2017-calendar-large2017 FAMILY PROGRAMME.  Theme: FAMILIES WALK THE TALK, Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.  This will continue the focus on mercy and is useful for family catechesis, education and enrichment.


  • 2017 FAMILY YEAR PLANNER Monthly themes on different aspects and topics around family life.   The overview document can be downloaded from marfam.org.za    Bulk costs from R350 per 100.  Singles R5 plus postage.    Parishes are encouraged to order and resell or give out to ALL parish families.
  • FAMILY-FAITH-FOCUS  daily scripture reflection booklets with quotations from Pope Francis produced quarterly Cost R10.  Also posted daily on web and facebook
  • FAMILY MATTERS magazine 3 x per year Cost R20
  • Booklets on current relevant topics, marriage, parenting, widowhood, family prayer and more for families, youth and children.
  • Free weekly e-newsletter to subscribers.
  • Web updates articles or events.
  • ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION to print publications. Local  R160.
  • NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   FAMILIES WALK THE TALK photoframe  and POPE FRANCIS fridge magnet.  Cost R20.


2017-calendar-overview    download overview as pdf.

OVERVIEW and INTRODUCTION to the Year Planner with monthly focus themes. The prophet Micah around 700 BC at a time of social upheaval and moral breakdown in the kingdom of Judah was sent to bring God’s word to the people: “This is what I require, only this: Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah6:8) That message used in the 2017 family theme is as inspiring to us now as it was then. The theme is scriptural and also incorporates Pope Francis’ writings in recent documents particularly AMORIS LAETITIA /THE JOY OF LOVE. The Family Year planner seeks to focus on justice, love, mercy and walking with God in the variety of family situations in our society. There are many different cultures but it is universally recognised that families are the basic cells of society, and marriage its ideal foundation. Members are born into families where they grow and absorb values and standards whatever they are. It is where faith formation should happen too. Pope Francis expresses the ideals for well-functioning joyful families while recognising the many challenges of modern day society. In AL3 he notes that local issues can or should be addressed locally and that couples and families through prayer and consultation should make responsible life decisions in conscience. AL37 Month by month in MARFAM publications issues will be unpacked with the aid of Micah’s Big Three: Act with justice, love with mercy and tenderness and walk humbly with God. Supporting families in doing this is a way to build a family-centred Church. Love can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes and behaviour that are shown in daily living. THE FACE OF MERCY 9.
FORMAT. The overall and monthly calendar themes allow for reflection, sharing and discussion. The 3 step SEE-JUDGE-ACT format is promoted and used for daily reflections. 1. A short anecdote outlines a situation. 2. Passages from scripture, church teaching are read. 3. Sharing of thoughts and feelings, discussion of issues, action proposals and concluding prayer. The process can be applied to any life situation when seeking God’s plan and is a way of promoting family spirituality and family catechesis recommended by the Church. Themes are supported by various MARFAM resources including daily reflections, magazine articles and digital postings. All the material, with its family focus, can be used by anyone but the ideal is for families as units at home. Governments too see family communication as essential for building social cohesion.

JANUARY. WALKING THE TALK. This statement goes with “Practise what you Preach.” All families, whatever their shape or size, live out of the experience of their own relationships, whether these are good, happy, dysfunctional or abusive. Maybe their manner of walking the talk is dancing, running away, crawling along or limping. St Francis once said, “preach constantly, and if necessary use words.” This first month of the year can be a chance to look into how we walk our talk with justice, love and mercy and find new ways to communicate well by talking and listening with love and care. “We are constantly reminded that each of those who live with us merits complete attention since her or she possesses infinite dignity as an object of the Father’s love.” AL 323

FEBRUARY. LOVE IS MERCIFUL AND TENDER. Tenderness is a unique quality of the true and committed love shown by God and expressed in different ways especially within marriage and in families. Passionate sexual love includes tenderness. After many years of togetherness tenderness remains. Childbirth and parent-child relationships are powerful human expressions of God-love. Having experienced tenderness we are called to share with others. Tenderness is also an aspect of mercy, “opening our eyes to the pain and wounds of others“ as Pope Francis writes. This month issues around love and marriage are unpacked as he does in AMORIS LAETITIA using the wellknown passage on love from 1 Cor 13. (Love is patient and kind..) His focus is on marriage but it can also be applied to all family relationships. “Jesus was moved in every situation by mercy, with which he read the hearts of those he encountered and responded to their deepest need.” Giving and forgiving are responses to mercy. FM14.

MARCH. ACT JUSTLY TO AND IN FAMILIES. It is often said, there is no peace without justice. It is also true as Pope Francis says that there can be no justice without love and mercy. Every legal system agrees on the importance of justice and rights, often speaking of the right of the individual. But families as units have rights that need to be recognised; the right to life, security, housing, the right to marry, to have a family. The Catholic Church’s Charter of Rights of the Family outlines these in detail. Within families rights of each member should be recognised but also in the context of the common good and the relationships to one another. Abuse is a violation of rights. These aspects are developed for this month which includes Lent. “Justice and mercy are two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love.” F M20

APRIL. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD. Lent and especially Holy Week are times to look into the quality of a right relationship with God, i.e. walking humbly with God. The main focus is on Jesus, his passion, death and resurrection, but the Trinity is present throughout this crucial time. Parishes have extra services and encourage greater devotions. However it is an important and precious time for families and their own spirituality. Many Lenten sacrifices can be made and offered to the Father. Holy Week can be an accompaniment of Jesus from Palm Sunday right through to Easter Sunday and resurrection joy. Let walking with God, and together with God be the focus of family catechesis and faith sharing during this time. “The spirituality of family love is made up of 1000s of small but real gestures. In that variety of gifts and encounters God has his dwelling place. AL 315. “If a family is centred on Christ he will unify and illumine its entire life. AL 317

MAY. PARENTS WALK THE TALK. From conception until death of parent or child our children will always be our children, but they are ours and God’s as parents are co-creators with God. Ideally mother and father should be present at the different phases of a child’s life but that is not our most common reality in SA where 40% of families consist of mothers and children. For children and fathers it is valuable, where possible, to build a relationship too. Grandparents, other relatives and carers also play a parenting role. That we walk the talk and how we walk the talk are what matters. Honestly and with commitment doing the best we can about the many decisions involved in parent-child interaction is what matters in God’s eyes. Openness and dialogue between generations on all issues, sexuality education and faith formation should be developed with sensitivity. This can be more difficult in blended families. and skills for effective parenting can be acquired. “Parents always influence the moral development of their children, for better or for worse. AL 259 “Families cannot help but be places of support, guidance and direction. AL 260.

JUNE. YOUTH NEED LOVE AND JUSTICE. Youth must grow up experiencing love and justice from the most important people in their lives, families, peers, teachers. In that way dependence becomes interdependence and their own strong sense of justice is tempered with mercy. “Education is forming persons who understand that their own lives and the life of the community are in their hands and freedom is itself a great gift. Sex education includes an appreciation of our body as male or female as well as respect and appreciation of differences to help the young to overcome their self-absorption.” From AL Ch 7.

JULY. GRANDPARENTS SHOW LOVE. Grandparents, as they grow older, may have difficulty with the walking, but probably not with the talking. Their wisdom and maturity should earn them respect. Many play an important role in families, assisting with passing on the faith which is rightly a parent’s responsibility, or caring for grandchildren and continuing to support their adult children in their tasks. Care for the elderly themselves is a family’s responsibility returning the love they have and continue to receive. “A family that fails to respect and cherish its grandparents who are its living memory is already in decline, whereas a family that remembers has a future.“ AL 192

AUGUST. GENDER JUSTICE. Terms like gender violence and gender justice are heard too commonly. Everyone is a sexual being from birth to death and their sexuality must be lived out in appropriate ways in family relationships and beyond at any age. Understanding of sexual orientation is growing and finding God’s plan for each of us in this domain requires prayer and discernment individually and with relevant others. Sexuality education explores different aspects and behaviour and is firstly a family right and responsibility. Sexual abuse of any kind robs a person of their freedom. It can happen within families and help should be available. “Sexuality can only be seen within the broader framework of an education for love and for mutual self-giving.” AL 280.

SEPTEMBER. THE WORLD OUR HOME. HERITAGE MONTH IN SOUTH AFRICA. A home needs to be valued and protected for those who live there, the wider society and the common good. The same applies to the world, our common home. No one has the right to degrade, abuse, steal from or destroy what belongs to the common human family. We are stewards and guardians of the environment, of plants and of animals, of the soil the air and water. Pope Francis stresses the need for Ecological Education in Laudato Si. It is said, “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors but borrow it from our children.” Justice demands that we preserve it for them and other future generations.

OCTOBER. OUR MISSION. Married couples and families of many kinds have a unique mission to make God present in the world through their witness of loving relationships. The secular world recognises this mission but without the important component of God as the provider and sustainer. The mission in society of the family is to go beyond just doing good for others but ideally to be brothers and sisters to them, to care for and “bind one another’s wounds.” That personal humanising touch is necessary for our mutual benefit. From Pope Francis in THE FACE OF MERCY.

NOVEMBER. LOSS. Loss is inevitable in the human condition. It is experienced in many ways, from simply losing one’s keys to losing a spouse through death. That is judged to be the most traumatic experience, but losing a child or other family member through illness, accidents or suicide are very traumatic too. A marriage breakdown or of any committed or family relationship affects every member, spouses, children and parents too. Remarriage includes losses as well as new gains. Learning to cope with loss is a psychological and a spiritual journey for which resources need to be offered. “The grieving process takes a fair amount of time. It is filled with questions about reasons why the loved one had to die and what is left undone. With prayer and interior liberation peace can return.” From AL255.

DECEMBER. Build Families to Walk the Talk. Families don’t just grow. They have to be built, brick by brick with tender loving care and mercy on a daily basis. December is Advent, Christmas and holiday time. It is a chance to get away and hopefully spend more quality time together rather than shop till we drop. What are the greatest gifts we can give one another, gifts that come from God, through us to each other? It may be dialogue, time to play and pray as we prepare for and welcome the Christ-child once again into our families and homes. “All of us are called to strive for something greater than ourselves and our families.” AL 325 May the building, walking and talking lead to a joy-filled Christmas and year ahead. TR

Pope Francis’ writing used in overview and reflections: Amoris Laetitia, The Face of Mercy, Laudato Si.