In the Vineyard: October 31, 2023


In the Vineyard :: October 16, 2023 :: Volume 23, Issue 19

National News

Pope Francis Prays for Peace on Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Penance for Peace

On Friday, October 27th, Pope Francis held a day of prayer and fasting for peace around the world. He presided over a special prayer service for peace in the Middle East and other conflict-affected regions. The Pope led thousands of people at St. Peter’s Basilica, with many others following the event on television and through social media. Pope Francis prayed to the Virgin Mary, asking her to “inspire the leaders of nations to seek paths of peace.

To see highlights, click here.

Reports from the Synod

Synod General Assembly to People of God: ‘Church must Listen to Everyone’

Letter of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God

Dear sisters, dear brothers,

As the proceedings of the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops draw to a close, we want to thank God with all of you for the beautiful and enriching experience we have lived. We lived this blessed time in profound communion with all of you. We were supported by your prayers, bearing with you your expectations, your questions, as well as your fears. As Pope Francis requested two years ago, a long process of listening and discernment was initiated, open to all the People of God, no one being excluded, to “journey together” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, missionary disciples engaged in the following of Jesus Christ.

The session in which we have been gathered in Rome since 30 September is an important phase of this process. In many ways it has been an unprecedented experience. For the first time, at Pope Francis’ invitation, men and women have been invited, in virtue of their baptism, to sit at the same table to take part, not only in the discussions, but also in the voting process of this Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Together, in the complementarity of our vocations, our charisms and our ministries, we have listened intensely to the Word of God and the experience of others. Using the conversation in the Spirit method, we have humbly shared the wealth and poverty of our communities from every continent, seeking to discern what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church today. We have thus also experienced the importance of fostering mutual exchanges between the Latin tradition and the traditions of Eastern Christianity. The participation of fraternal delegates from other Churches and Ecclesial Communities deeply enriched our discussions.

To read more, click here. For more on the Synod on Synodality visit “Listenting to the Faithful: Synod 2021-2024″ on VOTF’s website.

Program Supporting Women’s Preaching in the Catholic Church Receives $1.25 Million Grant

A program dedicated to supporting women’s preaching in the Catholic Church has received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. through their Compelling Preaching Initiative. This initiative is a collaboration between Discerning Deacons and Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. The program allows students to earn a Certificate in Catholic Preaching and Ministry of the Word.

Casey Stanton, co-director of Discerning Deacons, stated, ‘Now more than ever, communities across the country are eager to receive the gifts of Catholic women in preaching as a way to introduce a fresh perspective sharing the Good News. With support from the Lilly Endowment, Discerning Deacons can expand its formation work and provide unprecedented access to resources and support systems for lay leaders to develop their vocational calling to preach. Our work has repeatedly shown that people are seeking diverse, relatable, and inclusive Church leadership, and this grant will help us achieve just that.’

To learn more, click here.

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Top Stories

General Assembly to the People of God: The Church must listen to everyone

Letter of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God
“Participants in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops have approved a Letter to the People of God, giving thanks for their experience, detailing the work of the past few weeks, and expressing the hope that in the coming months, everyone will be able to ‘concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ‘synod.’” By Vatican News

Synod enters final week recalling Vatican II and the Church’s ‘living tradition’
“As Pope Francis’ major summit on the future of the Catholic Church enters its final week (Oct. 23), bishops and laity were reminded of the Second Vatican Council’s emphasis on the church’s “living tradition,” including the participation and inclusion of all of the “people of God.” As delegates commenced work on their hotly anticipated final document from the monthlong meeting, Australian Fr. Ormond Rush — one of the world’s leading scholars on Vatican II — encouraged the synod’s more than 450 members to be attentive to the ‘traps’ of ‘being drawn into ways of thinking that are not ‘of God.’” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Synod participants say it’s ‘too early’ to decide on women deacons
“Participants in Pope Francis’s Synod of Bishops on Synodality chosen to speak to the media said Friday (Oct. 20) that while various topics are being discussed, no decisions will be made on specific issues, and that it is too early in the process to rule on hot-button questions such as women deacons. Asked during an Oct. 20 press briefing whether it was time to make a decision on women deacons, Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo said there are ‘differences of opinions’ within the synod.’” By Elise Ann Allen,

High court to rule on Catholic church’s liability for abuse committed by pedophile priests
“The Catholic church has won the right to challenge in the high court a landmark Victorian ruling forcing the church to take on greater liability for the actions of pedophile priests within its ranks. In the past two years, the Victorian courts have delivered and upheld an unprecedented ruling that the Ballarat diocese was vicariously liable for the abuse of a five-year-old child known as DP at the hands of assistant priest Father Bryan Coffey.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy to evade sexual abuse cases
“The archdiocese of Baltimore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 29 to preempt child sexual abuse lawsuits which were expected to be filed once a new Maryland law removing the statute of limitations took effect on Oct. 1. This strategic move means that all claims against the archdiocese must be made as part of bankruptcy proceedings, effectively eliminating the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories in civil court, precluding legal accountability and insulating the archdiocese from scrutiny of its past mistakes.” By Michelle Onello, Ms. Magazine

Survivor group sends complaint to Vatican on Paprocki’s ‘secrecy and callousness’
“Four men who say they were sexually abused by clergy gathered outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Thursday (Oct. 19) to announce their group sent a formal complaint with the Vatican, charging that Springfield’s bishop ‘harms his flock.’ The group also sent a letter to Bishop Thomas Paprocki asking that they be allowed to speak at a Diocesan gathering later this month. “We think that would be a long overdue, welcome gesture on his part, and we think that it would encourage other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward …’’ said David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and volunteer director of the Missouri group.” By national Public Radio Illinois

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

Pope Gregory I and the Link between Halloween and Catholicism

Halloween may be a secular affair today, dominated by candycostumes and trick-or-treating, but the holiday is rooted in an annual Celtic pagan festival called Samhain (pronounced “SAH- wane”) that was then appropriated by the early Catholic Church some 1,200 years ago.

The ancient Celts were an assortment of tribes and small kingdoms once scattered across western and Central Europe with distinctive languages and culture, explains Frederick Suppe, a historian specializing in Celtic and medieval history at Ball State University in Indiana.

Even after the Romans conquered their realm, Celts continued to survive and thrive in places such as Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.

Read more on the History Channel, here.


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