World Meeting of Families Report

For Family Movements and Diocesan Family Coordinators

Hello all,

Jonathan and Joyce Meth from Kokstad and I, as well as Archbishop Slattery as Chairman of the Department of Evangelisation, are part of our family apostolate network, but Bishop Mpako of Queenstown and Fr Chris Slater of the SA Council of Priests said they found the experience very enriching and worthwhile too and so it is to be hoped that we have gained some converts to the cause.  Greater support from the bishops in general and especially from the priests is what we constantly clamour for.

The particular content of the World Meeting is also important and valuable for our ministry.  You can download some of the translations and for those who speak Italian there is more available from the website  as well as Zenit and other news websites.  For your benefit I am including the translation of the Pope’s homily which does build in the main topics of work and celebration which came up constantly, especially the issue of work-family balance while youth unemployment and working were issues not forgotten.

Celebration, apart from family prayer and spirituality, focused strongly on the value of Sunday as a family day and day of rest as well as Sunday Mass. Opening of the shops on Sundays is blamed in part for a drop in Mass attendance, but the culture of going to Mass as a matter of course has faded almost everywhere.

We can all pass on the messages from this World Meeting of Families in our apostolates as best we can and add them to the message of Africae Munus that we looked into at the Family Leaders conference in May.  I am also engaged with the Government’s Social Development  Department in the process of drafting a White Paper on the Family, but more contact needs to be developed with the business community, by any or all of us, on the question of work and related expectations.

As you know the Family Desk is preparing a Marriage Awareness Campaign from August to Marriage Day on 7th  October and that will certainly promote the ideal for families, which has been identified as marriage between a man and a woman with at least two children.  The resources being produced in conjunction with MARFAM are a 4th little Day by Day with God and Family booklet ‘MARRIAGE AND YOU’ which has short reflections that will address the whole community and not just couples and the next issue of MARFAM’s FAMILY MATTERS which will have more in-depth articles on marriage.  I hope that you will find these helpful and useful in your dioceses and for the movements too.   Improved networking was one of the resolutions at our conference in May and so I ask you too to share with me and with one another what your plans and materials around this campaign will be.  We have this opportunity once in 3 years to use the liturgical readings for a major campaign so I hope that together we will make the most of it for the benefit of the local Church.

I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas and plans and ask that we all offer our prayers  for the success of this campaign.  MARRIAGE MATTERS in the Church and the world and in each home!


PS  for those of you who are in or around JHB please support and promote the mini-conference on Africae Munus and Men and Youth in their Families on Saturday 23rd June.

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