The formation of seminarians, the Catholic Church as a welcoming home for all, migration and ecumenism arose as common themes of discussion among participants of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 6, the Vatican said.

Pope Francis opened the work of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops asking members to meditate on ancient theological texts about the Holy Spirit, have the courage to be honest about their disagreements and focus much more on listening than on sharing their opinions.

Members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops are not gathered in Rome to implement a "plan of reformation" but to walk together as a church that discerns God's will for the present moment, Pope Francis said at the assembly's opening Mass.

Leading into the Synod of Bishops on Synodality’s first week, hopes were high that the almost four weeks of discussions will set the Church on a secure path for the future, despite today’s multiple competing perspectives and priorities.

Knowing they would be wrangling with different opinions and that Catholics around the world had different hopes and fears for their work, the 364 full members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops gathered for a retreat.

There’s a dynamism in engaging with the natural world, poet Maya Clubine believes.

The approaching world Synod of Bishops on Synodality aims to be a lesson on the "exchange of gifts," said Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops office and one of the highest ranking women in the Vatican.

When Pope Francis was introduced to the world from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, he spoke to the crowd about taking up a journey, "bishop and people," a "journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us."

The eyes of the Catholic world turn to Rome Oct. 4, as the worldwide Synod of Bishops convenes on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi to focus on "synodality" and understanding what it means in terms of "communion, participation and mission" in the church. Here's what it is, how we got here and what to expect.

The times may have changed, but brothers’ mission remains the same.