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Families: “See yourself as the Domestic Church”

Photo source: St Francis of Assisi RC, Sangre Grande

Many families still do not see themselves as domestic Church and their call to holiness, Archbishop Jason Gordon said in a June 23 interview with Rome Reports, an independent international TV news agency based in Rome, Italy.

Archbishop Gordon and Bishop Robert Llanos of St John’s-Basseterre, Antigua & Barbuda, shared their impressions of ‘The Domestic Church and Synodality’, the opening address given by Gregory and Lisa Popcak at the 10th World Meeting of Families (WMOF).

The day’s agenda also had panels on family life.

Archbishop Gordon said Popcak’s talk really put the domestic Church “into context”. “It is not a metaphorical image; the family is a domestic Church, and the domestic Church is a real Church and what happens there is vital for the bigger Church. They talk about the three rites of the domestic Church, the rituals and rites, forgiveness, and the mission of the domestic Church, all beautiful stuff.”

He said these ideas were vital for the Caribbean Church because many families while “good Catholics” do not yet see their families as domestic Church. Archbishop Gordon explained, “they don’t understand that the family is called to holiness, and they don’t understand the Church has a mission and they are part of that mission, an integral part…and that mission is to live fully what the family is.”

Bishop Llanos said he was reminded the “sacramentality of marriage” is to be found in the ordinary things of life. “A lot of couples and families are not aware that through their daily struggles, the natural struggles they face as human beings, as families, are the very things through which they become holy, are the very experiences through which they live the sacramental life”. He commented that this seems lost in today’s world.

Bishop Llanos said the stories shared and the way the conference was organised with people giving personal testimonies and witnesses were very profound. “It just grounds everything in reality; I would like to take that back to the bishops and to families of the Antilles [Episcopal] Conference, that we have to keep reminding people of the sacredness of their marriage and the sacredness of their family life, and the domestic Church is in fact something very grounded and real and simple.”

The bishops were part of the delegation from the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) attending the WMOF in Rome June 22–25 along with Spiritual Adviser

to the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC) Fr Matthew Ragbir, and AFLC Episcopal Delegates Raymond and Tricia Syms, from Trinidad and Tobago. The trio are consultors to the AEC’s Commission on the Laity and Family Life (domestic Church) chaired by Bishop Llanos.