Dear Catholic Faithful of the Diocese of Portland,
The Catholic Church is being engaged over a two-year period in a process of reflection on the family and the pastoral challenges encountered in ministering to families. Last fall, in an Extraordinary Synod held in Rome, the bishops reflected on those challenges. The document from the Synod of 2014 has been published as The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World, which can be viewed here.
The document will now serve as the preparatory document for the next Synod, which will be held in October of this year (October 4-25, 2015). The goal of the next Synod will be to further reflect “on the critical and invaluable reality of the family." As was the case last year, the Office of the Synod of Bishops is requesting that a broad consultation be undertaken regarding the document.
We have been requested to forward a summary of the comments received to the Bishops’ Conference in Washington, D.C., by March 20, 2015. Then, one submission of comments will be made from each national conference to the Synod of Bishops in Rome. Therefore, I would ask that you complete the survey by February 20, 2015. I recommend that the document and the questionnaire would be read in light of the framework that the bishops themselves followed in preparing their document. This is outlined in the Introduction (#4). The discussions of the bishops had three parts. It began with listening to the present situation of the family today, then looking at the content of the Church’s faith, reflecting especially on the beauty, role, and dignity of the family, and finally confronting the situation by determining how to renew the commitment to marriage and family in the Church and society. This framework provides a guideline for the discussion of the document.
I invite you to participate in this consultation by completing the online survey found here or by clicking on the survey button below. You may also send your completed survey via mail to: Diocese of Portland, Attn: Communications Department, 510 Ocean Avenue, Portland, ME 04103-4936.
The strengthening of families is essential to the mission of evangelization. Through the loving family, we will strengthen our faith communities and look to a bright future where children bring new life to the Church, and in turn, we will find in them the source of new vocations to priesthood, religious life, and marriage itself.
Yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D.
Bishop of Portland