YEAR OF THE FAMILY
On March 19, 2016, the Vatican published Pope Francis'eagerly-awaited Apostolic Exhortation on the family, drawing together almost three years of consultations with Catholics in countries around the world.
The lengthy document, entitled 'Amoris Laetitia', or The Joy of Love, affirms the Church's teaching that stable families are the building blocks of a healthy society and a place where children learn to love, respect and interact with others.
Pope Francis shares his views on the family.
First: The family prays.
I would like to ask you, dear families "Do you pray together from time to time as a family?" Some of you do, I know. But so many people say to me "But how can we?" But in the family how is this done? After all, prayer seems to be something personal, and besides there is never a good time, a moment of peace. Yes, all that is true enough, but it is also a matter of humility, of realising that we need God - all of us! We need His help, His strength, His blessing, His mercy, His forgiveness. And we need simplicity to pray as a family: simplicity is necessary! Praying the Our Father together, around a table, is not something extraordinary - it's easy. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! Praying for one another - the husband for his wife, the wife for her husband, both together for their children, the children for their grandparents. Praying for each other. This is what it means to pray in the family and it is what makes the family strong: prayer.
Next: The family keeps the faith.
Here too, we can ask "How do we keep our faith as a family?" Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure like a bank account, or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness? We all know that families, especially young families, are often 'racing' from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this 'racing' could also be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families. They are missionary in everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and leaven of faith. Keeping the faith in families, and bringing to everyday things the salt and leaven of faith.
And lastly: The family experiences joy.
I would like to ask you all a question today. But each of you keep it in your heart and take it home. You can regard it as a kind of 'homework'. Only you must answer. How are things when it comes to joy at home? Is there joy in your family? Only you can answer this question.
Inspired by the Apostolic exhortation given by Pope Francis about family, Bishop Eugene Hurley launched the Year of the Family after the completion of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. The Year of the Family began on November 20, 2016 and finishes on November 19, 2017. The aim of this observation of the Year of the Family is that everyone should realise that they belong to a family and it's a place where they experience the love of God in different ways. All through this Year of the Family the Diocese wishes to reach out to families to help them to make it a place of real happiness, peace and joy where everyone is recognised, cared for and loved.
Let us join our hands together to promote the Year of the Family to let everyone experience the beauty of the family and make the dream of Pope Francis and Bishop Eugene be fulfilled.
Fr. Tom Jose Pandiappallil CMI
St. Mary's Star of the Sea Cathedral, Darwin