By Andrea Castagne
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 marked the 70th anniversary of Teams of Our Lady International. This movement was conceived in the heart of four couples and Fr Henri Caffarel of France. Like the phoenix, Teams of Our Lady arose out of the ashes of World War II, to bring hope and meaning back to marriage and family life, in an already terrified world.
How welcome then was the good news of The Mission and Joy of Love, the 2017 theme for Teams of Our Lady retreat, based on Amoris Laetitia, and Fr Caffarel’s teachings. To commemorate its birthday, Teams T&T celebrated with Holy Mass and a day of reflection on November 26 at Green Meadows, Santa Cruz.
With brilliant sunshine above, amidst the lush verdure of the Santa Cruz Valley, a near 100-strong congregation raised its voice in thunderous praise and worship to open the celebrations. Always reliable, the Akai family led the music ministry.
Sadly we said goodbye to our long-serving Regional Chaplain, Fr Dexter Brereton CSSp. He shepherded us so generously while fulfilling his myriad obligations as parish priest, and moderator of the Arouca/Maloney cluster.
Fr Dexter, in his farewell homily echoed the Holy Father’s commission to Teams’ members, namely, to reach out with their evangelising love to couples young and mature alike and to bring them the good news of marriage. We thank God for Fr Dexter’s sterling service and pray his fellow priests be encouraged to become much-needed Teams’ chaplains in God’s mercy.
To usher another term, we welcomed our new Regional Chaplain, Msgr Julien Kabore, secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio. Msgr Kabore inspires reverence by his mere presence. We welcome his fiat.
Outgoing Regional Couple, Dwight and Christine Gonsalves, also said their goodbye, but not before welcoming in the new Regional Couple, Peter and Linda Kowlessar. The Gonsalves robed the new leading couple with aprons, a reminder that service is both the hallmark of and the path to holiness for every Teams couple.
As at Mass, the sharing of the meal is always central to the binding of members, whom you may not always know by name, but whom you nonetheless, experience as family. During the meal we were regaled yet again by the beautiful voices of the Gooding children in the music of the season.
Then came the nitty gritty, the retreat. Family prayer was addressed by Peter and Sabina Timothy, and Fr Dexter left us with two questions to ponder, one of which refers to the couple: “reflect on and describe to my spouse in detail a time in our marriage when I felt closely united to them”.