FAMILY MATTERS 2011 – SEPTEMBER THEME: A LEGACY OF PEACE AND JUSTICE
A Legacy of Peace and Justice – Looking back, looking forward.
MARFAM News and discernment
SACBC Family Life Desk News
2011 Family Calendar and themes,
September theme: A Heritage of Peace and Justice
Parish Family Ministry
Family Leadership Conference – 13 August
BITS AND BYTES Family Hour and more
FINALLY…… on the lighter side
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A Legacy of Peace and Justice – Looking back, looking forward.
Creating a legacy, in a way, is something that happens automatically, but one can only create a legacy of peace and justice by taking a step back, looking into the past, being conscious of the current reality and looking ahead into what the future could possibly hold. For most of families across the world the past few years have seen dramatic changes in the political and economic spheres that have important impacts on our family lives. Money is more scarce, employment is precarious, young people are coming into the workplace with few prospects, education is often below standard and the psychological stresses on families are severe. Expectations and demands, as seen during the recent “strike season” in SA also show up in family life. When there is trouble in schools, parents are told they are responsible for teaching discipline and moral and ethical behaviour but society in general does not sufficiently empower parents or uphold ethical and moral standards itself.
Are rebels, protesters and freedom fighters across the world acting out of a sense of justice or out of rebellion, dissatisfaction or for personal gain? Do they jump on a social networking bandwagon that, while initially might promote a good cause, can easily get them caught up in mob behavior? Where is the social control to come from?
So what are families to do? One can even ask what is a family? A research report referred to over recent months makes it clear that the most common form of family in SA is a mother-headed household and notes that only one-third of children grow up with both biological parents. A very current report on the state of marriage posted by the smartmarriages newsbrief “Why Marriage Matters” (see ref) on a more worldwide level claims that a child in a cohabitating family in Sweden is more likely to grow up with both biological parents than a child of married parents in the US. However, many different forms of families now exist which need not necessarily be considered dysfunctional.
So what is a family to do? Receiving much more active support for its task of raising children would be a good start. The participants in the SACBC Family Life Desk Family Ministry Leaders’ Conference resolved that every diocese be encouraged to have a family desk, not just for marriage preparation but for effective family support programmes too. “Strengthening the living of Jesus’ message in the home as a light to all,” was the agreed definition for family ministry.
I have been intrigued in interreligious interaction recently that the family as a religious entity appears to play a much greater formal role in Judaism and Islam than in the Catholic Church. The Friday Sabbath meal is an important and meaningful tradition for Jewish families. At an Iftaar friendship dinner during the month of Ramadan in a key-note address Dr Scott Alexander compared fasting during the month of Ramadan and the time of Lent. I believe that the practice is more deeply entrenched in Muslim family life than the observance of Lent is in most families.
The Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office publishes regular briefing papers on current issues. One of their latest is on the experience of irregular migrants. SA is one of the most popular destinations but policies and support systems need to be improved and the danger of xenophobic attacks against outsiders seen to be stealing “our” jobs remains a threat.
The September family theme for Heritage Month in South Africa is “Creating a legacy of peace and justice.” Creating such a legacy must begin in the home and should be based on the principles and values of one’s faith, overlaid beautifully by the cultural traditions and practices of the different people who make up our national fabric.
A MARFAM response is a booklet “OUR Catholic HERITAGE” subtitled “Where on earth did you come from and where in heaven do you think you’re going.” It is an activity booklet aimed at families with children but the topics, xenophobia, refugees, missionaries, creating a family shield or crest, and considering language barriers are relevant for all families and their educators. A weekly Family Hour for reflection, prayer and sharing, eating a family meal together, having a “NO TV night” are the bricks and blocks for building the legacy of peace and justice that we all genuinely long for.
References and related documents :
SA Institute of Race Relations report on the South African family, “First Steps in Healing the South African family” from www.sairr.org.za
Why Marriage Matters. www.centerforpublicconversation.org/events/v/wmm-20110816.php and www.smartmarriages.com dd 26 August 2011.
CPLO briefing paper No 268 August 2011. Irregular migration: challenges and opportunities for the US and South Africa. www.cplo.org.za
http://nccbuscc.org/laity/walk.shtml. A statement by the US Bishops : Walk in the Light: A Pastoral Response to Child Sexual Abuse
The MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIVING magazine for July-September relating to the 2011 theme PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME covers the three topics of older people, empowering women and a heritage or legacy of peace. The article for the month is Pope John XXIII – his legacy to the Church an interview with Olinda Orlando of Radio Veritas.
The poem is a reflection on the wonderful array of spring flowers that carpet parts of the country.
The booklet OUR HERITAGE is suggested for use as an activity booklet for families with children aged 9-12 on topics such as mission, refugees, xenophobia and different languages. It can of course be used by educators and catechists too.
MARFAM RESOURCES: For a full publications list click here
We continue to discern the needs of families, parishes and the Church and welcome your comments too on our regular publications. Do you know any or all of these?
- Marriage and Family Living quarterly magazine
- FAMILY MATTERS, monthly e-newsletter
- Annual Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter booklets e.g. most recent :“Pray as You Go” “That They May Be One”
- Stations of the Cross for Families in various languages. English. Afrikaans. Zulu. Sotho. Tswana and Stations of the Cross for Widowed people. English. Zulu. Tswana
- SACBC FAMILY CALENDAR and accompanying materials, reflections etc.
- Various other booklets, many using a simple faith sharing format.
We also welcome your comments on the following by Toni Rowland:
- “Family Friendly” monthly column in the Southern Cross.
- FAMILY MATTERS weekly programme on Radio Veritas. (Wednesday 10-11, Saturday 11-12)
What means should be used for family education and enrichment? E-newsletter, magazine, journal, blog, facebook, sms or other forms of social networking? Should we use different languages, different styles?
How can all this be provided in a manner that is accessible and useful? Is our target group focused enough? How do we reach young technologically savvy people, business and government workers and rural grandmothers? Price is an issue but knowing what books and magazines cost and what people do buy we ask if it is real concern? Are we relevant, are people indifferent as has also been said, or are we not known and promoted in the wider Church community? Do we need more writers, marketing expertise? What can you do to assist us in practical ways?
MARFAM’s Board and Editorial Committee are looking for answers as to what will work and what will work well. Over the next months through surveys and questionnaires as well as interviews we continue to discern and develop our way forward.
SACBC FAMILY LIFE DESK NEWS
The SACBC Family Life Desk theme for the year PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME applies the focus of the 2nd African Synod of 2009, “Church as Family in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.” Read more
The 2011 family calendar is widely used in homes and parishes as a family education and enrichment tool. Some parishes base their year plan around these monthly themes. Download the explanatory leaflet and monthly reflections for the Sunday readings from www.marfam.org.za/blog. Request translations by email into Afrikaans, Tswana, Sesotho, North Sotho and Zulu.
SEPTEMBER – A LEGACY OF PEACE AND JUSTICE.
Different family backgrounds, clans, tribes and religions all come together within families and between families. They can be a source of conflict or of enrichment depending on how we deal with the differences. Our task is to adopt the positive values and create traditions and practices for our families that maintain and celebrate our heritage in the Church as Family-of-God too with its own rich heritage of rituals and practices.
I am leaving this legacy to all of you…to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die – the dream of freedom and peace. Rosa Parks – companion to Martin Luther King
PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY is an ongoing project of the Family Life Desk.
Follow-up workshops are held regularly to provide a deepening understanding of the purpose and content of the whole progamme. In Johannesburg the attendees explored the themes for September to December to see how activities and take home resources could be worked out for Heritage Month, Mission Month and Commemoration of those who have died. Sharing information, materials and skills is a powerful resource in itself.
AN ADVANCED LEVEL PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY WORKSHOP 4-6 November 2011 Johannesburg for those already active and who have experienced the introductory workshop. The six themes of the programme will be explored more deeply for personal growth and as a TRAINING THE TRAINERS WEEKEND.
INTRODUCTION TO PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY workshop 10-12 February 2012 in Johannesburg.
Contact us for more info and see www.marfam.org.za/blog for resources, liturgical sheets, blessings and activities.
COUNSELLING TRAINING is offered from time to time through Life Line and FAMSA offices in various centres. Also enquire from the Department of Social Development about specific programmes.
SACBC DIRECTORY and FAMILY DIRECTORY
Family Life contact information in the recently produced Directory of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is not quite up to date. A full family contact list can be found on www.marfam.org.za/blog. and will be updated on www.sacbc.org.za as well, Copies of the SACBC 2011-2012 Catholic directory are available.
FAMILY MINISTRY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, 13 AUGUST, BOSCO CENTRE, GAUTENG Diocesan representatives and leaders of family movements gathered for an action-packed one day conference facilitated by CBC Brother Michael Burke. Archbishop William Slattery, the chairman of the SACBC Department for Evangelisation, Fr Barney McAleer, the secretary of the department and Sr Hermenegild Makoro, SACBC Associate Secretary General with leaders of recognized family movements and diocesan family offices reflected on family ministry, family needs and possible gaps that could be looked into as a body. Discussions were summarized and two priority areas were discussed; “Strengthening family relationships in the home with particular emphasis on male members and parents” and following through the bishops’ resolution that a family desk should be a part of each diocese’s structure.
A statement of understanding about family ministry also helped clarify a common vision. Family ministry is “the living of Jesus’ message in the home as a light to all.” Like other areas of church life the family apostolate is seriously underresourced. There are highly committed people working to build and strengthen marriages, parent-child relationships and also offer support and healing to hurting families. Can more be done? Those of us who are passionate about this ministry see it as one of the most important aspects of church life. Building the domestic church must be essential to building up the Church as Family. Not many dioceses do have a family department at this time and those who do have an office may function in different ways but the objectives of the SACBC Family Life Desk include promotion and assistance in establishing these, also as part of the vision of the nature of the Church. Invitations had been issued to all the bishops to appoint and send their representatives to the conference. Dioceses of Aliwal North, Bethlehem, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Francistown, Johannesburg, Kroonstad, Oudtshoorn, Pretoria and Witbank participated together with representatives of Catholic Engaged Encounter, Couples for Christ, Equipes de Nossa Senhora, Fermasa and Marriage Encounter.
NETWORKING happens with organisations within the SACBC. For example the SACBC Justice and Peace department is working on gender issues. Other networks exist within the Church, dioceses, parishes and beyond immediate church contacts, e.g. Department for Social Development and the National Family Policy. Rural dioceses especially could call on DSD for assistance from social workers. The Family Life Desk is to coordinate any general effort and will also act as a conduit to provide information about resources and programmes available around the country. Watch this space!
Through contact at workshops and presentations our email list continues to grow slowly but surely. We’re still building a presence on facebook too.
Heritage month weekend series of Conferences
The WHOLE WORKS SPECIAL For only R450.00/person valid till 10th September 2011
Two prominent invited international guest speakers Matt Hanley and Jason will be addressing the youth and deliver keynote presentations to adults at:
- Reviewing the Challenges of Life&Love@Schools youth jamboree followed by a conference for child minders: parents/guardians, teachers, catechists and youth leaders
- Introductory seminar on the Theology of the Body (presented by Adrian d’Oliveira) &
- Natural Family Planning conference.
Venue: St Benedict’s College – Bedfordview
Dates: 17-18 September 2011
For full details on ustreaming and the full programme contact Dr Heinz Wirz firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Counsellor, Modern Cellphones are posing serious problems for parents and families especially in the hands of innocent children. Our children are becoming more socially dysfunctional and alienated from the family unit. Cellphones give children access to adult content that they would ordinarily be banned from viewing by their parents. Unfortunately many parents are unaware of the capabilities of modern cellphones/smartphones and we have decided to try to curb this trend by using technology against this growing problem. My company has just launched a new product “My Mobile Watchdog” which is parental control for cellphones…………. Visit www.mymobilewatchdog.co.za/
FIRST THINGS FIRST is a US based organization but the idea of an action-filled NEARLY WED ADVENTURE programme sounds wonderful. Paintball, obstacle races, and other couple activities are great ways to help couples get to know each other’s styles better. See http://firstthings.org
Why Marriage Matters. Research on marriage from the US National Marriage Project at www.virginia.edu/marriageproject. See www.centerforpublicconversation.org/events/v/wmm-20110816.php and www.smartmarriages.com dd 26 August 2011.
SUPPORT FAMILY FRIENDLY MOVIES – ZOOKEEPER in cinemas from 12 August. Sent by HUMBLE PIE ENTERTAINMENT a creative media company specializing in marketing and distributing high quality family and faith-based entertainment. www.humblepie.tv
BITS AND BYTES
“FAITH IN AN AGE OF SECULARISM” An enlightening theological conference is just ending at St Augustine College in Johannesburg. Papers presented examined the meaning of secular, secularism and secularization and explored these concepts from many, mainly African perspectives. My paper on the distinction between sacred and secular in a family context in Southern Africa can be downloaded from www.marfam.org.za/blog/tonitalks Find out more about St Augustine College, South Africa’s only Catholic university and courses offered. www.staugustine.ac.za/
HOPE AND JOY, is the SA initiative to build a network of Catholics while also preparing for the 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II in 2012 by re-presenting some of the relevant teachings of Vatican II. www.hopeandjoy.org.za or contact email@example.com about the Conference to be held on 8th October 2011 in Johannesburg.
SEPTEMBER is Heritage Month in SA. Heritage Day is on 24th September.
Family Theme : A Legacy of Peace and Justice.
Read up on Rosa Parks and Marin Luther King referred to in the calendar reflections overview.
Find out what children and schools are doing about Heritage Month. Research its history.
Will your parish have a cultural day to celebrate the diversity of cultures with foods, dress and entertainment from the many groups making up our rainbow nation. Tell us what you are planning and how many cultures are present in your parish. Invite groups to recite the Our Father in their own language and display the texts around the Church. Enquire about the needs of migrans and refugees.
FAMILY HOUR AT HOME SUGGESTIONS.
The booklet OUR HERITAGE contains articles and activities for families with children between 9-12 but the idea of making a family crest or shield can be meaningful for any age and a discussion on prejudice, discrimination, racism and xenophobia too.
Use the Article and reflections in MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIVING magazine.
Visit local Justice and Peace offices and enquire about their projects regarding Land, Economic Justice, Gender Equity and many more.
A Simple Family Hour Format:
Input or material on a relevant topic or from daily life or the news.
Reflection, sharing and discussion in a respectful, responsive way. This is the key to building family communication.
Is action required? End with shared prayer, a meal or a snack.
The process can of course be used for problem solving in families but it is also very important to build family communication skills, for the times when problems do arise. Professionals using the technique would call it Family Conferencing.
Saints of the month, see www.catholiconline.org
PRAYER FOR UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Holy One, Creator God,
you created one human family
but our selfishness led to division between the nations.
To bring us back to you Jesus prayed,
“Father “I pray that they may be one, as You and I are one.”
Now as we celebrate our different heritages we pray that
within our homes, parishes, the whole Church and the world
the diversity of all the people
will enrich our experience rather than narrow our vision,
will deepen our understanding rather than ignore what divides us
so that we can recognise You present in every one,
from every place and background
and then together work for peace and harmony
and the reign of all that is good and holy. Amen
WORLD YOUTH DAY AND THE FAMILY. No doubt an awesome experience but will they l bring back not only memories but a passion for their faith, their life and their families.
In A Zenit interview with Swiss Psychologist Mercedes Palet on 18th August she expressed the importance to the youth of a stable family and the importance of healthy personal development. Testimonies heard at such events often speak of a conversion experience and of finding God but she adds,” I would very much like to hear the testimony of gratitude of a young person who, in simplicity and joy, were to give testimony of the faith received and lived within the Christian family; thanking God and his parents for the gift of life, thanking his parents for the example of love and self-denial of everyday family life, the example of spousal love, the example and self-denial of fatherhood and motherhood.
The NGO Sonke Gender Justice Network addresses gender this also has a particular interest in men, as fathers too. The MenCare campaign is one initiative to encourage fathers to be present to their children. www.men-care.org/node/20
FINALLY ON A LIGHTER “proudly South African” NOTE:
YOU ARE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN WHEN:
The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are
You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you’ve never had any.
You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them.
You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela
You produce a R100 note instead of your driver’s licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election.
People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty,
Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Precious, Innocence and Given.
A bullet train is being introduced, but we can’t fix potholes.
The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday.
You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government
You have to prove that you don’t need a loan to get one.
Prisoners go on strike.
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MARFAM’s vision since its start in 1995 has been the renewal of family life in the Church through education and enrichment. Publications are a resource for families, educators, parishes and for the work of the Family Life Desk of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Your advertisements and financial support matters a great deal. Visit www.marfam.org.za/blog to read all about MARFAM. Contact us for details.