Synod prep

November 4, 2013

Almost a month after Pope Francis called for a synod in October which will discuss the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization, Rocco updates us in this post, which includes the entire text of the preparatory document, which he describes as

…an initial summary to guide the preparations for next October’s Extraordinary Synod on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family,” with specific questions for the local churches to answer over the year to come with an eye to aiding the process.

Dated 18 October, the summary with a cover-letter from the newly-named Secretary-General of the Synod, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, was circulated yesterday to the US bishops via the conference, seeking the body’s input by December 31st to forward to Rome. (Ostensibly released to the bench via the private “bishops-only website,” a copy of the package was obtained by Whispers earlier today.) In keeping with Baldisseri’s request that Chanceries share the text “as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes” for their input, some Stateside dioceses have already begun to move toward extending the consultation process into the local level.

He also highlights the primary differences between a normal synod and an extraordinary synod:

…the distinction from the norm lies largely in a more intimate, less clunky – and as a result, arguably more effective – format; unlike the ordinary assembly (comprised of scores of elected bishop-delegates and appointed observers), an extraordinary Synod’s makeup consists mostly of the presidents of the episcopal conferences ex officio, with a select number of papal appointees. In addition, the 2014 gathering’s two-week duration – 5-19 October – is a reduction by half of the Synods’ eventual length over most of John Paul II’s pontificate…Further information on the Synod’s altered modus operandi will be given next Tuesday at a Vatican press conference…

In addition to the synod’s preparatory document, it might be good to review Bd John Paul II’s teaching on the family in Familiaris Consortio and “Letter to Families.”

Click “Read the rest of this entry” to read the text of the preparatory document as it was reprinted by Rocco.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer in the life of JP2

June 11, 2013
Cardinal Re

Cardinal Re

About a year ago, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re gave a talk entitled “Prayer and Action in Blessed John Paul II.”  In this somewhat intimate description of the integration of prayer in JP2’s life and work, Cardinal Re revealed several aspects of JP2’s prayer life about which I had not previously heard.  For example:

During the day, the passage from one occupation to another was always marked by a brief prayer. When he wrote out, with his minute script, the Polish text of his speeches, his homilies, or magisterial documents, he customarily placed a small invocation at the head of the page, an ejaculation, continually lifting up his thought to God in this way.

This acknowledgement by JP2 of his trustful dependence on our Lord in everything was a testament to his deep, well-ordered humility.

The ways in which different forms of prayer pervaded the life of JP2 can only occur in one who has a deeply personal relationship with Jesus.  The more intimate one’s friendship with Christ, the more natural it will be for prayer to arise from within us and to be an integral part of our daily lives.

Live in the newness

February 23, 2011

In his Angelus address this past Sunday, Pope Benedict said:

He who welcomes the Lord in his life and loves him with all of his heart can begin again. He is able to do God’s will: to realize a new form of existence animated by love and destined for eternity.

When I go to Mass, I often recall a particular teaching of Pope John Paul II on Holy Communion, and the newness of life that it brings to us:

22. Incorporation into Christ, which is brought about by Baptism, is constantly renewed and consolidated by sharing in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, especially by that full sharing which takes place in sacramental communion.

Because of how frequently and repetitively I fail, this concept of “newness” is a source of great consolation to me.  It motivates me to avoid dwelling despairingly on the past (after appropriate repentance, of course), but to look forward with hope to new opportunities to be faithful to the will of God.  Such newness is possible only because of the mercy of our loving Lord.  Such hope comes from having faith in that mercy, as we hear in Lamentations 3:21-23

But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:  The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;  They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.


View of the CCR from the top

February 10, 2011

A while ago I took the time to read many of the messages from Pope John Paul II to the various expressions of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  Here (based on my calculations) are the top ten issues most frequently cited by our Holy Father in those messages, either affirming the CCR for its progress in them, and/or exhorting the CCR to grow in them:

  1. Building bonds of unity, trust and cooperation with local Bishops
  2. Evangelization; going forth to proclaim the Gospel and bearing witness to it by the way we live
  3. Commitment to growing in holiness:  prayer, the Word, sacramental life, openness to the gifts of the Spirit
  4. Fidelity to and formation in authentic Catholic doctrine
  5. Broadened ecclesial vision, better ecclesial formation, and growth in ecclesial maturity
  6. Focus on the ‘higher gifts’ that will better serve the common good
  7. Service to the local Church (i.e., the diocese) and parishes
  8. Commitment to seek true ecumenism
  9. Generosity in sharing with the poor and less fortunate
  10. Openness to collaboration with priests


Are we living up to JP2’s expectations?

February 8, 2011

From a message of soon-to-be-Blessed Pope John Paul II in the latter 
weeks of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000:

7. Participation of the lay faithful in the life and mission of the Church is expressed and supported by various associations, many of which are represented at this congress. Especially in our times, they represent an important means for deeper Christian formation and more effective apostolic activity. The Second Vatican Council says:  “Associations are not ends in themselves; they are meant to be of service to the Church’s mission to the world. Their apostolic value depends on their conformity with the Church’s aims, as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of each of their members and of the association as a whole” (Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 19)……

Today we can speak of a “new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful”. It is one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council. Along with the associations with a long and praiseworthy tradition, we observe a vigorous and diversified flourishing of ecclesial movements and new communities. This gift of the Holy Spirit is another sign of how God always finds appropriate and timely responses to the challenges posed to faith and to the Church in every historical era. Here too we must thank the associations, movements and ecclesial groups for their work in Christian formation and for the missionary enthusiasm they continue to bring to the Church.


…I invoke upon everyone the protection of Mary, Queen of Apostles and Star of the new evangelization.