Synod addresses critical role of family in the Church

| October 9, 2014

NienstedtBlPope Francis, as you no doubt know by now, has called an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops at the Vatican from Oct. 6-19, 2014.  The Synod’s focus and theme is the family. The initial draft, or lineamenta, was circulated widely last fall for comment by anyone in the Church who wished to be so involved. Here in the Archdiocese, literally hundreds of Catholics chose to do so. All those comments, world-wide, were gathered together and formed the basis for the Instrumentum Laboris, which will serve as the agenda for the historic October gathering of bishops, priests, consecrated men and women and lay faithful. The list of participants was released two weeks ago and included several Americans.

This Extraordinary Synod will be followed by the 2015 World Meeting of Families scheduled for Sept. 25-27, 2015, in Philadelphia.  The theme of this gathering is “Love is Our Mission: the Family Fully Alive.” Pope Francis has already said that he plans to make his first trip to the United States of America to attend this gathering.

In October 2015, an Ordinary Synod will be called to further discuss the same theme and from those discussions an Apostolic Exhortation will be written by the Pope.

Already last February, Pope Francis wrote an open letter to all families in the Church announcing the above plans and asking families for their fervent prayers for the success of those gatherings.  He said, “I wish, as it were, to come into your houses” to speak about these events.

The Pope believes it is the call of the Church today “to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family.” Thus the Synodal Assembly, the Pope confesses, “is dedicated in a special way to you, your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church.”

We know that it is in the family that children first learn of God’s great love for them. They experience that they are loved and know that they have intrinsic value through their relationship with their parents. They learn how to return that love by watching their father and mother love one another. Together with their siblings they come to appreciate the important connection between rights and responsibilities, between personal respect and respect for others.

It is in the family that both parents and children learn that “families who pray together, stay together.” Here the value and importance of Sunday Mass cannot be overlooked. But the family is an academy of prayer in other situations and settings as well — for example, prayers before and after meals, praying the family rosary, and reading the Bible. In all of these contexts, and more, the family grows in its awareness of God’s presence. And such a culture of prayer must also be complemented with a concern for the poor, the sick and those in need. It is so essential that children learn that to be “Catholic” is never to close the door on a brother or sister in need.

I hope we take seriously Pope Francis’ request that we pray for the success of this October’s Extraordinary Synod. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide the Pope and each of the participants of this important gathering.

God love you!


El tema del Sínodo, será acerca del Importantísimo papel que tiene la Familia en la Iglesia

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Category: Only Jesus

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