Year of the Family
Pope Francis has proclaimed 2021/22 as a year dedicated to the Family, highlighting ‘the ideal of conjugal and family love’ for each one of us. The Year of the Family began on the Feast of St Joseph (19th March) 2021, which was also the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Pope’s Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’), first issued following the Synod on the Family, held in Rome with its final session in the autumn of 2015.
Pope Francis wrote: ‘It is good to reflect that the Son of God wanted to be in need of the warmth of a family, like all children. Precisely for this reason, because it is Jesus’ family, the family of Nazareth is the model family, in which all families of the world can find their sure point of reference and sure inspiration’.
As our own families emerge from the lockdowns imposed by Covid-19, sometimes hampered by ‘post-Covid stress’ symptoms, we need to turn again to the fatherly support offered by Pope Francis, under the patronage of St Joseph:-
‘In imitation of the Holy Family, we are called to rediscover the educational value of the family unit: it must be founded on the love that always regenerates relationships, opening up horizons of hope’.
The summer holiday was a particularly good time to pray for growing families, with children home from school and looking to parents (and probably others!) for the encouragement and support we all need at the best of times. In our parish, we remember those who work and study in St Benet’s Primary School during term time, in the hope that they can find refreshment both in their studies and in the quieter moments of their lives at home during the year
Our school newsletter still advertises a Family Mass on the first Sunday of every month, when, in the past, we had a music group in which children had a special role. This had to be suspended from March 2020; and we are only just beginning to think about singing the Mass once again, eighteen months and more after the first lockdown. By now, our Family Musicians led by Thomas and Hilary have moved on to pastures new, although they are still available – like all true family members – during the week from time to time. We are so grateful for all the music they have given us over the past ten years; and meanwhile, we are looking at a closer collaboration with members of our Primary School for the preparation of a monthly Family Mass.