On 9 March His Excellency Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, gave a lecture in Student Union Hall at St Mary's University College in Twickenham on “Marriage and the Family in a Culture of Relativism.”
The day began with a prayer led by the Right Rev Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, Bishop Laffitte then analyzed in great detail the-present-day context of relativism, before developing more fully the theme of the family and marriage in today's world. The full talk is available to view below:
Bishop Laffitte was then followed by Dr. Peter Kahn from the University of Liverpool, who spoke on passing on moral values in the family.
Following lunch, Martin O’Brien the Artistic Director for Ten Ten Theatre facilitated an excellent inter-active session in the afternoon which included a performance of the moving drama “Healthy Heart” depicting the way an ailing grandparent is able to have a powerfully positive influence on a troubled adolescent grandchild.
Fr. Tim Swinglehurst from Leeds Diocese and Dannie Firth then spoke about the history, design and pastoral impact of The Wednesday Word – the increasingly effective weekly communication to families enabling them to share and explore the Sunday Gospel at home in anticipation of the Sunday Mass and to encourage more active participation in the worshipping community.
Finally, Catherine Wiley – founder of the hugely successful Catholic Grandparents Association - spoke about the vision and mission of the Association to not only encourage wider appreciation of the role and duty of grandparents to transmit Catholic values and faith and spirituality to the next generation but how grandparents themselves must become realised as key protagonists in the whole purpose of the new evangelisation and the centrality of the family within it.
Those attending were also introduced to the Jesse Box by Paul Barnes and Gerry Malone. The Jesse Box is an amazing resource which provides parents and children visual aids to discuss Bible stories at home using models and props that the children themselves create and shape.
The day was organized by the Office for Marriage and Family Life of the Diocese of Westminster for all, especially catechists, teachers and clergy to help deepen appreciation that it is parents who are the primary agents of evangelisation.