Families of every shape and size are making their way in life, travelling the road together with great tenacity and joy, holding on to their hopes in the midst of their problems. In Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) Pope Francis reminds us that there is no stereotype of the ideal family, but rather a ‘challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems…..the Church is conscious of the need to offer a word of truth and hope.’ (Amoris Laetitia #57)
The Church’s approach to loving and serving families recognises the mutually-enriching significance of walking together with them in a Christ-like way. This ‘accompaniment’ is rooted in the earliest traditions of the Church, affirming the responsibility of every person in the Christian community to ‘embody’ the loving presence of Jesus and his love for all. As companions, seeking God together, we come to know and experience the presence of Christ alive and active in the love of the Christian community, its outreach and service, its proclamation of Scripture and Teaching, and the experience of its Liturgy. We find the same presence of Christ alive and active in the love and service of daily family life, as a place of inclusion, acceptance, nurture and healing.
Both parish and family are called to embody love as a ‘communion of life and love,’ and both exist to establish God’s kingdom on earth, a kingdom of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, healing, justice and peace. Both parish and family receive the gift of love poured out by God, and both are called to inhabit their response and grow in authentic mutual love and concern, bringing together the human and the divine.
Celebrating Family comprises of three initiatives; Everybody’s Welcome, Home is a Holy Place and Passing on the Faith to supply the foundation for the bishops' advocacy and support for the pastoral care of marriage & family life
Inspired by Amoris Laetitia, we have gathered together the key elements of family ministry in England and Wales, in a practical Companion to support the vocation of families.