Worth Revisiting Wednesday: An Extraordinary Assembly

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

As the 2nd year of the Synod on the Family has gotten underway we are reminded of both the joys and challenges of the family and the need to be open to the Holy Spirit. While Pope Francis cautions not to over politicize the Synod gathering, he also emphasized that the Church must seek out those in need of mercy to “welcome, accompany and not become a roadblock but a bridge”. 

An Extraordinary Assembly: Synod on the Family 2014

The Holy Family, courtesy of Catholic Culture.org

“May the Wind of Pentecost blow upon the Synod’s work, on the Church, and on all humanity. Undo the knots which prevent people from encountering one another, heal the wounds that bleed, rekindle hope” Pope Francis (Prayer Vigil 10/4/14)

Our family on the occasion of our wedding some 20 years ago!

Today, is the opening of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the  “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. What a beautiful opportunity to affirm both our commitment to our shared tradition, and to those memories still yet to be made in the joys and challenges that lie ahead. It is through a “living Gospel…as testified in the Scriptures, preserved through the example of the martyrs, and witness of ordinary believers” that we best understand our memory and identity as a people called to be church.[1] And yet, this same commitment invites us to dynamically respond to God’s grace in present and future situations which continue to shape and form us as followers of Christ.

Available from John Paul II Institute- Communio: International Catholic Review 2014

Here, we are acknowledging the relationship of the memory of the believing community with that of doctrine, the preserved expressions of faith, and that of the authority of office. Understood in this way, the community of faith is to be foremost in service to the truth of the gospel of Jesus. The doctrine then is to be reflective of the community in its various historical contexts, and the authority of office in service to all of these. It is, as Gaillardetz observes, “ not a monarchy or a democracy but a spiritual communion of persons called to submit themselves to hear God’s word and discern God’s will in the concrete circumstances of community” [2]

So then we come to the situations that have prompted this particular synod on the family, said to be seeking pastoral solutions in light of the Gospel. Specifically, the the Synod is to look at the reaffirming Church teaching on marriage and the family with attention to the eligibility of divorced Catholics to receive communion, scandals of abuse, same sex marriages, contraception, and cohabitation. As Pope Francis notes, there is a “special need for mercy in the church today” and to listen attentively and “discuss sincerely” with those faithful who have become “frustrated and marginalized”.[4] Here, in reflecting on Vatican II, we glimpse the special role of the bishop within the community as teacher and judge of the faith, guiding us in the truth of the Gospel. Likewise, in light of Lumen Gentium, as laity we see our responsibility, in patience and love  “to express our opinion on matters which concern the good of the church”. [3]

Remarkably, as attested by the synod questionnaire, the communities themselves were consulted somewhat directly on their understandings of and resonance with matters of faith. (http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-asks-parish-level-input-synod-document) According to the latest Catholic News Service, the synod of 250 participants will consist of bishops, cardinals,leaders of Vatican congregations and councils, priests,  and 14 married couples from around the world.[5]   However, as the article also notes, there is a lot of room for how these opinions are considered, with only 26 papally appointed voting members. Still, this upcoming 2015 synod is a time to “assess the reception of the church’s teaching” as “sensus fidei” and then seek how best to address these controversial pastoral issues.[6]

While this synod is unprecedented in its approach, we must consider that the church has always been called upon to respond to the historical circumstances and interests of its time. Likewise, we need look no further than to the additional voices of theologians, historians and biblical scholars, who have continued to shed light on  the issues of the day.  Their fluency with the texts, traditions and practices of the church have been essential in appraising the exercise of church teaching as lived experience. They provide a unique perspective of taking a particular teaching, and understanding how well it has been ‘understood, received, and transformed into something new’.[7]  This is the reality of a living faith that is dynamically responsive to the unparalleled love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness of God. To understand our faith in this way, demands that we listen to the experiences of faith of a people past, give voice to the present and engage the challenges of the future with our hearts, minds and souls.

                                                 Peace, Signature

[1] Richard Gaillardetz  Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent. (New York, NY. Orbis Books.  2008), p. 211.[2] Richard Gaillardetz, By What Authority?: Primer on Scripture, the Magisterium, and the Sense of the Faithful. (Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press. 2003) p. 62. [3] ibid., p. 59  [4] http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1402654.htm  [5] http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403738.htm  [6] ibid., p.78; [7]  Ecclesiology, p.226


An Engaging Faith: 10/12-10/16

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of Adoption: Room for One More? by Jaymie Stuart  Wolfe(Pauline Media) or Just Married:The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage by Greg and Lisa Popcak (Ave Maria Press)
Drawing runs 10/11-10/18 Click to enter..

Catholic Marriage and Family Essentials-

(Encore) Sue and Tim Muldoon of Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality for the Home , Jaymie Stuart Wolfe with Adoption: Room for One More?, Greg & Lisa Popcak joins us to discuss the World Meeting of Families and their book Just Married..

With Catholic educator Barb Gilman on Tuesday and  MargaretFelice for Felice Fridays to talk about the latest Catholic news, events, tweets and posts.

Monday:Sue and Tim Muldoon: Join us to discuss their latest book Six Sacred Rules for Families  and their experience at the World Meeting of Families, where Sue spoke on healing damaged relationships.



Tuesday: Barb Begley Gilman  a 2014 NCEA Distinguished Catholic school teacher, co-organizer of #CatholicEdChat Saturday 8am CT ,Co-founder of EdCampArchOmaha joins us to discuss dynamic Catholic education in action. Utilizing all social media tools available in and outside the classroom, Barb seeks to reach her students where they are while providing the opportunity to grow even further. You can find many of these ideas through her blog at  Barb In Nebraska.com.

Wednesday: Jaymie Stuart Wolfe
A Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight, strives to both answer and echo God’s universal call to holiness.A graduate of Harvard University, Jaymie also holds a Master of Arts in Ministry degree from St. John’s Seminary in Boston. and works as a full-time Editor of books for children and teens at Pauline Books & Media.Under Loaves and Fishes Ministry, she serves the mission of Christ as an author, columnist, speaker, and musician. Jaymie is also a co-founder of Live Jesus, a group embracing the spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales and focused on the Works of Mercy in daily life. She joins us today to share her latest book Adoption: Room For One More?

Thursday:Gregory and Lisa PopcakGreg is executive director of Pastoral Solutions Institute and the author of more than a dozen popular books integrating Catholic theology and counseling psychology .Popcak is a regular contributor to Catholic Digest, Family Foundations, and others. Lisa Popcak is the vice president of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, a family life coach, lactation consultant, and professional educator. Lisa is a sought-after speaker on marriage, parenting, and women’s spirituality, she has addressed audiences across North America as well as in Australia and Hong Kong. Their books include For Better . . . Forever!, Holy Sex!, and Parenting with Grace. Together they have also hosted two television series for EWTN: For Better . . . FOREVER and God Help Me!

Felice Fridays!: Margaret FeliceBoston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic.

An Engaging Faith: 9/28-10/2

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of Intimate Graces  by Teresa Tomeo and Dominick Pastore (Ave Maria Press) 
Drawing runs 9/27-10/4 Click to enter..

Unable to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philly last week? Join in with several experts and speakers from this event as we discuss the pastoral challenges of the today’s families.

Teresa Tomeo joins us with her soon-to-be released book Intimate Graces, also Karee Santos of Can We Cana?, Sue Muldoon co-author of Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality for the Home 

And Mark Hart with Ask the Bible Geek Fascinating Answers to Intriguing Questions

Monday: Teresa TomeoBestselling author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and speaker with more than thirty years of experience in print and broadcast media. In 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company, Teresa Tomeo Communications, LLC. Her weekday morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan and now heard on over 200 Catholic stations nationwide through the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network and is also carried on Sirius Satellite Radio. She and her husband, Dominick Pastore, are the authors of the soon-to-be released Intimate Graces, which encourages couples to enrich their marriages by practicing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. 

Tuesday: Karee Santos, will be joining  us again this time to talk about the papal Mass in NYC on the 25th and Festival of Families and papal Mass in Philly on the 26th and 27th.   Karee and husband, Manuel P. Santos, M.D., a psychiatrist, began teaching marriage preparation and enrichment classes in New York City in 2003. Their Catholic marriage advice book The Four Keys to Everlasting Love will be published by Ave Maria Press in 2016. She also blogs at Can We Cana? a community to support Catholic Marriages.

Sue and Tim Muldoon
 – Sue is a graduate of Boston College with degrees in Theology and Psychology, and has a Master’s degree in Counseling with a focus in Christian Counseling from Franciscan University. Her experience includes serving as the Director of Counseling Services at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and as a therapist at Center for Family Connections in Cambridge.  She has also co-authored, with husband Tim,  Six Sacred Rules for Families  Asked to be a presenter at the WMOF, Sue spoke on healing damaged relationships.

Tim Muldoon is a professor and has authored and edited several books. He served as chair of the department of religious studies, philosophy, and theology at Mount Aloysius College for many years before being named the inaugural director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College. He currently serves in the division of university mission and ministry at Boston College, and teaches in the university’s college of arts and sciences. He and his wife Sue are the parents of three children.

Thursday: Mark Hart serves as Executive Vice President for Life Teen International. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a twenty-year veteran of youth ministry, Mark Hart is one of the most sought-after speakers serving in the Catholic Church, today. The author (or co-author) of over a dozen books, including best-sellers “Blessed are the Bored in Spirit”, “Behold the Mystery”, “Ask the Bible Geek”, “100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know” and “The “R” Father”, Mark’s writing style is humorous yet deep, accessible to and enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic