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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

Up and coming.

As the Second Vatican Council was ending, the Council Fathers expressed their desire to (now) Pope St. Paul VI that there be a way to continue the collegial experience that the Council exemplified, a way to be in communion with and assistance to the Roman Pontiff in the leadership of the Church. In response, on September 15, 1965 the Pope established the Synod of Bishops, a permanent body to enshrine the desire of the Council Father. The word synod comes from two Greek words meaning the "way" "together," basically an assembly, a people walking together on the road of life.

Since its inception, there have been 19 Synods covering such topics as catechesis (teaching), family life, the ministerial priesthood, evangelization and others. But the Synod has always been a meeting of the bishops from various parts of the world, sometimes with participation of laity with a particular expertise in the subject at hand.

As a way to engage the whole Church, and as an expression of the Holy Spirit's presence in the whole Church, Pope Francis desires to expand that participation. For the Pope, it is the whole Church that walks together, not just the bishops. And so he initiated a two year process which has been called the "Synod on Synodality," a way to rediscover this concept of the whole Church walking together, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, as the whole Church seeks to follow the invitation of Christ, "Come, follow me." For a deeper understanding of this concept, I invite you to view Cardinal Tobin's video introduction. It can be found at:

<https://youtu.be/ciUq9YmLSCY>

The first phase of this two year process might be called the "listening," the Church listening to itself, on the local level. This will begin with each parish holding listening sessions where parishioners will be invited to speak up and speak out on their concerns for and about the Church, what challenges them, what confronts them, what comforts them. Any and all concerns are welcomed to be aired and shared. It will be accomplished through a process and, hopefully, will be able to stay focused, but not controlled. In other words it won't be a "free for all," but a process to allow real issues to rise to the surface. Each parish will then submit a summary report to the Archdiocese which will collate them and present them to the United States Conference of Bishops which will do the same so that a report from the Church in the United States, as well as the rest of the Catholic world, can be presented when the second phase of the Synod opens in Rome in the fall of 2023.

Along with all the parishes of the Archdiocese, Mount Carmel will offer listening sessions open to the whole parish. There will be two to accommodate your schedules. The first will be on Sunday, February 6th, immediately after the 12:30PM Mass, from 1:30PM-3:00PM in the Parish Center. The second will be on Thursday evening, February 10th, from 7:00PM-8:30PM, also in the Parish Center. More information will follow in the next few weeks. In addition, special sessions will be offered to some of the ministries in the parish, in order to get the widest feedback possible. Please come, and make your voice heard.

Up and coming-2

In the late spring of 2020, 4 Auxiliary Bishops were ordained to assist Cardinal Tobin in the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese. Each of those Bishops was assigned one of the regions (counties) of the Archdiocese in order to be able to concentrate and focus his attention. Bishop Michael Saporito, at the time, pastor of St. Helen's in Westfield (where Fr. Frank served at one time), was appointed Episcopal Vicar of Bergen County, with residence on the grounds of St. Luke's in Ho-Ho-Kus.

One of the responsibilities of the Episcopal Vicar is to make a pastoral visit to each parish in his region (county). Although he has celebrated Mass here before (during Advent), Bishop Saporito will make an "official" visit to Mount Carmel on February 1st and 2nd. He will be meeting with the priests, selected members of the staff and the advisory councils (pastor and finance) and with the parish at large. That gathering for all who wish to attend is scheduled for Wednesday evening, February 2nd at 7:00 PM in the Parish Center. More information on the exact format of that gathering will follow.

Up and coming-3

Next weekend has been initiated by Pope Francis as the Sunday of the Word of God. It was inaugurated on September 30, 2019, the Feast of St. Jerome, who translated most of the Bible into Latin and who famously said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." The opening words of the document of inauguration, Aperuit illis, come from the Gospel of Luke, on the road to Emmaus, when we are told "He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45). The weekend celebrations are meant to highlight the proclamation of the Word of God and the normative value it should have in the life of every Catholic as well as "the unbreakable bond between Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist." The added elements in our Sunday celebrations next weekend are meant to remind us of that and to encourage greater reading of, and familiarity with, God's Word, the Bible.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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