Bishop John has sent the following letter to the priests of the diocese:
“As part of the work of the Synod on the family, you may know that Pope Francis has asked us to take time to reflect on marriage and family life, and our own experience. It is all too evident that both marriage and family life have been challenged and, in our generation, they have seen unprecedented breakdown. Despite its many struggles, we know that without the gift of family our society would have lost something fundamentally important and good. Marriage is such a noble vocation and family life must be strengthened and assisted, especially in times of difficulty.
The Bishops of England and Wales have prepared some simple reflections on the Call, the Journey and the Mission of marriage and family life. I am asking that these reflections be made available to all parishes. I ask you to invite your congregations to read these reflections and to share your thoughts with one another, especially in your families. If you would like to share those reflections with me then I would be happy for you to write to me. I cannot promise to answer every reply but I will certainly consider what you write, and will use it as part of my submission to Cardinal Vincent Nichols and to Bishop Peter Doyle, who are to be the representatives from England and Wales at the second Synod on the family next October”.
That is Bishop John’s request but the question I have is: How do we implement this, how do we organize a parish wide consultation?
I propose to take the discussion papers to the Forum on Wednesday for you to discuss and suggest how best we may as a parish tackle this project and produce a report. This raises a slight problem: attendance at Forum isn’t great and when it is held at Sabden even fewer go. So, I appeal to all who are interested in the future of our church and country to share cars and make the short journey to St Mary’s parish hall and join the discussion and help us find a way of responding to the bishop’s request.
Secondly, Last November Pope Francis convened a conference in Rome to tackle the scourge of human trafficking, modern day slavery. It was attended by Ministers and Police Chiefs from many governments. Anthony Brown will tell us briefly of one charity that has heeded the Pope’s call for ordinary people to raise awareness of this problem.
Please do respond to both the Pope’s and our Bishop’s requests for action on these two different but important issues.