The Passionist Family Group Movement
Have you heard this before?
“Our parish lacks life. We don’t know each other.”
Or maybe you’ve said to yourself:
“How can we show our children what it means to be Christian?”
Well now you can do something – JOIN A FAMILY GROUP!
Once you do, you’ll get to know people just like yourself. You’ll get support with your own family life, and in turn you will support others. Through this interaction, you will find you are bringing a happy, loving spirit to your parish community. Children will feel that they belong to a large extended family and will learn from the example of others. This was how the Church first began. The trademark of the early Christians was:
“SEE HOW THEY LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
It says that people from all walks of life are one with Christ.
WHEN YOU JOIN WHO WILL BE IN YOUR GROUP?
10-15 families are grouped into something like an extended family, with a cross section of ages, but some children of the same age. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join, from grandparents to babies. There is room for non-Catholic spouses, one-parent families and single people (either elderly or young). The groups gather once a month (e.g. a picnic, barbeque, casserole night) to enjoy being with one another and gradually to develop supportive relationships. Some get-togethers are just for the adults (to give them a bit of breathing space); whereas others are for the whole family. The groups work together to foster the parish community and support the pastors. Sharing experiences like a weekend away, a home Mass, baptisms and anniversaries are highlights in a Family Group’s calendar. This is the way in which Family Groups live the faith in the everyday circumstances of their lives.
DO WE HAVE TO BE ‘HOLY’?
You just have to be yourself.
Many non-Catholics or non-church attenders have found belonging to a Family Group is a great way to become involved in the faith life of their family. They don’t feel pressured to go to Church, but eventually many want to, because they like being with a larger family who have something to celebrate. It should be noted though that Family Groups are not a catchment for converts.
WHAT IF YOU ARE SHY?
Then you probably don’t know many people.
This is a way of being in immediate contact with at least 10-12 families. Once you know them, you’ll find you are able to mix with them after Mass instead of feeling alone. A Family Group is a great way of helping you to break down the barriers if you find it hard to talk to people.
“BUT I’M ALREADY VERY BUSY”
Do you spend your busy time with your family?
Being in a Family Group will mean that at least once a month you’ll do something with your family.
Is that being too busy? Family Groups can make people aware of other important needs.
“BUT I’VE ALREADY GOT ENOUGH FRIENDS”
You don’t have to lose them by belonging to a Family Group.
Have you thought what it’s like for the people who are not like you and who don’t have many friends?
Can you really make sense of going to church while these people are ignored and left out? You should have noticed that most people don’t stay after Mass on Sundays. How many people do you really know? What if we could create a network where everybody knew at least 10 families well? Wouldn’t that change the atmosphere of the Parish?
“BUT I FIND IT HARD MEETING NEW PEOPLE”
Nearly everyone does.
You may be uncomfortable for the first couple of hours with your new Family Group, but you’ll gradually become known. Everyone in the group is there because they want to be and that is something they have in common. Once you’ve met and come to know people in your group you’ll gradually find there are avenues for talking with people in other groups.
“HOW COMMITTED DO I HAVE TO BE?”
You treat it just like a family.
The bonds that develop and the sense of belonging create a sense of responsibility for one another. Naturally there may be times when you can’t get to all the functions. As with your own family, there is a need sometimes to make an extra effort, and as with all aspects of life, you reap what you sow. You will get from Family Groups what you put into Family Groups.
“WHAT ABOUT THE TEENAGERS?”
They are welcome to belong, but don’t join just because you think this will be the answer to getting your teenagers to attend Mass! Family Groups do provide a healthy environment for teenagers and smaller children. In some parishes some teenagers are very active in Family Groups. It is good for teenagers to see their parents doing something about their faith by becoming involved with others and this serves as a strong witness for them.
CAN YOU RESIST THIS OFFER?
Talk about this idea with your family.
HOW DID FAMILY GROUPS GET STARTED?
Fr Peter McGrath C.P., founder of the Family Group Movement, formed these small groups in his parish of St. Anthony’s in the Fields, Terrey Hills, Sydney, back in 1972. He felt the formation of small groups would foster the community spirit the parish experienced in its small beginnings. Since then, the Passionists have been invited to many parishes throughout Australia to help the people set up Family Groups in their parish communities. They now have a developing network throughout the states where the Passionists as the directors are working with the lay people as partners to cope with the demand for information and establishment of Family Groups in more parishes. The Passionists consider this work to be a form of mission. They also feel it is another relevant way of working with other Religious and Lay people to build the Christian community and prepare it for the future.
Our Lady of the Rosary Parish
The Entrance Coordinators
Anne & Des Little 4334 1642
Our Family Groups host Morning Tea after 9:30am Mass on the 3rd Sunday
of each month.