Counting our Blessings

There is no stereotype of the ideal family, but rather a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems … the Church is conscious of the need to offer a word of truth and hope.. the great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to a yearning that is part and parcel of human existence

Pope Francis, The Joy of Love #57

What is Counting our Blessings?

In our Christian Tradition, the word 'blessing' holds within it the sense of communicating life from God, who loves us all deeply and is very close to us. Counting our Blessings is a new Scripture-based resource produced by the Department for Christian Responsibility & Citizenship at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. It is designed for use in a variety of pastoral-catechetical settings and consists of 7 stand-alone sessions to support parish and school communities in accompanying families. Counting our Blessings is part of an ongoing invitation from the Church to talk about our life experiences and through gentle engagement with Scripture grow in awareness of God's presence in our lives. In a guided small-group process using 'everyday' language each Counting our Blessings session explores a Real Question in family life.

What are the 'Real Questions' ?

  • Real Question One: How did you know that he or she was the one for you?
  • Real Question Two: What helps you ‘hang on in there’ when the going gets tough or 'It's just not fair'?
  • Real Question Three: When have you had to admit you were wrong and ask forgiveness? When have you found it hard to forgive?
  • Real Question Four: What has been your experience of serious illness, and or death? Where was your faith in all of this?
  • Real Question Five: Have you ever felt like an outsider?
  • Real Question Six: What gives you a deep sense of Joy?
  • Real Question Seven: Who listens to you when you need to be listened to?

What Does the Resource Offer?

In addition to the Sessions themselves the Counting our Blessings resource provides background notes on 'blessings' in the Catholic tradition, tips for new group leaders, a guide to a simple method of praying with Scripture, step-by-step session outlines, leaders' notes and session handouts (the handouts can also be downloaded from this website after purchase). Whether used as part of a programme of sacramental preparation, or at other times when the life of the family intersects with the life of the Church Counting our Blessings aims to:
Support parish and school communities
as they walk with families of every shape and size in a steady, reassuring journey in faith
Help create a space for conversations
where people can tell their stories, fostering a new sense of belonging in the wider community of God's family, the Church
Help families develop a confident, natural openness to hearing God speak through Scripture
making connections with their everyday loving, giving and caring for life
Affirm and celebrate the vital and mutual blessings given by God
which flow between families and communities

As Pope Francis says in The Joy of Love (#187) 'all family life is a “shepherding” in mercy' and our aim in Counting Our Blessings is to reveal and celebrate this “shepherding” going on in the complexities of our family life.

Bishop Peter Doyle, Chair Bishops' Committee for Marriage & Family Life

How to Order

Counting our Blessings is available to purchase for £9.99 from Rejoice Publications (an imprint of Matthew James Publishing Ltd.) Click here to visit the Online Shop

For more information about the development of the resource or its uses please contact Caroline Dollard, Marriage and Family Life Adviser at CBCEW: