MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
The Koforidua Diocesan Website was set up a couple of years ago with various departments and offices of the diocese delineating their job descriptions as they seek to serving the Christian faithful of the diocese and beyond. Indeed, it was founded on the core belief that we accomplish more together than we would achieve alone. The office of Marriage and Family Life is one of such departments in the diocese with the enormous duty of safeguarding the principles of Christian marriage and promotion of a worthy Christian living in the context of a family. The need to protect the integrity of marriage and family and do away with secularism which denies the centrality of God in marriage and family life is of utmost importance today than ever before.
On October 5, 2014, at the Vatican, beginning with a papal Mass, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, will convene the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops with the theme, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the context of Evangelization.” This important call by the Holy Father could not have come at a more opportune time. It is designed to formulate pastoral strategies that will create an awareness in all persons to be open to God’s call on Family Life.
The Synod’s working document, “Instrument Laboris” has got three parts:
1. Communicating the Gospel of the Family in today’s world;
2. The pastoral programme for the Family in light of new challenges, and
3. An openness to life and parental responsibility in upbringing.
The last of such pastoral synods in 1980 resulted in the document, “Familiaris Consortio.”
As it has been said on many occasions and on various platforms, the growth and development of the church is entirely dependent upon how issues related to marriage and family life are handled and dealt with in the church. There are varied challenges confronting Catholic marriages and families, particularly, in Ghana and Africa as a whole. The major one being the recognition of our traditional marriage by the Church so that couples who go through our traditional system of marriage could receive the Eucharist without necessarily having church wedding as it is practiced today. Even though the synod will not primarily consider marriage as a topic, it is my fervid hope that at the end of this Synod of Bishops, all these numerous and diverse challenges hounding marriage and family life would have been sufficiently addressed to enhance the work of evangelization in the church.
FR. JOSEPH Q. AGGREY