New diocesan Family & Life Office

11/07/2014

Catholic Outlook July 2014: Family & Life Office Story
Ben Smith is the Director of the diocesan Family & Life Office.
Photo: Adrian Middeldorp.

By Ben Smith, Family & Life Office Director, Catholic Outlook July 2014

The words of St John Paul II, “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Familaris Consortio n. 86) echo today as much as they did when he wrote them in 1981.

I was in Year 1 at the time, but only recently, now that I have a family of my own, have I begun to really understand what those words mean.

Our Diocesan Pastoral Plan has recognised the importance of families and has identified that the Diocese needs to “support our families as the cornerstone of our Church and society” (Faith in Our Future, p. 12).

The first agency action of Faith in Our Future was to establish a Family & Life Office by June 2014, which has now been achieved.

It is a great honour to be appointed as the Director of the Family & Life Office to serve the people of the Diocese in this critically important area at a time when we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

I have been married for 10 years to my wife, Julianna, who unselfishly gave up her career as a commercial lawyer to bring up our children. We have four girls and one boy and their ages are nine, six, five, three and six months.

Needless to say, our daily routine is fairly busy. Our parish is Our Lady of the Rosary at St Marys and Sunday Mass often requires a combination of skills to ensure that we make it through without distracting the rest of the congregation.

When it comes to family prayers, we take comfort in the saying attributed to the recently canonised St John XXIII that “the worst rosary is the one left unsaid.”

Out of the chaos and order, from the profound to the practical, Julianna and I labour each day to live out our vocation of marriage and build our little domestic church in our home.

The mission of the Family & Life Office is to proclaim and support the Church’s teaching on pro-life issues, marriage, family life and relationships, among Catholics in the Diocese as well as in the broader community.

The office is responsible for the management, coordination and delivery of resources, programs and events to support its mission in parishes, deaneries, migrant communities and venues across the Diocese in alignment with the family initiatives outlined in Faith in our Future.

The office will work in collaboration with the ministries and agencies of the Diocese, including CatholicCare Social Services, the Catholic Education Office, the Institute for Mission and Catholic Youth Parramatta.

My role as Director involves establishing this office and managing its ongoing work.

Continue reading full story at the Catholic Outlook site
For more information about the Family & Life Office, please contact: famlife@parra.catholic.org.au

 


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