Supporting, engaging and enhancing families of all types is the core mission of Saint John the Evangelist, and our Holy Father has made it the primary focus of our entire Church, especially this year. In fact, at this very moment, the Catholic Church is discussing “family” in Rome. Pope Francis has convened an Extraordinary Synod of the Bishops entitled “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. What does that mean? It means that our Church as a whole is looking at how we support families around the world.
Bishops are listening to each other as well as experts about how they can provide pastoral focus on families that may have felt pushed away from our church. More information about this critical moment in our church can be found at: http://www.news.va/en/sites/synod2014, including the below prayer from Pope Francis:
Above all, we ask the Holy Spirit, for the gift of listening for the Synod Fathers: to listen in the manner of God, so that they may hear, with him, the cry of the people; to listen to the people, until they breathe the will to which God calls us.
Besides listening, we invoke an openness toward a sincere discussion, open and fraternal, which leads us to carry with pastoral responsibility the questions that this change in epoch brings.
We let it flow back into our hearts, without ever losing peace, but with serene trust which in his own time the Lord will not fail to bring into unity.
Does not Church history perhaps recount many similar situations, which our Fathers knew how to overcome with persistent patience and creativity?
The secret lies in a gaze: and it is the third gift that we implore with our prayer. Because, if we truly intend to walk among contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to maintain a fixed gaze on Jesus Christ – Lumen Gentium – to pause in contemplation and in adoration of His Face.