In today’s contemporary society the family unit can no longer be viewed as one that is only nuclear. To do this, would exclude a large portion of the population.

Some choose to marry and have children, others do not, and some cannot. In some families, aunties and uncles go beyond the parents’ siblings and extend into the entire community. This makes me think of the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

Pope Francis writes:

‘To form a family is to be a part of God’s dream, to join him in building a world where no one will feel alone. True joy which is experienced in the family is not something random and fortuitous, but normal and ongoing.’

Recently I have had the pleasure of accompanying the Pastoral Placement Program (PPP) participants on their annual retreat. While those in this group are not related by blood (except for two sisters) or marriage they come together as community and in many ways are like a family.

The theme of this year’s retreat focused on the Trinity and gave all participants the opportunity to explore and contemplate relationships with self, others, and God. The trinitarian relationship encourages us to get to know God through the divine made man. It is through Jesus’ life and actions, that we see visible, the Holy Spirit at work in the world.

Throughout this time together the PPP discerned their individual strengths and areas for development, this led to a discovery of self and each other.  The challenges along the retreat journey insisted small groups consider the common good for the larger group, working as a team to achieve a goal and being a companion along the road. All characteristics of what it means to be family.

During the retreat we viewed the recently released film ‘King Richard’. This American biographical sports drama sees actor Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father and coach of famed tennis players Venus and Serena Williams.  The group were struck by the unfailing qualities of the father, he did not give up on his children, he wanted their life to be full and flourishing. It was through his actions, decisions, and encouragement that his children became aware of their fruits of the Holy Spirit.  There were many elements in the film which echoed this trinitarian relationship which we all hunger for. The courage to know our true self, the support of our loving God and those around us to assist reach our full potential and the humility to build right, meaningful relationships.

It was perfect timing for the PPP’s to come together during Pentecost as it provided the opportunity to explore how we each demonstrate the fruits of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, in our everyday life.

To conclude our time on retreat the PPP family were warmly welcomed by the Krambach parish family to celebrate Pentecost together. We thank the Krambach parish for changing their mass time to accommodate the PPP retreat, it was a generous gesture of how we can be trinitarian to each other.

Positions in the Pastoral Placement Program 2023 will be advertised in the coming months. For more information on the program go to:

This year our universal Church is celebrating the World Meeting of Families. The 10th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) is intended to highlight family love as a vocation and as a way of holiness, to understand and share the profound and salvific meaning of family relationships in daily life. This event is organised by Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life along with the Diocese of Rome. After being postponed for a year due to the pandemic, Pope Francis has asked dioceses around the world to make it possible for every family to participate in the WMOF. While Rome will be the main venue for the event on 22–26 June 2022, each diocese around the world will promote local events for its own families and communities based on the theme: “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.”

The WMOF is a great opportunity for Catholics on the local level to renew their commitment to family ministry in solidarity with diocesan communities from around the world and the Diocese of Rome. There will be a number of local events, reflections and moments of prayer to coincide with the gathering in Rome. To find out what is happening in our Diocese go to:

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