Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith” which will begin on October 11, 2012. “It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and proclaim Him with joy to the people of our time,” said the Pope. A major focus of the “Year of Faith” will be the primary role of the family in the transmission of the faith in society. So what role can the family play in this upcoming year? (Read More)
The Family’s Mission in the Year of Faith
By Father Mariusz Frukacz
ROME, SEPT. 4, 2012 (Zenit.org).- What role can the family play in the context of the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith?
That is a question that ZENIT asked Jowita Kostrzewska, a correspondent at the Polish Catholic weekly “Niedziela.”
ZENIT: There is talk of a crisis in the family in the contemporary world. At the same time, some believe that the family is important in terms of giving witness during the Year of Faith, which will begin in October. What is your point of view in this regard?
Kostrzewska: Yes, it’s true. Today it’s easy to see the growing crisis of the family. Serious problems arise in many families, such as the lack of work or difficulty in earning what is necessary for a decent life. And when there is no help from outside, loneliness ensues, a lack of hope, and tragedies and dramas arise. Moreover, with the tempo of modern life, persons and family members are so pressured at work that they often don’t have time for their homes and children. Utilitarianism, increasingly obsessive dependency on extreme rhythms of work, the reduction of time dedicated to affective life, leads to the disintegration of the family.
The problem is especially true for persons who live marriage superficially. A growing number of divorces occur when persons don’t struggle for unity and reinforcement of the sacred dimension of their families. Such situations often take place when God and faith don’t have their rightful place. I think that the Year of Faith will be a good occasion and an extraordinary event to reinforce families.
ZENIT: What fruits can we expect from the Year of Faith?
Kostrzewska: In the first place, I expect that the Year of Faith will bring more families closer to the Gospel of Christ. The innumerable crises in families happen not only when security is lacking in relations between parents and children, but especially when evangelical values are lacking, such as love, hope, faith, trust, fidelity and truth. When the Gospel of Christ is lacking in families, young people often take refuge in places where disorder and relativism reign, thus they become victims of excesses, among which are drugs and alcohol. Moreover, they give a bad example. Thus persons who do not have an appropriate family model in the future will have difficulty in creating a real and solid relationship in their own families. This is a reason why it is so important to build family relations based on true values, in particular those indicated by the Gospel. The Year of Faith is an ideal time to pause and think what will be and what should be the role of families in today’s world.
ZENIT: Secularization has influenced many families. The transmission of the faith, from parents to children, is no longer a solid practice. Some believing parents are even convinced that it’s not necessary to transmit the faith to their children. Some think that the children on their own, in complete liberty, should decide which religion to follow. What do you think?
Kostrzewska: I think the Year of Faith will be very important to rediscover and deepen the quality and quantity of relations in the family. There will be many occasions to reflect on what the faith really is and how it can be transmitted.
I think, practically, that during the Year of Faith the family must find the time to be together to read the Bible and to pray, but also to talk, to laugh, to share joys and sorrows, that is, to reinforce the bonds of affection among all the members of the family. If our faith is strong, it will enable us to overcome even the greatest difficulties. For the family of believers the Year of Faith is the occasion to evangelize and to help families hit by the crisis, those who are in greatest need of our help. It is necessary to give families spiritual and material support. In this way, we will discover many spiritual treasures.
In conclusion, I intend to make reference to the documents of Vatican Council II, and to the thought of Blessed John Paul II; both stress that “the family is sacred.”