Passing on the
September 20, 2003
In the following letter Bishop Weigand asks our parishes to celebrate Synod Sunday on September 28, 2003 as a way of beginning the synod preparation with prayer and intercession flowing from the sacred liturgy of the Mass.
On Sunday, Sept. 21 or some other Sunday of September parishes observe an annual Catechetical Sunday. It is at this time that we renew our commitment to the mandate given by Christ: Go, therefore make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all I have told you. Implementing this mandate is a special responsibility of a Diocesan Bishop. But these words which Jesus spoke to his disciples have echoed down through the centuries as a challenge for all Catholics.
We all share in the privilege and responsibility of passing on the faith which we ourselves have received. Parents are the primary educators in faith of their children. Catechists, clergy, religious and fellow Catholics, in general, are all called upon to pass on the richness and living heritage of the Catholic faith. Children, of course, are always of great concern to us, but also the youth, young adults, and adults as well.
The importance of continued religious education for adults has been stressed in many Church documents. In his apostolic exhortation, Catechesis in Our Time, Pope John Paul II states: The catechesis of adults is the principle form of catechesis, because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form. The Christian community cannot carry out a permanent catechesis without the direct and skilled participation of adults, whether as receivers or as promoters of catechetical activity. The faith of these adults, too, should continually be enlightened, stimulated and renewed.... While religious formation of children and youth is always of crucial importance, there exists a pressing need in our day to help adults know and share their faith.
There can be no doubt that we all have a tremendous responsibility. Let us take seriously the task before us. Through training programs, personal study, reflection and prayer, we grow in ability and confidence for the task. As our understanding of the faith deepens, our desire to share it with others grows as well.
Very many of you have wholeheartedly responded to the mandate by Christ. With great resolve and dedication, you have continued to serve those under your care, whether as teachers, catechists or as parents. I heartily commend you and ask God to continue to strengthen you in this effort and to bless you. On the occasion of Catechetical Sunday, let us renew our commitment to pass on to others, as effectively as possible, the Catholic faith that is such a rich blessing for all of us.
On another note, you may recall that on Aug. 3, I proclaimed the opening of a synod for the Diocese of Sacramento, to take place Oct. 11-13, 2004. An extensive process will be carried out over the next 15 months involving laity, clergy, and religious. With this in mind, I have asked parishes to celebrate Synod Sunday on Sept. 28 as a way of beginning the synod preparation with prayer and intercession flowing from the sacred liturgy of the Mass.
A diocesan synod is a solemn assembly of laity, clergy, and religious called together by the Diocesan Bishop under the light of the Holy Spirit to meet in prayer, dialogue, discernment and deliberation. It will address broad topics of concern to Catholics in the Diocese of Sacramento, as suggested by lay members of parish pastoral councils, by clergy and religious, and proposed, finally, by the Diocesan Bishop. The goal of the synod is to discern, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the path that the Lord is unfolding before us as we continue our pilgrimage and together strive to meet the challenges of a church always in need of renewal.
On Synod Sunday, Sept. 28, and thereafter, please pray for Gods blessing upon the synod preparation and upon the solemn assembly itself. Much is at stake. The actions of the synod will result in a pastoral plan that will guide us as a diocese at least through the year 2010, as well as in legislation, ordinances and guidelines that will flow from this pastoral road map.
William K. Weigand
Reprinted from the Bishops Column, Feed My Lambes, Catholic Herald, Diocese of Sacramento
Synod Main Page
St. Isidore's Home Page