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Vatican City, 12 December 2014

Prot. N. 14270

Your Eminence / Excellency,

As Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, I am happy to write to Your Eminence / Excellency in the wake of the III Extraordinary General Assembly held last October to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.

As you know, the final document of this extraordinary synodal assembly, the Relatio Synodi, is the preparatory document or Lineamenta of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly, scheduled to take place from 4 to 25 October 2015, to consider the topic: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World. In this way, the two synodal assemblies, sharing the same topic of the family, become part of a single synodal process, which includes not only the two celebrative phases but also the intervening time between synods, a time to reflect on the reaction to the first synod and to make a thorough theological examination of the Church's pastoral activity in light of the succeeding one.

Accompanying this letter, which is being sent to episcopal conferences, the synods of the Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, the Union of Superiors General and the Roman Curia, is a copy of the Lineamenta composed of the Relatio Synodi and a series of questions on the reaction to this synodal document and a thorough examination of its contents, in the process of continuing the synodal journey already begun and in drafting the Instrumentum laboris for the next synodal assembly.

The previously mentioned ecclesial entities are asked to choose a suitable manner to engage all components of the particular churches and academic institutions, organizations, lay movements and other ecclesial associations in an ample consultation of the People of God on the family, within the framework of the synodal process. Once this consultation is completed on the local level, the same ecclesial entities are to submit a summary of the results to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops by Easter, 15 April 2015.

Consequently, I ask Your Eminence / Excellency to send this document to dioceses with the request that it be widely circulated in deaneries and parishes so as to obtain the input of all components of the People of God in the preparation of the Instrumentum laboris.

Moreover, would you kindly request that the family and the upcoming synod be remembered at prayer and the Liturgy on 28 December, the Feast of the Holy Family. In this regard, the prayer of the Holy Father for the Synod on the Family might be useful. It can be found on the Vatican website ( documents/papa-francesco_preghiere_20131229_santa-famiglia.html).

Trusting that you will give particular attention to this matter concerning the Ordinary General Assembly, I send my best wishes and kind regards.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Lorenzo Card. Baldisseri
General Secretary