Marriage and family issues explored at free Lent talks

Marriage and family life will be explored in three sessions organised by the Reading Area Pastoral Group of Catholic churches shezita /

The Catholic churches in the Reading Pastoral Area are organising another series of their Lenten open sessions, with the theme this time being Marriage and the Family. With 42% of UK marriages now ending in divorce, and more than a million children having no contact with a father, the Reading Pastoral Area churches say that the time has never been more right to tackle what is generally seen as a crisis in our midst.

Each of the three sessions will feature an address by a guest speaker, followed by group discussion and a period of reflection. They will be held on consecutive Wednesday evenings in different churches in the area.

On Wednesday, February 25 at St William of York in Upper Redlands Road, Reading, Mark Molden, Chief Executive of Catholic Marriage Care, will consider some of the challenges facing those in relationships, and how families can be supported through the support of the “couples relationship” that lies at its heart.

Government research has shown that the preparation of couples before the marriage commitment has significant benefits for overall family stability and well-being, and that early intervention through counselling not only provides emotional support but enormous financial savings to society as a whole.

In considering these issues, Mark will explore how the Church can best continue to support marriages and families in very practical ways.

In the second session – on Wednesday, March 4 at Our Lady of Peace in Earley– the speaker will be Elizabeth Davies, Marriage & Family Life Project Officer for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales.

Elizabeth will consider the outcome of last year’s Bishops’ Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family, and look forward to the developing themes which will be covered in the second Synod, due to convene in the autumn of 2015. This invites the laity to reflect on the gifts and the challenges of family life, and Elizabeth will give participants the chance to discuss these.

The final session takes place on Wednesday, March 11at Christ the King in Whitley, when Keith and Maeve Chappell of St John Bosco in Woodley will focus on the spirituality of marriage and family life, with a particular focus on Holy Week and Easter.

They will explore how the events of this holiest time of year resonate in the daily experience of married couples and families of all types.

The group will look at how the Scriptures portray marriage and the family, and consider how people can build spirituality into the daily life of their families.

All are welcome to attend the talks, which start at 7.30pm and aim to finish by 9pm. Coffee and tea will be available, and no booking is necessary.

For further details, contact the Church Secretary at St John Bosco on 0118 969 3423.