Pope urges families to pray for upcoming bishops’ synod

Pope Francis greets a family of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Dec. 4, 2013. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.

In a letter written to families, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of family life in the Church, stating  their prayers are crucial for the upcoming synod which is dedicated to the unique challenges they face.

“I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task,” the Pope requested of families in his Feb. 25 letter, adding that “your prayer for the Synod of Bishops will be a precious treasure which enriches the Church.”

Announced by the Vatican last autumn, this year's Synod of Bishops is slated to take place Oct. 5 – 19, and will explore the theme of “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”

Established by Paul VI in 1965, the Synod of Bishops meets in an extraordinary general assembly when the matter under consideration requires a rapid definition.

Referring to the “urgent pastoral needs” facing the life of the family today, the Roman Pontiff highlighted that the meeting will consist of bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay persons, who are all preparing “through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer.”

“Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever,” he emphasized, noting that the synod “is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society.”

Drawing attention to the Ordinary Assembly which will take place one year after the Synod of Bishops, and which will also focus on the theme of the family, as well as to the World Meeting of Families which is to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015, Pope Francis called on families to pray that “through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.”

Highlighting how he chose to write this letter on the Feast of the Presentation, Pope Francis recalled how Simeon took Jesus “in his arms and thanked God that he had finally 'seen' salvation,” and how “Anna, despite her advanced age, found new vigor and began to speak to everyone about the Baby.”

“It is a beautiful image,” he reflected: “two young parents and two elderly people, brought together by Jesus. He is the one who brings together and unites generations!”

“He is the inexhaustible font of that love which overcomes every occasion of self-absorption, solitude, and sadness.”

“In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support,” continued the Pope, emphasizing that “if there is no love” in these acts “then there is no joy,” and “authentic love comes to us from Jesus.”

Concluding his letter, the Bishop of Rome explained to families that their prayers for the upcoming events are “a precious treasure” for the Church, and thanked them for their offerings.

“I ask you to pray also for me, so that I may serve the People of God in truth and in love,” he stated, asking that the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph “always accompany all of you and help you to walk united in love and in caring for one another.”

“I willingly invoke on every family the blessing of the Lord.”


Voices

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Our nation’s ongoing failure to address the immigration crisis is a humanitarian tragedy. For more than a decade, state and local governments, Congress, the President, the courts — and now the highest court in the land — all have failed in their responsibilities to address this issue. 

Events

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June 25, 2016

  • Saturday, June 25

    Los Angeles Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Children’s Bureau Foster Care & Adoption, 1910 Magnolia Ave., Los Angeles. Discover if you have the ability and resources to help a child in need. To RSVP or for more information, call (800) 730-3933. To request an information packet, go to: www.all4kids.org/program/foster-care.

     

    His Mercy Endures Forever, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Presented by The Sower Metanoia. Speakers: Fr. R. Tony Richard from New Orleans; Lay evangelist Jesse Romero; Fr. Ismael Robles; Sower prayer ministry leader Sandra Burroughs, Noel Diaz, founder of El Sembrador. Praise & Worship- The Sower Band. Donation $25/person (Buy 3 tix get a 4th free). Info: (877) 714-5679, Spanish (818) 700-4938. Get tickets at www.sowermetanoia.com.

     

    New Rite of Matrimony Workshop by the Archdiocesan Office for Worship, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., St. Junipero Serra, 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo. Speakers from the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). Implementation of the new rite begins Sept. 8, 2016, and is mandated as of Dec. 30, 2016. To register, go to: www.fdlc.org.

     

    How Can This Man Give Us His Flesh to Eat?, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St Madeleine parish, 931 East Kingsley Ave., Pomona. The many prophecies, antetypes and allusions to the Holy Eucharist and Holy Mass found in the Torah and in the Gospels--along with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A mini-retreat conducted by Tidings columnist Sean M. Wright. Register at the parish. Info: (909) 629-9495. 

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