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Pope asks for prayers from families ahead of special synod

Bishops to consider Vatican survey on domestic issues in October

25 February, 14:13
Pope asks for prayers from families ahead of special synod (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 25 - Pope Francis on Tuesday asked for prayers from around the world for Catholic Church officials as they work to better understand the needs and concerns of families.

In an open letter ahead of a major Catholic synod on the family planned for later in the fall, the pope asked for "support of prayers," adding that this is essential to the success of the process.

"Dear families, your prayers for the synod of bishops will be a precious treasure which enriches the Church," the pope wrote. "I thank you, and I ask you to pray also for me, so that I may serve the People of God in truth and in love". In October, the extraordinary synod of bishops will meet to discuss the theme of pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization. In his letter, Francis said the meeting will "involve all the people of God," from bishops and priests to lay people from all over the world who are now preparing for the meetings .

"Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever," wrote the pope.

"This synodal assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church". During an extraordinary meeting last week of the Council of Cardinals on the topic of the family, Francis said then that the family is "essential" to the world and to God's plan for humanity.

The council was considering family issues as it prepares for the October synod.

The Vatican has been asking its priests around the world for input on controversial issues ranging from same-sex marriage and surrogate motherhood to polygamy as its prepares for the extraordinary meeting on the family.

The 38-question survey, sent to national conferences of bishops all over the world, seeks input from local officials to help the Vatican as it prepares for an unusual assembly of bishops designed to develop new directions for the Church on issues of family relations.