The Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC) launched its ‘Let’s think family with the Church’ project using Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform on November 20.
The one hour and forty-five minute session was led by Fr Matthew Ragbir, AFLC Spiritual Director and Theological Advisor. Approximately 45 persons, most of whom were married couples, took part in the session from the comfort of their own homes. All participants are actively involved in Marriage and Family Life Ministry in the archdiocese.
As noted in the AFLC’s November 19 CN column, the project is a response to the invitation of the Holy Father for “more adequate formation” (Amoris Laetitia 232) of persons who are involved in the Pastoral Care of the Family and Marriage.
The first session was an introduction to the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Fr Ragbir provided a guide to reading Amoris Laetitia and some keys to interpretation.
After explaining the different types of Church documents and therefore the nature of an Apostolic Exhortation, he demonstrated how a close reading of Pope Francis’ writings, homilies and speeches reveal a certain continuity with the Second Vatican Council.
He noted that this is most evident in the opening lines of the document “The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church” (AL 1) which closely mirrors the opening lines of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes (GS): “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (GS 1).
Fr Ragbir also demonstrated the close connection between St John XXIII’s thinking and Pope Francis’. He then laid out some of the central themes in the document looking at the overall structure and context of the document.
The interactive session proved to be very enlightening to all who participated and left everyone excited to learn more and to read the document. It is this document which will serve as the material for the teachings and discussions over the next few months as the AFLC seeks to provide a more solid foundation for anyone involved or thinking of becoming involved in the Pastoral Care of the Family and Marriage.
It is hoped that as many as possible will take advantage of this project as we use technology to bridge the distances separating us and create a virtual, interactive classroom where the Good News of the family and marriage can be explored and shared.
Please contact the AFLC Office for more information, or if you would like to participate in the learning experience. There is always more for us to learn so “Let’s think Family with the Church!” – AFLC