Faith Matters

Exploring faith in the family

FAITH and the role of the family is a perennial hot topic but interest has been heightened by Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia as well as Ireland's role as host of next year's World Meeting of Families.

'Faith in the Family' will also be the subject of this year's round table meeting organised by All Saints' Church in Ballymena.

Bairbre Cahill will be the main speaker at the event on Saturday September 9.

Bairbre, a wife and mother-of-four, is an author, public speaker and pastoral development worker in the Diocese of Raphoe.

She has also written about 'The Experience and Challenge of Families' in a book published this week called Exploring Amoris Laetitia - Opening the Pope's Love Letter to Families.

It was launched on Tuesday in Knock during the Novena.

Exploring Amoris Laetitia - Opening the Pope's Love Letter to Families (Veritas, 2017)

Bairbre says that when people talk together about faith and family, they "begin to recognise and claim their own experience of God, in their own families".

"Telling someone God is at the heart of their life doesn't work nearly as well as enabling them to explore and find the presence and action of God themselves," she says.

"At the moment we don't have enough of those opportunities."

This will be the fifth annual Ballymena Round Table and Baroness Nuala O'Loan, one of the organisers, said that issues around faith and families had been raised at all of the previous gatherings.

"This year, in preparation for the World Meeting of Families next August, we decided to ask Bairbre to come and join us to explore growing faith in challenging times - remembering that challenges bring opportunities too," she said.

Baroness Nuala O'Loan

"We hope that this meeting will be an opportunity to explore ways in which we can all - young and old, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents - work to grow faith within our own hearts, our families and in the family of our parish and Church.

"Why not take this opportunity to come to Ballymena - maybe shop in the morning and come to the Round Table in the afternoon, or just spend a few hours in the company of others thinking about what faith means for us and how we can grow with others in knowing and loving God, and in sharing the great gift of our faith with those we love."

Other speakers include Baroness O'Loan and Ballymena parish priest Fr Paddy Delargy, and the discussion will be facilitated by Janice McKeith.

  • To register or for further information contact All Saints' Parish Centre on 028 2563 1236, email, or telephone Janice McKeith on 079 2708 9125 or Nuala O'Loan on 077 6997 4970. All are welcome, and refreshments will be served. There will be no charge, though there will be an opportunity to make a voluntary contribution.
  • The Ballymena Round Table will be held in the Parish Centre, All Saints' Church, 9 Cushendall Road, Ballymena, BT43 6HA on Saturday September 9 from 1pm to 4.30pm.

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