April 1, 2016
A diocesan synod is a meeting called by the bishop of a particular diocese to address various issues of a pastoral nature, which affect all of the members of the diocese. Whether to have a diocesan synod or not is up to the bishop and there is no set number of synods any diocese must have.
In the entire history of the Diocese of Bismarck, we have had just one official diocesan synod that was called by our first bishop, Bishop Vincent Wehrle, O.S.B. That first synod was held on Nov. 12, 1924, at the then Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Bismarck.
While various pastoral issues are addressed by any diocesan synod, the hoped for results give all the Catholic faithful a better understanding of our faith as lived and celebrated within the Body of Christ, the Church. Another benefit of having a diocesan synod is having as many people as possible participate in it by working on one of the preparatory committees, and by publishing a draft of the work of the committees to all of the Catholic people in order to receive their own comments and observations. This is what we will be doing in the upcoming May and June issues of the
Dakota Catholic Action.
Since 1924, much has certainly happened in the Catholic life of our Diocese, of the universal Church and in our society. The Second Vatican Council has happened, the 1917 Code of Canon Law was revised in 1983, and the
Catechism of the Catholic Church was published in 1992 which succeeds The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, to name but a few of the major developments in the life of the Church. All of these important moments had and continue to have a direct effect on all of us.
Our second synod of the Diocese of Bismarck, which will officially be enacted in 2017, will apply to our Catholic life these developments. The sacramental, spiritual, educational, social and temporal aspects of the Catholic life of us all will be impacted by the work of the synod. Some things will change, but a great deal will not change at all. It is our hope that there will be a greater unity and participation of all in the life of our Catholic Church in western North Dakota.