Pillars of Family Ministry

Pillars of Family Ministry

One of the most common questions about family ministry is: what is family ministry? Family ministry is a relatively new term reflecting the ongoing development of the understanding of ministry that emerges from the Second Vatican Council. While the term is new, it could rightly be said that family ministry among Christians has been going on from the beginning of Christianity.

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Family Leadership and Parenting

For families: Leadership styles are changing. The patriarchal authoritarian approaches are not useful in our time. Effective leaders today have a sense of vision and are committed to leading by example, being inclusive and consulting with others. What does this mean for family life? What style of parenting is asked for today? Michael Quinn in Confirming Our Faith speaks of parents adopting the twin approach of soft love and firm love. What is your experience of adopting the soft love/firm love approach?

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Family Prayer and Ritual

Someone told me recently of a ritual they used when moving home. The family simply gathered in the house they were leaving. They processed together into each room with a candle. They spoke of the events of that room and their memories of it. One person then said a prayer of thanks before they moved off together to the next room. Whey they got to the new home they went through each room with blessed water. They spoke of what the room would be used for and one person made a petition asking the Lord's blessing on that room and those who would use it. The room was sprinkled with the water before the family moved onto another room.

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Family Communion

For familiesLove is at the centre of family life just as love is at the centre of Christianity. It is the love that exists between family members that strengthens the bonds that holds a family together.

Family love is often sacrificial – getting up in the middle of the night to care for a sick child, patiently attending to the needs of an elderly relative. At other times it is celebratory – sharing the joy of achievements, new beginnings and togetherness. On occasions it takes the form of compassion, supporting each other in times of sorrow and difficulty and by necessity family love is reconciling for there is no family that does not experience conflict and division.

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Family Formation

For familiesSo much of what happens within the context of family is formative. For better for worse parents educate by example. I remember the advertisement where a father and son were fishing. The son imitated the father every step of the way. They were so much in harmony. Finally the father lit a cigarette and of course the son imitated the behaviour. Formation and education are a daily reality of family life.

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Family Outreach

For familiesNowhere is the love called self-sacrificial love more practiced than within family. The demands of the gospel are enacted on a daily basis in the relationship between parents and children: "when did I see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you drink, a stranger and welcome you, naked and clothe you, sick and visit you, in prison and come to see you?

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Family Administration

For familiesA few years ago Martin Kennedy, working on a Confirmation programme, was doing some research with parents on their needs. From Belfast to Cork the same phrase was repeated consistently. Parents kept saying: "we don't have time".

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