February 13, 2015

Participating in consultation will help Church respond to needs of today’s families

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin reacts to 3-year-old Kathryn Mack showing him her age during a Feb. 19, 2013, reception at St. Louis Parish in Batesville following a Mass celebrated there by the archbishop for Catholics in the Batesville Deanery. Joining Kathryn in meeting the archbishop are members of her family, from left: Deb, Grace (partially obscured), Pete, Christian and Spencer Mack, all members of St. Louis Parish. (Criterion file photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin reacts to 3-year-old Kathryn Mack showing him her age during a Feb. 19, 2013, reception at St. Louis Parish in Batesville following a Mass celebrated there by the archbishop for Catholics in the Batesville Deanery. Joining Kathryn in meeting the archbishop are members of her family, from left: Deb, Grace (partially obscured), Pete, Christian and Spencer Mack, all members of St. Louis Parish. (Criterion file photo by Sean Gallagher)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

In October 2015, representative bishops from around the world will meet with Pope Francis in the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to consider the topic: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.” This Synod of Bishops continues the work begun in 2013 when the Bishops of the world gathered information from the faithful concerning the pastoral challenges facing today’s families.

The representative bishops met in October 2014 at the Vatican to discuss the family and issued a document called the Relatio Synodi in preparation for the October 2015 Synod. The Bishops have been asked by the Holy Father to consult the people in their dioceses on the reflections contained in the Relatio Synodi. This new set of questions consists of three parts: 1. Listening: The context and Challenges of the Family; 2. Looking at Christ: The Gospel of the Family; 3. Confronting the Situation: Pastoral Perspectives.

I ask you to prayerfully consider taking part in this consultation. The Relatio Synodi and accompanying questions can be found in English and Spanish at www.archindy.org/synod. The consultation requires a thoughtful reading and reflection of this document and a response to the questions. There are many questions, and not everyone will be able to answer all of them. The purpose of this survey isn’t to propose changes in Church teaching, but to help the Church respond to the needs of today’s families.

The responses from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis will be included in a report that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will send to the Holy See to help prepare the “Working Document” (Instrumentum Laboris) for the October 2015 Synod.

Responses to the questions are to be returned by Thursday, March 5.

I am grateful for your help.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Indianapolis

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