People spoke of the challenges faced today, in all the different types of families, across the generations, from cradle to grave
- 21C Britain, the culture of busyness, the highly technological age, the effects of consumerism and individualism
- and amidst all of this, the challenges for the parishes – with ageing, falling congregations and fewer priests.
Those gathered spoke of their experiences of not always feeling welcome.
- when they do make it to Church
- when they enrol their children for first sacraments.
Parents spoke of not feeling supported in their role as first teachers of their children in faith, and in their need for guidance in parenting, money-management, coping with sickness, mental health issues, and bereavement.
One participant spoke of the family as torn apart by the dominance of the work ethic – and the expectation of employers, especially when both parents were working, and the lack of money.
- Priests were not supported in their ministry through training to deal with family issues – they too worried about people who experienced lack of care from the church
- The pain of divorced and remarried people was heartfelt
- There was also lots of good support for marriage and family life identified…
But we don’t share them enough…was the Bishop’s observation