Pope Francis has proclaimed a Year of the Family within a year that also marks the 150th anniversary of St Joseph as the Protector of the Church.
Bishop Alan Hopes said: “During this past year, we have seen just how important the family is. So many have experienced how vulnerable relationships within our families can be. Children who no longer live at home have been unable to visit their parents. Grandparents have not been allowed to hug or see their grandchildren. Journeys to visit friends have not been possible. Like our faith, our family life was not intended to be lived in isolation.
“So this will be a year, when the pandemic is over, for coming together once more and renewing those essential and close family ties.
“Plans are underway for each Diocese and each parish to be able to mark this important year. Our Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Commission have already been discussing how we might assist in this renewal of the Family. Over 20 people are being trained across the Diocese for a Prayer and Listening Ministry to discuss problems big and small,” said Bishop Alan.
“There will be Masses and retreats to celebrate Marriage and the Family during the course of the year, together with occasions when those who have lost a child, or who cannot have children, can come together to share their griefs and hopes. Every parish will need to reflect on how it might celebrate this year, helping to strengthen family life and assisting those who have gone through difficulties.
“Renewing those essential and close family ties will also be vital for the Family of God – the Church.”
Picture of St Joseph. © Mazur/cbcew.org.uk