Overview of theme: Birth, childhood and growth through adolescence are the most vibrant stages of life in all of creation, human, animal and plant. We recognise that family relationships do exist too in the animal kingdom. Vigorous growth and regrowth happens in phases that can often be stressful and conflict-filled. However, ideally in a family, the young need, conscious protection, care and support to monitor and direct their youthful energy towards full and responsible maturity.  As June is Youth month in South Africa, there is a particular emphasis on the youth as older children.   For more background visit the website.

June 1.  Global Parenting Day. There was a family group who used to meet with the parish deacon.  Even though he was already quite elderly he had worked with groups for many years and they enjoyed the way he interacted with them.   He said, “I learnt that from my own kids over the years.  It doesn’t help to preach, and that’s hard for me of course, but I would love to listen and hear all your views too.  This week I invite you to read the stories from the book of Tobit only found in the Catholic bible.  I think they have quite a lot to tell us about family life.  For a start what do you think of the story in today’s scripture about inviting a poor relative to share your meal?”  “My mom is the one who is always bringing stray relatives home. There are times when I resent it, but I can see the good in that too.”  “One thing I did manage to learn from that is to be mindful of others in the family who have less than we have.”  

A good dinner was prepared for me and I sat down to eat. Upon seeing the abundance of food I said to my son, “go and bring whatever poor man of our brethren you may find among the exiles in Nineveh who is mindful of the Lord and he shall eat together with me.  Read from Tobit  2:1-8.  

Pope Francis:  The larger family should provide love and support to teenage mothers, children without parents, single mothers, persons with disabilities needing particular affection and closeness, young people struggling with addiction, the unmarried, separated or widowed who are alone and the elderly and infirm who lack the support of their children.   It should embrace even those who have made a shipwreck of their lives. AL 197