Christian Family Life Communique #4

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Doreen Gowans, July 5, 2017

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“When one isn’t or does not feel loved as an adolescent, then violence can grow. Within many forms of social hate and hooliganism there is often a heart that is not known. There are no bad children, just as there are no evil teenagers, there are unhappy people.”  – Pope Francis

Marriage and Family 

The fifth National Week for Life and the Family was celebrated across Canada from May 14 to May 21, 2017.  It would be interesting to hear how councils across the nation celebrated. Include thoughts in communiques that can be shared with other provincial councils, opening lines of communication and providing a network of ideas, events or projects that all can utilize.

Parenting Skills

Ontario Provincial Chairperson of Christian Family Life Rosanne Sogan attended a workshop on parenting, where the leader shared the acronyms STOP and LOVE. You may want to ask your diocesan counterparts to encourage members to consider using these with children, grandchildren, and children at church or in the community:

  • S – Step back. Calm your emotions and comfort yourself.
  • T – Take a few long, deep, calming breaths.
  • – Observe your emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
  • P – Proceed with LOVE.
  • L – Listen to yourself and to your child; listen patiently, with full attention.
  • O- Observe your child and what is happening around them.
  • V – Validate your child’s feelings; show and tell them that you love and accept them no matter what they say or do.
  • E – Enjoy playing, laughing and having fun together as often as you can.

Grandparents and the audience attending mass in honour of Pope Francis’ 25th anniversary of ordination were encouraged by his words: “And for us, this ‘arise, look, hope’ is called ‘dreaming’. We are grandparents called upon to dream and to give our dream to the youth of today: they are in need of it. Because they will take from our dreams the strength to prophesy and to go ahead in their task.”

Fatherhood Matters

A married Catholic and father of four children, Ken Yasinski discusses raising a Catholic family through videos recorded on ‘New Catholic Minute for you!’ Statistics on faith sharing to families have several dynamics based on which married partner is a devout Catholic. For more information or to watch the videos go to catholicspeaker.com. Mr. Yasinski believes fathers have a great influence on their children’s lives and should be encouraged to profess their faith.

Sanctity of Life

Speaking in Abbotsford, British Columbia on March 4, 2017, Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform has seen a positive change in the number of young people involved in pro-life activities. Both vocal and visual with its pro-life presentations the center believes that viewed images of aborted babies has changed attitudes, making one feel differently to the injustice.

Seniors

At the 89th annual diocesan convention of Victoria Diocesan Council, Bishop Gary Gordon challenged members to “become shepherds” and “take God’s work outside the church” by ministering to the “frail, elderly and lonely in our parish families”. He encouraged members to enroll in pastoral care outreach training programs in their area. You may wish to ask your diocesan counterparts to investigate and promote these programs in their diocese.

Questions that a diocesan chairperson of Christian family life might pose to councils:

  • Is there a home visitation team?
  • Is there a nursing hospital palliative care team reaching out to those dying and alone?
  • Are rides offered to senior members to attend socials or parish functions?
  • Are there prayer partners so each member is remembered in prayer?

By taking the time to visit the elderly, members show care and compassion. You may want to encourage your diocesan counterparts to encourage parish councils to consider forming a committee to take action to make seniors feel loved and cared for. As God’s hands and feet on earth, ask members to examine what He wants done and to minister to His people. Show love, support and care for seniors, giving them the strength to say no to euthanasia if asked or pressured!

Your Sister in Christ,

Doreen Gowans

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life