Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the family will take place in Rome from the 4th to 25th October 2015. The theme of the Synod is “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”, a theme which indicates the importance and dignity of the family and its essential role for living and spreading the Gospel in the world.
We write to you now to request your prayers for the Synod. We ask you to pray – as individuals, as families and as a community – that the Holy Spirit may guide the Synod Fathers in the sensitive task of discernment of how best the Church may bring Christ's compassion and mercy to strengthen and promote family life, as well as to seek and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light, courage and strength that comes from the Gospel.
Your prayers will be a precious treasure that will enrich the Synod and the Church.
We also wish to thank you for your participation in responding to the questionnaires, both of the Extraordinary Synod of last year, and the coming Synod of 2015. Your support of the process is much appreciated. The insights, encouragement, cares, concerns, worries, doubts, questions and suggestions have all been submitted to the Council of the Synod – as have those from other countries around the world - in order to provide the context for the discussions.
This Synod is dedicated to and focused on you in a special way, as families who have a special vocation and mission in the Church and Society. As the Holy Father pointed out in February 2014, the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs of the family. We are all called to give witness to and promote the great God-given gift of marriage and family life.
As you pray for the Synod, remember also to pray for your own families – as we ourselves will do – invoking the protection of our Blessed Mother and St Joseph upon them and seeking their accompaniment. May we all work together, united in love and in caring for one another.
+ Stephen Brislin
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC)