Meeting of Couples representing their Parishes to establish the Parish Family Service Cell

The first meeting of the Couples representing their Parishes in order to establish Parish Family Service Cell was held on 12/2/2023 at 4.30pm in the Pope John Paul II Centre Margao. There were around 23 couples who attended the meeting.

The director of the DFSC, Fr Albano Fernandes, highlighted the importance of the PFSC by quoting Pope Francis   “THE CHURCH IS INVITED TO LISTEN TO FAMILIES AND INVOLVE THEM IN PASTORAL CARE.” Fr. said we are the church and asked us to do what we as a family can do for our church/parish so that the domestic church can be strengthened in our own families.

Fr. Albano said that marriage should be joyful and this will happen only when a man and woman help one another. Here he reminded us what Pope Francis said about marriage. He quoted: This is what marriage is all about – Man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man” While expounding the idea of marriage, Fr further mentioned that a perfect marriage doesn’t exist nor does a perfect family. We are all sinners. It’s in this state that when we say sorry to one another and ask for forgiveness, marriage will last and the bonds of the family will be strengthened.

Further, Fr. said that ” Marriage doesn’t guarantee you will be together forever, it’s only paper. It takes love, respect, trust, understanding, friendship and faith to make it last. In other words, he emphasized that marriage is an everyday business and that we have to work towards to make it happen.  Quoting few more thoughts on marital fidelity and love, Fr said that we should safeguard the value system in families and that there are good families who walk according to the values of our faith and church teachings. He stressed that Christian marriage is the sacrament which builds up the community of the church and of society. Marriage has been inscribed in creations design by God, and by His grace countless men and women have lived married life fully. (Pope Francis) He ended his reflection by saying that ” As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” John Paul II  He said good families make this world a better place to live in.

Dr. Roshan Nazareth then gave a talk on how the families in the parish should be strengthened and for this to materialize, he said that there has to be a family cell in every parish. Before, explaining the steps to establish PFSC, he helped us to understand the importance of giving priority to relationships among the family members, i.e. husband and wife, parents and children and vice versa. He focussed on two things: Firstly, he said we must have fun times with the family for at least 15 minutes every day where each member is asked to share experiences with one another. Secondly, he gave a tip on Mindfulness and explained how this will help us to do things meaningfully by saying slowly the prayers etc,. By practising mindfulness, he said that we will also enrich our family ties.

Dr gave us some advice on how to take forward the works of the family cell.

  1. One or two couples from every somudai should be selected. This can be done with the help of the PPC. If we don’t get a couple from one somudai then also we must start with the remaining somudais. 
  2. A doctor, nurse and an advocate, if there are would be important for the PFSC. 
  3. After that we have to send an email to the Diocesan Family Service Centre.
  4. The Centre will organise a formation session and then accordingly the PFSC would be established. 
  5. The Parish Priest and the PPC should be taken into confidence. 
  6. WhatsApp Group of each PFSC will help in furthering the activities in the Parish. The vocation of the Family Mission should be strengthened.

Fr. Albano then told all present that they should not take stress with this mission but that whatever we do should be done out of love and for God. He said that there is no need to have monthly meetings but connect through the what’s app group only. Our family should be a witness for others. 
Fr. Albano thanked all the couples for sacrificing their time in attending this meeting especially those couples who had come from distant Parishes. Fr. also thanked all the Parish Priests for sending their representatives. He also thanked Dr. Roshan for making himself available for the meeting.
The meeting ended at 6.00 p.m.

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