“The day was so interesting and informative with plenty of opportunities to dialogue with others sitting near me about various points in the Joy of Love and our response to the thoughts contained within it.”
FAMILIAS was delighted to host Fr Chris Thomas, Director of the Irenaeus Project, in May and June this year, as keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at its annual FAMILIAS Friends’ Event in the Dioceses of Cardiff, Clifton and Liverpool. The workshops entitled: The Joy of Love – The Challenge of Amoris Laetitia in the Home, Parish and School offered FAMILIAS Members and Friends an introduction to Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and the family, as an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice. Following are three short reflections on the day from the MFL Ministry Coordinators in the hosting dioceses:
Diocese of Clifton (Anne-Marie Sparrow): Fr Chris led the day with a beautiful reflection which set the tone for a reflective yet challenging day. There was no pressure but a gentle leading to really look at the words of Pope Francis and the challenge this gives us in our daily lives whether at home, school or parish level. All present felt that it was a pity that the hall wasn’t packed as we all need to hear/read this document. The reflection at the end of the day brought all the discussions and thoughts together. Good handouts were available for us to reflect on in the days and weeks ahead.
Archdiocese of Cardiff (Joanne White): 28 people from all walks of life attended the Cardiff event at the Cornerstone. Fr Chris led the gathering in prayer and reflection on the key themes of Amoris Laetitia. We came to understand that by studying the document we would recognise that the Joy of Love is not about rewriting the teachings of the Church – which are firmly upheld, but the urgent need for the faithful to explore the true meaning of those teachings and to apply them in the way Jesus had intended – with love and mercy. This presents a challenge for us all. There were some great discussions during the workshop and everyone got to hear and listen respectfully to the views of someone whose voice they might not normally hear.
Archdiocese of Liverpool (Maureen O’Brien): Here in Liverpool 50 people attended the workshop, taking the opportunity to explore further Pope Francis’s groundbreaking document Amoris Laetitia in which he reflects on family life, offers encouragement to families and asks the Church to meet people where they are and to consider the complexities of their lives – reminding us that we should avoid judging people and imposing rules without considering their struggles. There was time during the day to have table discussions on ten very important points raised by Pope Francis about Love and Family. People who attended the day said they talked about it all the way home!
In other news:
FAMILIAS has recently re-published the popular 2012 ‘My Family My Priesthood’ booklet. Margaret Hinton, FAMILIAS Steering Group Chair, said in her introduction to the 2nd edition,
‘Families are called by God to be the first and best teachers of love which is at the heart of a life of faith…this Gospel way of love in the home helps each person find their own particular way of responding to God’s call to share God’s love in the world. Therefore, for our priests, the seeds of their vocation too are sown by God and nurtured in their early life experience in their families.’
The Steering Group made the decision to republish the 2012 document, in its original format, because the stories remain relevant today as each of us seeks to discern our particular vocation. Copies of ‘My Family My Priesthood‘ are available for purchase (@£5 +pp) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to join FAMILIAS or find out more about the Association please visit http://www.catholicfamily.org.uk/diocesan-work/familias