By F. M. Britto
Raipur, November 26, 2018: Raipur archdiocese held Family Year Convention, in Raipur climaxing the Family Year being celebrated in Chhattisgarh region this year.
Nearly 1400 people from most of the archdiocese’s 76 parishes participated in the Nov 23-24 program.
“Coming together from all the parishes of the archdiocese itself is an experience of a family. Christian life is a life of relationships,” said Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of Raipur in the opening Mass. Anticipating Christ the King’s feast on the following day, he added, “Only when God’s kingdom comes in our families, it will be realized in the Church and society at large.”
Highlighting the theme of the convention, “Christ-centered family is a stronger Church,” Dominican Father George Kumblamootil of Nagpur said that the family can be centered on Christ only through family prayer, living His Word and loving one another. “We expect the Church to be guiltless and glorified. As the quality of the family, so will be the quality of the Church,” added the professor of theology in St. Charles’ Seminary.
Nirmal Minj, a Catholic district judge in Rajnandgaon, gave witness that although born and brought up in a Catholic family, he became an agnostic in his younger days. But encountering some problems he came back to Jesus in prayer, he said. Emphasizing the need to have daily family prayer, Minj said, “My 88 years old father prays everyday for six hours from 4 a.m. and I read the Bible everyday for 30 minutes.” He said that it is because of his father’s prayers he, a village Oraon tribal boy, who studied in a government school, could become a district judge.
Condemning the prevalent contraceptive mentality of modern Catholics, Father John Ponnore, the archdiocesan director of catechetics, advocated to have pro-life mentality among couples. “Life is the greatest gift by God,” he said. “What would have happened to me if my poor parents had aborted me, the fifth child in our family,” he posed. “By abortion and artificial family planning, we are doing human sacrifice, which had been ended when God asked Abraham not to lay his hand on his son Isaac,” added the archdiocesan pastoral centre director.
Explaining Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Father Saleen Pushparaj, the director of the archdiocesan Family Commission said, “This is the catechism book for families.” He recommended the families to read and reflect at least one paragraph of it every day. The organizer of the convention explained with visuals the 10 commandments of the Exhortation.
Besides teachings on Christ-centered family life, the convention also had witnesses from lay people, prayers, Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation.
The regional level Family Year Convention was held in Ambikapur during the Dushera holidays, Oct.19-21, attended by participants from all the five dioceses of Chhattisgarh state.