Archbishop Paul Martin sm, Archbishop of Wellington
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
I am writing this in the last week of the Synod here in Rome. It has been a time of listening to the experience of many, of trying to see where the Holy Spirit is leading the Church and how to be faithful to our call to follow Christ from within our Catholic tradition.
Some people will be waiting for answers to some of the pastoral questions that are a challenge to us in our modern western world. These have arisen and had some discussion, as part of a process of listening and discerning. This Synod was never intended to be a time for changing Church teaching at one meeting. We have tried to hear what are the ways we can be a Church more focused on our mission of proclaiming the Gospel, while also building up the body of Christ, which is his Church, for the sake of this mission.
That is a concrete reality for us in our two dioceses of Wellington and Palmerston North. How do we work to help one another fall more deeply in love with Christ? How do our faith communities support one another in the reality of our daily lives? How are we working to help those who are poor and in need? How are we proclaiming the Gospel by our lives? What does that look like in our individual parishes and in our dioceses? These are the starting points for us in our own reflection and planning. Hopefully the work of the Synod over this first session and the second one next year, will help us to do this more effectively.
One of the gifts to the Synod have been the talks of Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP [English Catholic priest and Dominican friar]. He gave the retreat to us at the beginning of the Synod and during the meeting has been giving reflections as well. If you have a chance to watch or read them, I encourage you to do so. They are not too long and they provide matter for us to ponder in our call to follow Christ and to be a Church that is trying to be synodal in her way of operating. The links to his last talk on Monday, 23 October, is referenced below.
I encourage you to continue to pray for peace in those places of war and strife. Hearing people at the Synod talking about what is going on in their own countries has reminded me of how blessed we are to live in New Zealand and the responsibility we have to pray for peace for our brothers and sisters.
May you be blessed in your lives as we move towards the end of this year.