In each session of this six–session parish conversation, the participants will be invited to take part in a process which is designed to be interactive and participative. They will be helped to reflect on and articulate their experience of family life and their response to Pope Francis’ reflections in The Joy of Love. The programme takes, as its starting point, people’s experience of love and their hopes and fears with regard to marriage and family.
Video resources to be added.
The programme’s first and second sessions deal with the reality of family life in the world today. We explore how Pope Francis recognises the widespread desire for permanence in love and his challenge to us as Church to communicate more effectively the Good News of the Gospel of the Family, which is supportive of that desire. It looks at the challenges posed by consumer culture to stability in family life, and the foundational role of God’s love in our teaching on the permanence of married love and its openness to new life.
In sessions three and four, the programme goes on to explore how love is lived in the family and how children are nurtured.
In session five, the programme explores Pope Francis’ understanding of human fragility in the reality of family life, the importance of reaching out to all, regardless of their circumstances, and the priority of God’s mercy in how we approach that fragility. This challenges all pastoral agents and all families to reach out to people on the margins, which Pope Francis refers to as the peripheries. This session also explores the role of discernment in the concrete application of mercy.
In the final session, the programme explores a spirituality of hope in regard to love and marriage. This session gives people the opportunity to listen to the experiences of older couples and to hear their advice to younger couples. It also includes Pope Francis’ own practical advice on how families can be places of joy in the midst of human fragility.