The Extraordinary Synod On The Family – What Is Happening Each Day?

Pope Francis & FamilyYes, I’m a couple of days early this week – but that is because I want to encourage you to stay on top of what is happening right now in the Church.

The pastoral care of families is front and center during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family which began in Rome on October 5th and will continue through October 19th.

This is certainly a historic gathering because it: 1) focuses on the most sensitive issues in the Church and society; 2) includes a married couple as assistants to the synod’s special secretary and fourteen married couples are among the 253 participants; 3) is the immediate preparation for a larger synod that will take place in October of 2015 on the same topic; and 4) has used an expedited process for gathering comments from Catholics throughout the world on the meeting’s working document.

Obviously there is a need to address issues that challenge marriage and family life. This includes the breakdown of the family which has led to an attempt to redefine marriage and family life. But it also must include teen and single mothers; cohabitation; canonically irregular marriages; divorce and separation; a rejection of an openness to life; same-sex-unions and the transmission of Faith to children in those unions; and the impact that consumerism and individualism has on family life.

With the Synod only in its 2nd day, there are all kinds of reports about what is happening and how it will impact Catholics worldwide. Listen carefully to the reporting and be leery of the “sound bites” presented by the media.

I’d encourage you to consider going to a couple of trustworthy “Catholic” sources for your information about this extraordinary synod between now and October 19th. America MagazineCatholic News Service, Vatican Radio, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are all excellent resources for what is happening during these historic days. You might consider “bookmarking” one or two of these sources and checking them daily over the next two weeks.

To help you get stated, Matthew Bunson and the team at Our Sunday Visitor have published a wonderful primer on the extraordinary Synod. It will not even take you ten minutes to read the article. I promise that if you read the article, you will gain a deeper understanding of why the Synod is happening, how it will play out, and what next steps to expect when it is finished.

Finally, be sure to pray each day for Pope Francis and all of the participants who are gathered in Rome. Pray that the Spirit of the Lord enlighten their minds so that the Church may respond, faithful to God’s plan, to the challenges facing the family.  For as Pope Francis said during his homily at the opening Mass of this extraordinary synod – “We can ‘frustrate’ the dream of God if we don’t let ourselves by guided by the Holy Spirit.”  I think that’s good advice for all of us to follow as we strive to grow in holiness!

Question – From your experience, what would you say is the greatest issue challenging marriage and family life today?

October 6th, 2014 |