Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:

Re: The “PATH” towards theXVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

Greetings of peace!

The Holy Father has made the announcement that the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held in the fall of 2023, with the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.” The Pope considers the preparation process itself for the general assembly in the fall of 2023 as an integral part of the synod. Thus, starting from October this year, opinions from each and every diocese will first be solicited, and for this purpose the General Secretariat on the Synod of Bishops in the Holy See will prepare and send the questionnaire to all the dioceses in September.

In order to collate the responses to the questionnaire, the General Secretariat has instructed each diocese to appoint a representative to take charge. For the Archdiocese of Tokyo, I have appointed Fr. Hiroshi Konishi, OFM (Franciscan) to be the diocesan contact person to coordinate synodal consultations and preparations. The term of office will be from September 1, 2021 to the culmination of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. During this period, along with the compilation of the responses to the questionnaire, he will likewise act as a liaison emphasizing the significance and the main issues of the synod.

The preparation period for this Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is already considered in itself to be a period of shared journey. In the letter of Cardinal Mario Grech, General Secretary for the Synod of Bishops, he writes, “to emphasize that this synodal path is a shared journey,” the Holy Father will celebrate the opening liturgy of the synod in the Vatican on October 9 and 10, 2021, while all the dioceses around the world are expected to celebrate the opening liturgy of the synod on October 17, 2021 respectively. Please see the attached document for other activities during this “period of shared journey.”

Due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 situation, the Tokyo Archdiocese will not hold a special liturgical celebration on October 17. However, I call on all the parishes to offer prayers in the Sunday masses for the success of the synod through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Details concerning the matter will be announced at a later date.

Fr. Konishi, our diocesan representative for the synod, will inform you about the questionnaire and the procedure on how to respond to it as soon as we receive the documents from the synod’s General Secretariat. As we respond to the call of the Holy Father for us to take this journey together, I am hoping that all of you, brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese, will actively participate in this synodal path.

Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo