Founder of The Passionist Family Group Movement - Fr Peter McGrath cp
What Do You Expect of a Family Group?
"For the people to love one another"
The question is simple. The answer is simple. The implications are immense.
A well functioning Family Group is an extended family. It provides nurturing and supportive environment for all its members to grow as Christians. In so doing, the Family Group gives support to each family within it. Whether the family be dual, solo, blended, or whatever, it does this by providing a network of relationships.
The Family Group is open-ended. As in any extended family, the Family Group welcomes new members and mourns the loss of departed members. It maintains a positive, adaptive atmosphere. Therefore, it continues to grow in depth of commitment and love. Being an extended family, a Family Group experiences all the ups and downs of life. It has its own winter, spring, summer and fall; all the emotional seasons.
A Family Group is more than the sum of its parts. It is a basic building block of Christian community, providing a sound foundation for the life of the parish. The Family Group answers the basic need for community - a sense of belonging. It is out of this sense of belonging that the members of the Family Group willingly participate in the life of the parish family and beyond. It is true to say, "One does not fully participate until one feels that they belong." When people are at home in a Family Group, their gifts and graces are revealed. Then they use them within the parish community and, beyond the parish community, in Christian Mission.
Christian education occurs in a Family Group. Barriers are broken down. Families are freed to tell their stories. They discover they have the same challenges. They also share the same values. They learn from each other. There is heartfelt prayer in a loving and supportive Family Group. For the most part, such prayer is very informal and influenced by the rhythm of life. At the heart of this prayer is the Eucharist, whether the intimate Home Mass or the parish Celebration.
Hence, it is obvious that a Family Group is far more than social. In fact a Family Group is INCARNATIONAL. The Spirit of Christ, as St. Paul says, living in the hearts of its faithful members, is able to work wonders. People are accepted, understood and forgiven. There is true reconciliation. People break bread at a common table. All the Sacraments of the Church from Baptism to the Anointing of the Sick, find a place within the Family Group.
The Family Group is the CHURCH. Father Peter McGrath, cp
Fr Peter McGrath, cp