Fr Anthony Ndang Ndichia mhm
A RESPONSE TO AMORIS LAETITIA
In the past, families knew their neighbours and lived together, supporting and shaping one another. Today these virtues are slowly fading away. What is happening to families today? If nothing is done what will happen to families in ten years’ time? Are we moving towards a society of single parents, single persons, single children and a single life? In South Africa and elsewhere there are increasing numbers of single parents, gay and lesbian families, child headed families, divorced, separated families, adopted families, orphaned families, widowed families, childless families and many wounded families.
One can only be grateful for the Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Francis “The Joy of Love”, Amoris Laetitia, that gives us hope for the future of the family, the cell of the Church. The family is the little church of the home, the basic cell of society, the agent of evangelization, open to serving God, receiving the sacraments and being the first school of love.
Parents have a huge responsibility to respond to the spiritual needs of their children on their own faith journey. When Moses received God’s call, he readily accepted and journeyed with broken families and hopeful families to the Promised Land. Today, we need ministers who will create and maintain healthy families in society. If we have strong marriages, there will be strong families, if we have strong families, we will have a strong society, and if we have a strong society we will have a strong nation.
Recently, the bishop of the Diocese of Kroonstad had a family Mass in Sasolburg. Bringing together the Northern Region of the diocese (where Mill Hill Missionaries are working) to a faith and prayerful journey for all families, the bishop acknowledged the increasing problems faced by families today. He urged parents to work hard and promote unity among the people for unity starts in the family.
“Families must live happily, together and persevere and build a better South Africa”.
During the Mass, different categories of families were prayed over and blessed such as married couples, divorced, single parents, child headed families, orphans, widows etc. This was a clear demonstration that the family of families, the Church, needs to support families through prayers. “The family that prays together stays together”. The Liturgy that was beautifully organised by Fr Sylvester Ponje mhm ended with musical and social presentations by youth, children and choirs. In attendance was Fr Ephraim Ohdiambo mhm.
In this year of mercy, may all families be drawn to the mercy of God, for the sign of a healthy church is the health of its marriages and families. Although living in a “throw away culture” may families be encouraged and all married couples receive the accompaniment and support they need in their salvation history. We need a family friendly church not an individually friendly church. May God who is the builder, protector and provider of our families pour out His saving grace on parents to live in the love of God and bring up their children to know and love God.
Blessings of health, happiness and contentment to all families!
Fr Anthony Ndang Ndichia mhm