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Listening Church


Synod of Bishops Adopts Synthesis Report

The XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place October 4-29, 2023, following a two-year engagement and preparation journey involving Christian faithful from around the world: clergy and religious, parishioners and those of other denominations, those who are devout and those no longer engaging with their faith.

In the late afternoon of Saturday 28 October 2023, the members of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops adopted the following Synthesis Report:


We as a Church and as a diocese continue to pray for the Synod. The Synod of Bishops has ended, but the invitation remains to continue conversations, continue opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit and to continue our journeys together as the people of God.

Synod Prayer Cards are available from our Chancery Office for parishes, groups, and individuals wishing them.
Contact our Chancery Office, Monday through Friday, 9 am – noon,
Ph 1-902-863-3335 or email: chancery@dioceseofantigonish.ca


Methodology of the Synod of Bishops

Assembly conversations were guided by the Instrumentum laboris (IL), the working document developed from the seven Continental Synod continental reports compiled in early 2023 from diocesan and regional reports and continental virtual conversations held December 2022 through January 2023.

Instrumentum laboris 








Laymen and laywomen eligible to vote
at General Assembly

The Secretariat for the Synod has announced that 70 “non-bishop members” appointed by the Pope—half of whom will be women—will be able to vote at the Synod General Assembly in October. These 70 individuals will include lay people appointed directly by the Pope, 50 percent of whom shall be women and among whom shall be included several young people. All 70 will enjoy voting rights at the Assembly, which will consist of around 370 voting members out of more than 400 total participants.
Read the story here:






























Synod Reports:

North American Report to the Synod of Bishops




Diocesan Report to the Synod

View or Download here

This diocesan report was submitted to the Atlantic Bishops in June 2022 for inclusion in the Atlantic Regional Report.
In July, the Atlantic Regional Report was completed and submitted to the National Office of Canadian Bishops for inclusion in the Canadian National report.


The National Report was submitted to Rome on August 15, 2022

View or Download here


Next steps for our diocese:

The diocesan phase of the Synod of Bishops concluded in June.
The journey forward for our diocese is just beginning.
Synod conversations in our diocese generated many topics for further exploration and discussion not only for the Synod of Bishops, but for our diocese and parishes as well.
A companion document summarizing Synod responses, suggestions and topics of local discussion is being developed for release later this fall, with next steps for continuing and acting upon these important conversations.

Next steps for the Synod:

Universal Phase
The synodal process will conclude with the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

On Oct. 26, 2022, Pope Francis announced the extension of the Synod to October 2024.

The Synod of Bishops will convene in two phases: October 2023 and October 2024, to allow more time for discernment.
The two sessions will bring together bishops from across the world to discuss and prepare a document to counsel the pope.

“I trust that this decision will promote the understanding of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, and help everyone to live it as the journey of brothers and sisters who proclaim the joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.



Thank you to all who supported our Mama’s Faith concert on June 7, 2022 – musicians Bruce Guthro, Andrew Doyle and Kim Dunn who gave so generously of their talent and time, the crews and volunteers who worked so diligently before and during the event, and all who bought tickets and came out to be part of this special celebration. In total, $5,385.00 was raised for shelters and organizations in our diocese supporting women and their children escaping domestic violence.

Sincere gratitude to all who took part in our Synod diocesan phase closing celebration on Pentecost Sunday, June 5 at St Ninian Cathedral. Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick celebrated Mass, which included a procession of candles and scrolls symbolizing submissions from representatives of parishes and ministries who hosted Synod conversations.







CBU Chaplaincy Synod day via Zoom:
Cape Breton University students offer personal reflections on what needs to happen in the Church today:



Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish

  • Janet Marusiak - January 23, 2022

    I have recently moved back home to Sydney from Halifax. I have not gone online yet or been to any meetings so far with these meetings of synod. I am now going to Lady Fatima church and hope to be in ministry as Lector and joined the CWL here. I like to receive any emails or updates. I am not on FB.
    We are in difficult times and we need the Church more now than ever to be a safe place and one to share hope and guidance and to grow into a more dynamic community so all feel free and comfortable to share their ideas and concerns.
    Thank you.

    • Margie Gillis - February 16, 2022

      Hello Janet,
      Welcome back home to Cape Breton. I am working in the Office of Liturgy as Assistant Director of Liturgy for the Diocese. My office is in the Diocesan pastoral Centre in Membertou First Nations. We have a Religious Bookstore in the Centre. The Office of Religious Education and Faith Formation is also located here. You are welcome to visit any weekday from 9:00am- 4:30 pm. The Phone number is 902 539-6188. You can reach Nick Vince at this number.
      Margie Gillis

  • Marilyn Milner - September 8, 2022

    I have just finished reading the Diocesan Report to the Synod. Thank you for making this report available. It was most interesting to see the diversity of opinions expressed (though not surprising) and the compilation of views under the selected headings. I’d like to express my thanks for being able to share my voice in this process. Also, my gratitude extends to the committee members who shared their time and dedicated hours to prepare this submission. Sincerely, Marilyn Milner

  • Robert F. Coleman - October 24, 2022

    Both the diocesan and national reports clearly indicate where and what changes need to occur. The synodical process of listening and discerning is a wonderful process, but the time will come when the listening and discerning will need to lead to action in terms of change. If change does not occur, either beginning with this pontificate or the succeeding one, then the process will prove to have been pointless. The credibility and relevance of the Church is at stake. You cannot start a process and then ignore what the process reveals just because you don’t like what is revealed. The Church has embarked on a process and journey that must be seen through to completion, however uncomfortable the end result may/will be for those who currently exercise power, authority and governance within our structures. It is clear, at least thus far in the process, what the faithful want. Are we prepared to deliver?