The Archdiocese of Zamboanga in the Philippines is in the capital city of the peninsula region of the same name and serves a population of some 620,000 Catholics. Among the many challenges facing families in this region are poverty and the constant threat of natural disasters. In this precarious situation, many couples simply live together, since they think they cannot afford to get married. Other challenges also spring from the new media and technologies, which are often a harmful influence, damaging to families and human relationships generally.
In the past, the archdiocese had established a training program for lay pastoral workers in the 27 parishes of the diocese, whose task was the preparation of young couples for the sacrament of marriage and the support and counseling of married couples and families.
Now, in the face of the deepening crisis of marriage and family – with couples simply living together and many marriages and families are being torn apart – the archdiocese is planning to train some 127 lay pastoral workers who will work in the parishes, counseling and supporting married couples and families. They in turn will be supported by volunteer helpers, who will also help and support the families.
The aim of the program is to ensure that families are profoundly rooted in the Word of God and in the Eucharist, so that they can witness to the Gospel, respect the dignity of life from the moment of conception and deepen their understanding of the Church’s teaching on the sacrament of marriage, the family and human life, and bear witness to it in their lives.
The idea is to offer these couples and families workshops, seminars and annual retreats, as well as individual counseling and support, to help them in these difficulties. The lay pastoral workers who will run these programs must also themselves first undergo a three-year training course.
ACN has been supporting this training course for the 127 lay workers involved since 2014, and this year, the final year of the training cycle, we have promised to once again help with $11,300.
Will you join in funding this three-year training course for lay pastoral workers as part of the marriage and family apostolate in the Philippines?
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