Holy Family, Be Our Model
On this Feast of The Holy Family, I can think of no more important exhortation than to invite our prayers for Pope Francis’ ongoing Synod on The Family. At the conclusion of the inaugural “extraordinary synod” this past October, The Holy Father, as part of his closing remarks said:
So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).
Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].
May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!
With these words, then, Pope Francis sets the “tone” of the Synod on The Family as one of pastoral care and service to God’s people, flowing from her authority and responsibility in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, he stresses the need for humility throughout the process, courage, and prayer through the intercession of Mary and Joseph.
2015 is upon us and, as pastor of Saint Rita, I call us to dedicate ourselves to prayer for the success of the Synod, the safe and graced visit of the Holy Father to the United States next October, and to special study, formation, and education—especially as families—as we open our hearts to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be the families that God has called us to be.