Pastoral Themes

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Preparation for the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family

Jan. 29, 2015
Preparation for the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family - October 2015.  
The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World.  
The ongoing work of the Synod is intended to be a rethinking with renewed freshness and enthusiasm of what revelation, transmitted in the Church's faith, tells us about the beauty, the role and the dignity of the family.  This period of reflection and response prior to the upcoming Ordinary Synod is, as Pope Francis has noted, a path of "spiritual and pastoral discernment." 
Cardinal Sean is asking the Pastors and Administrators of the Archdiocese to consult with parish leadership and parishioners on the important themes raised in the Preparatory Document for the Synod, organized in 46 questions within 15 headings. You may download that document here. In addition, a 6 question summary capturing the essence of these themes is also available for download here.
During February, Fr. Mark O'Connell, Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Boston and Adjunct Professor of Canon Law at St. John's Seminary and Saint Pope  John XXIII Seminary, will be offering 5 information evenings, one in each region of the Archdiocese. The purpose of these evenings is to present the Church's teaching reflected in the Preparatory Document and to assist those gathered to prepare for their participation in the parish consultation. These evenings are not the consultation itself but an effort to inform the consultation process, which will occur at the parish level. The dates and locations of the evenings are listed below. All lay faithful, clergy and religious are invited to attend any of these evenings.  If you have questions or thoughts please write to Fr. Mark O'Connell at


If you are unable to attend one of the sessions, you may view the six short videos available on this page. 

Thank you for your attention and concern for the unique value and dignity of the human family and its vocation and mission in the Church and our world.  

Related Videos


How can the Church promote healthy families? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/21/2015


It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that the basic unit of society is the family. How can the Church promote healthy families and reach out to families in need?

How can the Church better evangelize with regard to the importance of families? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/22/2015


In this day and age, how can the Church better catechize and evangelize, specifically with regard to the importance of families?

How can the message of Jesus compete with the messages young people receive from society? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/23/2015


How can the life-giving message of Jesus Christ and the importance of families compete with the many messages that our young people are receiving from society?

How can the Church help unmarried couples to see Marriage as the logical outcome of their relationships? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/24/2015


The Synod document acknowledges that there exist alternative forms of committed relationships outside of marriage as defined by the Church. How can the Church help couples to recognize that God is calling them to see the value of his Grace in Marriage as the logical purpose or outcome of their existing relationships?

How can the Church be merciful to the divorced and remarried? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/25/2015


How can the Catholic Church be merciful to those who are divorced and remarried and therefore excluded from Holy Communion?

How can the Church truly be sensitive and respectful to homosexual Catholics? – Fr. Mark O’Connell

Posted: 01/26/2015


How can the Church be truly be sensitive and respectful to homosexual Catholics and non-Catholics yet speak about Marriage as something different and not analogous?