Synod Report Recap
As you know, last week the Diocese published its Synod Report. Looking into it, the report reveals most parishes are doing well journeying together with Mass, through existing ministries, and some outreach efforts. However, among identified challenges for our Diocese is communication, which surfaced as a primary challenge across the parish, diocese, and global Church. Another critical area is engaging youth and young adults. I am proud of the steps we’ve taken and the plans beginning to be implemented on the Diocesan level through the Secretariat for the New Evangelization. I believe we’ll see its fruits spread across the diocese and take root in the parishes, but it will take all of us working to address these challenges in order for the fruit to be borne.
In Journeying Together: With Jesus on the Path of Faith and Hope, my Pastoral Letter of last fall, I pointed out that there is also a great need to prioritize and foster a relationship with Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist. I will be particularly focused on this challenge and look forward to prayerfully finding creative ways to assist the people of our Diocese, especially as we continue through the National Eucharistic Revival over the next three years. You can receive monthly e-updates on the Revival in our diocese, as well as other opportunities, by clicking here.
These challenges and others will be shared with our priests to discuss with parish councils this year to ensure that all parishes are focusing on them as well as on new and optimum actions to take locally to address them.
I am asking that Parish Ambassadors continue to meet regularly to continue the synodal process of listening and journeying together. I am so grateful for the commitment and hard work the ambassadors have given to not only the Synod process, but also their ongoing support for the Church, especially here in our Diocese.
Parish Pastoral Council Invitation
As you know, the role of the Parish Council is to assist the pastor/administrator in the pastoral ministry of the parish(es) and to enable the parish to share in the general pastoral thrust of the Diocese of Fall River and promote programs and activities recommended or presented by the Diocesan Bishop. To that end, there are several themes and topics that emerged in the Synod Report that I feel would be beneficial for Parish Councils to consider in discussions. These will be forwarded to parishes in the near future. It is my hope that Parish Pastoral Councils will delve into one of these topics each time they meet, looking for ways to address them both in their faith community and the community at large.
While the Parish Pastoral Council statutes call for a minimum of three meetings of the Council each year, consideration might be given to meeting a few extra times to offer adequate time for these critical topics. Parish Councils can play a vital part in the Diocesan renewal, revitalization, and reinvigoration of the faith to not only those attending Mass each week but also those who may be currently away from the Church. This is an excellent opportunity for them to review the overall Synod results as well as assess the results from their own Parish Synodal findings.
I am also happy to share that the Synod Report is currently being translated into both Spanish and Portuguese and will be available soon.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha