A Call to Prayer
for the Pope, The Church
and the Synod
22 January, 2015
P O Box 1
Lismore, NSW 2480
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the Lay Faithful, the consecrated Religious, the Parish Communities and Schools and the Clergy of the Diocese of Lismore:
With this Letter I wish to call us all together in a concerted time of prayer in preparation for the meeting in Rome on 4 October of the second session of the Synod of Bishops. Its subject matter continues the discussions of the first session last October: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and
A further opportunity is given for all who wish to do so to contribute their views in response to 30 ‘userfriendly’questions available in print form through your parish or on the home page of the diocesan website www.lismorediocese.org Second Family Life Survey. Both print and electronic responses will need to be received by the Chancery Office by 9 February, 2015.
But the most important preparation, to which our Holy Father Pope Francis calls us, is a journey of prayer for each member of the Church, “Christ’s faithful,’ towards next October.
At the centre of this Call to Prayer I have asked the priests and parish communities to observe nine focus days, one each month, centred on silent prayer in their churches and chapels, in the presence of Christ our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
The nine days are: Thursday, 5 February; Thursday 5 March; Holy Thursday 2 April; Thursday 7 May;
Thursday 4 June; Thursday 2 July; Thursday 6 August (Feast of the Transfiguration); Thursday 3 September; and Thursday 1 October.
Our union in prayer leading up to the Synod is an acknowledgement that marriage and the family are not simply the concern of the Pope, the Bishops and other participants meeting in the Vatican, but the concern of all of us who are members of families – children, parents and grandparents – and all the permutations of family in contemporary circumstances.
Together with the Synod we are looking at the concrete reality of family life in our society today. We look of course from the perspective of Christ’s teaching passed on in the Church’s faith, but with an awareness of many contemporary cross-currents.
A lot of listening is going on, to all kinds of voices, because family
life is caught up in the changes of today’s world, and the Synod has to consider all that before it speaks.
Some time after the Synod, the Pope will have the responsibility of summing up why the family remains crucial amidst all the social turmoil, why it remains as expressed in God’s plan, and at the heart of human experience, the fundamental cell of human society. Finding new ways that people can understand to present the age-old realities is a huge challenge for the Church.
That is why these nine days of prayer, one each month, are important. Across the Diocese they will deliberately place the Synod journey before Christ in the Eucharist, who is our Way, Truth and Life.
This novena of prayer will give focus to the love by which we desire to seek from God grace, wisdom and courage for the Pope and the Bishops in their enormous responsibility.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Most Rev. Geoffrey H. Jarrett,
Bishop of Lismore.