A synod is a gathering of Catholic priests and parishioners with the objective of sharing ideas.
The last general synod meeting in New Orleans lasted seven years and concluded in 1987, the same year Pope John Paul II came to visit the city.
On Tuesday, Archbishop Gregory Aymond will open the new synod, which will be the Ninth General Synod for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, in a ceremony after the annual Chrism Mass, which starts at 10 a.m. in St. Louis Cathedral.
What will follow is a 13-month process of public input resulting in a plan for how the archdiocese will minister for the next three to five years.
The sessions are similar to town-hall meetings. Archbishop Aymond has said that he will attend all 16 of the meetings. Thirteen will be open to the public.
The synod will end with a report on its conclusions in May 2015.