refer to the official handbook for listening and discerning.

Read Francis' address for the opening of the synod.

Discover Augustinian spirituality in the context of the synod.

The ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received, depends largely on the decision to initiate processes of listening, dialogue, and community discernment, in which each and every person can participate and contribute. — Preparatory Document, para. 9