FAMILY MATTERS OCTOBER 2010
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“All for one and one for all.”
SACBC Family Life Desk News
2010 Family Calendar and themes
Some activities of the month
2011 Family Calendar now available
Family Hour Activities
Higher Education and other websites of interest
“All for one and one for all.”
Team spirit? Would that term encapsulate the meaning of the family theme for the month of October, also in the context of the overall 2010 theme FAMILIES PLAY THE GAME? The idea “all for one and one for all” is intended to connect Mission Month in the Church with the particular mission of the family in the Church and in society too as the laity has as part of its mission evangelisation in the world.
The Church would also call this the principle of “the common good.” But maybe this concept and that of team spirit are more to do with “one for all”; all standing together to support the team. But I believe it is equally important that the individual member of the team, be it a family or any other team should be supported to achieve their own fullest potential. If we use a family as a model, which is what a family focus is intended to achieve, we know how important it is to build up each little person, to nurture and develop their individuality and their self-esteem but also their sense of responsibility as they grow into maturity. And that is no easy or straightforward task.
Consider as an example the spate of strikes that has hit our country, especially teachers’ strikes, but other workers too have tabled their demands. While one cannot argue that there no justification for the demands, we are challenged too to consider whether this is all for the common good, or for the good of a select number? How many children have been deprived of teaching time and what is the impact of that?
It is not always perfectly clear to what extent the common good is being addressed in a situation. Sometimes it is only possible to make a choice about the greater good, from a number of goods or evils. Is depriving children of teaching a greater evil than depriving educators of their full demands in a wage dispute?
There are moral issues incorporated into the idea, “all for one and one for all.” Again taking the principle of the greater good or the lesser evil consider which aspects of family life are relevant. Moving towards equity in the number of men and women in different positions in society is regarded as a woman’s right. Is a woman’s right to a job or career then a greater good than her being more available to her children? What is the man’s role in this, or whose responsibility does bringing up children become? Should everyone in a family make sacrifices for the benefit of one individual member who may have a particular gift or talent? Should they rally around to support one who is ill or has a specific need or does each have their own rights? How do they all feel about that? Does a family, like any other team, have rights that supersede those of its individual members?
Individuality is good but selfishness and individualism can be called social sins against the common good. This might need to be brought home in a simple way. We too easily tend to gripe when our own rights are infringed and so it is important to consider the whole picture and to do so as a part of our family life education in our own families. From very young we encourage them to share but especially with adolescent and even adult children the personal as well as the social dimensions should be explored more deeply. Developing the image Church as Family and using family situations as models is a good and practical way for doing some social analysis. This can be for families themselves during a Family Hour time and also for church groups of all kinds from bishops to simple lay folk in their faith sharing groups.
Radio, TV and press are powerful agents that form attitudes. We’ve been hearing about campaigns to promote social awareness such as “Lead South Africa” and others for “doing good.” The SA Department for Social Development promotes the concept of Family Preservation. Post 2010 Soccer World Cup we are still being urged to celebrate our national heritage, take pride in who we are and what we can achieve as a people. At the same time I believe an important lesson we can take from family life is not only or primarily to focus on the “one for all” aspect. We also want our young and old to take on board with confidence the slogan, “It begins with you,” in the fight against HIV, crime and corruption. Prominent signs found along the side of the road in many parts of the country that are still tinder-dry and desperate for the summer rains read, “Fires stop with you.” A healthy balance then between beginning and stopping and between “all for one and one for all” is required and the family can provide a model for doing so. In the spirit of “all for one and one for all” let us all support the family in its mission and so support us all. TR
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PLEASE NOTE THAT WE HAVE MIGRATED TO A NEW BLOG WEBSITE with the address www.marfam.org.za/blog
Pope Benedict in the Message for World Communication Sunday invites us to make effective use of the new media. I am still in the learning phase but we hope to have a useful blog site up and running soon allowing for much more social interaction.
The October-December issue of Marriage and Family Living is now available and is the last to link with the 2010 Family Life Calendar and its theme “FAMILIES PLAY THE GAME.” The article for the month of October will be found on www.marfam.org.za/blog. The regular monthly reflections continue to follow the Family Hour concept and method promoted by MARFAM and the SACBC Family Life Desk.
Of particular relevance for the next months are 2 Redemptorist Publications, my reflections on Becoming Widowed and Catholics and Divorce by Fr Sean WalesCSsR. MARFAM’s usual Advent-Christmas booklet this year will be PRAY AS YOU GO which as its name indicates is about family prayer and prayer for family life.
For other MARFAM publications see www.marfam.org.za.
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SACBC FAMILY LIFE DESK NEWS
The 2010 family theme of the SACBC Family Life Desk is “Families Play the Game. “ The Desk’s annual family calendar is used for education and enrichment. Monthly subthemes are developed in many different ways e.g workshops, treats, parish talks etc. throughout the year. The overview of the year’s themes and brief reflections for the Sundays and main feastdays are published monthly on the website www.marfam.org.za/blog. Translations of these into some local languages are available by email. Anyone willing and able to help with Zulu and Xhosa translations can contact Toni at email@example.com.
OCTOBER – ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
Our mission in life as families is to become good sports in the widest sense of the word, which includes the ideal of the common good. In families the members learn to develop a good sporting attitude, to stand up for one another and support each other, rather than be competing and comparing overly much, playing the “mine is better than yours” game. This attitude can be carried over to all other areas of our lives. How good are you at living out the slogan “all for one and one for all?”
FAMILY LIFE DESK ACTIVITIES.
CONSULTATION AND CONFERENCE
A mini-conference of family life ministers in movements and dioceses will be held on the weekend of 8-10th October. Together with Bishop William Slattery, the bishop responsible for Evangelisation, this will in part be an opportunity to workshop together the vision and direction of the Family Life Desk, a common vision for the family apostolate, the IMBISA bishops’ family life priority, and if possible some plans for 2011. With greater cooperation and some deeper discernment into the needs of families in our region it is hoped that as movements and diocesan offices we can be a powerful resource.
Family Movements in Southern Africa are Catholic Engaged Encounter, Couples for Christ, Equipes de Nossa Senhora/Teams of Our Lady, Focolare – New Families, Marriage Encounter, Retrouvaille, Schoenstatt movements. For information about them visit www.marfam.org.za or contact them directly through Google.
2011 FAMILY CALENDAR is now available during the month. The theme is PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME and takes up the focus of the 2nd African Synod of 2009, “Church as Family in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.” In addition to the poster calendar there is an information leaflet explaining the monthly subthemes. It is hoped that parishes and organizations will use this as a resource and a fundraiser. Bulk prices will be from R200 for 100 calendars. For more information and to order see www.marfam.org.za/blog
One of the ACTIVITIES of the FLDesk is to assist dioceses in establishing and operating a family life desk. Sometimes it is more practical to operate from deanery level but it is important for a diocese to have a family life office or desk for coordination at diocesan level. Supporting family life and marriage in particular is a stated priority in the local church and should be done by bishop or parish priest together with the pastoral councils. A FL desk operates from PPC level and has contact with other members of the PPC. In that way the vision of Church-as-Family can be fully integrated. The diocese of Eshowe will be visited shortly.
PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY is the Desk’s ongoing project, applying in a pastoral manner the image “Church as Family” of the Church in Africa, from an evangelizing as well as family support angle. It is promoted to the bishops, to priests, to parishes and ultimate to families.
Three levels of ministry to families are 1. At Parish level. 2. At home level. 3. Special needs.
Workshops are offered to dioceses and in regions.
A successful and enjoyable weekend workshop was held in the Bloemfontein diocese – see picture. Nine parishes participated and have been invited to take the ministry into their own parish in the most appropriate way. The 2011 Family Calendar should be a helpful resource for all parish family teams.
The next PFM weekend workshop will be in February 2011. The intention is to cater for those new to the ministry and for more experienced teams. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Handbook and Manual “An Introduction to Parish Family Ministry” is available at R120.
For those in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area there will be 1day workshop on 23rd October to consider progress and share plans for 2011.
FAMILY PRESERVATION. This concept is very much part of the Church’s attitude towards healthy family living. FL coordinator Toni Rowland will co-facilitate a workshop from 11-13 November with a trainer from the Department for Social Development’s Family Directorate. This is being offered through the National Religious Leaders Forum to delegates from national Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) A manual for Family Preservation has been developed for the DSD and this is being used for training social workers but also potentially for support teams in parish family ministry. Contact email@example.com
SPECIFIC AIMS OF THE FAMILY PRESERVATION APPROACH
- Keeping families together.
- Reunifying family members with their families.
- Improving the well-being of family members, specifically children, youth and vulnerable members in their families and communities.
- Supporting the strengthening of families to fulfill their responsibilities
- Keeping families as primary caregivers of children
- Working with families at risk so as to prevent the removal and out-of-home placement.
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OCTOBER – MISSION MONTH
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS PEOPE BENEDICT XVI FOR 2010 MISSION SUNDAY
Extracts from: Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to Mission
Ecclesial communion is born from the encounter with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who, through the Church’s proclamation reaches out to human beings and creates fellowship with himself and hence with the Father and the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Jn 1: 3). Christ establishes the new relationship between man and God. "He reveals to us that "God is love’ (1 Jn 4: 8 ) and at the same time teaches us that the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. He assures those who trust in the charity of God that the way of love is open to all men and that the effort to establish a universal brotherhood will not be in vain" (Gaudium et spes, n. 38).
The Church becomes "communion" on the basis of the Eucharist in which Christ, present in bread and in wine with his sacrifice of love builds the Church as his Body, uniting us with the Triune God and with one another (cf. 1 Cor 10: 16ff.). In the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis I wrote, "The love that we celebrate in the sacrament is not something we can keep to ourselves. By its very nature it demands to be shared with everyone. What the world needs is God’s love; it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in him" (n. 84). For this reason the Eucharist is not only the source and summit of the Church’s life, but also of her mission: "an authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church" (ibid.), which can bring all to communion with God, proclaiming with conviction "that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us" (1 Jn 1: 3).
FAMILY HOUR ACTIVITIES “The family that prays and plays together stays together.”
Family Hour is an activity for all types and ages of families, even oldies. The purpose is to reflect, share, discuss and pray about family issues, make it a spiritually enriching and informative experience and have some fun doing so. Does your family have a Bible, and a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and some of the relevant Church documents?
During Mission month we are also asked to support the various missionary activities of the Church. In every country in the Southern African region there are missionary congregations of priests, brothers and sisters. There are also the other missionary societies known as the Pontifical Mission Societies. Of particular interest should be the Society of Missionary Children which was previously known as the Holy Childhood Society. Its focus is “children helping children” through their donations and prayers. For more on these google Pontifical Mission Societies.
This time of the year is for many families and their children 1st Communion time. The little ones are often an example to us older people in their innocence and love they have for Jesus. As parents and families they can be models for us. Nurturing love for Jesus in the Eucharist is an important right and responsibility. There are many families where not everyone in the family believes and practises this. Families should try as best they can to nurture what is common between their beliefs and faith expressions and share the richness of their own beliefs with one another, treating differences with respect but praying for the unity which was Jesus’ own prayer at the Last Supper.
THEME FOR THE MONTH Family Hour activities can always be linked with the family theme for the month and should be appropriate for the ages and situations of a particular family.
October is Mission Month. There are also a number of saints’ feastdays that can be celebrated in a family-friendly manner. St Therese, the Little Flower, patron saint of the missions invites us to follow her “Little Way.” St Francis is the patron saint of nature and animals and honoured too for his dedication to peace. Some parishes have held a special service for a blessing of pets, or a nature expedition. His Prayer for peace is wellknown as a prayer and a hymn. The subject of angels and Guardian angels in particular is one that can be very meaningful for families. Angels are very fashionable and there is a lot of confusion about their role. Catholics do not worship them, we can and do pray through them as intercessors to the Father and ask for their protection.
Googling these various saints or Catholic practices will bring to light many possibilities for information and activities for different types of needs and occasions.
VALUABLE SITES for family ministry
Mission Month: www.onefamilyinmission.org www.vatican.va/roman_curia/…/p_missionary…
UK bishops’ marriage and family life office. www.homeisaholyplace.org.uk
US Catholic Bishops conference www.foryourmarriage.org.
National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers www.nacflm.org
Thinking of Higher Education – Ongoing development. Think Catholic.
St Augustine’s College in Johannesburg, South Africa’s only Catholic university offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Visit www.staugustine.ac.za.
Catholic Bible College www.eazyinternet.co.za/cbs/index.htm
Maybe appropriate for this time of the year in the southern hemisphere.
Angel’s Food vs Devil’s Food from joke-of-the-day.com
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God’s great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"
And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you’re at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.
And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.
So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Ranch Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.
God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil’s Food."
God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.
Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.
God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald’s and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.
Then Satan created HMOs.
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