In his Angelus message on Sunday, October 16, 2022, Pope Francis made the announcement to extend the Synod on Synodality to 2024.
The Pope shared his decision to divide the Synod of Bishops into two sessions that will meet in Rome in October 2023 and October 2024. The two sessions of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place from Oct. 4 to 29, 2023, and in October 2024, bringing together bishops from across the world to discuss and prepare a document to counsel the pope.
The Synod on Synodality was launched in October 2021. For the first time, the synod became involved ALL Catholic faithful wherein, through their local dioceses, everyone was encouraged to give feedback through a multi-year synodal process divided into stages.
The first stage was the initial "diocesan listening phase" which, according to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, has concluded with the participation of 112 out of 114 of the world’s Catholic bishops’ conferences. The second stage is the continental phase that is taking place from September 2022 to March 2023 and Continental Synodal Assemblies will be convened between January and March 2023. This second stage will be guided by an Instrumentum laboris — or DTC (Documento per la Tappa Continentale) which is expected to be published by the end of this October or early November and is being drafted by the synod’s leadership, advisory committee, and a group of approximately 20 “experts.” The final, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023 and continue in October 2024 on the theme: "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission." Pope Francis said his decision to extend the Synod on Synodality to 2024 was for the bishops "to have a more relaxed period of discernment". He added, “The fruits of the synodal process under way are many, but so that they might come to full maturity, it is necessary not to be in a rush."