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Presentation of the course.

The Synod on Synodality, inaugurated in October 2021, has reached its Continental Phase. The voices of the local Churches around the world that were heard in the first Diocesan Phase have been gathered in the Working Document for the Continental Stage. This will require a process of deepening, discernment and formation to stimulate the awareness and practice of a Synodal Church.

With this in mind, we offer the Second Intercontinental Massive Online Course (MOOC) under the theme History, Theology and Practice of Synodality. Through an online platform you will have access to a series of pre-recorded videos during the months of February and March 2023. We use an asynchronous and fully online format that allows the videos to be viewed at any time. The videos are pre-recorded and available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.

This initiative has been organized by the Latin American members of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod and the Ibero-American Theology Group. It has the support of Catholic Universities around the world through a digital platform hosted by the Department of \”Formación Continua\” at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. It also has the sponsorship of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the Latin American Confederation of Religious women and men (CLAR), the Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae (CCEE), the Federation of Asian Bishops\’ Conferences (FABC), the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and the Union of Superiors General (USG), along with other ecclesial counterpart organizations.


Synod on Synodality:

The Synod on Synodality represents a new and exciting phase in the life of the Church. This phase deepens the ecclesiology of the People of God developed at the Second Vatican Council and invites us to generate processes of conversion and reform of relationships, communicative dynamics and structures in the Church. This will require a process of common discernment and formation in the short, medium and long term to stimulate the awareness of a Church lived and understood in a synodal key. As Pope Francis said on September 18, 2021, a few days before the opening of the Synod on Synodality:

“The theme of synodality is not the chapter of a treatise on ecclesiology, and even less a fashion, it is not a slogan or a new term to be used and instrumentalized in our meetings. No! Synodality expresses the nature of the Church, its form, its style and its mission. Therefore, we speak of a synodal Church, thus avoiding that we consider it to be a title among others or a way of thinking about it, foreseeing alternatives”.

This online course aims to provide some elements that encourage us to commit ourselves to the construction of an institutional model for the Church of the third millennium. A Church that is all synodal. This is the invitation that the current Synod makes to us when it states, in its Preparatory Document, that “the meaning of the journey to which we are all called consists, above all, in discovering the face and the form of a Synodal Church, in which “each one has something to learn. Faithful people, Episcopal College, Bishop of Rome: one in listening to the others; and all in listening to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17), in order to know what it says to the Churches (Rev 2:7)”. The Bishop of Rome, as the principle and foundation of the Church’s unity, asks all the bishops and all the particular Churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists (LG 23), to enter confidently and boldly on the path of synodality” (Preparatory Document of the Synod on Synodality 15). This is the sentiment and motivation of all those who have made this course possible. We hope that it will be a contribution to the synodalization of the whole Church and its practical living out in the midst of ecclesial communities.

Over the course of several weeks, a series of pre-recorded videos will be offered —lectures, in- depth talks and concrete experiences— that will allow us to learn about and deepen our understanding of the history, theology and practice of synodality. The first week offers an overview of the history of synodality. The second week will deepen its theology and ecclesiology. Finally, the third and last week reflects on how to integrate synodality in pastoral life and ministry. One of the great challenges today is to make synodality a living and daily experience that inspires the way of being and living of all men and women in the Church, and that favors synergy among the various ministries, charisms, gifts and services.

Course program.

Content available from January 30.

Orientation: History of Synodality Massimo Faggioli

Deepening: Synodality in the first Christian Communities María Elisa Estevez

Synodality in the first Centuries of the Church Samuel Fernández

St. Cyprian of Cartaghe and other episcopal practices in the first millennium 

Thomas Kollamparampil CMI

Local Churches Synods before and after Vatican II through Episcopalis Communio Arnaud Join-Lambert

Experiences: Developments and challenges of Synodality in Asia Vimal Tirimanna

Developments and challenges of Synodality in Africa Stan Chu Ilo

Developments and challenges of Synodality in Latin America Alzirinha Rocha de Souza

Developments and challenges of Synodality in Europe Margit Eckholt

Developments and challenges of Synodality in North America Kristen Colberg

Content available from February 12.

Orientation: The mission of the Church in light of Synodality today Sandra Mazzolini

Deepening: The Church, People of God in a Place Rafael Luciani

The Sensus fidei in the life and mission of a Synodal Church Ormond Rush

The Contribution of Women in a Synodal Church Dorothea Sattler

Open paths and challenges in Canon Law for a Co-responsible and participatory Church Carmen Peña

Experiences: Theological and pastoral contributions to Synodality in Asia Shaji George Kochuthara

Theological and pastoral contributions to Synodality in Africa Josée Ngalula

Theological and pastoral contributions to Synodality in Latin America Carolina Bacher

Theological and pastoral contributions to Synodality in Europe Christian Bauer

Theological and pastoral contributions to Synodality in North America Catherine Clifford

Content available from February 19.

Orientation: A Ministerial Leadership in a Synodal Church Serena Noceti

Deepening: Power and authority in the ministerial exercise Margaret E. Guider OSF

The method of spiritual conversation in the exercise of ministries: listening, dialogue, discernment in common, consensus building Frédéric Fornos SJ

Pastoral and formation structures in a Synodal Church Gilles Routhier

Instituted ministries in a Synodal Church Bishop. Roberto Repole

Experiences: Asia: Ecclesial based communities Estela Padilla

Africa: Titular catechists and Lay Ministries Nora Kofognotera Nonterah

Latin America: Ministerial teams Antonio José de Almeida

Europe: Laity and parishes. Pastoralreferentinnen and other cases Regina Heyder

North America: the experience of Lay ecclesial ministries Alberto Embry


Card. J.C Hollerich (Luxemburgo).
Antonio José de Almeida (Brazil).
Christian Bauer (Alemania).
Carolina Bacher (Argentina).
Catherine Clifford (Canadá).
Kristen Colberg (USA).
Margit Eckholt (Alemania).
Alberto Embry (USA).
María Elisa Estevez (España).
Samuel Fernández (Chile).
Massimo Faggioli (USA/Italia).
Frédéric Fornos SJ (Francia).
Carlos M. Galli (Argentina).
Margaret E. Guider OSF (USA).
Regina Heyder (Alemania).
Arnaud Join-Lambert (Bélgica).

Nora Kofognotera Nonterah (Ghana).
Thomas Kollamparampil CMI (India).
Shaji George Kochuthara (India).
Rafael Luciani (Venezuela).
Stan Chu Ilo (Nigeria).
Sandra Mazzolini (Italy).
Josée Ngalula (DR-Congo).
Serena Noceti (Italia).
Estela Padilla (Filipinas).
Carmen Peña (España).
Mons. Roberto Repole (Italia).
Alzirinha Rocha de Souza (Brazil).
Ormond Rush (Australia).
Dorothea Sattler (Alemania).
Gilles Routhier (Canadá).
Vimal Tirimanna (Sri Lanka).

All the themes

are based on the Christian tradition, deepened in the light of the Second Vatican Council and read from the current epochal and ecclesial contexts. In addition, they are presented by international experts from different continents representing a diversity of cultures and visions, and united by the same desire to build the Synodal Church for the third millennium.


Dr. Rafael Luciani (Venezuela); Dr. Carlos Maria Galli (Argentina); Dr. Agenor Brighenti (Brazil) (Latin American members of the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod) Félix Palazzi (director of “Formación Continua”, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry).

Course Content

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Week 1
Week 3