Family groupers from parishes around Christchurch and the Ashburton parish gathered at Rimu Park Scout Camp on the outskirts of Christchurch for a day of reflection and discussion with Fr. Brian Traynor CP. Formerly known as a “Formation Day”, Fr. Brian’s programme entitled “Come, Look, Listen, Share” was more appropriately billed as a “PFG Day”.


Following a welcome by Regional Coordinator, Bob Arthurs, the two morning sessions focussed on Pope Francis – where he has come from, how his “Man of the People” style in Buenos Aires, Argentina is being continued in Rome, his reforms of the Roman Curia in his short tenure to date and, in general, his whole “Who am I to judge?” attitude to some of the thorny issues currently evident in the worldwide Catholic Church. Fr. Brian illustrated his presentation with a number of quotations from Pope Francis but none was so pertinent to the PFGM as Francis’ quote to the bishops of Austria in February this year – “Here a new missionary area is opened to the Church, for example, in family groups, that create space for relationships between persons and with God where true communion, which welcomes each equally without confining them in elite groups, can grow.”

The afternoon session moved on to the practical aspects of our PFGs, like not relying totally on electronic forms of communications within our groups. As Pope Francis has shown, personal contact is still vital in this modern age. The session was summed up in the words of St. Francis of Assisi – “Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.”

The Rimu Park Scout Camp venue was a hit with all who gathered including the 14 children who took full advantage of the outdoor facilities during the day while under the care of South Island Directors, Murray & Aileen Straight’s daughter, Nichola, and three senior girls from Villa Maria College. The outdoor chapel on site was a fitting venue for Mass at the conclusion of such a lovely fine day.