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3 degrees of unity: Ave Maria pastor requests Synod input from the faithful

While sometimes we think Rome is so far away, in fact each Catholic parishioner is only three steps from the Pontiff: parishioner to pastor, pastor to bishop, bishop to pope. As requested by Pope Francis, our local shepherd, Bishop Frank Dewane, has asked our pastor Father Cory Mayer to gather from parishioners feedback for the upcoming extraordinary synod having the theme “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. As is the custom with a synod, the pope has asked for input from all parts of the globe so as to assist the bishops as they prepare for and participate in the synod meeting. Francis-Synod

This exercise is a shining example of the real love and concern that is shared across these relationships we have with our pastors at every level – their pastoral love and concern for us and our love and concern for them as brothers in Christ and as the shepherds God has provided to lead us on life’s pilgrimage.  This is a unique opportunity to share our views and concerns with our spiritual leaders at every level.

Pope Francis with families

Pope Francis celebrates with families

But we don’t have much time. That is why Father Mayer asked me to solicit input on the web at this blog (AveMariaLiving.com) and at the Ave Maria community Facebook group (Ave Peeps). The method used to gather input will be an internet survey or alternately parishioners can complete the survey on paper. The questions are the same regardless of format.

Father Mayer with Bishop Dewane

Bishop Dewane with Father Mayer

The survey is open until 6:00pm on December 12. Participants must provide their name, address, age and parish (mainly to confirm status as a parishioner). Results will be compiled and summarized for Father Mayer, but it is not likely the results will be published (remember this feedback is for the bishops and the pope).

While the questions are the exact questions issued by the Vatican to all dioceses, this particular survey is for Ave Maria Oratory parishioners only. Please do not participate if you are not a parishioner.

To participate online you can click this link to the online questionnaire and follow the directions. The questionnaire has a password. The password is available on Ave Peeps. If you are not on Ave Peeps or not on Facebook, you can ask a friend or neighbor to give you the password, or else you can call the parish office or me for the password.

Alternatively, you can complete the pdf version of the same questionnaire and drop it off at the parish office during its operating hours.

Bishop Dewane at the Ave Maria Oratory

Bishop Dewane has supported us since the very beginning of the parish

Father Mayer has taken a great interest in the pope’s request, and he wants to hear from each of us because he knows we love Our Lord, our faith, our families and our Church. We are so blessed to have this opportunity and a pastor who sincerely wants to know what is in our minds and hearts. In the end the Holy Father will highlight in his own way the concerns of people throughout the world, and Father Mayer will also take our responses to heart as he serves as our pastor.

This is an opportunity for our new pastor to learn more about us, and he looks forward to hearing from each of us about how the local and universal Church does or can evangelize families and foster a rich Christ-centered family life. This is also a unique opportunity to experience just how close we are to the very heart of the Church, and just how short those three steps can be.

The following documents are provided for those interested in completing the survey:

Pope Francis with his family

Pope Francis with his own family

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