In 2006 the Bishops of England and Wales launched the £12 million Faith in the Future fundraising campaign. The success of this campaign made it possible for the bishops to fund 13 dioceses to undertake capacity-building family ministry projects from 2008-11. These projects sought to strengthen parish communities and encourage families as leaders. The success of this work attracted further donations, and the bishops have since funded 17 more diocesan family ministry projects. The capacity built through this wide range of pastoral initiatives is serving to increase understanding of family ministry and adding to the pool of experience and skills in the service of marriage and family life.
CELEBRATING FAMILY GRANTS 2014-16
Since 2014, through the Celebrating Family Fund, the Bishops of England and Wales have awarded grants to 17 dioceses. The grants were awarded in line with three priorities identified by the bishops following Listening 2004: Everybody’s Welcome, Home is a Holy Place and Passing on the Faith. In 2013 three further priorities were added to the awarding criteria to support the development of Catholic marriage preparation, the pastoral accompaniment of families and the development of online formation for family ministry. Five projects commenced in 2014, two in 2015 and a further ten will commence in 2016/17. The projects include: building sustainable diocesan marriage preparation through the training and equipping of marriage preparation providers; the development of pastoral outreach, family catechesis and sacramental accompaniment of families; the provision of remote marriage preparation in schools and the launch of parish Family Groups and parish Grandparents Groups. The grants are also funding audits of family ministry provision, a Welsh Grandparents' Pilgrimage, the delivery of parenting support through the home-school-parish network and increasing capacity for Fertility Awareness Methods and enhanced NFP support through the training and resourcing of providers.
CELEBRATING FAMILY PROJECTS 2008-11
These 13 Celebrating Family diocesan projects are estimated to have impacted the lives of over 12,000 people through increased marriage preparation and parenting support programmes, listening and bereavement training, Home is a Holy Place workshops, celebrations of marriage, healing Masses and other awareness raising events. The diocesan projects raised significantly local awareness of marriage and family life issues, helped parishes to become more sensitive to families’ needs and stimulated the growth of active volunteer networks. During this time the bishops also invested in leadership for family ministry and awarded grants to diocesan workers to undertake Master’s studies in Leadership for Family Ministry and Faith Formation. The Celebrating Family Project film (above) documents the journey of those projects.