Report: 7th World meeting of families, Milan, 30 MAY – 3 June 2012

THEME: FAMILY, WORK AND CELEBRATION

Five official delegates from South Africa, Bishop Mpako of Queenstown, Fr Chris Slater of SACOP, Jonathan and Joyce Meth a couple from Kokstad diocese, with Toni Rowland of the SACBC Family Life Desk and Archbishop William Slattery in his private capacity participated in the 7th World Meeting of Families. A three day Theological Congress was part of the event and a variety of speakers addressed the themes with in-depth plenary presentations and in breakaway groups.

Sociological research that was presented clearly indicated the importance of the family as a resource for society and also concluded that ideally a family of married husband and wife and a minimum of two children presented the optimum model forĀ  socialisation. Family support to address their work needs, women working outside the home, youth and work as well as the importance of work-family balance were stressed.

A spirituality of marriage and of family life and family prayer in the home should be promoted. The celebration aspect of the theme focused strongly on the value of Sunday Eucharist recognising that attendance has dropped significantly in many countries.

The two meetings with the Holy Father on Saturday evening and Sunday Mass in which an estimated million people participated were true experiences of solidarity as church. We hope that the experience of this gathering will bear fruit in our regions too.

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