Many thanks to Phil Butcher and the Marriage and Family Life Office in the Diocese of Brentwood for the sharing the following report and pictures:
‘You represent an important initiative…’ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
The Catholic Grandparents’ Association (CGA) was formally launched in England and Wales on the 9th May 2014. The event, held at Westminster Cathedral Hall, was attended by around 100 representatives from across England and Wales. Along with many people from both dioceses and parishes there was also a strong representation from Marriage Care, The Catholic Women’s League, Grandparents Association and Familias, the National Association for Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Coordinators.
Following the welcome from Bishop John Arnold (Westminster), Catherine Wiley, Founder of the CGA gave an encouraging speech which charted the birth and history of the Association and how it has continued to develop globally over the past twelve years. The Association is now active in many countries including the Philippines, Australia and Malta and very soon it will launch in the United States.
She said that she was ‘overjoyed that the Association is now formally launched in England and Wales, in the country where it all began.’ She paid tribute to Bishop Kieran Conry who initiated the CGA in his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton under the direction of Katherine Bergin, Diocesan Coordinator for Marriage and Family Life. Katherine is now the National CGA Coordinator for England and Wales. From this beginning followed a pilot in Arundel and Brighton which was led by Christine Evans and currently six groups have been set up across the diocese.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who had taken time out from his schedule to join the launch, said that what had particularly struck him were the two principal aims of the Association, to keep prayer at the heart of the family and to pass on the faith. Speaking of his own experience, he said that ‘Grandparents are often the real point at which creativity is introduced. Sometimes things between parents and their children are not always that easy. You (grandparents) know because you’ve done it… the grandparents are like… an escape valve. You know, you can deal differently with the children.’ In conclusion he added, ‘So thank you very much for the Association, thank you very much for those two key objectives that you have set yourselves, they are intensely relevant to this moment in the history of the life of the Church. And I hope the Association now goes from strength to strength.’ The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Bishop Kieran Conry.
The CGA is dedicated to the key aims of supporting grandparents in keeping prayer at the heart of the family and passing on the faith. For more information please contact Katherine Bergin, National Coordinator for the Catholic Grandparents’ Association (England and Wales) at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01293 651152