Q: Archbishop J, what is Amoris Laetitia Family Year?
Amoris Laetitia (AL) is Latin for “The Joy of Love”, the title of an apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis March 19, 2016, after he had listened to views expressed at two synods on the family. This very beautiful text is enriching the Church’s understanding of family and love in our modern world.
In December 2020, Pope Francis announced that he was dedicating a year to the family. He called it the year of Amoris Laetitia Family and it runs from March 19, 2021 to June 26, 2022.
In this year, many activities will focus on missioning the domestic Church. During this Holy Week, I invite you to enter onto a path of repentance and renewal as we work together to mission the domestic Church.
Missioning the domestic Church
During the Vigil Mass for Pentecost 2020, at the height of the lockdown during the pandemic, I announced that the Church, which had left the desert at Easter and headed into the Upper Room, was being sent on mission—to mission the domestic Church. Pope John Paul II famously said, “The Church does not have a mission, the mission has a Church.”
After a really beautiful time in the Upper Room during those days when we were locked in our houses—an intense time of formation—the Church pivoted to the family.
Since Pentecost 2020, much of my writing has been focused on understanding the family in all of its joys, hopes, fears and anxieties. We have had a running start to this year and are in a good position now to move in union with the Holy Father towards this year of “The Joy of Love—Family”.
I am asking every family in the Archdiocese to join with me, during this special year, in asking the intercession of St Joseph and his beloved spouse Mary for the renewal of family life in our Archdiocese. Let us use this time to recommit to family life and ask God to renew our families.
Every renewal begins with a reassessment of our practices, values, and beliefs (Repentance). What are the practices of our family that builds love for God and each other? What are the values that we currently hold? Are they Catholic values? What are our beliefs? Are they consistent with Christ and His Church?
If every family journeys with us during this year of extreme grace, we will see a boon for mission, for family life, for healing and for renewal of our Church and society.
Pope Paul VI, in a speech at Nazareth, January 5,1964, said: “Nazareth teaches us the meaning of family life, its loving communion, its simple and austere beauty, its sacred and inviolable character. May it teach how sweet and irreplaceable is its training, how fundamental and incomparable its role in the social order.”
The greatest challenge we face as a society and a civilisation is the destruction of the family, its practices, its values, and its beliefs. I have often said: “The family is the load-bearing wall of civilisation.”
As the family goes, so does the civilisation. Everyone wants the renewal of sweet T&T. It begins with your family and your participation in this year of grace, given as gift from the Holy Father.
Our Family Life Commission has already prepared a series of videos— ‘Domestic Church: Know your Rites’. This is a great place to begin. It looks at relationships, rituals and reaching out: three essential elements of a renewed family.
During this Holy Week, as we focus on the saving passion of Christ, please spend time reflecting on your family. If we are honest, we will see the path most families are taking is not working. Let us take a different way, a way less travelled; a way of commitment to God first, relationships and values, and reaching out to others.
Pope Francis calls the family of Nazareth the North Star of family life. Let us look to them, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to guide us through this year.
The Vatican has given us five objectives for this year. We will ensure you have adequate opportunity for participation and growth in each area.
This year of Joy, Love and the family is a special gift to you and your family. Let us use it wisely.
Look for the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission videos—’Domestic Church, Know your Rites’. Visit aflcrc.org or the Commission’s social media platforms using @familylifecommission. Watch them together as a family. Discuss each one and reflect on how you can improve in the three essential areas: relationships, rituals and reaching out.
John 12: 34–35
Vatican objectives for the year of Amoris Laetitia Family: