FAMILY MATTERS 2011 – FEBRUARY THEME: THE POWER OF LOVE AND THE LOVE OF POWER
SACBC Family Life Desk News
2011 Family Calendar and themes
Parish Family Ministry
Activities of the month
BITS AND BYTES
< Newly installed Archbishop Slattery greets parishioners
Two matters currently on my mind got me wondering about hats. One matter is the 2011 family calendar and its February theme, “The power of love and the love of power.” The other was being present at the opening Mass of the 1st plenary session of 2011 of the Southern African bishops. On this meaningful and colourful occasion hats were obviously much in evidence,from the skull caps (zucchetto) the bishops wore during parts of the Mass to the mitres at the recessional procession. Of what are these a symbol?
Thirty or so bishops gathered around the altar, including some who are now retired from their sees and two about to be consecrated, concelebrating, listening to a powerful homily on justice and the conversion of St Paul cannot but fail to impress and inspire God’s people. One reflects on the commitment of these men in particular who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Church-as-Family. Others in the congregation, priests, religious and lay, working in and for the Church, do not wear the same hats and on the whole do not carry the same burdens or have the same powers and influence.
But power and influence are features of all our lives and many of us wear one or more hats in different situations. A woman business executive may wield a great deal of power in the workplace yet be subordinate to her husband at home. Alternatively she may have chosen not to marry for that reason, not wanting to be subservient, and will juggle between hats at home. A related scenario could be the woman executive or political leader – after all the aim in SA is 50% gender representation in all spheres of public office – who dominates at home too. The power relations between men and women are complex and changing and often does have negative implications for the couple themselves and their children if this is not properly discussed as to who wears what hat. Will the man in the house wear his sportscap while she wears a creation designed by a top couturier? Will he try for a bigger and better one? Do people outgrow one another and is this inevitable?
This is a relevant current topic for reflection, sharing, discussion and public debate in society and in the Church, but with particular reference to marriage. The SACBC Family Life Desk, as is done in some other countries, promotes marriage and not just “luv” around Valentine’s Day. Marriage Encounter’s World Marriage Day on 13th February this year has its regular theme “Love one another” but in line with the family theme for 2011 PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME our focus is more on the power issue. The statement for the month, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power there will be peace in the world” is taken from the lyrics of a song by rock star Jimi Hendrix.
Yes, that statement does apply very strongly in marriage, in loving and partnership arrangements of all kinds and with whatever hat one wears, in public life, business, sports too. Love is the defining Christian virtue and is a power in itself. The wellknown quotation from the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, could be considered particularly apt and challenging at this time of so many
challenges posed to us by nature too. "Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." May the fire of love burn brightly and warm your hearts and homes this month.
< Teilhard de Chardin from Encyclopedia Brittanica
Please note our new blog website www.marfam.org.za/blog. Some resources are still filed on the old site www.marfam.org.za.
Subscriptions for the 2011 publications are still coming in at R140 for South Africa. Enquire for prices outside the country. The 2011 family calendar is also still marketed by MARFAM for the SACBC Family Life Desk. Bulk prices have been reduced to only R150 for 100 and R100 for 50 calendars. The accompanying leaflet gives an explanation of the monthly themes. This can also be downloaded from the website. See www.marfam.org.za/ al Also to place orders.
The January-March issue of Marriage and Family Living takes up the 2011 theme of PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME with its link with the 2nd African Synod and the focus on Reconciliation.
The article of the month available at www.marfam.org.za/blog is THE POWER OF LOVE AND THE LOVE POWER in which the regional Retrouvaille couple shares their story. The poem of the month on a similar theme can also be found on the website. The feature article “The future of the Church and of the World is through the Family” is an update on the state of the family in the local Church. Other articles address family catechesis and parish family ministry.
See below and also the website www.marfam.org.zablog for Family Hour suggestions and February calendar reflections in English. Request them in other local languages by email.
LENT AND EASTER BOOKLET The regular booklet for reflection and sharing for Lent and Easter will be available from mid-February. With the title THAT THEY MAY BE ONE it provides food for thought and discussion on a range of issues around the family and religion. Cost R10.
An updated publications list will be published shortly. MARFAM has a range of publications on marriage, parenting and for faith sharing and reflection often related to liturgical seasons. Publications are usually very focused on current themes and your contributions towards enriching the understanding of these can be submitted to our editorial committee.
SACBC FAMILY LIFE DESK NEWS
2011 FAMILY CALENDAR with its themes and accompanying resources is being used in homes and parishes as a family life education and enrichment vehicle. Some parishes base their year plan around the monthly themes. Download the explanatory leaflet from www.marfam.org.za/blog
The overall SACBC Family Life Desk theme PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME takes up the focus of the 2nd African Synod of 2009, “Church as Family in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.” The final document of the Synod is eagerly awaited as the propositions contained a substantial number of points on strengthening family life.
Through workshops, articles, retreats and parish presentations the Synod topics will be related to different aspects of family life during the year e.g. marriage – including widowhood and divorce, parenting – including stepparenting, youth, the elderly, women, culture etc.
The monthly themes are listed here. Suggestions for a Family Hour are given elsewhere.
January – Peace begins with a Smile
February – The power of Love and the Love of Power
March – If you want Justice work for peace.
April – A Peace the World cannot give
May – He who loves disciples a Child
June – Youth – a time for Peace-building
July – Peace matures with age.
August – Empowered Women – carers for all.
September – A Legacy of Peace and Justice
October – Instruments of Peace
November – Eternal life, eternal peace.
December – Peace on earth begins at Home
FEBRUARY – THE POWER OF LOVE AND THE LOVE OF POWER
World Marriage Day at the same time as Valentine’s Day highlights the fact that marriage is intended to be the most fulfilling of love relationships, if lived according to God’s plan and in his presence.
Every love relationships has its challenges and power struggles and support is often needed. Constant reconciliation, asking and granting forgiveness for the hurts we cause is called for in every loving relationship in a family. This is true for the sake of a couple and for the example they give to their children.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. Jimi Hendrix
FAMILY LIFE DESK ACTIVITIES.
The objectives of the Family Life Desks include assisting dioceses in establishing and maintaining a family life support ministry, networking with other family organizations and providing and sourcing formation resources. The 2010 Annual report has been prepared and will be posted on the SACBC website in due course.
In a New Year letter to all the bishops of the region some aspects of the vision for the Desk are set out.
"The vision of the FL Desk, as has often been expressed, is to concretise as fully as possible the image of Church as Family of God, in relation to the family as the domestic church. The parish as a whole could become more "family-centred" as it links and integrates these two concepts.
While promotion and support of marriage is a core component it is very clear that in our region the majority of families are not based on marriage, but are still "intimate communities of life and love,"as can be inferred from Familiaris Consortio, and need love, care and support in order to build the domestic church. Holistic family ministry in the parish promotes parish family events, family spirituality at home and what support can be given in collaboration with other bodies in the case of special needs.
Fully integrating the image of Church as Family into all areas of Church life has long been my dream. This does not mean that everything revolves specifically around family ministry but that the Church’s vision of itself is linked with what a family truly is. I believe that the fact that many families could be considered broken need not take away from this. Sometimes the only resource the poor have is a family and sometimes poor families are more authentic domestic churches than more affluent ones. "
PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY TIMETABLE 2011
A suggested yearplan for workshops and meetings has been circulated to those involved and will be emailed on request. Dioceses, deaneries and parishes are open to invite our team for visits or workshops of different kinds.
The main event in January was an enjoyable one day PFM workshop with participants from 16 parishes from Johannesburg and Pretoria. These 1 day workshops are a source of ongoing formation but also often bring new parishes on board.
The weekend workshop from 18-20 February will provide a full introduction to the project as well as reinforcement and new insights to more established parish teams.
PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY WEEKEND WORKSHOP 18-20 FEBRUARY AT LUMKO, BENONI.
Open to new and existing parish family teams from any diocese in the country.
For information on this contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Handbook and Manual “An Introduction to Parish Family Ministry” is available at R120.
For any information on Parish Family Ministry contact email@example.com.
MAY A MONTH FOR FAMILY AND LIFE
The bishops have approved the month of May as a month for family and life and this can be celebrated at diocesan level or parish level, within the different movements and organizations and also in the home. The Family Life Desk is consulting with roleplayers and invites suggestions on ways to highlight relevant issues. The FL Desk theme for May revolves around parenting with its related issues and topics on life such as sexuality, conception, contraception and abortion are also important as also other life, wellness and health issues e.g. euthanasia. A Family Fun Day is being planned for 1st May in Johannesburg. We await news from other sources.
MARRIAGE DAY – 13th FEBRUARY
This initiative started by Marriage Encounter and which has the approval of the Pontifical Council for the Family to celebrate marriage on 2nd Sunday of February each year, (the Sunday nearest to Valentine’s Day) is supported and promoted by the SACBC Family Life Desk and MARFAM. Parishes, organizations and couples themselves are encouraged to reflect and celebrate with the theme ‘LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” Suggestions are offered on the website http://wmd.wwme.org/index.html to review the information on the site and use whatever fits. Click here to download your World Marriage Day Clergy/Family Life Package and the Celebration Planning Package. This should be a celebration of marriage not just for couples but for the whole community and could include seminars, workshops, retreats for newly-weds, older couples, troubled situations,etc.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org) has put more emphasis on the importance of the Sacrament of Matrimony recently through the “foryourmarriage.org” website.
Useful websites for family enrichment that produce regular publications:
US Catholic Bishops Conference firstname.lastname@example.org
WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES. Anthony Beale, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Da Gama in South Africa forwarded this link. www.worldcongress.org. To subscribe to their newsletter email email@example.com
JOHANNESBURG CULTURE OF LIFE RALLY FOR LIFE 26TH MARCH
The Culture of Life Campaign invites all parishes, confirmation groups, Catholic schools, religious and lay communities to join in prayer and protest against ABORTION and promote the RIGHT TO LIFE on Saturday 26th March. Archbishop Tlhagale will celebrate Mass at the cathedral and this will be followed by testimonies and adoration. Time 9.30 – 1.30. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Also on SANCITY OF LIFE www.ChristianView.org writes:
Please remember Tuesday next week, 1 February 2011, in your prayers as the 14th Anniversary of the tragic legalization of abortion on demand in South Africa. Please ask your pastor if you can remember the Sanctity of Human Life in prayers against legal abortion and/or by reading scriptures relating to the unborn and the Sanctity of Human life (e.g. Psalm 139:14-17 and Luke 1:39-43.
SNIPPETS AND NOTICES
FOUNDATION FOR THE PERSON AND THE FAMILY – THEOLOGY OF THE BODY
This foundation was formally launched in Johannesburg on 23rd January. Its aims and objectives are to promote the Theology of the Body, especially to youth and in seminars and workshops to groups, schools, parishes and other interested parties. Contact Marie-Anne te Brake email@example.com
FAMILY HOUR SUGGESTIONS. We hope families had much fun with the January smiling theme.
February : The love of power and the power of love.
Marriage and related power relationships is the main focus. Discuss the question of who really holds the power, husband, wife or children in the family. Think of ways to let members have an opportunity to exert some power in the family. Let them experience the challenges, possibly making them in charge for a day or certain time, even during a game. Teaching children to deal with power is a life skill.
A challenging but very rewarding activity could be for parents to share with their children how they have dealt with and deal with power in their marriage now.
FAMILY HOUR FORMAT: 5 steps.
- A Look at Life using a story, article, or activity on the theme.
- God speaks to us through Scripture and Church teaching as appropriate.
- Personal sharing by everyone followed by general discussion,
- Chosen action and prayer.
- End the session with a Fun activity, game, snack etc.
JOIN THE “TABLE TUESDAYS” INITIATIVE! Table Tuesdays (another Life Talk initiative) are about taking action whereby every family can start re-connecting again by having dinner together on a Tuesday (or other) evening. See Forum@lifetalk.co.za or www.lifetalk.co.za for many more ideas. Lifetalks is also looking for volunteers to participate in its projects.
JOIN HOPE AND JOY. This is a new initiative to be launched soon to network Catholic organizations and to lead up to and highlight the 50th anniversary of the 2nd Vatican Council in 2012 in a whole host of different ways. More to follow. Look out in future for www.hopeandjoy.org.za or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
FINALLY : Why are jokes about marriage nearly always so derogatory of either the husband or the wife? Who really is the boss?
A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, “Never mind, I ll do it myself,” and he lets her, and she gets mad, and he says, “Now what are you mad about?” says, “If you don’t know I m not going to tell you.”
An English professor wrote the words, “Woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly. The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women wrote: “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.”
A young man called his mother and announced excitedly that he had just met the woman of his dreams. “Now what should I do?” His mother has an idea. “Why don’t you send her flowers, and on the card invite her to your apartment for a home cooked meal?” He thought this was a great strategy, and a week later the woman came to dinner. His mother called the next day to see how things had gone. ” I was humiliated,” he groaned. “She insisted on washing the dishes.” ” What’s wrong with that?” asked his mother. ” We hadn’t started eating yet.”
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