For the last 21 years, I have worked for Archdiocesan Pastoral Services as the Adviser for Family Ministries, and Parish and Pastoral Area Adviser. It has been the most formative time of my life as I learnt so much about myself, our Church, and our families. I began in 1994, the International Year of the Family, charged with setting up parish-based family ministries in our Archdiocese. And I finish in December, in the year of the Family Synod in Rome and hopefully a whole new vision going forward.
Some highlights of my time in my family role are the amazing spread of the Seasons for Growth programmes; working with the Anglican diocese to equip parishes to reach out to young families through Side-by-Side Mentoring; the development of resources for parishes to use with their young families; and working with marriage programmes. These initiatives involved working alongside incredible adults, children and young people dedicated to supporting family life. It was always standing on sacred ground.
In my parish role of planning with and supporting leadership teams, I felt the emotions as people in parishes joined together – anxiety, concern and sometimes bewilderment. But also a growing sense of the possible – to be stronger for mission, embracing stewardship of our gifts, and reaching the street with the Good News the world so desperately needs to hear.
I am so grateful for my time in Pastoral Services, working with a wonderfully dedicated team. I am grateful for all the volunteers in marriage and family ministries. And I am grateful for the time I was given to support Cardinal Tom and Cardinal John in their vision for our Archdiocese. I hope to continue my support – but as a volunteer.