Family Faith Forum 2017

Faith formation is often achieved through gently accompanying another on their journey. As parish communities we have many opportunities to walk with children, families, individuals and couples through significant times in their lives.

In a Family Faith Forum to be held on 3 June, we shall examine the nature of accompaniment as experienced through sacraments of initiation, school years and Sunday mass.

There will be a keynote address and four workshops throughout the day, with refreshments and lunch included.

The keynote address will be given by Mary Ringstad on ‘The Nature of Accompaniment’.

In his Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis invites us “to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2). Yet it often requires more than a willing heart to companion another on a journey of transformation. Using a pastoral framework this is an opportunity to explore the nature of accompaniment. To consider how and why we choose to companion another? To deliberate on the impact of this encounter with the “stranger” and how it may illuminate “the spark of divine light within each of us.”

Four Workshops will be held in the afternoon.

Baptism, First Steps in Faith with John Donnelly:

Engage with those who prepare families for the sacrament of Baptism to explore what opportunities exist for maintaining meaningful relationships with the parish community. We shall examine programs designed to prepare families for the sacrament of Baptism and explore strategies for keeping the relationship with a family alive through their child’s faith journey. Practical resources will be shared and ways for using them will be discussed. Mindful of the range of family faith stories within our local communities this workshop will take a diverse approach to accompanying families from the time of their child’s baptism until they enrol in school. Pope Francis’ words on The Joy of Love will inform this process.

Conversations about Catholics with Helene O’Neill and Samantha Hill:

This is a program designed to assist parents with their own questions and uncertainties about Church, and in turn encourage and empower them in the Faith Formation of their children. It acknowledges and values how parents nurture their family, and gently brings people together by welcoming and connecting families to each other, to the wider community and to the Church.

The workshop will introduce participants to the four week program which is invitational and designed for small groups. It is hoped that the gifts of “Conversations about Catholics” can be shared by all interested in assisting others to grow in the knowledge of the Catholic Faith and its tradition.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word with Jennie Nolan:

A workshop for those who minister to children in parishes. The workshop will provide practical advice and resources to support parishes to enable full, active participation in the Sunday Eucharist. The second component of this workshop will be an explanation and quick glimpse into the ministry of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Special attention will be given to selecting appropriate scripture readings and music selection to engage children in masses.

Sacramental preparation and the screen generation with Loretta Heffernan:

Some parishes are exploring the use of videos to assist in engaging families as their children are preparing for the sacraments. This workshop will preview and evaluate a selection of videos from various sources.

Participants will be encouraged to think about how their parish could use video resources in preparation for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, reconciliation and first communion.

Register by 27 May, phone 4979 1328 or email

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle