The U.S. bishops have asked Catholics to take part in a worldwide day of prayer on Sept. 28 for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family. “The Extraordinary Synod on the Family is an important moment for the Church and for families,” Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said Sept 19. “I welcome whole-heartedly this day of prayer for the synod fathers and for all who will participate. As the Church turns with special attention to the family, may God’s plan for marriage and the family be a source of hope and healing for all.” The U.S. bishops have joined Pope Francis and the office for the bishops’ synod in inviting all the Catholic faithful, including dioceses, parishes, religious communities and families, to pray for the synod. The Oct. 5-19 synod will gather together bishops from around the world to consider the pastoral challenges facing the family “in the context of evangelization.” The U.S. delegation to the synod includes Archbishop Kurtz, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and Archbishop William C. Skurla, the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan of Pittsburgh. Pope Francis has written a special prayer for the Synod on the Family. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust,” the Pope’s prayer begins. “Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches,” the prayer continues. “Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.” The U.S. bishops’ conference website provides special intercessory prayers that may be used during Mass, in other liturgical settings, and in personal prayer. The bishops have also encouraged Catholics to pray the rosary during each day of the synod. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, whose archdiocese will host the World Meeting of Families in 2015, invited the Catholic faithful of his archdiocese to participate in the day of prayer and to pray during the synod. A prayer card with Pope Francis’ prayer for the synod is available through the U.S. bishops’ publishing website, www.usccbpublishing.org.
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