COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 870          Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                               12 March 2016

SPECIAL ISSUE

FINAL REPORT TO POPE FRANCIS 2015 SYNOD OF BISHOPS

PART III.  THE MISSION OF THE FAMILY (4th in the series)

  1. “From the beginning of history, God has been generous with his love towards his children (cf. LG, 2), so that they could attain fullness of life in Jesus Christ (cf. Jh. 10:10).

“As Pope Francis forcefully reminds us, the mission of the family always extends outside itself in service to our brothers and sisters: ‘In virtue of their baptism all members of the People of God have become missionary disciples’ (EG, 120)”.

The Paschal Mystery is central to the Good News.  Families to recognize and welcome the cross which leads to the joy of the resurrection.  “This task requires ‘a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are’ (EG, 25)”.

Chapter I.  The Formation of the Family

  1. Marriage Preparation. “Christian marriage is a genuine call from God which demands careful discernment, constant prayer and adequate growth and development.”

“In this regard, a program of formation is needed which might accompany persons and couples so that communicating the faith might be united with an actual living experience provided by the entire Christian community.”

“Improved premarital catechesis.”  Engaged couple, dignity of the person, his/her freedom and respect for his/her rights.

“In this regard the three stages indicated in Familiaris Consortio (cf. 66) need to be borne in mind: remote preparation which treats the “transmission of the faith and Christian valueswithin the family; proximate preparation which coincides with the various programmes of catechesis and the formative experiences lived within the ecclesial community; and immediate preparation…which is part of a broader programme, characterized by the vocation to marriage itself.”

  1. “Sexuality is often separated from a plan of authentic love…the family, while remaining the primary place for formation (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, 3), cannot be the only place for formation in matters of sexuality.”

In this regard, true and proper pastoral programmes of support need to be devised, targeting both individuals and couples, with particular attention given to young people at the age of puberty and adolescence, so as to help them discover the beauty of sexuality in love.”

“Christianity proclaims that God created humanity as male and female, and blessed them to form one flesh and transmit life” (cf. Gen. 1: 27-28; 2: 24).

“Their difference, in equal personal dignity, is God’s seal of goodness on creation.”

Pre-matrimonial programmes to include virtues, especially chastity.  The formation program is like “a journey towards vocational discernment.” Could be given by capable married persons to accompany engaged couple.

  1. The celebration of Marriage. “The marriage; liturgy is a unique event, which is a familial and social celebration.  Engaged couple to prepare well for the wedding ceremony.  “Invite many to the celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.  Christian community to welcome the new family.”

“The wedding liturgy…to be prepared through a mystagogical/catechesis…”to understand that the celebration of their covenant takes place in the Lord.”

  1. The Initial Years of Family Life. “Experienced couples may be made available to the younger ones…in conjunction with association, ecclesial movements and new communities.

Newly wed to welcome children as gifts from God.  “Importance of family spirituality, prayer and participation in Sunday Mass…meet regularly for spiritual growth and solidarity, Lectio divina.  Devotions, Mass during wedding anniversary.  Networking…movements and Church groups.  All these are aids to maturity in the faith.

  1. The Formation of priests and other Pastoral Workers. “Seminars and programmes of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation ought to prepare future priests to become apostles of the family.”  “Affective and psychological development.”

“Candidates for the priesthood…live for periods of time with their families” to know current situation affecting families.

“Presence of lay people, families…women in priestly formation” promotes the appreciation of the diversity and complementarity of the different vocations in the Church.

“Family spiritual direction” – a parish ministry.

Chapter II.  Family, Generatively, Upbringing.

  1. The Transmission of Life. “The presence of large families in the Church is a blessing for the Christian community and society, because openness to life is an intrinsic requirement of conjugal love.”

The Church thanks “families who welcome children…raise them, surround them with affection and transmit the faith to them.  Documents of Magisterium promote the culture of life.  Involve specialists in biomedical field in Family Ministry.

  1. Generative responsibility. “According to the order of creation, conjugal love between a man and woman and the transmission of life are ordered to each (cf. Gen. 1: 27-28). Husband and wife “share in the work of creation”…”instruments of God’s love”, entrusted with “the responsibility for the future of humankind.”  Helpful: ‘Humanae Vitae’ (nn. 10-14); Familiaris Consortio (14; 28-35).

Responsible parenthood presupposes the formation of conscience.  “Church strongly rejects…contraception, sterilization, abortion”…”children, wonderful gift from God.”

  1. The Value of Life in all its Stages. “Life is a gift from God.”  “Life should in no way be discarded, either in its beginning or at its end.”  No to abortion (EV, 50).  No to Euthanasia and death penalty (cf. CCC, 2258).
  1. Adoption and Foster Parenting. “The adoption of orphaned and abandoned children…becomes a form of an authentic apostolate (cf. AA, 11).  “Encouraged by the Magisterium (cf. FC, 41; EV, 93).”  No to trafficking of children.  Consider the best interest of the child when adapting.  “Children…natural, adoptive or taken in foster care, are persons in their own rights who need to be accepted, loved and cared for…”

The Upbringing of Children

  1. “Families…are places of growth…practical and essential transmission of faith, spirituality and virtues, of vocation, too. Rights of parents to “choose the type of education for their children.” “Laity’s witness of life” is important.
  1. Other sources for the upbringing of children: social media, Ex. gr. e-mail.
  1. “Catholic schools play a vital role in assisting parents in their duty to raise their children. “Education in virtues and values…in Church teaching.

 NEXT ISSUE: PART III – CHAPTER III

Back to: 2016 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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