By Lisa Zengarini
Ahead of the National Week for Life and the Family, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has reminded that, as a domestic Church, all Christian families are called to proclaim joyfully the good news of salvation, in spite of their human weaknesses.
The theme of the Week
The event is celebrated by Church in Canada annually to encourage families to live the Gospel of life and family and includes a March for life in Ottawa. This years’ week will be commemorated from May 9 to May 16, with the theme, “Family, the Domestic Church: A Sign of Hope and Life”
The Church’s mission to the world meant to be carried out by families too
In his message for the occasion, CCCB’ president, Archbishop of Winnipeg Richard Gagnon, reminds that Church’s mission to the world “is meant to be carried out not only by bishops, priests, and religious, but it is for lay people and families too”. Although “no family is perfect” and therefore we all fall short of the ideal of being a domestic church, the prelate says, “the good news is that through our baptism we have been ‘incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213)”.
From the very beginning, Christianity was preached by lay people
Citing Pope Francis, Archbishop Gagnon further recalls that “from the very beginning, Christianity was preached by lay people”. “So too, in our day, the family’s commitment to Christ is necessary”, he points out. The message concludes with the prayer that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, families in Canada can “be a sign of hope and life attracting others to the beauty of God’s saving love in Christ Jesus”.
Suggested activities during the national Week
The Canadian Bishops’ Conference has published a number of resources offering suggestions on how to celebrate the national week, either at home, in a virtual mode or in the parish. Amongst other things, families are encouraged to gather in prayer at home once a day, before or after dinner, to teach their children the basics of the Catholic faith and to pray, also with entertainment activities. During the week Canadian parishes are invited to give a special blessing at the end of Mass for couples who are celebrating a significant marriage anniversary. The CCCB web-site further provides a number of links to documents or videos on the theme of family ministry. Finally, the faithful will be encouraged to participate in the March for Life in Ottawa which will take place on May 13.