Celebrating Family: Blessed, Broken, Living Love

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

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In 2004 the Bishops of England and Wales published a teaching document entitled: Cherishing Life which set out the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life. During the same year a series diocesan conversations took place between bishops and families, under the banner ‘Listening 2004’ when Catholic families were invited to share what life was really like for them: their joys and sorrows, and their hopes. Over 15,000 families responded and every diocese listened. The testimonies shared during Listening 2004 were published in Not Easy but Full of Meaning: Catholic Family Life in 2004 and the bishops endorsed the development of further collaborative marriage and family life work in the years that followed. ‘Celebrating Family’ was the overarching theme of a range of pastoral initiatives developed by the Bishops of England and Wales from 2005-2008 on three priorities which emerged from the Listening 2004 process:

  • A need for welcoming, family-sensitive, friendly parishes where Christian community thrives and sustains the lives of those both at its heart and on the margins
  • A need to deepen and share among laity and clergy alike a much wider understanding of marital and family spirituality as the heart of the domestic church
  • A need to explore and better understand what we mean by passing on faith in God, the primary role of parents, and to equip them accordingly.

Everybody’s Welcome, Home is a Holy Place and Passing on the Faith continue today to provide the foundation for the bishops’ advocacy and support for the pastoral care of marriage & family life, and the growth of a national network of diocesan marriage & family life ministry co-ordinators.


Everybody’s Welcome invites parish communities to reflect on how family-sensitive, friendly and welcoming they are and offers resources to support that reflection and its outcomes. Through Everybody’s Welcome our parish communities seek to:

  • Offer understanding, friendship and support to all
  • Be a source of help in times of need
  • Help everyone in the parish feel that they belong there
  • Encourage and celebrate all family life whether married, widowed, single, divorced, separated, with children or without.

In 2005 the Bishops produced the Everybody’s Welcome Action Plan which sought to raise awareness of family diversity over the life-cycle, the need for friendly, welcoming and family-sensitive parishes and to develop materials to support parishes explore, articulate, celebrate and accommodate this diversity more effectively.


Home is a Holy Place seeks to:

  • Raise awareness of God’s presence at home not just among families but among all those who serve them in any way within our Catholic community
  • Enable us to recognise and respond to God’s presence at home with our families, in the ordinary events of our daily lives, in the deep joys and sorrows we experience together and in our relationships with one another, whether we are children, siblings, parents, spouses, friends or neighbours.

The Home is a Holy Place Resource Pack was developed to assist parishes in raising awareness of the spirituality of the home and is a useful tool for evangelisation. The Resource Pack is no longer available in hard copy but all the main printed materials can still be downloaded:

Passing on the Faith

Passing on the Faith seeks to:

  • Resource and support parents and grandparents in their “irreplaceable and inalienable” task of passing on faith in God
  • Establish what ‘passing on the faith’ means
  • Identify the complementary roles, rights and responsibilities of home, school and parish

Partners in a Shared Task was created as an opportunity for parents, grandparents, teachers, catechists, youth workers and priests to identify common ground and increase mutual understanding of the home-school-parish partnership, and the shared task of passing on faith in God. It was piloted in three dioceses in 2010.

Background Reading

Cherishing Life

Not Easy but full of meaning

Celebrating Family

Diocesan Capacity-Building