Marriage and Family Symposium

I’m very happy about an event in my parish earlier today. It was a luncheon with speakers and moments of prayer around the theme of Marriage and Family. Speakers were a couple who have been married 58 years, a couple married 8 or 10 years (I forget) with two children, two widowed people, and a high school senior and his parents. All offered useful perspectives on the topic.


The program was the brainchild of our pastor, whom I’m increasingly admiring for his pastoral concern. As you may recall, there were two years of rather intense focus on this topic, including two synods, concluding with Pope Francis’ statement “Amoris Lætitia” (The Joy of Love), which still needs to be digested and implemented in many respects. Fr. Steele wanted to do something to help present the teaching and last May came up with the idea of this symposium. Over the summer and early fall he developed it in consultation with parishioners, and today it took place. In addition to the speakers and prayers, he also provided all couples with a copy of a booklet titled Pope Francis Talks to Couples: Wisdom on Marriage and Family, which consists of the two sections of  “Amoris Lætitia” which deal directly with married life.


The lady who had been married 58 years went on too long, but overall, the program, which was very well thought out, was very good. It was necessarily limited in attendance. A number of couples had been directly invited to participate in planning, and more were invited to attend, but registration was also open to all. I hope there will be a ripple effect as those in attendance share what they gained with their friends and acquaintances.


One thought, which was set aside, was to have a discussion of “Amoris Lætitia.” It is too big a topic for such an event. The booklet, however, is an important beginning.Father Steele has also scheduled a lecture by an expert from Boston College for an evening in January.


This is the most recent example of Fr. Steele’s resourcefulness in providing various types of programs for adult faith formation. Perhaps he is better known for involving children in vibrant “family liturgies,” but his devotion to offering adult programs is also a highly admirable element of his deep pastoral concern for all.


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