Like the song goes (I won’t call it a hymn!) “I wanna be in that number, when the saints go marching in…” and here on this All Saints weekend, and as we look towards the end of the liturgical year, when the scripture readings will steer us to ponder on the Four Last Things, our yearning for personal sanctity ought to increase. I’m thinking particularly about how the synod on the family has ended with a statement, which of course is not an official magisterial document of the Church but something mainly for the pope to ponder, (NB. I haven’t seen an English version yet so I’m relying on commentary like this) and how each of us needs to continually examine how we enable our households, especially if we have children, to become more Christ-centred and a light to the world around us. It’s interesting that one of the phrases Cardinal Nichols has homed in on in his own reflections on the synod is the phrase“the family is the flesh of the Church” – for what is the flesh if not the body, the very thing that proves we are here present to ourselves and others. And since we believe in the Word made flesh from the womb of the Virgin Mary, then it follows that all aspects of authentic family life and living is incarnational – a powerful redemptive force in the Church and world. As the great pope of the family St. John Paul II once said; “marriage is the least inadequate sign of God’s love in the world.”
This I suppose is one way of saying what the synod Fathers are saying, that without the family there is no Church – period! Hence there is a real need to up our game on serving and protecting it especially in the manner with which we both prepare the next generation for matrimony as well as uphold the rights and duties of parents as the primary educators of their children. For a useful summary of Theology of the Body, read Bishop Laffitte’s interview here.
So as we get in to 2016 and start to tackle how we respond as a department to the synod and the inevitable Apostolic Exhortation that the pope will promulgate within the Year of Mercy, we are hosting a series of different events to help clergy and laity come to a fresh appreciation of this timeless catechesis. We will provide a list of the events we’re running so you can keep abreast of what’s ahead, either touch base with, or pass on to others. To give you an idea of what’s ahead:
January – Christopher West – “Our Bodies Proclaim the Gospel”
January – Fr Paul Bochanski – Courage Apostolate for Same Sex Attraction
March – Gabriele Kuby author of Global Sexual Revolution
April – We will be co-hosting a conference for educators with St Mary’s College, Twickenham presented by Bishop John Keenan of Paisley addressing Theology of the Body and the New Evangelisation.