Life and Family

Life and Family

Summary

The family is the first and fundamental school of social living, as a community of love, it finds in self giving the law that guides it and makes it grow.  The self giving that inspires the love of a husband and a wife for each other is the model and the norm for the self giving that must be practiced in the relationships between brothers and sisters and the different generations living together.

Issues

Australian families are under pressure. Many families in our Diocese find themselves at the margins .

Increasing financial pres-sure, including the spiralling cost of basic services and housing, threaten the role and stability of families in our society.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2012–13 celebrates the role of families in our society and urges all Australians to consider the pressures and challenges that families face today.

The Statement’s title is The Gift of Family in Difficult Times: The social and economic challenges facing families today. In it, the Bishops remind us that families, the basis of our com-munity of faith and the very foundation of society, can be beacons for a more com-passionate and just society.

The Bishops express particular concern for vulnerable Indigenous families, refugees, those on welfare support or struggling on minimum wages, the homeless, and those with special needs. As Christians we are called to be supportive of families, especially those who are most vulnerable. Our society cannot ignore the fundamental needs of families or fail to respond adequately to those families in crisis.

Australia’s Bishops urge us to take the Holy Family as our inspiration.

·         Rediscover the importance of the Sabbath – the time of rest, peace and prayer.

·         Show a special concern for the poor, attending to the needs of families in crisis.

·         Share the love of God, participating in and sharing the gift of Eucharist.

Remembering that ‘the love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Co 5:14), we are inspired to respond to the needs of all families.*

Some specific problems that affect Family and Life are:

·         Extended family links are not always there

·         Broken homes and single parent families struggling to make ends meet

·         Where the father is not present and children are deprived of a father in the parental role

·         Children growing up with lack of money take that fear into their lives later on

·         Lack of Family counsellors to assist

 

Actions

Here are ten practical steps suggested to strengthen families:

1.            Take time to strengthen family relationships

2.            Family prayer time

3.            Balancing work/life demands

4.            Shared family time/family meals

…. Fill in remaining from 10-point brochure

These issues could be addressed individually on a monthly basis by way of:

·         Parish forums

·         Homilies at Mass

·         School social justice discussions

Other general ways to promote Life and Family in an ongoing way include:

·         Brochures highlighting possible action items or description of positive examples of desired behaviours/outcomes and positive role models

·         Publish on the social justice and Parish websites

·         Letters to editors on the topic such as

·         Need to focus on positive models for family values. 

·         Need for government policy to protect and support families. 

·         The development of resolution conflict skills.   

·         Peer support groups for families, bible studies, mothers groups, dad’s groups, family motto or missions statement

 

Prayer Suggestions

·         Use the social justice statement prayer card for the family

·         Focus on the example of the Holy Family

 

Links and Resources

·         The social justice statement for 2012-13 focused on “The Gift of Family in Difficult Times: The social and economic challenges facing families today” www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au *Extracts from the Social Justice Sunday Statement Summary

Reflection Questions

·         What do we do about strengthening families?

·         How do we help a family that is not coping?

·         How do we manifest the love of Christ in our families?

 
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