The Ongoing Synodal Process
Despite the post-holiday spike in Covid cases and the bitterly cold and snowy New England weather, parishes are beginning to roll out Synodal Consultation sessions. The method utilized in bringing people together to dialogue and listen has been, by design, very varied. Each parish has been encouraged to prayerfully develop plans and a process according to their parish community. The ad hoc Diocesan Revitalization Committee together with the Secretariat of the New Evangelization created several resources, including Facilitator and Participant guides and Recording sheets, to assist parishes throughout the synodal process. You can find these on the Diocesan Synod 2021-2023 webpage.
A helpful short definition of the Synod of Bishops is a gathering of bishops that:
- fosters closer unity between the bishops and Pope.
- provides counsel to the Pope on matters of faith and morals, and discipline of the Church.
- studies questions concerning the Church in the world (c.f. Code of Canon Law c. 342).
Voting in the Synod of Bishops is limited to bishops present at the synod gathering. However, clergy, men and women religious, theologians, catechists, canon lawyers, and lay experts all participate in the synod gathering with bishops by providing their counsel on the future of the Church.
In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day, the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. For parishes, the celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to the following Sunday, (this year, February 5-6, 2022), in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church.
The USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations recently commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) to conduct a survey of the religious Profession Class of 2021. The survey polled women and men religious who professed perpetual vows in 2021 in a religious congregation, based in the United States. Those results can be found here on the USCCB website.
Please join me in praying for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life and be sure to thank them on their special day for their generous response to God’s gift of their vocation. May they continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God’s gift of their vocation.
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week
As I mentioned in my January 26th blog, our Diocesan schools are engaged this week in Celebrating Catholic Schools Week. If you are on social media, you have perhaps seen the many ways our schools are celebrating their parishes, families, students, staff, and communities. Schools have celebrated student achievements in academics and athletics, welcomed community guests, and with still three days to go, there is much more to come. I invite you to learn more about our Diocesan Catholic Schools, especially for families discerning if a Catholic education is the best choice for their children, on the Catholic Schools Alliance Website.
Also, for families who were considering attending one of the many open houses scheduled around the Fall River Diocese this past weekend, many have now been rescheduled due to the snowstorm. The new days and times can be found on many of the school’s social media accounts or by contacting the school of interest directly.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha