We had a lovely sunny day for the annual meeting of our motivational day for leaders, mainly from the PFGM Sydney area, as this was the first time it was held at Grace Cottage, our PFGM home in Frenchs Forest .

The day started with an inspiring Morning Prayer service, run by the wonderful Marg and Paul Casey, from Callala Bay. Each year they surprise us with their innovative thinking. Mary Ingham welcomed all the people, starting with Ron and Margaret McAuliffe all the way from Wagga, Colleen Coad and the Caseys from the Wollongong diocese, the all the representatives from Broken Bay diocese, Parramatta diocese, and Sydney diocese-about 60 in all.

All of the Sydney directing team were present, Mary Ingham, Annette and Tony Guterres, Ray Scully, Dennis Farrar and Marg and Paul Casey, all of whom contributed to the success of the day.

Our Fr.Peter McGrath CP was our first presenter for the day, and was welcomed back to Australia after his travels in the UK. Peter gave a very interesting and motivational talk to us including a review of his recent trip introducing and establishing Family Groups in many areas of the UK.

Our next presenter was Peter Kennedy who talked on shared leadership of the Family Groups, through attitudinal change and was able to give examples with role plays. Peter was able to demonstrate to us how to change leaders even when the ones who were asked appeared reluctant. Many people who attended have said how much they appreciated Peter’s very helpful and practical discussions.

The next section of the day was devoted to small group discussions to peruse the questions put forward by our Marrickville Family Group Leaders:

  1. How have Family Groups benefited and been blessed over the year?
  2. What challenges have your groups faced and how have they dealt with these challenges?
  3. How has your Parish as a community benefited from the PFGM?

After about an hour’s fruitful discussions in groups of 5 or 6, we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch , helped by our able volunteers, Leo Ingham, Sharon O’Keefe and Joan Fahey.

After lunch we had open discussion led by the two Peters! This was a very valuable time for us all. In the open Forum which followed, special attention was drawn to the fund raising activities of the Castle Hill parish; Ray Scully described the great St Patrick’s night his helpers put on and all proceeds were given to NSW.

We finished the day with a very special prayer time and a big “ Thank you” to Peter Kennedy and to Peter McGrath CP, and sang our song GO MAKE A DIFFERNCE!

Fr. Peter writes of our day together:
“Firstly to thank each and every one of you for not only coming, but even more so because you participated, shared and created such a community spirit, becoming a wonderful, loving , extended family – a visible sign of the Presence of the Kingdom of God – A Family for All.

You would remember that at the end of the day I asked you to sit quietly, turn inward to your heart and discover what your heart treasured from the time we spent together. Because you were so personally engaged, you could not have noticed the deep peace and prayer beyond words that settled on all of you as you sat together. It was a remarkable experience, and I was gifted to see you wrapped in the very spirit of Christ. You were brothers and sisters gathered together in the Presence of the Father-the very reality that Jesus brought about this time two thousand years ago in his dying and rising from the dead.

Would you please make sure that International Family Group Day May 6th is recognized, appreciated and celebrated in your parish community in a very positive way. If this happens you will have increased the experience that you shared on our coordinators’ Day at Grace Cottage and brought it to a greater depth with a larger number of Jesus’ brother and sisters sharing the spirit and loving each other and the Father. I thank you in advance.”

Mary Ingham
NSW Director PFGM