TEAMS OF OUR LADY - the sacrament of marriage made visible in a world hungry for love
Are you looking for spiritual and pastoral nourishment for your marriage? If you are not familiar with Teams, this is an international lay movement in the Catholic Church, designed to enrich ‘married spirituality’, helping to make good Christian marriages even better by growing the graces received in sacramental marriage. Across the world Teams provide a proven method of increasing and improving prayer life, which helps couples grow closer to God and each other. This movement was founded in France in 1947 by Father Henry Caffarel as the fruit of a simple request from three married couples in 1939 to find ways to support and develop holiness in the sacrament of matrimony.
From this small beginning, Teams have grown into an international movement. There are now 13, 575 Teams worldwide, comprising of 68,615 couples and 10,194 priests and religious, who are Priest/Spiritual Counsellors. This fusion of the spiritual wealth of Teams derives from the two types of priesthood: the priestly ministry and the priesthood of the faithful. Together they create ‘the small church’, a beautiful image of the domestic church in its fullness. This concrete relationship between the Priest and the People of God help to reinforce the understanding of the Church as a community and enrich each other on the road to salvation.
In Great Britain there are 111 Teams, of which 38 are in the Diocese of Westminster. Again, in the last 5 years the movement has experienced a 20% growth in new Teams worldwide. This growth is seen as a direct response to a desire by Christian married couples seeking the benefits of spiritual assistance to live out their vocation.
The November gathering for the 60th Anniversary of Teams GB was a visible affirmation that not only is marriage and family life alive and well, but that this particular model of mutual accompaniment helps affirm and reveal its beauty. In times of darkness we notice that the lamps burn even more brightly and on this day the vastness of the cathedral was aglow with pinnacles of light. Each of the Teams, in their different ways, was a flickering reflection of the light that emanated from the beautiful Icon of the Holy Family, which adorned the sanctuary.
The gift of being with fellow faith-couples with whom a couple can share the joys and challenges of married life is a tremendous blessing. This is a wonderful model of spirituality for couples to develop their relationship with God in the company of fellow-travellers. Their quiet witnesses to the joy of Christian marriage and mutual accompaniment is not simply worth celebrating, it is worth sharing.