Bishop Mark Davies when he was ordained as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Shrewsbury in 2010
A lack of respect for Christian marriage is “undoubtedly the greatest vocational crisis that we face”, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.
In a homily for a diocesan celebration of marriage at St Columba’s in Chester on 9 February, Bishop Mark Davies told married Catholics the crisis the diocese faced was that “fewer couples believe they can aspire to the life and vocation you have lived. They need your witness today.”
Bishop Davies said that the institution of marriage underpinned the stability of family and society, describing it as “the unbreakable union of two lives […] lived in faithfulness and openness to the gift of children”.
The bishop said that he wanted to offer formation in this “Christian vision” and said the Church needed to re-propose marriage as “a path to holiness for new generations”.
This depended on the witness of faithful, married couples, he said, because “new resources and initiatives alone cannot reach the generations who, amid the confusion of contemporary society, truly long for a love which endures”.
Bishop Davies has designated 2019 as a “Year of Holiness” for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
Meanwhile the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, has said he hopes to come to a new vision for his archdiocese during its 2020 synod.
Archbishop McMahon told the 500 synod members who were commissioned at a Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King last week that “a new day is breaking; a new dawn is rising” for Liverpool.
The synod members will participate in the gathering itself, due to take place from 17-18 October 2020, and have also been tasked with listening to the concerns and needs of their communities and presenting these to the synod. They will also offer feedback from the synod to their parishes.
Archbishop McMahon said: “The journey ahead towards Synod 2020 may seem long and arduous, and there will be many diversions and setbacks”, but he predicted that “with the hope of Simeon and Anna in our hearts, we will come to a new vision for our archdiocese and it will be transformed into the Church that we are called to be”.
The archdiocese has proposed four Synod Questions to “inform and inspire” its preparations, including “What is the purpose of the Catholic Church in the world today?” and “When you reflect on your life now, and as you look to the future, what causes you concern or worry?”
The questions are proposed in an online survey
that is open until 30 June. Research for the synod will take place with the support of Liverpool Hope University, which will also facilitate focus group discussions in the areas the questions explore.