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Rome Reports

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Week Three: Synod's Key Discussion Points

As part of the Synod, close to 270 Bishops are discussing some of the major challenges families face in their own diocese. This week they are analyzing what the mission of the family is all about.   MSGR. BERNARDO MIGUEL BASTRES Bishop of Punta Arenas (Chile) "It's a very important week, because we will have to define or at least agree on what God wants from the Church in regards to the family. That includes what and how we get the message across to our communities.â? Topics include giving engaged couples more prep courses before they tie the knot. Also giving priests a thorough formation so they can reach out to broken families. 1. ENGAGED COUPLES Bishops will recommend giving engaged couples a more intense catechesis. Understanding the faith and how it relates to their married life is a process, that's about more than just the wedding day. 2. PRIESTS AND PASTORAL OUTREACH Bishops are considering giving priests more training so they can improve the outreach they offer to families, including broken families. Also having seminarians visit married couples directly, so they can see first hand, some of the challenges families go through. Another point, is whether to include additional family formation programs for seminarians. MSGR. PETER KANG President, Korea's Conference of Bishops "They could be formed as specialists in counseling and give assistance for  family issues. Many priests were not professionally  trained for this.â? 3. SUPPORTING NEWLYWEDS The idea of offering support to newlywed couples has been widely accepted. The proposals include having support programs in every parish, where couples who have been married for years, even decades, can offer guidance to those who are just starting out. MSGR. ROBERTO ROSA Synod Father (Italy) "Sometimes families feel isolated and when they're going through something, it's easy for them to think they are the only one's going through it. By talking to other couples, they can find the help they need to overcome the highs and lows of life.â? 4. HEALING WOUNDS In this phase of the Synod, situations that pain some families will be looked at. Issues like how the Church should deal with topics like divorce, broken families, single parenting and homosexuality. From the discussions, recommendations will be included in the final document. At that point, Pope Francis will decide whether or not they should be implemented. RA/KLH RR VM PR UP:FV