The optimism, aspiration, the dream of the Indian family for life in fullness in the Reign of God is one that never fades, even in the midst of apparently insurmountable misery, poverty, and other problems. Despite many serious difficulties from within and without, Indian families have a relatively high stability with their deep religiosity and sense of the divine. They are effusively optimistic. Even today, we refer to the Family as a point of reference for social, political, economic and religion-based ideal relationships. There is no doubt that global developments have an impact even on the remotest rural Indian family. The Indian Christian family is very much part of this new technocrat society, which has paved the way to different problems.
Over the last twenty-five years, the CCBI Commission for Family, under the leadership (Chairs) of different Bishops and the present Chairman Most Rev. Lawrence Pius Dorairaj, is striving very hard to contextualize the vision of our Pope. The CCBI Commission for the Family endeavors to address all the family related needs, and encourages the family to grow spiritually. The Family Commission of CCBI oversees the functioning of Regional Family Commissions.
The principal activity of the National Commission is to coordinate meetings of Secretaries of Regional Family Commissions and assist them to organize Training for the Trainers (TOT). It also conducts the Biennial Meeting of Diocesan Directors/Secretaries of Family Apostolate and guides them to deepen and grow in the apostolate. Another important task of the Commission is networking of the Family Movements. The publications of bulletins, magazines, books and use of media is an important function of the commission. A glimpse of it can be found in the programs and training seminars conducted by the CCBI Commission for the Family, namely, on Pro-Life issues, training of couples for family movements., orientation for family apostolate, teams training, marriage enrichment, family spirituality, family and Eucharist, theology of the body, family and education, remote and proximate marriage preparation and follow-up seminars. The national office of the CCBI Commission for Family has prepared resource books, material, and power point presentations to help train personnel for the family apostolate.
In order to further decentralize the family ministry and make it more focused Regional Family Commissions were established after the CCBI Plenary held at Ranchi from March 4th to 9th 2005. Resource material in the form of books, literature, videos, CDs, DVDS have been prepared by the various Regional Centers of the family apostolate. In 2013 the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) promulgated “Pastoral Plan for India” wherein certain priority areas are spelt out, ‘Safeguarding of the Family’ is identified as one of the pastoral priorities of the Church in India. These pointers are given to the dioceses in order that they may effectively prepare their own planned pastoral plan for the family apostolate.
‘Promoting the Joy of Love in Our Families’ was the theme of the 29th Plenary Assembly of CCBI which was held from 31st January to 8th February 2017 at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. In view of the call given by Pope Francis through the Document Amoris Laetitia, the CCBI deliberated at length on this document with the aim of building stable, fruitful and joyful families and offering help to those who do not fully meet the Christian ideal of marriage and the family.
In the light of above, we would like to present the pastoral initiatives taken by the Indian Church. Beginning with the Structure(Set Up)of the CCBI Commission for Family, its Vision and Goals, the segments of its apostolate, and then the Programes conducted by the CCBI Commission for Family in pursuance of the Vision and Goals with special emphasis on prolife initiatives. This will also give a glimpse of what is happening in the various regions of our country.