David Fong

The late St Pope John Paul II was convinced that the well-being of both society and the Church depends on the vitality and strength of the family.

He could see during his time that the family would be subject to numerous forces that would seek to destroy it or in some way deform it. The complementary nature of man (husband) and woman (wife) and its purpose (indissoluble union and procreativity) have been increasingly rejected and a false vision of reality substituted for God’s created order.

In Familiaris Consortio, he wrote, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family. It is, therefore, indispensable and urgent that every person of good will should endeavour to save and foster the values and requirements of the Family.”

Indeed, the need is great, and more help is sought after in the marriage and family apostolates, whether in the Family Life Ministries in the parishes or at any of the Family Partners (FPs) of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF). Serving singles, engaged couples, newly-weds, married couples and parents of various ages in different life stages and situations.

According to Steven and Lilly Yeo, Coordinators at Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE): “Both laity and priests have an equal and indispensable role in preparing couples for marriage. More hands are always needed. But we have to ensure the ones leading and conducting the programme are well-formed in the Catechesis on Marriage and Family.”

There’s much to be gained too from those who are involved in marriage and family apostolates. Said Anselm and Karen de Souza from the Marriage Preparation Course (MPC), “The experience of presenting at MPC has offered us an introspective look into our own journey as a couple in our marriage. Reflecting on key moments of our lives in the highs and lows, then realising that God is always present with us brought us joy, comfort and peace.

“The greatest gift we received is knowing that we cannot tell the engaged couples about Catholic marriages without living out our own marriage as God intended and thereby this has helped us focus on our own marriage and to work at being an authentic sign of God’s loving presence to the people we serve.”

Besides, CEE and MPC, the other FPs include Choice, Couple Mentor Journey, Marriage Encounter, Couple Empowerment Programme, Natural Family Planning, Marriage Retorno, Retrouvaille, Surviving Divorce, Beginning Experience, Pieta, Family Life Society, Christian Family Social Movement and Couples for Christ.

For more information on how you can help, please contact any of these FPs whose contact can be found on the ACF web-site: https://catholicfamily.org.sg/family-partners/

David Fong is the Executive Director of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family.

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