September 23, 2023 Column Father De Celles

DAILY ROSARY. October is the Month of the Rosary. The Blessed Mother has repeatedly begged us to pray the Rosary, an exhortation echoed by Popes and Saints for centuries. And one of the best ways to pray the Rosary is as a family—it can be a tremendous blessing.

                 Last year we started to pray the Daily Family Rosary in our church every day, Monday to Friday at 6:30pm, and Weekends after the 9am Mass. All are invited to attend, but we ask for one family volunteer to lead the rosary every day.

                 I have been very happy that we’ve been able to keep this going every day for the last year, without exception (except, I believe, during the Triduum). And I would like to thank all the families who have participated in leading.

But I’d also like to increase the number of families who participate in leading. It’s easy and the kids can join in. A “family” can be as few as 2 members of a family, or as many as you like. A family may volunteer for more than one evening if they want to. Please, prayerfully consider signing up to “lead” on our parish website (the pop-up will have the link).

But we invite everyone to attend and join in praying: we usually have between 10 and 20 people attend these rosaries.

October Rosary Intention. I ask that we all offer our daily Rosaries this month, including the Family Rosary in the church, for the intention that Mary intercede for and guide and protect the Church during the upcoming “Synod on Synodality.”

“Synod on Synodality.” The week after next, Oct. 4–28, the first session of the “Synod on Synodality” begins in Rome. Many have asked me, “Exactly what is the Synod on Synodality?” That’s really hard to say, because all official explanations have been ambiguous at best. But here a pretty good effort to explain it, from the Catholic News Agency (by Courtney Mares, Jun 20, 2023, excerpts):

“What is the Synod on Synodality? The Synod on Synodality…is a multiyear, worldwide undertaking during which Catholics were asked to submit feedback to their local dioceses on the question ‘What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’

“…. It will culminate in two global assemblies at the Vatican. The first will take place Oct. 4–28 and the second in October 2024 to advise the pope on the topic: ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.’

What does synodality mean? Synodality was defined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s International Theological Commission in 2018 as ‘the action of the Spirit in the communion of the Body of Christ and in the missionary journey of the people of God.’

The 2021 synod preparatory document described synodality as ‘the form, the style, and the structure of the Church.’

“The latest document published by the Vatican adds that synodality can also be understood as something that ‘does not derive from the enunciation of a principle, a theory, or a formula but develops from a readiness to enter into a dynamic of constructive, respectful, and prayerful speaking, listening, and dialogue.’

“‘At the root of this process is the acceptance, both personal and communal, of something that is both a gift and a challenge: to be a Church of sisters and brothers in Christ who listen to one another and who, in so doing, are gradually transformed by the Spirit,’ it says.”

[Pastor’s comment: if all this strikes you as either confusing, ambiguous, over exaggerated, ludicrous or doublespeak, I agree. And I think this is intended].

What are the main questions that the Synod on Synodality will try to answer? Here are the three overarching questions defined by the 2023 Instrumentum Laboris:

How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?

How can we better share gifts and tasks in the service of the Gospel?

‘What processes, structures, and institutions in a missionary synodal Church?’

“The main objective of the first session in October…will be to design a plan of study in a ‘synodal style’ and to indicate who will be involved in those discussions. Discernment will be ‘completed’ in the 2024 session of the synod.

What are some of the topics that could be addressed in the synod assembly? The…document guiding the discussions at the October synod assembly suggests discernment on questions regarding some hot-button topics, including women deacons, priestly celibacy, and LGBTQ outreach. The document highlights a desire for new institutional bodies to allow for greater participation in decision-making by the ‘people of God.’ One of the proposed questions for discernment for the synod of bishops asks: ‘What can we learn about the exercise of authority and responsibility from other Churches and ecclesial communities?’

“How does the Synod on Synodality differ from past synods of bishops? “A synod is a meeting of bishops gathered to discuss a topic of theological or pastoral significance in order to prepare a document of advice or counsel to the pope.

“For the first time, about 21% of the voting delegates in the 2023 Synod of Bishops on Synodality will not be bishops, and 70 delegates will be chosen directly by the pope from among a list of 140 laypeople, priests, consecrated women, and deacons selected by the leadership of this year’s continental synod meetings… [Pastor’s Comment: This means that it will not be a true ‘Synod’ in the Catholic understanding, and can’t be compared to other important True Synods of the Church].

How is the participation in the Synod on Synodality? The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has reported that the initial diocesan listening phase concluded with the participation of 112 out of 114 of the world’s Catholic bishops’ conferences.

“…[A]ccording about 700,000 people participated in the diocesan phase of the synod in the U.S. out of 66.8 million Catholics in the country, or about 1%.” [Pastor’s Note: This 1% seems to be on the high end of participation, with countries like France and Venezuela reporting .35% and .29%, and African nations reporting even lower numbers. It seems clear that the ‘Synod’ addresses the concerns of only less than 1% of the ‘People of God’].

Who are the key organizers of the Synod on Synodality? Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, …is …the relator general. The Jesuit …said in an interview in March that he believes that a future pope could allow women priests and that he finds ‘the part of the teaching calling homosexuality ‘intrinsically disordered’ a bit dubious.’’

“Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary general for the Synod of Bishops, …was one of two authors of the Maltese bishops’ controversial pastoral guidelines …which stated that divorced and remarried Catholics, in certain cases and after ‘honest discernment,’ could receive Communion. Last year, Grech decried the public criticism of the German ‘Synodal Way’ as ‘denunciation.’”

[Pastor’s Comment: so, 2 Cardinals who seem to espouse heresy are in charge.]

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles