The Synod of Bishops will be held in Rome October 4th through October 25th.  Bishop representatives from each country around the world will meet to advise the Holy Father on “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.”  You may recall that in October last year there was another Synod of Bishops that captured a great deal of media attention concerning  the so call “hot button” family issues.  That “extraordinary” synod last October was meant to prepare for this year’s Synod. 

                What can we expect from the Synod that will issue a final report and recommendations of October 25th?  Major change to church teaching on family issues in unlikely.  New norms for pastoral practice in matters related to marriage and the family would be more in keeping with results from previous synods.  Perhaps the best indication of the Holy Father’s thinking can be gleaned from his address to Congress on September 24th, to the United Nations on September 25th and his homily at the Philadelphia Papal Mass on September 27th.  What can we do in the mean time? Prayer is always a good thing.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God's plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.