The Pope is Asking for Your Opinion on How the Church can Assist Families
From Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin –
Our Holy Father Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October of 2014. The topic of this synod is, “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization.” In preparation for this synod, a preparatory document with several pages of questions was sent to all Bishops. While not a survey of public opinion, it is the first time that the Pope has asked Bishops to widely share such a survey with priests and parishioners in preparation for a synod. I invite you to participate in this survey, and I welcome your input. Your responses will help me to formulate my final summary. While some of the questions are meant to be answered directly by the Bishops, the majority of the answers will be more complete with input from clergy and laity. The questions touch on topics such as of the value of the family, how to minister to people in irregular marriages, and the openness of married couples to the sacramental life of the Church. If you would like to respond, please take time to read the preparatory document and then complete the survey by Dec. 9, 2013, so that the answers can be collated and utilized in my response to the Vatican by December 31, 2013. Thank you.
I highly encourage you to participate in this survey, we must raise the bar and not just have this synod be only about addressing “irregular” family situations such as families with parents who are not married in the Church or who are not married at all, we must let the Holy Father hear about what the Church can do to strengthen families who are trying their best to live the teachings of the Church in the area of openness to life, raising their children to be saints. The Church needs to hear from good Catholics who have valid sacramental marriages, who are open to life and who strive to live in community with other good families. Does the Church in your area minister to the needs of your family, or just the needs of the individual members of your family. There is a big difference, the Church needs to know your opinion on how your parish and Diocese can help you to live our this heroic call of authentic Catholic family life, where it meet your needs and helps you in carrying out this task and where it falls short or even hinders you as parents.
So speak up and help the Holy Father help you.
This survey was requested in November of 2013, the results of the two convocations on family life can be found in a few documents. The two convocations were held and Amoris Laetitia was the document written by Pope Francis to summarize the findings and provide pastoral guidance on how to minister to the family.
Two other documents were generated in preparation for each of the two convocations, which summarized the findings of the survey conducted by dioceses around the world:
- THE PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF THE FAMILY IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION – INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS 2014
- THE VOCATION AND MISSION OF THE FAMILY IN THE CHURCH AND THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD – INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS 2015