Pope Francis has called for a special synod in Rome next year from 5th to 19th October to discuss the challenges facing the family, probably the biggest challenges facing the Church in our part of the world. In preparation he has asked bishops’ conferences world-wide to conduct a consultation of Catholics, asking for their opinions on how the church’s teaching is known, accepted or rejected today.
The accompanying document, technically known as a Lineamenta, makes for heavy reading! But fortunately our bishops have broken it into a user friendly questionnaire which may be downloaded and printed off to be responded to by pen and ink or completed and returned online. This is the first time that a world-wide, parish level survey has been conducted by the Church. So, do go to http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Featured/Synod-of-Bishops-on-the-Family-2014 and have your say.
Since these issues profoundly affect every family, I wonder whether you would prefer a parish meeting/s to discuss them more fully and perhaps contribute to a parish response? Please let me or Fr Frankie know your thoughts.
Now for another family matter: It is great to see Little Church numbers building up again but we are becoming victims of our own success! It has been suggested that the children span too great an age range for our catechists to cater adequately for them all. So, it has been proposed that we restrict Little Church to children aged 4 years and above and that they continue to meet in the large meeting room and that a crèche for children aged 3 and below meet in the smaller room. No decisions have been taken: this is simply an idea made to set interested parents discussing the issue before we take the matter to the Parish Forum a week on Wednesday, 20th November.
There has been an excellent response to the SVP appeal for volunteers. On behalf of the parish I thank all who responded.
You may remember that two weeks ago Pope Francis asked for continual prayer for persecuted Christians – our brothers and sisters! Last week Sadad, a predominantly Syrian Christian town was attacked by Islamic militants. 45 Syrian Orthodox Catholics were killed, 30 injured, 10 are missing and 2,500 have fled. Churches were pillaged and destroyed. Archbishop Alnemeh pleads: “We have cried out to the world for help but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? We ask everyone to pray for us.” Please do remember them.