Tuesday (Oct. 7) is the third day of the extraordinary synod on the family in the Vatican. The Holy Father opened the synod with  Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s and began the working sessions yesterday with a call to the bishops to speak openly and freely, to listen fraternally to one another and to do so with a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit who will guide the participants to a deeper understanding of marriage and the family in God’s plan of salvation.

Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, offered a meditation at the beginning of Monday’s session and the bulk of the morning was devoted to a reflection on all the themes that will be discussed in these coming two weeks. The Relator who did this, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest, Hungary, gave one of the most beautiful and comprehensive expositions of marriage and family that I have ever read. Doing much more than the Instrumentum Laboris, the official working paper, was able to do, Cardinal Erdo was both pastoral and theological, deeply steeped in the Church’s teaching but equally informed about and sensitive to the realities of marriage and family life in today’s world. I urge any and all to check the Vatican website, www.vatican.va and read the English translation of that exposition.

On both Monday and Tuesday, a couple addressed the bishops. Tuesday morning was a husband and wife from the Philippines who are leaders in the Couples for Christ movement. Again a very worthwhile and very faith-filled and very real witness of the joys and the struggles of married life in today’s world.

Join me please in a daily prayer for the Extraordinary Synod and for all the participants, especially our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis.