From the Life, Marriage & Family Office
The Shrine of the Holy Innocents at Kellyville provided a wonderful space for the families who attended the Family Sunday gathering on 23 October 2016 to explore the theme of ‘Family: An Oasis of Mercy’.
With the aid of a Pilgrim Family Prima, each family could prepare to walk through the Holy Door at the shrine at the conclusion of the event and gain a plenary indulgence for the Year of Mercy. To aid this preparation, programs for children and adults were run in parallel.
With the sound of babies crying in the background, Dr Jim and Genevieve McCaughan spoke to a packed room of parents about their experience in raising 11 children and how their family reaches out to the broader community.
Following afternoon tea, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv gave an address on the relevance of the Year of Mercy and how this relates to families. Sr Antonine from the Missionaries of Charity also spoke about the charism of St Teresa of Kolkata and shared some insights into how this can be lived out in family life.
The children’s program provided the opportunity for children to really delve into the works of mercy, exploring how they may be enacted within the context of the family and beyond, with the help of our generous volunteers.
A number of Missionaries of Charity taught the children about the love of God, and the resulting acts of charity and mercy that flow forth from this to our neighbour.
With the sisters in their white and blue, and the Franciscan friars in their grey, the children were able to see a beautiful witness of religious life – undoubtedly one that may inspire future vocations!
Bishop Vincent spoke to the children about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, about their families, and on a personal note his experience of family life, growing up and as a refugee.
At the conclusion to the event, the children helped prepare the crowd for their passage through the Holy Door by singing, in three-part harmony, the beautiful Latin hymn Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est (Where there is charity and love, there God is).
With this contemplative beginning, families proceeded to walk through the door, greet Our Lord in the tabernacle and venerate the Mercy Cross and Relics of St Teresa of Kolkata and our diocesan patron, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – a wonderful opportunity as the Year of Mercy draws to its close.