At the 5.30pm Mass this weekend the Passionist Family groups in the Parish of Napier are gathering to celebrate 30 years of this movement in the Church in New Zealand. It is a time to thank God for the wonderful way in which these families have been brought together and nourished through belonging to a Passionist Family Group.
The Passionist Family idea was set up to support and encourage building community, and to give people a sense of acceptance and belonging to their faith community. Their motto is: “A family for all.”
Many of those who belong to the groups have told me that when they are new to the Parish this was the way in which they were able to get to know people. It helped them as young couples with children to integrate into the wider Parish community.
I am very aware that we need a similar model to connect our school and Parish communities. In a world of rampant individualism this is a great challenge. However, if we are to have a future we must find a way to connect young people and their families to the faith community.
Today we thank God for all those who have been or are still members of the Passionist Family Groups in our Parish. We pray that through their example and care for each other that we will be encouraged to extend the ‘hand of friendship’ to our school families so that they too will feel part of the Parish family.
Father Barry Scannell s.m. Parish Priest