St. Mary's CCD Community

God Bless You & Welcome Back

Thank You Families!

We want to take this opportunity to welcome you to St. Mary CCD community either for the first time, or back to this very important part of your child's upbringing. We also want to thank you for being the moral compass behind your child and making the commitment to his or her religious education. We certainly know that behind every strong Catholic child is a strong Catholic family supporting the Church and Her ideals. We are incredibly happy that you chose St. Mary Parish as the place to support you on your child's journey with Jesus.

Whether this is a sacramental year for your child, or a year to grow and learn in faith, we want to be sure that the experience is enlightening, faith-filled and draws your child deeper into a relationship with our God. We will teach your child our faith and help him or her to understand the deep love Jesus has for each one of us. As s/he grows through the years, s/he will learn and show faith through Catholic action by providing service hours thus being the eyes, ears, and hands of God on Earth. Please take the time to go through your child's book with him or her and say the prayers that are throughout the text between classes. This will assist your child in deepening a relationship with God through prayer. Saying daily prayer at dinner time and bedtime, and reminding children to say a prayer during a moment of silence at school helps us, as Catholics, to center our lives.

As the year progresses we hope to get to know each other even better. Please stop by after Mass and introduce yourself to all of us. We feel blessed to have you with us; you are the St. Mary community.

The Catholic Church Focuses on The Family This October

What is Happening at the Synod of The Church?


On October 8, 2013, Pope Francis called on the bishops of the world to re-examine the Church's role in reaching out to families. The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization was to be taken up in two parts. Showing his concern for the current lack of pastoral responsiveness to modern families, Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Synod on the Family (October 5 -19, 2014) as the first part of a process for examining the challenges facing the Church and Catholic families today. The first synod will lead to a second, "ordinary" synod that will be held October 4 - 25, 2015. At this final synod it will be expected that the bishops will formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines.

New! Who will be at the Synod?

New! An Exquisite Letter About the Potential of the Synod by Bishop Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp (01 September 14)

The Preparatory Document (Lineamenta)

The Preparatory Document for the Extraordinary Synod was issued on November 5, 2013 and received responses, not only from episcopal conferences, but also from Catholics around the world. FutureChurch and other reform organizations offered on online survey to ensure Catholics could also have a voice in the work of the synod. That survey received over 16,500 responses!

To view that report CLICK HERE

To view a sampling of the free text responses CLICK HERE.

Those responses were sent to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri and other officials to consider as they developed the Instrumentum Laboris or the working document for the Extraordinary synod on the family. Cardinal Baldiserri sent a confirmation that he received the responses.

Upon receipt of the responses, the General Secretariat categorized them into two types: a) those received bishops, synod of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Curial departments, Superior Generals and, b) those categorized as “observations” sent directly to the General Secretariat by dioceses, parishes, academic institutions, movements, groups, etc.

The Working Document (Instrumentum Laboris)

Those documents were analyzed and on June 24, 2014, the Vatican issued the Instrumentum Laboris (working document), a summary of responses from the world’s Bishops meant to aid in the work of the Synod and is used to begin discussions.

NOTE! This document is created to help initiate the bishops’ discussion at the Extraordinary Synod and is by no means the final word.

Here is a link so you can read it yourself

Many people have analized the working document.

Analysis of Instrumentum Laboris

FutureChurch analysis of the Instrumentum laboris (working document)

At the Extraordinary synod, so far, there will be no women participating. The Pope could appoint women (up to 15% of the total number attending) but so far he has not done that. Below is the list of those who will be engaged.

1. Presidents of bishops' conferences

2. Heads of Curial offices

3. Patriarchs

4. Three from the Union of Superio Generals

NOTE: The Pope can make appointments (up to 15%)

In order to ensure the voices of Catholic women and Catholics with families are heard at the Synod, we need to continue to take action!

Write a letter to Cardinal Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops

Upload a picture of your family and tweet the Pope asking if your family will be represented

Other useful sources of information

How the Synod works

Who is in the lead?

· Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri (Secretary General)

· Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary (Relator General)

· Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy (Special Secretary)

What is changing?
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri (Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops) explains there will be changes in synodal process that should lead to more consultation. See Vatican News.

Cardinal Baldisseri explained that the Instrumentum Laboris consists of three parts, conforming to the themes of the Documento Preparatorio. “The first, dedicated to the Gospel of the family, relates to God's plan, biblical and magisterial knowledge and their reception, natural law and the vocation of the person in Christ”, he said. “The difficulties that arise in relation to natural law can be overcome through more attentive reference to the biblical world, to its language and narrative forms, and to the proposal to thematise and deepen the biblically-inspired concept of the 'order of creation', like the possibility of reinterpreting 'natural law' in a more existentially meaningful way. Furthermore, the role of the family, 'fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another', is that of a privileged space for values such as fraternity, love, respect and solidarity between generations, where dignity is promoted, overcoming individualism and contributing to the common good of society”.

“The second part relates to the pastoral challenges inherent in the family, such as the crisis of faith, critical internal situations, external pressures and other problems. The responsibilities of the pastor include preparation for marriage, increasingly necessary nowadays to enable engaged couples make their decision in terms of their personal adhesion to faith to the Lord, to build their families on solid foundations”.

He emphasised that special consideration would be given to difficult pastoral situations, such as unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, separated and divorced couples, remarried divorcees and eventual further children, single mothers, those who are in canonically irregular situations and non-believers or non-practising Catholics who wish to marry”. The prelate added that with regard to the phenomenon of unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, increasingly widespread, “the Church has the duty to accompany these couples in the trust that they are able to bear a responsibility, such as that of marriage, that is not too great for them”. In relation to the question of remarried divorcees, whose irregular condition within the Church is a source of suffering, the Instrumentum Laboris “offers real knowledge of their situation, from which the Church is required to find solutions compatible with her teaching and which lead to a serene and reconciled life. In this respect, the need to simplify the judicial procedures for the annulment of marriage would appear relevant”.

“Regarding same-sex unions, a distinction is made between the contexts in which civil legislation is more or less in favour; there is a need for pastoral care on the part of the particular Churches in these situations, including matters relating to children who may be present”.

The third part first presents themes linked to openness to life, such as knowledge and difficulties in receiving the Magisterium, pastoral suggestions, sacramental praxis and the promotion of a mentality open to life. … With regard to the educative responsibility of parents, difficulty emerges in terms of transmitting faith to children, which is then made concrete in Christian initiation; finally, this is a matter of Christian education in difficult family situations, in which the effects on the children extend to the sphere of faith and methods of celebration of the sacraments”.

Cardinal Baldisseri mentioned that the themes not included in the document will be considered in the Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for 4-25 October 2015, based on the theme “Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the family”. This will be the third stage in the process of reflection on the family, which began with the Consistory held on 20 February 2014.

Finally, he explained that the Instrumentum Laboris offers a vision of the reality of the family in the current context, which represents the beginning of a profound reflection, which will take place in the two stages of the Extraordinary General Assembly (2014) and the Ordinary General Assembly (2015), which are closely linked by the theme of the family based on the light of Christ's Gospel. The results of the first, the Extraordinary Assembly, will be used in the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris of the subsequent Ordinary Assembly, which will be made known only after the publication of the final document, subject to the decision of the Holy Father.

Given the importance of the Synod, a Day of Prayer for the Synod will be held on Sunday 28 September, and the Eucharist will be celebrated every day during the work of the Synod in the Salus Populi Romanii Chapel in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

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