By Sr. Angel Sithole (CMFC)
Priests and the religious in Hwange Diocese held a workshop on family apostolate, to capacitate and equip the Catholic family with knowledge that shapes their future.
The workshop which was also attended by Bishop Raphael Ncube and Bishop Emeritus Pius Ncube, was held at Chimuniko Pastoral Centre, at St. Mary’s Mission on March 16, 2023.
Family Apostolate Commission National Coordinator Sr. Anuarite Manyahi facilitated the workshop. She said Family Apostolate promotes a society where the culture of life and Christian family values thrive.
Family Apostolate refers to the services and activities which are organised and executed to help the families achieve coherent and fulfilling relationships among the members, leading them to experience family life satisfaction and attaining the purpose for which the families
are created.”(J. ALENCHERRY:2015)
In her pastoral care of young families, Sr. Manyahi said, the Church must help the family to live married love responsibly in relationship with its demands of communion and service to life.
“The Church has the legitimate authority to help families to achieve this as well as family life satisfaction. The church is the sole agent of family apostolate and the family is the object of the ministries. She must help them to harmonize the intimacy of home life with the generous shared work of building up the Church and society,” she stressed.
She said Family and Marriage promotes the natural family based on marriage which is the fundamental human institution defined by a lifetime union between one man and one woman.
She emphasized that fostering a culture where the sanctity and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is upheld and respected as the main aim of the Family Apostolate
“As a result, “no plan of the organized pastoral work at any level must fail to take into consideration the pastoral care of the family.” (FC # 70.)
Sr. Manyahi said that it pastoral activities should cater for the strengthening of families at all levels. She said according to St. John Paul II, “the apostolate of the family is one of the priority tasks, rendered even more urgent by the present state of the world.” (Familiaris Consortio # 74).
The mission of the church is to extend her services to the present families, young and old, small, large, single parent families, rich, poor, homeless, aged, child headed, widowed, those with disability etc.
Family pastoral services, therefore, should accompany the family according to their stages or ages throughout its journey and the Church’s pastoral action must be progressive. Cfr Familiaris Consortio, 65.
Family pastoral care consists of various forms, activities and services which may evolve from time to time in order to evangelize the present and future families, so that they may be helped, supported and guided to live according to their own lives and bearing witness to the
love of Christ in the society in order that they may enjoy family life satisfaction
Family apostolate is the mission of the church – to preserve, to protect, to heal, to reform, and to restore sound family life in the modern world.
It involves preparing the future and present families according to their stages of life at different levels of the Church ministry.
Sr. Manyahi said the family ministries have a double purpose which aims to help families live a self-fulfilling growth in this life and secondly to help them achieve, in the later life, the perfection of that fulfilment and satisfaction.
There is thus no single program that is suitable for the whole parish. Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio reminds us of the urgency of the pastoral intervention of the church in support of the family. Every effort should be made to strengthen and develop pastoral care
for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church (FC # 65).