On Sunday, more than 100 people gathered in Auckland for an afternoon to celebrate and pray for the family.
The event was organised by Family Life International NZ to recognise the importance of the natural family as a vital cell in society, which must be protected, celebrated and nurtured.
Beginning at the Carmelite Monastery in Royal Oak, the afternoon kicked off with activities for the children – the highlight being a large skipping rope (it seems some things never change!). There were a few short speeches about marriage, the family as a domestic church, the World Meeting of Families and the Synod on the Family.
Families had the opportunity to make their own family banner, decorating it with symbols and words that held significance for them. Some families had already prepared a family banner which they brought along.
Then, as a public witness, both to the faith and to the family, those present participated in a rosary procession from the Carmelite Monastery to St Therese’s Catholic Church in Three Kings. The procession drew attention from passers-by who were curious as to what was happening. A number of people beeped their car horns in solidarity as they saw the beautiful banner with the icon of the Holy Family.
The day concluded with Benediction and a sausage sizzle with time for fellowship.
Sunday was Mission Sunday and Fr John Airey, CSsR mentioned prior to Benediction that the most important mission we have is to protect and speak up for life.
It was also the day that a married couple, Louis and Zélie Martin, were declared Saints by the Church. Best known for their role as parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Saints Louis and Zélie Martin were are also wonderful examples of pro-life and family witness. St Thérèse was a Carmelite, bringing the significance of the event into sharper focus.
Marriage and family is under attack in these days. We must not be afraid to bear witness to God’s plan, while at the same time acknowledging our own brokenness and in obedience and humility, following the Church’s teaching on marriage and family while asking for God’s grace.
As St John Paul II reminds us in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (#59)
“The dignity and responsibility of the Christian family as the domestic Church can be achieved only with God’s unceasing aid, which will surely be granted if it is humbly and trustingly petitioned in prayer.”