Fourth Synod Compiled Acts, Declarations and Statutes

received. In the end there were 12 Synodal Declarations and 172 statutes in the final version of the Synodal Statutes, reflecting the valuable input received in the process of consultation. Synod members offered amendments to the Synodal Declarations and Synodal Statutes prior to voting on them at the final session of the Fourth Diocesan Synod, which took place on Saturday, November 18 th , at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham. All of the Synodal Declarations and Synodal Statutes were overwhelmingly approved by the Synod Members, who voted using electronic voting devices. The Synodal Declarations state the main themes setting the direction of the diocese with regard to discipleship and stewardship for the foreseeable future, which I am projecting to be at least for the next ten years. The Synodal Statutes cover a greater breadth of the life of the Church in our diocese consistent with the Synodal Declarations. Policies and procedures will fill out the details later. The starting point for the 2017 Fourth Diocesan Synodal Statutes was the 1963 Third Diocesan Synodal Statutes, to provide for continuity in the ecclesial life of our diocese while updating them to reflect changes since the Second Vatican Council and the commitment of this Fourth Diocesan Synod to the discipleship and stewardship way of life. The twelve Synodal Declarations should be seen as progressing organically and cohesively from our diocesan, individual and parochial commitments to discipleship and stewardship. Declaration 1 articulates a new mission statement for our diocese, stating that “the community of Catholic faithful in this diocese is committed to the discipleship and stewardship way of life” and to implementing the four pillars of discipleship and stewardship. Declaration 2 calls for all pastoral initiatives to be set in relation to holiness and for our diocese to invite people to a life of discipleship and stewardship. Declaration 3, from my Second Pastoral Letter, calls for a culture of growth in the Church that starts with inviting people to experience the love of Jesus Christ. Declaration 4 defines Catholic discipleship for an individual person as a committed approach to living a Christian life within the Catholic Church, having accepted Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. Declarations 5 and 6 address formation for discipleship and stewardship for all ages, including the question of the sequence and age for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. Declaration 7 addresses the issue of scholarships as a way for the entire Christian community to fulfill its responsibility to transmit the faith to the next generations. Declaration 8, from my First Pastoral Letter, describes the art of celebrating the liturgy properly and adoring the Lord in the Eucharist devoutly as a necessary step to inviting people to the ecclesial experience of discipleship and stewardship. Declaration 9 is from my planned Third Pastoral Letter, which will be a post- synodal pastoral exhortation, addressing how living as a Christian is a step toward the goal of everlasting happiness in eternal life. Declarations 10 and 11 indicate that those committed to discipleship and stewardship pledge to share their talents, give of their time and contribute


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