Sample Letter to Bishop or Pastor

(Hint: Either copy and paste the text below into your document or e-mail this article to yourself.)

Name of Bishop, Pastor, Parish priest, Deacon, Parish leader


City, State, Zip

Re: Meetings to be called in our community

Dear Name:

Pope Francis has encouraged the People of God to “bother our pastors” and make our voices heard.  It is our desire to do just this by calling a series of meetings in our community to invite Catholics as well as former Catholics to speak up and make our needs known.  We will be working in conjunction with others throughout the world so that we will have a discussion guide and form in place to report the outcome of these meetings.

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that we are responding to the call of Pope Francis and taking the initiative to schedule these meetings and open up a discussion forum. To bishop: Ideally, we would like to work with you as our bishop so that, once we have the topics and schedule set, we’d like you to announce these meetings in our diocesan newsletter and encourage all of the pastors in our diocese to work with us as well. To pastors, parish priests, deacons, parish leaders: Ideally, we would like to work with you so that, once we have the topics and schedule set, we’d like you to announce these meetings in our parish bulletin and in the announcements after the Sunday Masses.

Our brother, Pope Francis, encourages – even expects – all of us to work together and bring our learnings, hopes, challenges, and desires to him.  Your presence at these gatherings would be greatly desired as a sign of your support and your openness to listen to and truly hear the People.

In affiliation with Catholic Church Reform Int’l, we have sent a Letter to the Pope regarding Decentralization of the Church – January 2016 and his council urging them, in their current discussion on decentralization of our Church, to make certain that the People of God be given a deliberative voice in the governance of our Church.  Francis has described his vision of Church structure as an upside down pyramid. With Church structure seen in this light, we envision that any needed reforms will inevitably come from the People down through their bishops and ultimately sanctioned by the pope, who is the pivotal point at the bottom of this structure.  We invite you to read and reflect upon our letter and join us in signing it.  In response to the Holy Father’s expressed wish, we are ready to work with you and welcome your thoughts. 

We look forward to hearing back from you and remain sincerely yours in Christ,

Your name

on behalf of your local group or organization

your group’s website if you have one

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"...Until we raise a common voice, we will not only not be heard, we will not even be listened to....   

My hope is that by speaking out together - a strong chorus of calls for reform - we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II.

In common cause, let us band together across the world. By our desire to be heard on particular issues - all of them important - let us not lose the strength of our common voice by reducing it to a whisper.

In light of this, we invite individuals and organizations to join together in making known our opinions for the good of our Church. By uniting our voices, it is not about abandoning the unique work of your organization but rather about how your work can enhance global reform."

Sr. Joan Chittister, CCRI Special advisor

"We have to join our forces in order to reach a real breakthrough in this window of opportunity." Hans Kung, CCRI Consultor

"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion." [Ethiopian proverb]

"Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable." [Kenyan proverb]

"(The Christian faithful) have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful." (Canon 212 §3)

CCRI is also interested in helping support various causes in regions of the world by garnering the support of our entire global community for those who need support beyond their parish, organization, or locale. Send us (1) your name and affiliation, or (2) the name of your group with some description of your goals, membership, and numbers. Click here to see those organizations who have already joined together speaking out for reform of our Church.

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