Prayer for the world’s bishops

Excerpts from the Catholic News Agency article on the upcoming Synod of Bishops:

According to the schedule released by the Vatican on Sept. 26, Pope Francis will begin the month of October by kicking off the highly anticipated synod of bishops on the family with an Oct. 4 prayer vigil to be held in St. Peter’s Square at 6p.m. local time.

Following the prayer vigil, Pope Francis will officiate an Oct. 5 mass to mark opening of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family in St Peter’s basilica at 10a.m.

Reflecting on the theme “the Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” the Oct. 5-19 third extraordinary synod of bishops was called by Pope Francis last fall in order to prepare the ordinary synod in 2015.


At a press conference announcing the “instrumentum laboris” of the October synod on the family earlier this summer, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri revealed that the outline for the bishops’ discussion is divided into three parts, the first focusing on the communication of the Gospel in today’s world.

The second part will addresses the pastoral program for the family in light of new challenges, while the third, concluding section will center on an openness to life and parental responsibility in the upbringing of children.

Among current challenges facing the family to be outlined in the second part of the discussions are pastoral approaches regarding the difficult situations of married couples, the cardinal explained.

Specific topics will include unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, separated and divorced couples, remarried divorcees and their eventual further children, single mothers, those who are in canonically irregular situations and non-believers or non-practicing Catholics who wish to marry, he said.

The cardinal emphasized that the instrumentum “offers real knowledge” of the situation of remarried divorcees, stating that from this knowledge “the Church is required to find solutions compatible with her teaching and which lead to a serene and reconciled life.”

Although there has been increased hype surrounding the topic of remarried divorcees ahead of the synod, with many speculating a change in Church doctrine allowing persons in this situation to receive communion, Cardinal Baldisseri gave a reminder that discussion will surround more than just one issue.


The Holy Father invited everyone to pray for this meeting and suggests this prayer:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

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