Jonathan and Joshilla Demello, CFCI Goa, share their experience of having a large family and embracing a Pro-Life lifestyle.
How many members are there in your family?
My wife and I are married for 11 years and are blessed with 6 children: Jordain, Jeremiah, Jonas, Judith, Jairus and Jemimah.
What is being Pro-life mean to you?
Pro-life to us means being open to accept life and to co-create with our Creator. It means being willing to be a channel for new life to conceive, spring forth and be born.
The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.
~ Pope St. Paul VI, Humanae Vitae
What are the joys of having a large family?
The joys of having a large family are over-flowing. It just means more of Everything:
- More faces at the table, more of life to share.
- Happiness becomes contagious and laughter a song.
- With them all around, no day is too long.
- The more children there are, the more of everything there is.
- The more hugs, the more jostles and all the more kisses.
- The more squabbles, the more noise,
- The more silly the fights,
- The more forgiveness, The more closeness,
- The more fearless nights
- There’s more of variety
- There are more differences to celebrate.
- There’s more of memories and much more to create.
- There’s more joy, more suffering, more love, more pain.
What were your personal apprehensions of adopting a pro-life lifestyle? And how did you overcome them?
We always believe that we are led by God. As God says in
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”
~ Genesis 1:28
and in Matthew 6:33 God says
He will provide.
We truly believe that God provides and we are experiencing it for real. If God gifts a child, He will provide everything for the child. We are just caretakers to ensure the baby is brought forth into the world, caring for the baby from conception, as the child has its own soul and personality in the image and likeness of God. When financial security and daily expenses is an issue, we have faith and trust in God since He is in control and will provide. We have unfailing faith in His Divine Providence.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
~ Jeremiah 1:5
Have you faced any challenges / societal pressure in adopting a pro-life lifestyle?
Yes, very often. When questioned by society, we explain the reason why we believe in the lifestyle we live: that only God has the power over life and death.
We have been advised more than once to do a Tubal Ligation or to use contraceptives ever since our second child. But we stood firm and moved forward with God in control and today we are happy, greatly blessed and abundantly favoured as our six angels are with us in this journey of life. We constantly hear people’s opinions, often judged and even our financial situation is speculated. It is ironical since we have consciously chosen to have and nurture more children and ultimately God provides everything. While we grow responsible in parenting, we have an assurance that we can leave our concerns and worries with Him and He will take care of all that is needed.
What is your message for people who would like to adopt a pro-life lifestyle?
We can pro-create or co-create by being open to life. Every sexual act of love need not result in a child. Only God can bless the sexual union with the gift of a child and when that happens, accept the baby with love, receive the baby as a blessing. When you are willing to be open in this area and ready to be a responsible parent, many other blessings will follow in abundance especially in the time of need. You will never lack anything and will always have more than enough. Our journey is a testimony to this.
Children make our world livelier and we enjoy just being together. We love to spend time together with them as one big blessed family. Through our kids, we have also grown closer and rooted together spiritually and emotionally.
How has the community helped you in this journey?
The community has been of great support to us. The sharing we have and the fellowship has contributed immensely towards our journey to become better spouses and parents to our children. There has always been tremendous prayer support when any situation arises, concern, motivation. It has also helped in the spiritual growth of our children, leading prayers at home, learning about the Word, practising in our daily lives and we see these testimonies in our daily lives that not only strengthen our faith but also encourages us to Holiness.
How do you maintain a spiritual life in the midst of a huge family?
Family prayer, Scripture reading and the Family rosary is something that we give utmost importance when it comes to building our prayer lives. We also encourage our children to do their personal prayers in the morning which builds their relationship with God. Whenever there is a situation around us, we stay calm knowing and understanding that God is in control and we try to inculcate this in our children as much as possible.
“In families, we argue; in families, sometimes the plates fly; in families, the children give us headaches. And I’m not even going to mention the mother-in-law. But in families, there is always, always, the cross. Always. Because the love of God, of the Son of God, also opened for us this path. But, in families as well, after the cross, there is the resurrection…The family is — forgive the term I’ll use — it is a factory of hope, of hope of life and of resurrection. God was the one who opened this path… In families, there are difficulties, but these difficulties are overcome with love.”
~ Pope Francis, Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, 2015