The Pastoral Response in Accompanying Families in Faith
The Strong Catholic Families National Partnership hosted several thousand ministry leaders, teachers, school leaders, parents and clergy together in 2016-17 for a four month webinar series focusing on the pastoral implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Four Master Teachers presented video reflections on the themes below followed by live panels reacting to the content and discussing practical applications to various ministries. The links to all the recordings are archived here for you.
SESSION 1: LISTENING TO THE JOYS AND HUNGERS OF FAMILIES
DR. TIM HOGAN,
DIRECTOR OF GRACE COUNSELING CENTER, DETROIT
Encountering Christ is a mutual experience, discovered in the posture of listening, which involves more than just hearing. It is the reciprocal action of listening to the other, through which each party has something to discern and learn. As ministerial leaders, demonstrating this practice sanctions the accompaniment model, as the foundation of sharing and discovering the Good News.
SESSION 2: ACCOMPANYING FAMILIES
BISHOP RICHARD MALONE,
DIOCESE OF BUFFALO
Accompaniment has become a primary and critical theme in the leadership and writings of Pope Francis who has urged all ministry leaders to learn “the art accompaniment… which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169). This Emmaus-like journey always begins where the person, couple or family are, requiring leaders to listen, converse and walk with them patiently and deliberately toward the Good News of Jesus Christ.
SESSION 3: ASSISTING FAMILIES IN DISCERNING GOD’S MOVEMENT
DIRECTOR OF NEW EVANGELIZATION, GREEN BAY
Each individual and family journey is a unique one, requiring leaders to be both deliberate and flexible in the “process of accompaniment and discernment which guides the faithful to an awareness of their situation before God.” (Amoris Laetitia #300). With trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of the Church and the prominence of each individual conscience, leaders are challenged to assist individuals and families in recognizing and discerning God’s presence within their daily lives and how they are being asked to live and share this Good News with the world.
CARDINAL DONALD WUERL,
ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington leads the final session in the Amoris Laetitia webinar series. Session Theme: The journey of accompaniment is the process of evangelization. When done intentionally, each individual and family is engaged to respond to the transformative moment of grace that highlights an authentic journey of faith. This is a critical moment for the universal Church and ministry leaders to be present to, and receptive of, the gifts and strengths that the domestic church is now prepared to share. “Only on the basis of this experience will the Church’s pastoral care for families enable them to be both domestic churches and a leaven of evangelization in society.” (Amoris Laetitia #290)