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Pastoral Letter

“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

Synod 2021 – 2023


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, greetings of Peace!

After having launched the Synod of Bishop 2023 with the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” It is now a time for us to embark into the path of journeying together in communion with the universal Church. In fact we have been already journeying together since the erection of our Diocese; we journeyed together in formulating our Vision and Mission, and eventually we succeeded to come out with a Diocesan Pastoral Plan; we also have started various activities in the parishes based on the Pastoral Plan. Thus, the Pope call to participate in the synodal process is a plus advantage for our Diocese. “It is precisely this path synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”

Quoting from the preparatory document: “The purpose of the synod and therefore of this consultation is not to produce documents but 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”. (Preparatory Document)

With this in mind, let us journey together in solidarity with the Holy Father and the universal Church, to be a church that listens to the voice of the people, reflect on it and grow from it. By doing so we will not only capturing the essence of what is synodal church but also motivates us to do better as followers of Christ in our local Church.

Therefore, let us journey together as one church, by constantly docile to the works of the Holy Spirit and be faithful in the process in which leading to the success of the Synod of Bishops in 2023.

May the Lord bless us with not only with a greater understanding of what it means to be a synodal church but also, and most importantly, an ever deeper love to participate in His mission.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

 †Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, D.D.,

Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan

Diocese of Sandakan