There will be a number of changes in the operations of the Desk.  Toni Rowland will retire as coordinator as from 1st February and will remain as part of the Working Group for Family Ministry.  The Family Life Desk will be generally under the administration of the  Working Group and the Department for the Laity and Fr Sakhi Mofokeng.   His email is  smofokeng@sacbc.org.za  and tel 012 323 6458.


As bishops and dioceses will be taking greater responsibility for their Family Apostolate a  PARISH FAMILY MINISTRY FORMATION WEEKEND will be held on 13-15 March 2015.     This general orientation into family ministry will be very beneficial to new and existing diocesan family teams to develop and implement plans.  Delegates working within parishes are also welcome. Toni is responsible for organising this event together with the Working Group.  Further assistance will be available on request.

See details below and PLEASE BOOK AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.  2015 March PFM

Family Life Year Planners for 2015,  Thoughts for the Day for January – March and other Lenten resources for Families, Stations of the Cross for Families in different languages and more can be ordered from MARFAM.   email info@marfam.org.za.

Lay Leaders Conference December 2014

2014 Family Life Desk Report

399 Paul Kruger Street, P O Box 941, Pretoria, 0001, tel 012 323-6458 fax 012 326-6218
Cel 082 552 1275 trowland@sacbc.org.za web: http://familydesk.sacbc.org.za
The main activities for the year supported the Family Life Desk objectives i.e. of establishing and supporting of diocesan family life desks, networking, promotion of Parish Family Ministry, and provision of resources to support these objectives. Communication was maintained with bishops and diocesan contacts, some visits were conducted and formation workshops run. The 2015 Family Year Planner and accompanying resources were produced and promoted.
Activities also responded to resolutions from the bishops’ plenary meetings. These included a three year focus on families 2014-2016, production of a family prayer, suggestion leaflet and holding a family conference. The celebration of May as a month for Family and Life was promoted and resources provided.
2014 was the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and its themes and commemorative events were incorporated into the work of the Desk in various ways. A talk at the invitation of the CPLO and membership of the DSD Family Services Forum involved forming part of a task team and making a presentation at the national Summit on the IYF+20 and the launch of the White Paper on Families by the Minister of Social Development.
The working group met a number of times and a meeting was held with a number of nearby bishops to brainstorm future themes and direction. These are being affected by the restructuring of the Conference and the Department for the Laity under bishop Jan de Groef and with Bishop Zolile Mbampani who will be responsible for family life. Toni Rowland will be retiring as coordinator.
Future plans. Operation of the Desk, formation for priests, a Family Leaders Conference and participation in the World Meeting of families are under discussion as well as regular activities.
January 2014 began with a visit to the Eastern Cape. An invitation from the Sacred Heart Sodality to be a guest speaker at the annual leaders’ conference was combined with visits to the dioceses of Aliwal, Queenstown and Port Elizabeth. Parish Family Ministry and the annual Family Year Planner with accompanying resources were promoted as vehicles for family formation. In Port Elizabeth the annual priests’ meeting was addressed and a promotional visit to East London made. The Family Synod questionnaire was also addressed. In Aliwal and Queenstown meetings were held with diocesan family teams.
A Parish Family Ministry Formation weekend was held in February for delegates from various dioceses.
In response to the resolutions from the bishops’ January plenary meeting a prayer was composed, translations were arranged, a card was produced and approximately 80 000 prayer cards in various combinations of languages have been distributed mainly to the dioceses and to the family movements for promotion. The prayer has also been included in MARFAM publications A FAMILY PRAYER BOOK and FAMILY MATTERS magazine No 1 2014. FAMILY MATTERS 2 contains an activity for deeper reflection and sharing on the prayer.
A resource leaflet and Package for Family Days and celebrations was made available using the 2014 Family theme FAMILIES TOGETHER, THAT’S US! from the Family Year Planner. The monthly themes were promoted for family days in the leaflet circulated to the bishops and in MARFAM’s THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY and FAMILY MATTERS magazines which served as ongoing formation resources also on topics related to the Synod.
A Family Conference was planned and co-hosted with a number of other organisations, Radio Veritas, Salesian family, MARFAM and the Johannesburg Archdiocese. It was held at Bosco Centre in Walkerville. Invitations were issued to all dioceses and a number of diocesan teams participated. However, support, especially from family movements, parishes and Johannesburg archdiocese was disappointing. Priest and parish buy-in is essential for this type of event.
Eshowe diocese. Initial and follow-up visits to Eshowe diocese to establish a Diocesan Parish Family Ministry programme were conducted and meetings were held with the bishop, diocesan co-ordinating priest and couple. Information talks and formation workshops were run in Empangeni and Eshowe.
Some promotional visits and workshops in Tzaneen and Rustenburg dioceses and to a number of parishes in different dioceses were conducted.
Collaboration and networking with other departments and organisations was pursued and a presentation made to the annual Lay Leaders meeting of the Department.
The Family Desk was not involved in the questionnaire in preparation for the 2014 Extraordinary Synod. The coordinator participated in a SECAM consultation. Synod information and themes were covered in conferences and MARFAM publications. Involvement in preparation for the 2015 Synod is being discussed by the working group.
2015 PLANS.
In terms of the bishops’ plenary resolutions the Family Life Desk working group will be responsible for
• Family Leaders conference for leaders of family movements and diocesan teams will be held in 2015.
• Family Ministry Formation workshop for priests from any diocese.
• Delegates will be selected and together with the two bishops will participate in the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
• The 2015 Family theme for 2015 is MARRIAGE AND FAMILY, COMMITTED TO LOVE AND LIFE. There will be a strong focus on marriage during the year but in particular from weeks 21-27 of Ordinary Time with the 3yearly marriage campaign. As before Family Year Planners have been produced and are being distributed and accompanying resource booklets are available.
• Funding for programmes will be pursued.
• Family Prayer Cards are still available in some of the languages. More can be reprinted.
• Parish Family Ministry formation programmes continue.
• 2016 family theme will include healing.

Toni Rowland. Coordinator
January 2015


With Mary let us celebrate the coming of her son.    May they be a source of peace and joy in our homes and families.

a mother's welcome to her unborn child
a mother’s welcome to her unborn child

Pope Francis gives wonderful words of advice to the Vatican employees in his meeting with them as preparation for Christmas. He encouraged them to examine nine areas.
“Care for your spiritual life, your relationship with God,” he said was the first, because “this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”
“A Christian who is not nourished by prayer, the sacraments and the Word of God, inevitably fades and withers,” he added.
Second, care for your family life, “giving to your children and your loved ones not only money, but above all time, attention and love.”
For the other 7 all dealing with important aspects of relationships go to Zenit or the Vatican news.

His final message came back to the family.
In addition, he called on them to never treat Christmas as “a celebration of consumerism” and useless, extravagant gift-giving, but rather as the “festival of joy to welcome the Lord in the crib and heart.”
Acknowledging he had spoken of various areas on which to reflect carefully, the Holy Father called on the Vatican employees to ponder which area they need to address the most.
Here, he stressed taking care of the family, as, “The family is a treasure. Children are a treasure.”
He said young parents should never be too busy to find time to play with their children, for such playing is such a beautiful moment, and helps “sow the future.”


December Advent update

The SACBC offices close on 12 December but then the real fun starts. Family life and family ministry must continue as it is also not all fun for everyone. Do you need help or suggestions for Advent activities at home to prepare for Christmas and 2015. Visit www.marfam.org.za for resources.