Celebrating Family

Celebrating Family: Blessed, Broken, Living Love, is the overarching theme of a range of pastoral initiatives developed by the Bishops following the Listening 2004 conversations. The strapline was inspired by a recognition that most families are both blessed and 'broken', but nevertheless persevere in living love for each other. In 2004 Bishop Brian Noble called for the church to celebrate families as they really are, for good and not so good.
Celebrating family

In 2004 the Bishops of England and Wales published a teaching document Cherishing Life which sets out the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life. In the same year the Bishops also exercised their listening role. Listening 2004:My Family, My Church invited families to share with the Church the reality of their lives at home, in the world and in the church. 15,000 families participated, feeding their experiences into a series of diocesan conversations which brought priests and people together to reflect on Catholic families' needs and how they might be met. The testimonies shared during Listening 2004 were published in 2005 in a report entitled Not Easy but Full of Meaning: Catholic Family Life in 2004.
Celebrating family

In 2005 the Bishops also endorsed the development of collaborative work in three areas of family life in order to respond directly to three priorities that emerged from the listening process:

  • A need for welcoming, family-sensitive, friendly parishes where Christian community thrives and sustains the lives of those both at its heart and on the margins;
  • A need to deepen and share among laity and clergy alike a much wider understanding of marital and family spirituality as the heart of the domestic church;
  • A need to explore and better understand what we mean by passing on faith in God, the primary role of parents and to equip them accordingly
The following projects address these priorities directly and are the starting point for the Bishops' continuing strategy for the pastoral care of marriage and family life:

Everybody's Welcome


Everybody’s Welcome seeks to assist parish communities to:

  • offer understanding, friendship and support to all
  •  be a source of help in times of need
  • help everyone in the parish feel that they belong there
  • encourage and celebrate all family life whether married, widowed, single, divorced, separated, with children or without.

Home is a Holy Place


Home is a Holy Place seeks to :

  • raise awareness of God's presence at home not just among families but among all those who serve them in any way within our Catholic community
  • enable us to recognise and respond to God's presence at home with our families, in the ordinary events of our daily lives, in the deep joys and sorrows we experience together and in our relationships with one another, whether we are children, siblings, parents, spouses, friends or neighbours.

Passing on the Faith


Passing on the Faith supports parents and grandparents in passing on faith in God and seeks to:

  • Resource and support parents and grandparents in their “irreplaceable and inalienable” task of passing on faith in God
  • Establish what 'passing on the faith' means
  • Identify the complementary roles, rights and responsibilities of home, school and parish.