Association of Pittsburgh Priests
"Women and men responding to God's baptismal call to renew ourselves and the Catholic Church,
welcoming and including all, for a world of mercy, justice and peace."

Synodality & Association of Pittsburgh Priests

“IF THE CHURCH IS NOT SYNODAL, IT IS NOT CHURCH.”
~ POPE FRANCIS


Communion ~ Participation ~ Mission


Pope Francis has given us a new vision to be Church. We at the APP take it seriously, and you can help!

Based on deep listening, Synodality is more than a technique to hold meetings. It is a way of walking together spiritually and learning how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of each other.

After hosting numerous sessions ourselves and participating in those of others we heard a distinct message. People say they need a more welcoming and less judgemental church. One that listens and cares for their concerns rather than one that preaches “more righteous than thou” homilies. People say they need to learn the traditions of our social teachings but also they need to understand the liturgy and reforms of Vatican II as the Church then came to understand itself in the world.

In the coming months, we will continue to seek groups interested in hosting synodal sessions. If you may know of one, we can provide technical assistance, volunteers and training to facilitate your sessions. If you are interested in a role in leading one, we can train you.

We will also be evaluating the initial synthesis done for North America, highlighting what is important, as well as what is missing, and searching for what might be the best practices to make the suggestions real. For example, Bishop Zubik has already identified detailed strategies to make parishes more welcoming. Are they being implemented in your parish? We propose to work with you and with parishes to implement such best practices. Let’s make this work.

We learned the value of speaking boldly not from our opinions but from our experiences, and, when listening with humility, of how the Spirit works differently in each other’s lives. We learned to try to see God in individuals who we might have turned our back on because of a single aspect in their lives - be they poor, gay, divorced, or of another race, religion, or political party. 

How you can participate:

  • Consult APP for help organizing your own session
  • Join the APP team to learn more, to share your experience, and to help us to become a better resource to others. 
  • Consider hosting a Synodal session with your parish ministry, but also your book club, etc.
  • Work with us to develop best practices to address the concerns raised. 
  • Help identify and implement best practices to make this reform real.


“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse, capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for evangelization of today’s world rather than for her preservation.”

~Pope Francis 


Communion ~ Participation ~ Mission

Some Synodal Questions for Church/Parish Communities

  • How can we deepen our Faith together? 
  • How can we know and support one another better (even those with whom we disagree), in our Faith journey and in the challenges of life? 
  • Who is hurting within our ranks, among neighbors, in the world? How are we called to respond?

Additional Resources

The History of Synodality, John O’Malley, SJ

Pope Francis on Synodality, July, 2022

The Spirituality of Synodality, Commission on Synodality, Sub-Group-Spirituality for Synodality

"Three Missing Elements Could Point The Way Forward for The Church", Louis J. Cameli, America Media, August 18, 2022

Speak Boldly, Listen Carefully: Inside the Synod, Austin Ivereigh

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