Perspectives on Synodality: Local, Global and Ecumenical

Date(s) - February 9, 2022
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

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“A synodal Church is a Church which listens” to each other “and all listening to the Holy Spirit.” – Pope Francis

About this event

In preparation for 2023’s Synod of Bishops – “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission” – the Catholic Church is engaging in an extensive process of mutual listening and learning.

Our four speakers will explore what it means to be a synodal church that journeys or walks together from a variety of perspectives. These short presentations will be followed by a discussion among panelists and by an extended Q and A with audience members.

This discussion will be of interest to all those looking to learn more about the practical, theological and ecumenical dimensions of synodality and the prophetic calling of the entire people of God.


Barbara Dowding, Chancellor, Archdiocese of Vancouver

Born and raised in Vancouver, Barb has served the Archdiocese of Vancouver in a variety of roles over many years, including Coordinator of the Office for the Archdiocesan Synod, Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese and Director of Stewardship. She was the National President to over 80,000 members of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada and has served as president at all levels from parish, diocese, province to national.

Barbara is the first lay woman to hold the role of Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. She believes, along with the need to mentor and support volunteers, especially women, that we as Church have a significant part to play.


Dr. Michael W. Higgins, Principal of St. Mark’s College and President of Corpus Christi College

Michael W. Higgins, a native Torontonian, is an author, scholar, Vatican Affairs Specialist for The Globe and Mail, papal commentator for broadcast media, CBC Radio documentarian, columnist, and student of such Catholic thinkers as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and Cardinal Newman. His most recent book is The Church Needs the Laity: The Wisdom of John Henry Newman. His journalism on all things Catholic has appeared in publications around the world, including Commonweal, the Irish Catholic and The Catholic Register.


Dr. Nicholas Olkovich, Assistant Professor, Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Catholic Theology

Dr. Nick Olkovich is an Assistant Professor and holds the Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Catholic Theology at St. Mark’s College in Vancouver. As a political theologian, his ongoing research focuses on the relationship between religion and liberal democracy in our current populist age and on Pope Francis’ ‘theology of the people.’


Dr. Eileen Scully, Director of Faith, Worship, and Ministry, The General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada

Eileen Scully serves as Senior Staff for the Anglican Church of Canada with responsibilities for liturgical, theological, and ministry concerns across the church. She holds an MA and PhD from The University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. A past Chair of The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (2011-2015), she served as a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (2001-2009), and on the staff of The Canadian Council of Churches (1994-2001). She lives in Waterloo, Ontario, is married to Eric Duerrstein, a music recording engineer, and they have two adult sons.


Father Nick Meisl, Archdiocese of Vancouver


This event is made possible with support from the Centre for Christian Engagement, the Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Catholic Theology and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.

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