By Brian Romer Niemiec
A few days into the Synod on the Family, and we have already seen a wide range of topics and opinions being presented and discussed in Rome. Any hesitation or passivity that may have been present at the beginning of the extraordinary synod last year has been thrown away. It is no secret that these upcoming conversations are going to be a conversion experience for all involved if the synod is to speak with one voice at the end of its time together (naïvely optimistic, I know).
These hot button issues are incredibly important subjects to discuss, and I am very gratified by many of the people present at the synod for wanting to work through these topics to find a life-giving truth for the betterment of Christian families. I was, however, even more delighted to hear some of the bishops request time to talk about less sexy, but no less important issues surrounding ways to support and strengthen family life within Church communities.
It is this question – one of many – that I am wrestling with now in my parish collaborative. I see families in both churches with various levels of need in the area of faith formation. There is the family that comes to mass every Sunday, volunteers in a number of parish activities, and prays as a family at home. There is also the family that shows up only to mass on weekends with Religious Education, and when asked why they attend class the oldest son responds, “Well, my grandmother thinks it is important, so my mom makes us all go.”