The attacks on family life in this current age are constant and unabating. Where once family was mum, dad and the kids and the wider family unit was available for constant support and encouragement, today that is no longer the case. Families are often broken. Sometimes the support is just not there. There are many single parent homes. Now, the very heart of family is being attacked by the homosexual agenda which wants to see same-sex marriage and adoption become the norm – not just here in New Zealand, but throughout the whole of the Western world.
Blessed John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI exhort the faithful to support the natural family, to protect it and to take care of its members. Blessed John Paul II told us that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.” If we do not care for our families, the future is very bleak indeed.
Family Life International NZ decided four years ago that one of the ways we can support families, is by holding an annual Family Fun Day, where families and children (both born and yet to be born) are celebrated.
Yesterday, Family Life International held it’s third annual Family Fun Day at the beautiful grounds of the Franciscan Friary in Hillsborough, Auckland. The emphasis at our Family Fun Day’s is always on back-to-basics fun, and camaraderie. Yesterday was no different. About 500 people attended throughout the afternoon. There were pony rides, animals to pet; old-fashioned running races such as the sack, and egg and spoon classics. The giant bubbles display was a real hit with the children and wowed the aduts too. The back-drop to all this wonderful fun was a variety of musical acts from Mother of Divine Mercy Youth, Joseph Plazo, Elena Silijic, Jeffey Nathan, Sione Mohenoa, Julia Whibley and the Zimbabwe Catholic Community. How blessed we are to have so much talent within our Catholic Community.
One of the highlights for many of those at the Family Fun Day, is the release of 500 helium-filled balloons which have messages such as “Children are a gift from God” and “Life is Precious”. Bishop Pat Dunn gathered those present and spoke of the preciousness of life. He asked each person present to think of someone who is pregnant and say a prayer for the baby. The group paused for a moment as they did this, then, the balloons were all released at the same time. A spectacular sight from the ground.
Following the balloon release, participants were asked to join in a Rosary Prayer Procession around the beautiful grounds. Bishop Pat Dunn lead the prayer, and after each decade the words “Ave Maria” could be heard lifted up to heaven. The Franciscan Friary has a beautiful grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Here the procession ended and Bishop Pat blessed the children present – both born and unborn. The blessing of children unborn recognises their humanity and their part in the family from their first moment of conception. It is a reminder that the child hidden in the secrecy of his mother’s womb, is very much alive and loved.
Congratulations goes to the two prize winners. The wheel barrow (filled with all sorts of goodies) was won by Jean Simpson, a long-time volunteer at Family Life International. At the time of the draw, she was busy cleaning up the kitchen after the afternoon teas! We are so very grateful to Jean for her service, how fitting that she should win the raffle! This year we also had a pretty amazing door prize of a Samsung Galaxy mini 2 smart phone. This was won by Kaipara Solomon. We hope he enjoys his new toy!
There is an urgent need for families to be supported today. Family Life International NZ hopes that this Family Fun Day, went some way in celebrating families, celebraing children and encouraging parents in their great responsibility.
Photos from Family Fun Day 2013 can be found on Family Life International NZ’s Facebook page.