Today, I read with great excitement Bishop Gerald F. Kincanis’ amazing blog post for Catholic News Service detailing the 57 propositions being put forward for consideration by the Synod Fathers. I have a few favorites among his summarizations, including:
- The role of social communication is important in handing on the faith. The primary mode of evangelization is personal witness, yet education in the wise and constructive use of social media is an important means to be utilized in the new evangelization.
- The new evangelization requires personal and community conversion including new methods of evangelization and renewal of the pastoral structures, in order to be able to move from a pastoral strategy of maintenance to a pastoral strategy that is truly missionary.
- The Christian family as the domestic church is the locus and first agent in the giving of life and love, the transmission of faith and the formation of the human person according to the values of the Gospel. We must support the family. The new evangelization should strive to address significant pastoral problems around marriage: the case of divorced and remarried who cannot receive Holy Communion, the situation where couples are living together without marriage, and the trend in society to redefine marriage.
These are only a few of the many amazing and broad-ranging topics raised by the Synod’s rapporteurs — I recommend you take fifteen minutes and read the list. It’s definitely ambitious, but also likely critical if we are to advance the cause of the New Evangelization.
Honestly though, this list got me started thinking — how much is the average Catholic really aware of this Synod, the Year of Faith, or for that matter even much more than the name of the pastor at their parish? On Sunday, I waited during the homily at the parish I attended for mention of the Year of Faith, and even more-so of the canonizations we celebrated on Sunday. Neither came. There was a mention of the Year of Faith in the bulletin, and I do commend the parish for that.
But guess what… not everyone reads the bulletin. I attend Mass with my husband and teenage son, and could count on exactly one finger the amount of times I’ve ever seen either of them pick up the bulletin. I’m relatively sure both know about the Year of Faith, as we’ve been discussing it at home. But I’m also pretty positive that neither of them know about the Synod on the New Evangelization. For that, I blame myself as much as the Church… For all the time I spend blogging and tweeting about this stuff, I don’t always remember to have “real life” conversations about it with those who matter most in my life.
I’d blame the hectic pace of life or the fact that I’m pretty sure my attempt to start our dinner conversation with, “Hey guys, guess what happened at the Synod today…” would definitely be met with glazed-over looks of disinterest. But both excuses are a cop out. If this is a Domestic Church, then I’m failing in my job as one of her members if my “body of Christ” here in my own home doesn’t know that we canonized seven new saints on Sunday. I could wait for things like the Synod and the canonizations to be mentioned in a homily, but something tells me that’s not the safest bet. So I’m chastising myself a bit here as I raise the following question:
Are the Synod & Year of Faith Just Inside Baseball? Are these topics that the average Catholic in the pew will likely never hear about? Or have many parishes out there already fully embraced this Year as a remarkable opportunity to shake things up and to expect more of ourselves?
Help me out: how has your parish informed you about the Year of Faith? Are you being offered programs, books, homilies and prayers to support you this year? Or is it just business as usual around your parish? Has your family determined to anything proactive for the Year of Faith? For those of you with teen or young adult children, how are you helping them to move into this Year of Faith? I’d honestly love a great combox conversation on these questions and anything else you can share on this. Hopefully, my question in the title of this post will be answered with a resounding “No!”