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FAMILY

57. Our Christian family, as a “domestic Church” (LG 11; AA 11) and “a school of deeper humanity” (cf. FC 21) and “one of the Church’s most effective agents of evangelisation” (EA 46), occupies the most privileged place in the entire process of the renewal of our Christian life and in the apostolate of the Church. “No plan for organised pastoral work, at any level,” says Pope John Paul II, “must ever fail to take into consideration the pastoral care of the family” (FC 70), and “the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency” (FC 65).

58. As the basic unit of society, the family should foster values of filial respect and respect for others, mutual trust and self-sacrifice, love and care of the aged and the sick, love of children and harmony, thus promoting family togetherness and unity. In the domestic Church, family prayer is the basis of family unity. Christian families are schools of initiation into social virtues and Christian values.

59. Lack of respect for life and lack of respect for women and elders have become major concerns within family life. Consumerism, sexual permissiveness, individualism, greed and property disputes, alcoholism, violence within the family and the generation gap are some of the major factors that have adversely affected the family. A disguised threat to family life is the excessive insistence on competitiveness that destroys the spirit of co-operation. The separation of husbands and wives over long periods of time due to economic reasons is affecting family stability.

60. Children have the right not only to be born, and to a house, but also to the presence and love of their parents, to be educated and to enjoy their childhood. Crèches are not necessarily the answer and do not substitute for the presence and love of parents. Parents need to be made aware that their presence and love is necessary for the proper development of their children. Child labour, which is seen even in our institutions and families, needs to be eradicated. Other abuses like paedophilia, pre-natal sex-determination and elimination of female foetus are intolerable. The positive “role of children in evangelisation both within their family and in the wider community has to be recognized” (EA 46).

61. The threats to the Christian family, which are largely disseminated through the media, should be first and foremost challenged and counteracted within the family itself by promoting the Gospel values.

62. Recommendations

 

  • 62.1 Every Christian family must seriously foster its communion through coming together for daily prayer, especially for the reading of the Bible, partaking of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and praying of the Rosary. Christian families should also promote a life of communion and togetherness by common sharing in the daily meals. A sense of discipline and time management would contribute greatly to the well being of the family.
  • 62.2 The existing services rendered by the Diocesan Family Service Centre (DFSC) should be upgraded and extended so as to make them available everywhere in the Diocese. They have also to be community based, i.e. available in the Parishes. Pastors in the Parishes have to play an important role in the family apostolate.
  • 62.3 Catechesis before Marriage should be conducted in two stages: remote and proximate. The latter should be conducted over a period of at least three months. Marriage preparation kits should be made available by the DFSC for use by pastors in their Parishes.
  • 62.4 The DFSC should also provide support programmes for married couples at the parish level. In particular, special guidance and ongoing counseling should be provided in cases of mixed marriages and marriages with disparity of cult.
  • 62.5 We need to have FAMILY SERVICE CELLS in every Parish in order to promote the overall family apostolate, particularly to tackle family social issues and other crisis situations. To realise this objective, Family Service Animators ought to be formed in sufficient numbers under the guidance of the DFSC.
  • 62.6 Given the high incidence of broken homes and applications for annulment of marriages, the DFSC should create Helplines for Family Counseling to cater to families in distress. The DFSC should work in coordination with NGOs, Family Movements or other related groups having similar objectives.
  • 62.7 The compassionate love of the Father revealed by Jesus towards each and every person should urge the Church in Goa to promote intensely the pastoral care of the divorced and remarried Catholics as well as of all those couples who have problems of conscience regarding responsible parenthood.
  • 62.8 The DFSC needs to make concrete proposals aimed at the well being of widows, battered wives, singles, single parent families, unwed mothers-to-be, girls who have been molested in or outside the home.
  • 62.9 It is a felt need that families in a Parish should be encouraged to spend time together. It is recommended that the Parish Planner takes into consideration this particular need.

Golden Verse

1Korintkarank 7:38

Mhonnttôch aplê ankvar hoklê lagim logn zata to borem korta; ani logn zaina to odik borem korta.
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