Pope urges families to ‘not walk alone’

Archbishop Prowse with one of the many families attending the World Meeting of Families at the Cathedral

Inspired by Pope Francis’ message to families, hundreds gathered for a family expo in Canberra last Sunday.

“Do not walk alone!”  the Pope urged families at last weekend’s celebration of the World Meeting of Families in Rome.

Mother of three Emily Hall was pleased to have an opportunity to gather with like-minded parents.

“My children don’t attend Catholic schools, so my husband and I are keen to find resources to help them develop their faith,” she said. “Also, we wanted to connect with the broader Catholic community.

“Although our church has many wonderful elderly parishioners, there are not many families. So, it’s good for our children to connect with other families involved in the domestic church.

“Installing a sense of faith and helping others is important. This culture can be very self-centred, so we try to participate as a family in various faith-based activities to foster a sense of community amongst the children.”

Emily Hall with two of her children at the Family Expo

Don and Charissa Gomez and their two daughters believe it is important to join in solidarity with Pope Francis in focusing on family life.

“Society tends to dictate the definition of a family,” Don said. “It can be confusing, but it’s good to be here and be encouraged by other families.

“Like us, many families have small children, and juggle work and looking after children with no extended family. It can be challenging. It’s an excellent opportunity to share and get to know others.”

Don and Charissa Gomez with their daughters

Lara Kirk, Manager of the Archdiocesan Family Marriage and Relationships office, was thrilled with the level of participation, saying “families are the missionary and synodal engine room of this Archdiocese.”

“If there is one thing I have learnt in my 10 years of seeking to serve families on behalf of the Archdiocese, it is that simply gathering together in a context of faith, is a hugely encouraging experience,” she said.

“It is also important for families to know that many groups, movements and ministries are ready and willing to support them in the journey.”

The final World Meeting of Families event in the Archdiocesan will be held in Cootamundra on July 10. Go to www.catholicvoice.org.au/event/free-circus-celebration-of-family/for more details

Like World Youth Day, the World Meeting of Families was instigated by Pope John Paul II and has been celebrated in a different city every three years since 1994.


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