The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience

Professor Rafael Luciani of Boston College joins us for an ACI webinar on Saturday 13 November 2021 on the theme “The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience.”

Professor Luciani will speak on ecclesiological and pastoral roots and implications of synodality, particularly in relation to the reform of parishes, the development of councils at parish and diocesan level, including the role of lay people.

Secondly, he will share the experience of the Plenary Council of the Venezuelan Catholic Church as well as local synods in Argentina, and the launch of the new Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon.


A lay Venezuelan theologian, Professor Luciani has served as an expert to the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. He has also been an expert for the Latin American Council of Bishops (CELAM) as well as a member of the Theological Advisory Team for the Presidency of the Latin American Confederation of Religious men and women (CLAR).

He is Full Professor at the Jesuit Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas and Professor Extraordinarius at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, Massachusetts, USA.

Professor Luciani also holds the degrees of Doctor in Theology and Licenciate in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome; Baccalaureatum in Philosophy and Baccalaureatum in Theology from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome; and Licenciate in Education (with mention in Philosophy) from Andrés Bello Catholic University.

He did several years of postdoctoral research activities at the Julius-Maximilians Universität in Würzburg, Germany. He has also served as Director of the School of Theology and Coordinator for the creation of the Theology Area of the General Graduate Studies (for Lay Scholars) at Andrés Bello Catholic University.


Responding to Rafael will be Dr Elissa Roper, who completed her PhD on “Synodality and Authenticity: Towards a Contemporary Ecclesiology for the Catholic Church” at Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity this year.

Elissa currently manages a Program of Theology for women in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; a partnership in tertiary theological education between the Sisters of Mercy and the Divine Word University. Her writing has a focus on developing foundations for Catholic ecclesiology in a new era of synodality. She explores how such foundations may support the praxis and good governance of synodality.

She and her husband have four children.

Elissa was also a member of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission. She was a member of the Victorian Council of Church’s Faith and Order Commission for six years, and is currently the VCC Liaison Officer on the Board of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia.


G'day 👋
Great to meet you.

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