We arrived late to this keynote presentation by Helen Alvaré, delayed by the Helping Hands experience. But here is a flavour of what Alvaré said.
If we don’t practice the sacrificial aspects of love in the family we will never know how to do it in the wider world. Eventually you can’t look at any child without seeing them as your own. We are first receivers of love, then the givers. It’s a push and pull process, bringing up children. You also come to understand the struggles of all parents. I’ve seen the universal quality of the family in a global way, especially in a Muslim-Christian dialogue. What bonded us was our shared experiences of motherhood. All of us here have come to know what no book can teach, how you can come to love the world through your own personal experience of loving in a family context. What is taking the place of spouses and children in our lives? The busyness of work life, the attraction of new gizmos. People fear interdependence, the responsibility for a new soul in a world that is very tough economically, while pubic polices do not consider how best to nurture the family. Voices today recast fertility as disability.
Our Catholic faith is not some obscure body of doctrine impossible to decipher, it lives vibrantly, is present on the faces of the children, disabled, elderly we care for. There is an association between welcoming and stable family life and social stability.