2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on Marriage & Family

The Holy Father has called an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops to meet October 5-19, 2014 to address the crisis of marriage and family life in the world today.  A questionnaire was sent out from Rome to all the dioceses around the world soliciting feedback on various areas of marriage and family life in preparation for this important meeting.  Resources and ways to participate have been included here.


Letter of Pope Francis to Families

Dear families,

With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October. It is the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization”. Indeed, in our day the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel by confronting the new and urgent pastoral needs facing the family… (click for more).


Vatican Questionnaire

Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops to be held this October, to address the pastoral challenges of marriage and family life in the context of the New Evangelization.

In preparation for this synod, the Vatican released a questionnaire designed to assess the state of marriage and family life in the church to dioceses around the world. The questionnaire was made available in the Diocese of St. Augustine in both English and Spanish. While the timetable was regretfully very short – approximately two months, more than 1,200 people responded from our diocese alone.

The insight and depth of the personal testimonies in the responses was greatly appreciated. The feedback will assist the bishops when they meet in Rome this fall, and it has been invaluable to Bishop Estévez and diocesan leadership, as we strive to effectively minister to the people of God.

There were two components to the survey: data which was measured on a “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” Likert scale and data in the form of comments. A report was compiled by the Diocesan Center for Family Life that includes the Likert scale data and a summary of comments. For a PDF copy of the full report with local results, click the link below.

In terms of demographics, 88 percent of those responding report attending Mass at least every Sunday and holy days of obligation with 62 percent attending Mass daily on at least some occasion. Further, less than 33 percent were under the age of 50 and only 7 percent of those were under the age of 30.

The experience of young adults and those who are distant from the church or have left the church, were sorely underrepresented which does affect how broadly the results can be interpreted.

Questionnaire results were sent to Rome in December and the Holy Father, along with an advisory body of bishops, will be prayerfully discerning how the church can better support the revelation of God’s life-giving love in the family.

> Click here for the report.

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