Family Life Apostolate
The Diocesan Catholic Family life apostolate envisions contributing to the Evangelization process by making every effort towards the total development of Christian Families so the become the domestic church alive in Christ
It is our strong belief to contribute through this office to the evangelization process by way of reaching out to all the couples to see, know and acknowledge our being as Christians in the way we live and bear witness. It is our dream that we do the utmost we can to support our family unit through teaching to counter the social hills that interfere with the truth in evangelization
We commit ourselves through the promulgation of the Christian values making families aware of essential issues through the preparation of community Christian Family leaders; organization of seminars, retreats and public events; publication of teaching materials; training of people win the associate fields and networking with the secretaries of the catholic bishops conference, other churches, Government agencies and NGO’s
Families alive in Christ
We are committed to implement the PNG-SI
Episcopal Conference Pastoral Plan 2006-2010
We want all families to be truly alive in Christ. As Catholics we understand this to mean:
that couples are happily married, they have remained chaste before marriage and faithful in marriage,
they participate fully in the sacramental life of the church, beginning with the sacraments of marriage.
A happy marriage also means one without violence, open to the gift of children and where couples communicate well.
F.A.M.I.L.Y (Father and Mother I love You)
This Basic Vision and mission of the catholic family life apostolate is based on the new vision mission of our church and diocesan community based on:
Communion of communities. The family is the first of this community. Communion is two ways, first with the Father who created us, the Son who redeemed us and the Spirit who sustains us. Secondly we speak of communion based on the spirituality of our relationships with each other. We are one not simply because we like each other, but because we are called to be one in living and proclaiming His message and in this way thus to reach our personal holiness to which we are all called. (Novo Millenio Ineunte 30)
Holiness and communion bring us together in the task of integral evangelization: the gospel is for all and for all areas of each person’s personality: Physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual. (Rom 8).
We are called to an efforts towards integral evangelization through witness and proclamation, word and sacrament, interior change and social transformation, (Evangelii Nuntiandi 28, 22, 47, 18)
Based on this Vision of the family life within the church we want to build in our diocese, I am happy to share with you some important reflections as we are preparing a final plan for the Diocesan Renewal.
An integral Evangelization must be concerned with the family because it is the cradle of life and love and where one first learns how to become Human and develops one’s faith. The first call to be a member of the church comes normally in the family. In this light we need to underline in our catholic families the centrality of the Marriage, family prayer as well as the importance of parents teaching our faith to their children by word and example.
The church and society depends heavily on the quality of family life (Ecclesia in Oceania 45). The family as a social unit is a sacred and important treasure. Indeed “good catholic family life is the foundation, the life blood and bone of a healthy, loving and just society. It is the key to proper loving relationship between men and women, and the status and dignity of women. It is the key to self-esteem of our youth and the place of first evangelization and catechesis of our children.
We therefore need to give importance to a serious preparation of couple for marriage if we expect them to be responsible Christian parents who are able to nurture and educate their children in the faith. We also need to reach out to families in order to foster Christian family life. Opportunity for adult catechesis of parents needs to be explored. Indeed a good catholic family life is truly a seed-bed for good Christian and religious vocations.
To be more practical:
No renewal in the church is possible if it does not touch and affect deeply the ordinary life of our individual families. Each Family is the first cell of the church, a domestic church where Christ’ real presence is felt and relationships are based on ‘loving relationships of kindness and compassion and solidarity’ which is the center and focus of the message of Christianity.
It would be wrong too to believe that evangelization has nothing to do with everyday life: The message of Christ was preached to liberate people from whatever hurts their dignity.
Salvation embraces all the dimensions of the human person: his body and physical basic needs (food shelter) needs, his mind and intellectual needs for education, his hearts with his emotional needs for love and acceptance, his social relationships, his spirit with his needs of inner peace and contentment ad a child of God.
The family is where life is defended from its first moment of conception up to the last breath from all that manipulates it, from genetic engineering where scientists play the part of God, to euthanasia or mercy killing of a person in serious and extreme pain, and all the rest…
The Family is the place where we first experience a healthy environment, were our basic needs are met, in all levels or the place where these values and basic needs are frustrated and make us feel miserable, unwanted, unloved, useless. Each one of us, all members of the family: children mammy, daddy, grand parents, grandchildren… all together
When the family is not aware of its dignity, of its’ identity, of its call, of its mission, then it can become a place where basic needs are frustrated, a hell on earth.
Lets us ask ourselves then an important question? What can frustrate a person’s basic needs as a child of God in a Family?
The Children: Lack of proper food, housing, clothes, medicines, education, love and attention, care and understanding relationships, fighting parents, drunkards in the house…. All of these can frustrate, discourage and traumatize a child all his life. A child who does not receive proper attention in his childhood will find it very hard to develop self esteem and confidence needed to succeed in life. He will always feel a failure.
The Mother: Lack of economic financial security can discourage a mother and make her feel hopless to attend to the many needs of the children. She can loose confidence, feel inadequate, feel alone and insecure resulting in her incapacity to provide love and care for the children individually in their specific needs. Lack of personal care and support from her husband, domestic violence against her or the children…This can make her feel at a loss with her dignity as well and feel simply “used”
The Father: Lack of affection and understanding from his wife, constant nagging and negative remarks from wife and children, lack of encouragement and support in his role of providing economic and social security, can make him feel unloved, unwanted at home and might look for acceptance in the arms of someone else, or in escaping from the painful reality by drinking habits.
Poor communications can bring to poor relationships. Good communications in the family help mutual understanding of each other needs for love and support.
When issues like security, basic needs, money, authority, sexual intimacy, relationships become problematic, the worst think that can happen is to allow the problem to come in between the various members of the family, to start quarreling about it and to fight over it.
I know of two parents who were blaming each other for their child born with a physical disability. Each partner was blaming the other, one for excessive smoking, the other for excessive drinking. This continued very painfully until they understood that this attitude was not helping at all their disabled child, it was actually complicating matters.
They stopped quarreling, they started speaking about the needs of the child, and they set up an organization to help disabled children and parents with the same problem…
A problem in the family can become an opportunity for growth if the communication and the relationships are seen and understood as the most important Christian value.
“Love one another” not as you like or as your accustom says but “as I have loved you”. With a special “divine quality of love”
This brings us to an interesting topic of Custom marriage and Church marriage?
Are they the same? Is there any difference? What is the difference?
One of the chiefs was lamenting the fact that the youth of today simply do not care about marriage, they just stay together, because they like it, as long as they like it… What is the problem of these young couples? Others feel free to leave their partner for another one, without making this a problem… “Mi lez lo hem nao…” As a young parish priest I met an elderly fellow who smilingly told me: “I have a big heart, one woman alone cannot fill it all… I need more women…” Is that love or selfishness?
Marriage is a response to a call, it is part of that call to holiness and wholeness and fulfillment which we all received.
God called two people to complement each other and to cooperate with him in his plan of creation. To do this he gives his Spirit and various gifts with which they can complement and build each other and together build a family. The gift of the Spirit in the grace of the Sacraments challenges Husband and wife to life their relationship based on a higher quality of love not simply human love but divine love. The challenge of marriage is therefore to accept God’s Plan in once life and to welcome Christ into the relationship as the third party, the head of the family, the local domestic church, and to commit to love the way he loves: to make the first step, to love without asking a return, to love without counting the cost, to love also when the other fails to respond… to love for good or for worse, to love forever… not as custom says or custom likes…
If one loves this way, as Christ loves, in a Christian sacramental manner, by giving his whole heart to a person and a family. His/her heart if full… There is no need of “0 2” Then the union of family becomes a preaching, a witnessing of the values of the kingdom… and the family becomes, a missionary family, a domestic church
Father and mother are called by God to Holiness of life by sharing each others giftedness and complementing each other. The fruit of their love is the formation of a new family, domestic church where God thanks tio the evangelizing parents takes care of his children.
Things can go wrong if the family forgets it’s true identity and mission and it simply becomes a hotel or a boarding house where each one tries to take advantage of the others.
If the identity and mission of the family are understood by all and lived in communion, then the family becomes a place of communion with people who love each other with the same quality of Divine love.
This is what the family life apostolate will try to do: Family, bre who you are supposed to be!!! Become what you are supposed to become… a sign and sacrament of the way god loves his people. Let all see how your catholic family accepts, lives and proclaims the gospel of communion with God and with each other
We remember the model family of Nazareth: A just and hard working loving father, a holy mother and a good child…
God Bless you and your family and keep you in his love
Bishop Luciano Capelli, sdb
June 6th 2008