MARFAM is an active participant in the work of the SACBC Family Life Desk through provision of some of the resource materials used by the Desk.

PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY

A family is defined in the Church as an “intimate community of life and love, bonded together for life by blood, marriage or adoption,” (Familiaris Consortio). It is a small faith community, a little Church of the Home, as well as a more practical, secular community.
A parish could be described as a community of communities, a collection of families of many different kinds.
Ministry is serving, providing spiritual support, care and opportunities for growth in understanding.
Parish Family Ministry then is helping families, enriching their faith life and supporting them in becoming little Churches of the Home. It also includes providing support for specific family life situations and needs, parenting, hurting marriages, divorce and bereavement.
This is a project of the SACBC Family Life Desk. Formation courses are offered to diocesan, regional or parish teams to become more aware, more knowledgeable and more skilled in this important work.
For details contact the MARFAM office 011 789 5449 or SACBC Family Life Desk at trowland@sacbc.org.za

RESOURCES.

A family liturgical calendar is produced annually as a basis for ministry, family education and enrichment through supplementary resources. The 2015 theme Marriage and Family, committed to Love and Life has taken its theme indirectly from the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family.  The Year Planner is accompanied by a series of small booklets of “thoughts for the day.”
The themes of the Family calendar are also used as a basis for ministering to families over the months.
Lists of some of the resources, publications, programmes as well as counselling resources are posted separately on this website.

A MANUAL for PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY is available and contains articles, information sheets and liturgical suggestions for use in parishes. .
Areas for family ministry include: pre-married, married in different types of situation, widowhood, divorce and separation. Parenting relationships are an important component as is sexuality. Those who are single, those in hurting families, and those experiencing loss are in families. There are specific needs which will frequently require referral to specialists.

PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY is developed according to 6 themes.
1. Developing a Family Focus
2. The Reality of the Parish Families
3. Marriage Ministry
4. Caring for Families in different situations.
5. Sexuality and HIV/AIDS
6. Planning a Parish Family Ministry programme.

The three levels of delivery are:
1. Parish level with activities and events.
2. At Home level promoting family relationship enhancement and spirituality
3. Specific needs e.g. marriage preparation, counselling, substance abuse.

MARRIAGE MINISTRY AND FAMILY MINISTRY.

Marriage ministry is one of the most important parts of family ministry but is not synonymous with it. By its nature a marriage relationship is unique, needs preparation, enrichment, support and help at times of difficulty.
Many couples are not aware that just as individuals grow through certain stages in life so does a marriage relationship. Having this knowledge that there will be times that a couple does not feel loving but is battling with the individual needs of the spouses and that this is natural and normal can help couples over rough patches. The saying LOVE IS A DECISION is a very helpful one to keep in mind. See list of resources for support and help.
Every three years during the year of Mark (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015) and especially with the liturgical readings from weeks 21 – 27 there is a special focus on Marriage. The 2015 programme will incorporated the theme for the year. Resource material will be produced that includes couple and family spirituality, catechesis, faith-sharing and liturgy. During other years Marriage Encounter’s World Marriage Day is celebrated on 2nd Sunday in February.

Useful Websites for family ministry:

There are very many excellent resources and sites on the internet dealing with different aspects of family ministry.  Some are church related others more secular.  The list below is not comprehensive but can be used as a starting point to search for other information. Some of the contacts are in South Africa. 

For contacts of local marriage and family programmes see LINKS on: www.marfam.org.za  and familydesk.sacbc.org.za

PAULINE’S Books and Media Centre has recently imported a range of books on marriage and family life from Kenya.   See www.paulinesafrica.org

Many Catholic, religious or family-focused organisations can be googled, e.g. THEOLOGY OF THE BODY.  

RIGHT TO LIFE ISSUES Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute http://www.c-fam.org/ austin.ruse@c-fam.org.

Marriage: www.foryourmarriage.org   US Catholic Bishops sponsored newsletter on marriage and family life.

www.smartmarriages.com  carries numerous articles on marriage and family life.

CERC. Catholic Education:  www.catholiceducation.org/updates/latest.htm  a very helpful and regularly updated resource for educators and any adults in improving their knowledge.

Parent-teen support:  www.tugoflife.com and LIFETALK are for parents, teens and teen educators.

CIE (Catholic Institute of Education) has many programmes dealing with school-parent-child issues.  www.cie.org.za

Heartlines films and other resources on values are very helpful for groups and workshops.   

South African Catholic Internet Resource Blog set up by Frank Nunan frank@sacatholiconline.org.

Non-religious family support resources.  Government Social Development departments, FAMSA, LifeLine, Child Welfare and many other NGO’s, social workers and psychologists offer counselling, marriage preparation, family education, divorce mediation and counselling, parenting, fatherhood  and many more.   Family Preservation is a vision and a programme developed by the SA Department for Social Development.