I did a radio segment this morning about the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, currently ongoing at the Vatican. In preparation for the segment, I reached out to a few groups of friends both online and in “real life” to ask if they were watching the Synod. I was a bit surprised by their answers.
Some had no idea what I was talking about.
Some said they were intentionally not tuning in for a variety of reasons.
Some answered with a level of intricacy which indicated to me that they are Synod junkies. They can’t get enough.
So I sat and asked myself, “Which group do I fall into?”
On a normal week, I would probably be in the last group. I love watching the intricacies of things like the Synod. But this week, I’ve been on the run and my travels have kept me from being completely immersed. In fact, if I were sort of the average Catholic who didn’t have the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Twitter feed set to text me every time they tweet, I likely might have fallen into group number one — those who had no clue the thing was even happening.
It wasn’t mentioned in my parish bulletin.
The priest where I attended Sunday Mass didn’t mention it.
It’s listed on my diocesan website under the sidebar title “Instrumentum Laboris”. (If I weren’t me, would I even know what that means and how it’s related to the Synod?)
So yes, perhaps I would have fallen into the group with tons of very faith-filled Catholics who are not watching it. But now that I’m home for a few days, I plan to tune in. After all, Pope Francis has invited us to participate in prayer:
A Synod means walking together but also praying together. I ask all the faithful to participate. #praywithus
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) October 2, 2014
By paying attention, I’ll meet couples like Ron and Mavis Pirola from Australia, a married couple who addressed the Synod:
I wish I could have dinner with them and pick their minds, but since I can’t I’ll be trying to learn all I can from their remarks.
I’ll also virtually encounter folks like George and Cynthia Campos from the Philippines, who shared the story of their own family today. Their sharing of their vocational discernment, struggles with a cancer diagnosis and difficult pregnancy are things we can all relate to. They represent us — families doing their very best to find a way to live the faith in the midst of day-to-day challenges.
Why do I care about the Synod? Because I live in a family, a little Domestic Church that is evolving and being challenged in new and ever evolving ways. I need guidance and support from my Church to better live out my vocation as a wife and mom. I need wisdom on how to educate my sons — now young men — to live in a world with an ever evolving definition of the word “family”. I need examples of families who are doing this right, but I also need to know about families like mine who struggle sometimes to be faithful to the teachings of the Church.
For me, Church is family and family is Church. The two are tied together inseparably. And so I care… Do I expect to be given all of the answers to all of my problems or concerns? No. But I do believe that this matters.
So yes, I’ll be doing my best to tune in to what’s happening in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Some of the resources I’m using to stay in touch with the news are:
- Official Vatican Synod Website
- Official Vatican News Synod subsite
- #Synod14 at Twitter
- Salt + Light TV’s video recaps
- Family – The new app from the Pontifical Council for the Family
- A variety of US Catholic news outlets
I’ll do my best to share a few thoughts as the Synod progresses. I would love to know if you’re following, why you care, and what you’re watching in the comments below.