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Our Lady Mother Of The Saviour RC Church

1st of December 2014

Almost immediately after Pope Francis was elected in March 2013, he set out a vision based on his concern for the poor and disadvantaged, and made a commitment to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs and faiths. He challenged Catholics throughout the world to implement such ideas through the context of evangelisation, and recently he convened an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops with a specific emphasis on family related matters. It is, perhaps, inevitable that the popular press dissected the outcome of the Synod looking for major reversals of long held spiritual and moral teachings of the Catholic Christian faith, and expressed disappointment that there were no headline grabbing stories to write. The truth is that the Synod, guided by the Pope’s challenge, explored many of the problems that face families in the modern world, including war, immigration, domestic violence, polygamy, marriage breakdown, divorce, and those who have ended a valid marriage and have entered another union. Husbands and wives addressed the assembly about the difficulties and struggles they experienced in family union. The concept of the family being ‘a sanctuary of holiness’ (and this is at the heart of Christian life) was the bedrock of these Synod sessions. The Pope set the tone by asking the Church to look reality in the eye, to speak openly from the heart, and to understand that the pressures of the modern world cannot just be ignored.

The Synod ended with a commitment to strengthen and reinvigorate the pastoral nature and, above all, the practices of the Church. That is best achieved by being aware and helpful to those in need, especially those in difficult situations, and by recognising the goodness that is in our fellow human beings. Pope Francis ended with the observation that the Church must have it’s doors wide open to receive the needy and the penitent, and not only the just. With the Synod set to be reconvened in a year’s time, he looks to see the progressive ideas that emerged this time being matured into concrete solutions to the many challenges that families must confront, and giving answers to those who are discouraged. His personal commitment to this vision is clear for all to see, as well as is his determination to have an active, progressive, agenda.
Here in Chipperfield, as Christmas approaches, (at its ever increasing pace) we look forward to sharing the joys of our own family lives, not just in the home but also in our parish and village communities. May the Holy Spirit help us to marvel once more at the wonder of the Christian message, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem.

 
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