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A Renewal of Formation in Doctrine and the Sacraments

The Fourth of Five Diocesan Synodal Goals Leading to Our Eucharistic Revival:

On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we recall the Council of Ephesus which met in the year 431 A.D. and in which the bishops of the world, guided by the Holy Spirit, clarified that Mary could be called the “Mother of God.” This clarification of doctrine made more explicit what the Church had always believed, and this clarity helped the Faithful to be confident that they were rightly worshiping, praying, and living their Faith. The desire for this kind of clarity and confidence, albeit on different topics, was heard in the Parish Visitations, the Synodal Survey, and at the 2022 Convocation. Securing a Renewal of Formation in Doctrine and the Sacraments will be a key feature of our discernment of our path to Eucharistic Revival and of a new Strategic Plan.

As we discern what form this renewal of formation in doctrine and the sacraments will take, we can set forth certain qualities that this formation will need to include. These include:

1) Evangelization – Formation in doctrine and the sacraments must include and build upon evangelization. Only within the context of a living relationship with Jesus will we be open to being formed by the doctrine and will we receive the sacraments in a way that bears fruit.

2) Clarity – Within the context of a life of discipleship, clarity about doctrine aids us in living our Faith more consistently and guides us in answering contemporary questions with love and truth.

3) Unity and consistency – Unity and consistency in doctrinal and sacramental formation across the diocese will bring more unity among our parishes and will reduce “cafeteria Catholicism,” “consumer mentality,” and “parish shopping.”

4) Reaching different audiences – Formation in doctrine and the sacraments is not only for our children. In addition to children, such formation is needed for youth, young adults, and adults, especially parents.

5) Institutional and individual formation – Providing opportunities for both institutional and individual formation is important. Institutionally, formation is needed for catechists, youth ministers, discipleship leaders, liturgical ministers, and those involved in Hispanic Ministry. For individual formation, we need to provide retreats, days of reflection, parish missions and the like as well as small groups and various studies.

Please pray for me as I, along with the consultative teams working through the Synodal data, discern and plan the next steps to be taken for our future. Pray that we be guided by the Holy Spirit in this discernment and that our efforts during the Eucharistic Revival will lead us into a renewal in formation in doctrine and the sacraments so that we may all live our Faith in Jesus more faithfully and more fruitfully. May Our Lord Jesus Christ guide us every more deeply into Himself – He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

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