By Susan Gately - 30 March, 2018
As part of the preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018, the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, has invited families across the 37 parishes of his diocese to join him at a family picnic fun day in Lough Key Forest Park in Boyle. At a recent launch for the event he said the fun day on Sunday 22nd April 2018, will be a “celebration of family in an atmosphere of fun, sharing and friendship”.
He particularly extended the invitation to neighbours and friends of “other religious traditions and of none”. The day begins at 1pm and continues until 6pm with the official opening at 2.30pm. “Lough Key Forest Park is a really beautiful location,” said Bishop Doran, stressing that a family picnic is “an opportunity for the wider family in the diocese to come together. To eat together, to renew and build friendships”. He added that the surroundings would give people “another moment to think about the environment and how we care for it”.
Among the activities of the afternoon, will be an opportunity to explore the beauty of creation and “consider how we can care for our common home” according to organisers. Admission to the event, which will include face painting, dance workshops and outdoor games, is free. Musicians, singers and choirs will add to the family atmosphere. The family picnic fun day will also provide the opportunity for families to discover the Family Cube – a resource to help families on their journey of faith and love.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Chrism Mass on Wednesday evening, Bishop Doran compared the love in a family which encourages, heals and takes responsibility to the characteristics of a diocesan family. Faith is not “something private”, he said. “We are also called to encourage each other in faith, in every situation and every stage in life. The discipleship business is not just a private thing between me and God.”
On healing, the Bishop of Elphin said that the ministry of healing was a central element of the mission of the Church. “The way we care for the most vulnerable among us is a measure of our humanity,” he said, and asked for prayers for Christian healthcare professionals. “They need the support of our prayers (and our appropriate political engagement) to ensure that their unique vocation to be advocates for life is not compromised by changes in our culture or in our law.”
On taking responsibility, Bishop Doran said in his family, as children they were expected to take responsibility – doing the dishes, cutting grass etc. “The Christian family is no different.Responsibility – or mission – begins with Baptism and it is renewed or confirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation. It finds expression in all the different ways in which we serve one another,” he said.
Addressing the priests of the diocese who were renewing the promises of their ordination, he said that everything “we do and are as priests, flows from the Eucharist. I am aware, however, that much of what you priests do in the service of God’s people, is done discretely and remains unseen. You will never know the ways in which the Holy Spirit works through you, to touch the lives of the people who are entrusted to your care”.
In a family, everyone has responsibilities, added Bishop Doran. “An authentic communion is one in which each person is helped to develop and to use the gifts he or she has received from nature and through grace. In God’s Church, either we all grow together, or nobody grows at all.”