Category Archives: Parish Family Service Cells

The Word of God – Family Life Today – Paper by Fr. Clifford Castelino for the ALL INDIA BIBLICAL CONSULTATION CUM SEMINAR

The Word of God – Family Life Today – Paper by Fr. Clifford Castelino

presented for the ALL INDIA BIBLICAL CONSULTATION CUM SEMINAR titled ” Word of God, Source of Life in the Family” on the second day (24th Nov 2016) at St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa


Family like Mother Theresa be a channel of God’s Mercy….Fr. Kenneth Teles

Family like Mother Theresa be a channel of God’s Mercy

The Christian Family:

Sanctity is not just for monks or nuns or celibates only. Christian spouses and parents are also included in the universal call to sanctity. Marriage is a sacrament and hence family life is a vocation to holiness. It is there that one picks up the basic and essential virtues like faithfulness, truthfulness, honesty, tolerance, patience, kindness, co-operation, service, understanding etc.

Family, as a fundamental unit of society, plays a central role in the humanization of the individual and society and thus, in weaving our social fabric. The family is, by itself, the living image of the church and symbolises the community of life between God and his people. The witness of a life of faith lived in the family, is the first and the most effective evangelisation that the children and those living around that family recieve.

Family called to form a Community of Persons:

Communion of persons is established through fidelity and total giving of oneself to the other. Spousal couples should be aware of one’s own abilities and limitations, so also the abilities and limitations of the other. Spousal couples should constantly renew and relive their commitment given to God and to each other on their wedding day. As persons or human beings they are prone to commit sins or mistakes but they should acquire strength from the Lord to change, convert and to forgive one another and seek forgiveness from God. These conditions will bring about the success and durability of the family communion. If the family is the first school of socialization, it is because marriage, the conjugal union of the spouses, is “the first expression of the communion of persons.” (Gaudium et Spes, n.12).

The Most Beautiful Thing – Family:

The “Holy Family” is a model for our families today. Children will find in Jesus, a divine example of obedience. Mothers have, in Mary, their model; in keeping the love of God alive and active in their homes. Fathers will find in St. Joseph, the patient and just man. He worked all day, struggling to procure the needful for Jesus and Mary and sometimes without any earthly reward so as to fulfilthe role assigned to him.

Family Spirituality:

A man and a woman united in the sacrament of matrimony, grow together in faith, hope and charity and God wants to lead the family to sanctity. Thus they bear witness to the love of Christ in the world. This process is characteristic of marriage and family life. In the Christian living of matrimony taken globally, there are two distinct and inter related areas, one is conjugal spirituality and the other is family spirituality.

  1. a) Conjugal spirituality: It is realised in the loving relationship between the man (husband) and woman (wife) in marriage.
  2. b) Family spirituality: It extends to the relationship between parents and children.

Authentic mutual love promotes freedom and creativity to the highest degree. Persons who love in this manner help each other to bloom, to be their best and to grow in excellence. The sacrament of matrimony contains in itself a powerful dynamism of renewal and growth.

Christian Family by its very vocation is called to partake of the life of the Most Holy Trinity. The spirituality of the Trinity, that is the spirituality of love and communion, is the daily sustenance of all Christian families and every liturgical celebration.The celebration of the Holy Eucharist in communion with other families and the family prayer especially, the Rosary, along with the sharing of love and communion within the family deepens the Trinitarian spirituality of the Christian family.

Christian families need to deepen, through prayer, their relationship with the Most Holy Trinity (Ecclesia in Asia, n. 46; Familiaris Consortio, n. 59).Prayer is indeed a covenant relationship between God and the human being. Daily family prayer, therefore, establishes and strengthens an intimate and lively relationship with the Trinity and in turn, Christian living in a family is animated by prayer that is rooted in the spirituality of the Trinity (CCC, n. 2564).

The Word of God Guides the Life of Families:

God speaks to us not through words that convey death, but through communication that imparts           His divine life to us. This Word of God is Jesus himself: “The Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jn.1: 1, 14). God’s Word in the family is the presence of His only son “If you continue in my Word, you are truly my disciples” (Jn.8:31).

Husband and wife should build their family on God’s Word (Cf. Mt. 7: 24-26) and the Scripture reminds us that they should adorn their married life with virtuous love (Cf. Ef.5:25-33). For this reason, the Church forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful to learn about the surpassing love of Jesus Christ by frequently reading the Sacred Scriptures (Dei Verbum, n. 25).

Family offers their sacrifices through the Sacrifice of Christ:

The summit of life of Christ is his Paschal Mystery and the heart of the Paschal Mystery is his suffering and death: He gave himself up on the cross. In the eyes of faith, suffering in life is not a burden, but a great opportunity to fulfil God’s will. The sufferings of Jesus are an inspiration to us, because they are valued as his self sacrifice made in surrender to the Father’s Will (cf. Mt.26:36-46). God will therefore, be pleased with any sacrifice we make with the intention of offering ourselves up to Him in surrender (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.13)

The core of the celebration of the Eucharist is the same self-offering that Jesus made on the cross and whose memorial He established at the Last Supper. He chose two signs: bread and wine, because these two items were essential to the Jewish meal. Bread and wine symbolize human weakness, human toil or sacrifice. In one word, they symbolize human life, more specifically, family life. By the sweat of their brow, the husband and wife lovingly place ‘bread and wine’ meaning food and drink on the family table. Bread and wine also signify the happy and also sad events, day to day painful or sorrowful experiences of life, the doubts and the hopes, the sufferings, pains and afflictions accepted by the family in a spirit of faith. That is why in every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the husband and the wife can, through the symbolism of bread and wine, offer their whole family life, indeed the entire world to God. (Christifideles Laici, n.14).

Bear One Another’s Burdens:

Being more intelligent, humans are also more selfish. It would be a great shame if our families become a mere collection of individuals who seek their own pleasure, comfort and identity, with no concern for anyone else. Homes are certainly not meant to be filling stations or shopping places where individuals come to eat, sleep, dress, watch T.V. etc. Wherever two or more persons live together, differences and frictions are bound to occur. The family is no exception to this. If the family has to go forward in peace, love, joy and unity, members must be willing to forgive others and to seek forgiveness for themselves.

As St. Paul advises us, “Be always humble, gentle and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another”. The pooling together of interests, energies, efforts and resources is necessary for a good family. If the spouses do not offer support to each other, it is really difficult to go forward in family life. Similarly, parents should support their children and vice-versa.

Joys and Demands of Love:

Love is a relationship. There can be no neutrality and no indifference. In a loving relationship freedom of the other is respected and the other is valued as a person. Family cannot live without love for love is the foundation of married life. Love helps to reconcile with God which in turn helps to reconcile with one another. Genuine love is both sustaining and healing. Another quality of love is that love is caring and serving. Love needs to be a gift, meaning self-donation or offering oneself to the other and needs a sacrifice. Hence, love is both, a “gift and sacrifice”. Another important quality we see in a family is to be one in spirit, which means there is no such thing as “my decision” and “your decision” but always should be “our decision, i.e,  one common decision of the family.



Family Today:

A family in the modern world wants all the comforts of life. This is the case with almost all families irrespective of religion, region or colour. Poor families struggle to make ends meet and wish they had more wealth which would give them some more comfort. Rich families want more wealth since they are not sure of the future and somehow wealth gives the best of everything including luxury, comfort, power and better treatment from people. The rich want peace, the poor want some respite in their lives and everybody wants a better life. Most choose to get involved and immersed in a world that has everything to offer: power, success, pleasure, fame, popularity and the satisfaction of all the senses. In this rush to obtain everything, a lot of times, the commandment of love cannot be followed and families become transgressors of God’s most important commandments: LOVE GOD with all your heart, mind, strength and soul and LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

God’s Mercy:

In times of such deceit and wickedness, it is difficult to follow the commandment of love and we often fall, therefore begging God to have Mercy on us.  Jesus says that blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy. Those who give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless and do other merciful deeds, are indeed blessed by God.

Mother Theresa and her Mission:

Who can be the best example of God’s mercy to the modern man other than Mother Theresa herself? All her deeds of mercy were done with great love and patience. Mother Theresa once said, “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service and the fruit of service is peace.” Mother Theresa spent three hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament everyday and when questioned about it, she said that her entire life of service was due to these three hours spent by her in the presence of the Lord.

Dear Families, life is very tough in these times, especially for faithful families. You may face it bravely but you will not be able to make it to Heaven without God’s Mercy. Divine Mercy is your only hope of salvation and heaven and God’s providence on earth. Without Divine Mercy, you may get everything on earth but you will not be able to stay faithful to God and you will thus, lose your inheritance in heaven. We have to continue to do good deeds, even if the world has become more evil. The Rosary makes good works flourish. It is Mother Mary who obtains Mercy for all of us including the worst sinner if he sincerely repents.

Most of us cannot live like Mother Theresa. To be another Mother Theresa, you have to renounce the world and what it offers and perform the works of Mercy as told by Our Lord Jesus Christ. To do that, you have to first give your heart to the Lord. Let her exemplary life teach us to be more merciful to those in need and to do works of mercy. We thank the Lord for what he has done through Mother Theresa to make the world a better place. Mother Theresa is a perfect example of Divine Mercy in action. Mother Theresa is God’s expression of love in recent times to a world which is sorely in need of love and Mercy!


Programme for the Year of the Family by PFSC Old Goa

-Mrs. Lorraine Fernandes

The special Sub-Committee of the PPC of the Se Cathedral Parish formed to draw up a plan to make this Pastoral Year dedicated to the family a meaningful one, has drawn up a programme to celebrate the Pastoral Year (2015-2016). The aim of this programme is to implement in the right spirit, the theme, ‘Family Become What You Are’ and to help our families to become vibrant Christian families like the Family of Nazareth. If the suggestions are lived well, it will help our families to grow in faith and holiness, in love and respect for each member of the family.

The programme is to executed at 2 levels:

  • Family Activities at the Parish Level
  • Family Activities at the family Level

Parish Level Programmes

  • Prayer for Families:

Every month, starting from October 2015, the Parish Bulletin “KATEDRALACHO ULO” will carry the names of families ward wise. All parish members will pray for a week for these families during the family Rosary or at any other family prayer at home. Each week 10 families will be proposed to be prayed for. Their names will appear in the “KATEDRALACHO ULO”. On the Sundays that follow animators must remind these families to be present for the 7.30 am Sunday Eucharistic celebration in the church to thank God. This shall continue for the whole year, till 280 families of the Parish have been offered in prayer to the Lord.

Aim:  To remind us that we are one Parish family and are concerned of the other even though we belong to different wards. The families must experience a sense of inclusiveness and belongingness to their parish Community as children of God. Devotion to the Holy Rosary helps families to endure and overcome testing times in family lives


  • Family mission in each ward:

A Family Mission for Somuday families to be conducted by Parish Priests for one evening on a topic that is relevant to the families e.g the challenges of Parenting in today’s world, Conflicting values systems in society, Anger management for better family ties, Alcoholism and its effects on family life.

Aim: To help families get the right guidance in dealing with such issues at home. They can learn more practical and reliable ways of dealing with difficult problems in their lives from sources.


  • A Session for Married Couples:

This session is open to all married couples. Once a month for one hour in the evening, a session will be held in church to help spouses grow in their marriage commitment. Spouses can share their views and experiences with other participants. It will be an ‘open door’ opportunity, those who wish can come. The talk would be on problem areas in married life. A short activity would follow. There would be a follow up at the next session.

Aim: To help married couples in their ongoing formation to live and grow in love and appreciation towards each other and their families.


  • Family FETE:

Each ward puts a stall (food, games, music, art). Each Somuday takes charge of one stall. Confirmation children could display posters, paintings depicting their understanding of a family. The collection from the FETE can be used to meet any medical emergencies by needy families.

Aim: To help parents and children spend time with each other as a parish family. The whole Parish family bonds together. Families can take part together in fun activities. A time to experience the lighter moments of life.


  • Promoting Good Literature:

We must have good reading material at home that will enrich our family ties. To make things simple and books available members of the Family Cell and Evangelical Cell will organize sale of books for two Sundays in a month after the 7.30 am Mass. Families must subscribe to the Daily flash, Jivitacho Prokas or any other booklet that gives daily reflections based on the Gospel of the day. To begin the day reading a small scripture verse will sustain you all through the day. Reading the scriptures, the book of Sirach, Proverbs, Wisdom will help parents and children understand what God and the Church want from us.

Aim: Good reading material will widen our horizons, deepen our thoughts and enrich our relationships. This will help us have a positive attitude to life and family.


  • Families to visit the Blessed Sacrament:

The whole family as one unit must come and spend time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Reflect on His Presence in our life and home. Take time to thank God our Father, from whom every family on earth and heaven takes its name (Eph 3:14). The family also prays for their particular need as well.

Aim: Jesus is the center of our life. He always gave thanks to God his Father. We too must build in ourselves an attitude of gratitude. The more we thank, the less we complain. The silence in the Blessed Sacrament has a calming effect on us “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46.10).


  • Family Contribution to the Parish:

The Church meets our spiritual needs. From birth till death we receive all our sacraments from the church. We must also give back to the church. Parents must send their children for Catechism Class, Sunday mass, encourage their children to become Altar Servers, join the choir, youth groups in church, and promote vocations for Priesthood and Religious Life. Parents and children should attend novenas masses and daily masses during vacations. Families must encourage their members to participate in the maintenance of the chapel entrusted to their Somuday. Taking part in cleaning, decorating their chapels during feasts, novenas etc.

Aim: Neither the Parish nor the Families can survive in isolation. Their relationship is reciprocal. As mentioned in the Pastoral Letter 2015-2016. ‘The church is a temple of Christian life and the family is a domestic church, where the mission of the church is carried out.’


  • Love for the Needy:

Develop a spirit of sacrifice by saying “no” to little comforts in your life e.g when you want to have a soft drink you have instead a glass of water and save that amount to be used for the needy. Save also from your income through sacrifice and self-denial and donate the money for a good cause in the parish or elsewhere. As Christian families, Acts of charity are an important part of our life.

Aim: Christ said “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me”. Acts of Charity in thought, word and deed will make us better human beings and keep us united with the less fortunate.


Activities at the Family Level

  • Family Prayer:

A family that prays together stays together. Praying the Holy Rosary together unites the family. The Holy Rosary is a powerful weapon to protect the sanctity of the family from all negative forces. One intention is to be prayed for every month in the family Rosary to strengthen and preserve the institution of the family. The intention will be printed in the “KATEDRALACHO ULO”.

Aim:  If 280 families in the parish pray for the same intention, we will experience the power of the Holy Rosary in protecting and saving families. When we pray for others we open ourselves to receiving God’s grace.


  • Vocation Week:

In the month of September Vocation Week is celebrated. Parents must take time to explain to children the work that the saints, missionaries, priests and religious have done and are doing to keep our faith alive. Parents should help children to develop in them, the virtues of the saints

Aim: We have inherited our faith from those who came from foreign lands, now we have to produce our own saints, missionaries and priests if we are to keep the church alive.


  • Family Outing:

In the month of October and May, parents and children should go for outings to the beach, parks, gardens. Simple outings help families bond together. Such outings have a relaxing effect. Jesus too spent time with his disciples. They took breaks when they were tired.

Aim: As a family we must spend time together in the open environment laughing, singing, playing and marveling at God’s gift of nature. In the time to come we might not get to enjoy the luxury of these open spaces.


  • Thanksgiving Day:

To be held in the family on any of the Sundays in the month of May to conclude the Year of the Family. On that Sunday, the whole family attends mass together. At home all the family members help in preparing meals. In the evening pray the Rosary or Read the Word or reflect on a spiritual passage relevant to the family theme. Share at a personal level the good you experience in each of the member of your family; your feelings about your family, why you love each other? How your family has shaped your life? Thank God for your family and celebrate it with encouraging words in the family.

Aim: We have to learn to appreciate the goodness of each of the members of our family and the values our family has inculcated in us. When we realize how important our family is to us and we to them, then only will we realize how important the institution of the family is.


  • Caring for the Elders (Grandparents, elderly aunts, uncles, aging parents):

We can learn from our elders more about our family traditions like family prayers, devotions, charitable donations, pilgrimages, veneration of saints. Our elders have a wealth of information to give to us. Their experiences will help us to have a better understanding of family relations. Discuss with them, listen to them, give them love and care and show them that they are very much an important part of our family.

Aim: To encourage our children, the younger generation to spend time with the elders and aging members of the family, making them sensitive to the sick and the weak. If we care for our elders when young we too will receive the care from our children. Positive strokes are necessary for all family members irrespective of age.


  • Christmas Celebration:

To bring about the family spirit in the family feast of Christmas, parents and children should together prepare sweets, the crib and star at home. Love came down on Christmas in the form of a little baby. The words Love, Joy and Peace are strongly associated with Christmas. In the season of Advent, we must consciously spread love, joy and peace through our thoughts, words and deeds. Spread the cheer of Christmas by visiting together as a family, orphanage, old age homes, by sharing and caring for the lonely and needy. Children can make gifts instead of buying them from out. Play Christmas carols, all through the season of Advent. After the family Rosary, if the children are small, the parents could explain to them the message of a carol and then sing it together. If the children are grown up then each member of the family can chose one carol for each day and explain it to the members and then sing together. This will keep the feeling of Christmas alive and will increase the involvement of the family.

Aim: The joy that was experienced at the first Christmas at the birth of our Lord should be felt at every Christmas celebration. Every Christmas should help turn us into better human beings and better families, seeking Christ who was alone in the Manger and who still finds himself alone in the sick and lonely; our caring and sharing approach would be the best gift to the Lord for Christmas, a gift of our family to Him.


  • New Year’s Day:

Usher in the New Year by attending the midnight mass or morning mass at the Parish. Surrender the New Year in God’s hands and start a journey of doing good every day for the family. To mark the journey of being a disciple of Christ, keep a dry branch in a vase near the home altar and add a leaf or a flower for every good act you do to your family. Every time you slip up, take a leaf off the tree and strive hard to put it back by doing two good acts to correct yourself.

Aim: By the year end the tree will bloom or remain barren. This will show us how much we have grown as a family helping each other through the year and the personal conversion that has taken place.

OR Make a family book. Mark the journey of the family right through the year. Enter your success, failures, highs and lows.

Aim: By the end of the year we will have learnt which areas of our life we need to work on, how many trials we have overcome successfully as a family.


  • The Season of Lent:

Celebrate the Reconciliation Day at home. The whole family sits together and in a spirit of prayer and trust share with one another the hurts they caused to the family, the hurdles that affected the growth of the family to be what she is called to be, (Share, accept and forgive each other in the family for faults and weaknesses). After the sharing let go off the hurts and grudges we were holding on to. Do not look back, look forward.

Activity: Place a glass jar at the center of the family table. On the 1st Sunday of Lent, place in the jar a small heart (cut out of card paper). Before you sit for family prayers reflect on the heart of Jesus. He loved us so much that he was willing to die for us. We need to show that same love to our family.

On the 2nd Sunday place a small seed in the jar to remind us that God plants the seed of love in our heart. We need to nurture that seed so that it will bloom. Do more for your family out of love.

On the 3rd Sunday place a small rubber band in the jar to remind us that God always stretches His patience with us, and we need to do the same for others at home.

On the 4th Sunday place a dice in the jar to remind us that we need to take turns at home to share responsibility voluntarily.

On the 5th Sunday place a Band-Aid in the jar to remind us to help our family members when in need and when they are sad or ailing.

Aim: The Lenten activity in the Lenten season should bring about a true change of heart in us. This change should be gradual, day after day, week after week. As Christians we must experience the liberating love of Jesus Christ in our family. To celebrate this love, all family members should remain present when the Priest comes to our home for the Easter Blessing.


  • Parents talk to the children about values:

Inculcate respect for family values in children like time for prayer, studies, parish activities, obedience to elders etc. Gender sensitivity in boys is important so too traffic discipline for road safety. It is important for them to respect their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Girls must be trained for spiritual leadership and encouraged to look unto Mother Mary for her virtues of humility, simplicity, patience and endurance which are important qualities when they become wives and mothers.

Aim: Our homes will be real schools where our children will learn human and spiritual values and be real examples of Christian life and models of Christian homes.

Animators can encourage the ward members to write down how these activities have helped us become better Christian families. Their input can be printed in the Parish Bulletin as ‘Fruits of the Year dedicated to the Family’.

We hope that this programme will help us to become What God in his Divine Wisdom intended us to be. Family values cannot be taught, they are caught. So what parents do, children will observe and learn and follow. May ours homes and life becoming God’s dwelling place and our families become what they are called to be.

(Taken from the Parish Bulletin Katedralacho Ulo, Old Goa)

Kuttumba, Kuttumb Za-Plan by PFSC for Old Goa ParishDownload PDF document

Parish Family Service Cells in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman

a. How to start PFSC in your Parish


c. Constitution of PFSC

Form for PFSC team members

Format of letter to Director DFSC for inauguration of PFSC

Names of PFSC members

PFSC vangddeanchi Bhasavnni

The Church and the Gospel on the Family: Implications in the Goan context -Fr. Kennet B Teles, Director, DFSC


The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community. The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus Christ.

The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family in this document are essential references only. The same is true for documentation from the Magisterium which is limited to that of a universal character, including some texts from the Pontifical Council for the Family. It will be left to the bishop-participants at the synod to cite documents from their own episcopal assemblies.

In every age, and in the many different cultures, the teaching of the Pastors has been clear nor has there been lacking the concrete testimony of believers — men and women — in very diverse circumstances who have lived the Gospel of the family as an inestimable gift for their life and their children. The commitment for the next Extraordinary Synod is inspired and sustained by the desire to communicate this message with greater incisiveness, in the hope that “the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, more and more fill the hearts of each person” (DV, 26). Continue reading