On a cold winter’s night, Monday June 8th, 2009, over 40 of St Joseph’s parishioners came to the supper room to meet Fr Peter McGrath the founder of the Passionist Family Group Movement. He is friendly, humble, gregarious, energetic, even outrageous but he touched our hearts and urged us to consider one simple request – how could any Christian ignore it?

His question “will you support others in your parish?”

With a classic back to the basics attitude he grouped us in tables of four but no couple and no one in the same family group. We were numbered one to four and the ones were asked to share for one minute the story of their favourite toy and the other three in each group were asked to share back what we had learnt about that first person. The second person spoke (again for one minute) about a favourite family holiday and again the rest of the group responded and so on until all four had spoken. Of course by the end of that exercise we were not strangers.

“God gives us what is needed” said Fr McGrath. We were reassured that we have in St Joseph’s parish the potential to respond to all those among us who need support. As the mother of four says to her children “we have enough love for all of you”.

So now consider these three questions:

  • Do you think the people of our parish want to follow in God’s spirit?
  • Will we individually give support to those who need it in the same way that a parent will support their children?
  • How can we do this in our parish?

Well to start with we need to get to know each other, gather in small groups, do the things that families do together eat, play, talk share, laugh and gradually we come to know, respect and value each other.

If we meet and share regularly when a time of need presents itself we can respond, each in our own way. A prayer, a cake, some food, a talk, a request, a touch, a smile, and our community begins to resemble that of the early Christians, bringing to life that famous quote – ‘see how they love one another’.

A long standing member of our parish has been quoted saying “our parish could not afford to pay for the benefits that Passionist Family Groups have bought us.

We will celebrate 18 years of Family Groups in our parish on 25th July 2009 with food and fun. Let us reach out to our Parish Community to join us.