Perhaps you have thought, or you have heard someone else say, “I would like to be more involved in our parish” or “ I wish I could get to know the people I see in church.” Or maybe you’ve said to yourself: “How can we show our children what it means to be Christian?”
Changing faces into names and names into Family
Do you find it difficult meeting new people? Nearly everyone does. By joining a Passionist Family Group you will be in immediate contact with other families and people in your parish. Once you know them, you’ll find you are able to meet with them after Mass instead of feeling alone. A Family Group is a great way of helping you to break down barriers if you find it difficult to talk with people.
Do I have to be Holy?
You just have to be yourself. Many non-church attendees have found belonging to a Family Group is a great way to become involved in the faith life of their family. Family Groups provide a non-threatening environment for non-church-going or non-Catholic partners and friends.
Who will be in my Family Group?
A Family Group is made up of 10 – 12 families or units, perhaps with a cross section of ages, including some children of the same age, or perhaps a number of people of similar ages and stage in life. Everyone is welcome to join, from grandparents to babies. Non-church-attending spouses and non-Catholic partners are welcome as are one-parent families and single people, the elderly or the young.
What happens in a Family Group?
The groups gather socially once a month for a picnic, barbecue, a meal, etc. to enjoy being with one another and this develops into supportive relationships. Some get-togethers are just for the adults (to give parents of young children a bit of breathing space); while others include the children.
Highlights in a Family Group’s calendar may include a weekend away, special events or anniversaries and perhaps, a home Eucharist. People are able to share their experiences through the good times and the difficult times and enhance the spirit in the parish community. Family Groups live the faith in the everyday circumstances of their lives.
How committed do I have to be?
A Family Group is just like a family: the bonds that develop the feelings of belonging create a sense of responsibility for one another. As in any family there is sometimes the need for extra effort. As with all aspects of life, you reap what you sow. You will get from Family Groups what you put into Family Groups.
What can I give to a Group?
Yourself! You can give your friendship, support and time to other members of your group. You just have to be yourself. You can sit down and talk, share and listen to others. What you do doesn’t really matter. It is you that matters. Bonds develop and the sense of belonging creates a sense of responsibility for each other. As with your own family, there is a need sometimes to make an extra effort, as with all aspects of life.
What if I’m single or divorced?
The motto is “A Family for all”. Family Groups provide an extended family for all who wish to belong; married, single or divorced. There is a giving and receiving by all members of the group to each other. Everyone is welcome to join.
But I’m already very busy!
Do you spend your busy time with your family? Being in a Family Group will mean that at least once a month you will be sharing an experience with your own family – plus some 10 other families/units. Is that being too busy?
What if I’ve already got enough friends?
Well, maybe a group needs you! And if you do have many friends, you don’t have to lose them to belong to a Family Group.
Have you ever thought what it is like for the people who are not like you and don’t have many friends? Could it be that many people don’t stay after week-end Masses because they really don’t know anyone to stop and chat with? What if we could create a network where everybody knew at least 10 families well? Wouldn’t that improve the atmosphere of the parish?
What about the benefits to the Parish?
Through the interaction with your Family Group, you will also find you are bringing a happy loving spirit to your parish. The Family Groups operate within the parish and as such are responsible for promoting the life of the parish community.
Experience shows that Family Groups are a great asset to the parish, since many people become actively involved in parish life.