I was tempted to add ………in the life of an almost octogenarian econut, because that is how I consider myself right now, 3 months short of turning 80 and crazily caught up in my ideal of building ECO-FRIENDLY FAMILIES.  But there are too many ramifications attached that bother an old gogo – as I’m known at Radio Veritas where I present the FAMILY MATTERS radio show on a Wednesday morning.   One of my last comments this afternoon was “I must slow down.”  That was after I had rushed off to get a parcel off to the courier before their deadline, picked up my handbag but not the purse I had taken out. After doubling back for petrol  – as the price goes up at midnight –  I discovered I had no purse, no credit card to pay and only my phone.  So I had to leave my phone at the garage as security guarantee , go home to fetch my card and go back to recover my card and pay. Losing my memory does happen all too often but is to be expected in old age and maybe even one of the least of our worries.   

That was just one of the complications of this hectic day on which I attended the funeral of an old Marriage Encounter colleague of 45 years ago. The ME community now seems to be mostly widows, but in his homily Archbishop Slattery, also a working colleague of Olinda, Marc’s wife, referred to their couple ministry and the  special spiritual marriage relationship they had shared   The children and grandchildren too were very close to him as his granddaughter shared in her eulogy and my chat with her.  

All these matters “do matter,” as I reflected over the month of April, with the MARFAM theme GOD AND FAMILY while in May it will be PARENTS FORM FAMILIES.  We do that, and ideally we do form positive relationship and strong values for our young, which isn’t always the case.  At least two cases in our courts right now are about abuse in the family, by parents or one parent and a new partner – too easily a recipe for disaster.   The one case involved a mom and a stepdad, drug addicts,  who beat her four children mercilessly, one of whom, a tiny toddler died of her injuries.  Life or long prison sentences hardly seem to be deterrents in family violence today.  Are our social welfare workers and law enforcement officials not able to prevent this, monitor, oversee what goes on?   Are we as neighbours just  bystanders refusing to risk getting involved even though we have a duty to report anything we are aware of  

During the month of  May a number of special events will be celebrated in which I have a bit of a role to play.  Mother’s Day is the 2nd Sunday in May i.e. 12thMay, which is also the start of  Christian Unity week, an initiative of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic church. This happens in the southern hemisphere just before Pentecost. The chosen scripture for meditation is the parable of the Good Samaritan which Jesus presented to his listeners in reply to the question “Who is my neighbour? For more on this visit..www  

Laudato Si Week with its ecological focus happens the next week and has as its theme Seeds of Hope.  Are our children seeds of hope or a burden to us, or a challenge that we struggle to get right and for which families need support.  One hopes that whatever form government takes after the 29 May elections will make family a greater priority than it has been.

The 3rd event of special interest for me is the 30th Anniversary of the UN International year of the Family, being celebrated on 15th, which is International Family Day.  Every year the UN chose a relevant theme for international awareness. The theme for this year and events is FAMILIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE.  That of course is right up my alley.  Families do make an impact through their activities both positive and negative while they are affected by climate change.  But we, as families can benefit for our relationships from sharing, communicating, working together and problem-solving in our various situations as adults and young.

Right in the middle of all this is the great solemnity of PENTECOST, a focus on the Holy Spirit as the 3rd person of the Trinity all of whom are active in creation and the World as a Family of Families.   So “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts and minds of all your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of your love.”  Because it is love together with faith and hope that will make the world go round.   

Various resources for family prayer and faith sharing to use in interdenominational gatherings,  parishes, group of all kinds and families at home for this time are being developed and promoted also through MARFAM’s THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY for MAY published on our website.  Family Matters.  Parents matter.    TR   1 May 2024.  


OVERVIEW:   MAY:  Parents Form Families. Whether it is a study of biology, human physiology or spirituality, the gift of co-creation with God, everywhere in nature, should be recognized as one of God’s greatest gifts. The male and female in nature, a man and woman, ideally through a loving committed relationship, continue God’s creation, its sustenance and care. Laudato Si week and Christian Unity week  around Pentecost this month can incorporate a co-creation theme. All parents have the task of forming and educating their offspring to prepare them for adulthood. The ideal of the love of their father and mother for each other, too, is an important gift to children.  Effective human parenting is amongst the most complex relationships today, good and evil are witnessed clearly in family relationships. The 30th anniversary of the UN International Year of the Family can be commemorated any time but especially on 15th May International Family Day.


May 1. St Joseph the Worker. Workers Day has for the last century been a battle for the rights of workers; most often a battle between employers and employees and mainly about wages.  Deacon Masibi had been a shop steward in his day and knew about this from first hand experience. Rights of women workers had been addressed with maternity leave as a norm and interestingly paternity leave has also come up. A fatherhood group had spearheaded this campaign that both mothers and fathers should have the right to bond with their baby.  The parish groups found this interesting but also quite strange. “I don’t want to be there when my wife gives birth.” “I was present when my girlfriend gave birth,” another man shared. “Both mothers and fathers are involved in conception so it is valuable for both to be there all along the way.”  “And for both to take responsibility as parents in all aspects of parenting work.

Reflect, share. Preface of the Mission of St Joseph.    It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, on the commemoration of St Joseph and to give you fitting praise, glorify and bless you. For this just man was given by you as spouse to the Virgin Mother of God and set as a wise and faithful servant in charge of your household to watch like a father over your Only Begotten Son, who was conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, our Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Francis: Labour makes possible the development of society and provides for the sustenance, stability and fruitfulness of one’s family. AL 24. We can appreciate the suffering created by unemployment. AL 25.  ACTION:  Consider and discuss the issue of men and women’s role in work and family.