Sunday 19th July, 10.30am, saw the opening Mass of the Congress celebrated by Bishop Julian. Families had been invited to take part in the Mass, after which a short Family Congress took place. About 60 Sydney families took part in the event.
We repaired to Philip Park, just outside the Cathedral, for a picnic lunch. You can see from the photos that the weather could not have been better. An hour later we split into three workshop groups: one for children, one for teenagers and one for parents. The latter two were held on the theme of the Family and Evangelisation. We were grateful to the members of the Community of St John for leading the teenagers. Meanwhile four agents of family life, including myself, led the parents workshop on the four tasks of the family which JPII presented in Familiaris Consortio.
Finally, Bishop Julian led us all back into the Cathedral where, at Our Lady's statue, we consecrated our families to her. By 3pm the families were beginning to make their way back
This was a tremendous event by which we enabled families to have some part in the Congress. I believe that families are at the forefront of the New Evangelisation, for not only are parents given the 'hands on' task of building the domestic church, but also they are at the interface with modern culture in which discernment and evangelisation are real tasks enlivened by grace. By embracing families at the start of the Congress we hoped to both honour and strengthen them in their mission.