Families are the primary unit which plays a crucial role in the society in general and the Church in particular.
Today significant changes on the social, political and economic front are posing several challenges to families and society at large. On the Christian level, there is a breakdown of Christian values. The teachings of the Catholic Church are being distorted. Thus, families are losing their true nature and purpose of its participation in the mission of the Church. Many people get married but very few are prepared to embrace the sacrament of Matrimony without losing its essence. Prayer life and sacramental life in the family have drastically declined.
It is not surprising that today we witness an increased recourse to a contraceptive culture, domestic violence, single parents – especially mothers, teenage pregnancies, and increased rates of abortion, and child abuse. One has also seen an increase and acceptance of LGBT groups, legalization of gays marriages in several countries. The need for strong families in the Church and society is indispensable. These challenges which put the lives of families at stake call for a response from these very families not to lose its identity.
The importance of the family for the life and well-being of society entails a particular responsibility for society to support and strengthen marriage and the family. (CCC 2201).
Here comes the role of communities like CFCI. CFCI is an evangelistic and missionary community which works closely with the clergy, local parishes and Catholic institutes towards discipling families. Encouraged by the Family Commission of the CCBI, CFCI equips couples, families, youth, kids to face these ever-increasing social, political and economic challenges being thrown each day.
Through various seminars, couples’ conferences, retreats and weekly meetings, CFCI is supporting couples in their walk of a sacramental life of marriage. These mediums provide practical steps to meet day to day challenges. For instance, the community encourages couples to dedicate time especially with their spouses called ‘Quality Time’, where couples have heart to heart conversations with each other. Thus, helping one understand the other. Special workshops on Parenting by priests certified in counselling and psychology are conducted to help parents to bring up children in a wholesome environment at home. Through weekly meetings, community members challenge one another to build a strong foundation for family life through personal prayer, word of God and family prayer. In addition, there are annual celebrations and get-togethers that help build fellowship among members, in turn sharing the love of Christ
“what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
~ 1 John 1:3
The community also focuses on the importance of teachings of the Catholic Church, and programs organized during the year focus on fixed themes. This helps couples understand their role in the context of building the Church.
The clergy and Catholic institutes support the CFCI community by opening doors to conducting these programs at their schools and parishes. Parish priests willingly encourage young couples and families to attend Christian Life Seminars (CLS). The CLS is followed by formation programs which include various teachings, recollections, retreats, weekly meetings.
Catholic schools, on the other hand, are showing an interest in building up the faith of Catholic students through weekly prayer meetings that are led by members of CFCI during school hours, at the school premises. Institutes are slowly reaching out to CFCI to conduct one-day initial retreats for students thus helping the young lay a strong foundation in Christ. In these myriad ways, the members of the CFCI community under the guidance of the Church are looking at restoring the true essence and call of families.