PROJECT OF THE WEEK
Training of lay pastoral workers in the marriage and family apostolate
Zamboanga is the capital of the peninsula region and archdiocese bearing the same name and is found on the island of Mindanao. The archdiocese serves a population of some 620,000 Catholics. In the past, they established a training program for lay pastoral workers across their 27 parishes. Their task was to prepare young couples for the sacrament of marriage and also to provide support and counselling for married couples and families.
Now, in the face of a deepening crisis in the area of marriage and family, more resources are required. The situation being that more and more couples are simply living together and also many marriages and families are simply falling apart.
Therefore, the archdiocese is planning to train 127 lay pastoral workers to work in the parishes and provide counselling and support to married couples and families. They in turn will be supported by volunteers, who will also help and support the families.
The aim of the program is to ensure that families are profoundly rooted in the Word of God and in the Eucharist. That they too can witness to the Gospel, to the respect and the dignity of life from the moment of conception, and come to deepen their understanding of the Church‘s teachings on the sacrament of marriage, the family and human life, while also bearing witness to it in their own lives.
Among the many challenges facing families in this region are poverty and the constant threat of natural disasters. In this precarious situation, many couples simply live together because they believe they cannot afford to get married. Many other challenges also spring from the new media and other technologies, often harmful in their influence and damaging to families and human relationships in general.
The idea is to offer these couples and families workshops, seminars and annual retreats, as well as individual counselling and support, to help them in these difficulties. The lay pastoral workers who will run these programs must have themselves first undergone a three-year training course.
Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting this training course for lay workers who have been involved in the program since 2014. In this final year of the training cycle, thanks to our dedicated benefactors, we were able to give 14,500 CAD.