June 25. World Meeting of Families.  Conference 4.  Theme: Formation and accompaniment for marriage and family life.

Judy and Mike had been exposed to both Marriage Encounter and the Focolare New Families Movement.  At meetings of the diocesan parish family ministry teams they had frequently voiced their disappointment that the care and support for all aspects of family life had received minimal attention. A few sessions of marriage preparation with the priest was sometimes all that was offered and as he noted, “the priest has often had very little formation beyond his lectures on doctrine and moral theology. We, as married couples also need good formation, beyond our own life experience. Widowed people and the divorced too have many insights that they can share. One priest we worked with years ago, used to say, ‘Marriage and family ministry should be the No 1 priority in the Church.’ “ Judy added her opinion too, “There is something else. In today’s world of climate change issues, what Pope Francis calls, Care of our Common Home, should be built into the family curriculum too. ”

Reflect, share and act.   Scripture.    The centurion said, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.”   When Jesus heard him he marveled and said, “Not even in Israel have I found such faith. Many will come from east and west and sit at the table while the sons of kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness.” Matt 8:5-17.          Pope Francis:  This shows the need for “a more adequate formation… of priests, deacons, men and women religious, catechists and other pastoral workers”. In the replies given to the worldwide consultation, it became clear that ordained ministers often lack the training needed to deal with the complex problems currently facing families. AL 202.  Consolidated pastoral experiences highlight the urgency and necessity of always accompanying spouses, especially in the most critical moments of family life. The presence of the community is essential and it is necessary to train lay people and spouses to ensure this accompaniment.  From Conference 4.