A diocese in Bangladesh held a three-day pastoral meeting last week on the theme of "joy of merciful love in the Christian family" to reflect on the sacrament of marriage and to respond to the crisis of the family. The Bishop, priests and speakers of Rajshahi Diocese came together September 12 to 14 to discuss the many challenges facing families in the diocese. While stressing on the indissolubility of Christian marriage, Bishop Gervas Rozario who heads the diocese of over 60 thousand Catholics, noted that "only love makes the family alive and family life joyful”.
Around 203 Catholics from 21 parishes attended the meeting with each parish submitting a report on the problems encountered in families. They picked out challenges such as lack of dialogue between husband and wife, increasingly frequent cohabitation outside of marriage, alcoholism and drugs, and suggested practical ways to overcome them. A priest, Fr. Gomes identified challenges such as the lack of trust between husband and wife, the lack of religious and social values, cohabitation by young people, indifference to religious practices, alcoholism and drug addiction. Some of his advice to offset the trend is renewing of relationship between couples and praying, eating and attending Mass together. The priest also noted many families live far from the Catholic Church and invited Christian leaders to help them return to the Church through love. Participants in the meeting staged cultural performances for which awards were presented.
The family is one of the top priorities of the pontificate of Pope Francis. He called a two-part worldwide synod of bishops in the Vatican on the family, which was held in October, 2014 and 2015. The outcome of the synod was the Pope's apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), released April 8. (Source: UCAN)