Communique #2 – Christian Family Life

National Chairperson of Christian Family Life Doreen Gowans

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December 14, 2016

May God provide members with the courage to greet people by saying, “Have a Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas”! May the Holy Spirit give them the wisdom to share Catholic views and speak out against euthanasia and medically assisted dying as they meet many friends, family and associates over the holidays!

Marriage and Family
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has family prayers for December and following months which can be found at cccb.ca on the special life and family webpage under the section documents and activities proposed by the CCCB.

Ministry to Separated and Divorced
Many single and divorced people face the responsibility of raising children alone. The need to express the message of hope by offering assistance can be very beneficial. Members need to show compassion by reaching out and offering assistance in many ways. Babysitting to free up the single parent so she/he can do some Christmas or grocery shopping or perhaps attend a class or school meeting is always appreciated. Another way to help single parents is offering a meal to enable the single parent to sit with his/her children as he/she helps them with homework or a special project. One parish community has a co-parenting course for separated/divorced parents that teach helpful communication skills to enable the parents to raise their children.

New Family Life Website
The website of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life is born (laityfamilylife.va) where members will find updates on social happenings and videos. This website is very new and will be evolving and growing with information as the Dicastery moves forward. It will become a place of listening and dialogue with the Christian laity and families around the world. On the website under “Statutes”, Article 8 on the family states that “the papal magisterium promotes the pastoral care of the family; it oversees its dignity and good rooted in the sacrament of marriage; it supports the rights and responsibilities of the family in the church and in civil society, so that the institution of the family can better carry out its proper function in both the ecclesial and social setting. Links to the projects of the Pontifical Council for the Family:
Kids, http://www.familiam.org/pcpf/s2magazine/index1.jsp?idPagina=11142 and The Meeting Point http://www.educazioneaffettiva.org/?lang=en can also be found on the website. Take a look!

Ministry to Youth
Pope Francis has announced the next World Youth Day will take place in Panama City in 2019. Parish councils can support youth by encouraging them to make plans to attend. Perhaps parish councils would consider sponsoring one or two students to attend or become involved in the youth movement.

Vatican Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square
The tree (pictured on the home page) is an 82 foot tall red spruce and is from Trento, in the north of Italy. All the ornaments for the tree are made of ceramic and have been made by children who are hospitalized and receiving treatment in pediatric oncology. Both the nativity scene and the Christmas tree were lit on December 9th and will remain lit until January 8th.

Prayer Books
The following prayer books for families may be ordered online at novalis.ca.
• Pocket Prayers: For Parents by Kathy Hendricks has prayers for every situation, from the routine to joyous and tragic designed to help feel God’s presence.
• Prayers & Rituals for the Home: Celebrating the life and times of your family also by Kathy Hendricks is a guide to praying in everyday life together with family through song, bible study and group activities.

Ministry to Seniors
Guide Them Safely Home, Lord: A Caregiver’s Companion by Michael Mercer contains short daily readings for those caring for seniors, perhaps parents or others who are in need of loving care. It is designed to help keep a positive light on the wonderful work members are called to do.

Ministry to the Widowed
Encourage members to invite the widowed to attend council and parish functions and offer to pick them up for mass. At this time of year encourage members to lend a friendly ear to help the widowed through their loneliness.

Vocations
Vocations begin in the home starting at a very young age. During family prayer have members invite the Holy Spirit to guide their children/grandchildren to be open to following God’s plan for them in their life time. Members need to pray openly for their children/grandchildren to accept God’s call. Without promoting vocations openly in the home, children will not consider pursuing the call to the priesthood or religious life.
As we prepare to receive the mystery that is God, may this Advent be a time for you to wait in expectation of the unexpected as you open your heart to the promise and presence of the God of surprises. With the coming of Jesus our Saviour my wish for you and your family is Jesus will provide a spirit filled Christmas season. and a deeper faith in 2017!