Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.Left: Participants at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event. Right: Fr Terence Pereira speaking during the April 16 event.

“We have all been called to be the alternative voice; the counter-culture. We need to bring God’s healing love to hurting marriages and families,” said Ms Cyrine Gregory, Marriage Encounter co-ordinator.

She was commenting on the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) Family Partners’ Empowerment event at the Catholic Spirituality Centre on April 16.

The event, attend by 300 Family Partner leaders, was a follow up of an ACF networking session on March 19 that aimed to synergise outreach efforts to families.

During the April 16 event, Fr Terence Pereira, Episcopal Vicar of the New Evangelisation, shared the importance of an intimate encounter with Christ as the basis of the ministries’ mission to empower families. This encounter had to be nurtured through prayer, scripture and the Eucharist. Otherwise, they will not only lose the focus of their mission, but also find themselves lacking the motivation and strength to serve.

Fr Terence also cited the burning bush in Exodus and explained that although the bush was burning, it wasn’t burnt. He then asked the chuckling audience if they were “burning”, or “burnt”.

Although the mood was light-hearted, Fr Terence did not mince his words when he spoke about the sobering rate of divorces in Singapore. According to him, there are about 21,000 marriages and 7,000 divorces each year, a ratio of one divorce for every three marriages.

Participants shared that they felt renewed after the event.

Ms Ramona Olsen said that “there is a tendency to rely on our own strength and that is how we grow tired and weary, forgetting that God is in control and that He is always there for us.”

“After Fr Terence’s talk, we feel encouraged and renewed in our call to continue the work we do,” she added.

Ms Agatha Cho shared how she came to the realisation that in spite of the difficulties encountered in ministry, it should be taken as “an enduring journey that leads to Heaven.”

She also shared that after a long time in ministry, people tend to fall into the dryness that makes them question if God really is present. But it is precisely then that they must remain faithful and trust firmly in Him.

The series of events for ACF’s Family Partners will culminate with another event on May 21. Titled Love Matters, it will be held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament starting from noon.

Jointly organised by ACF and Marriage Encounter (ME), and supported by other Family Partners, it will see married couples celebrating their milestone wedding anniversaries and priests celebrating their milestone priestly anniversaries. Participants will come together to thank God for their vocations in a thanksgiving Mass.

Msgr Ambrose Vaz, who is celebrating his 35th priestly anniversary this year, will be the main celebrant.

The Mass will be followed by a reception.

To find out more or sign up for the event, visit http://catholicfamily.org.sg/lovematters/


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