- 1.Families: Alive in Our Church! – Church of the Holy Cross
Families need communities to thrive. Couples need to build their marital relationship in an intentional and regular way. Parents need to be coached and encouraged as they love, guide and build their children. The church communities have to support the families. To equip our families, otherwise referred to as the “domestic church”, many parishes have set up Family Life Ministries (“FLM”) or some call them Family Life Groups.
An FLM share their story on how they have helped build up the families in their parish to be happier and holier.
Building a Community of Communities
Ronnie and Pauline Lim are the coordinators of the FLM at Church of the Holy Cross. The FLM at Holy Cross is three years old, and they have already built up a tight-knit community that come together monthly to build each other in faith.
“When we first started, our first to-do was how were we going to put together a core team in order to do what needed to be done for FLM. And at that time, we knew a couple of other couples who were helping or serving in other marriage-related ministries, so we roped them in to serve in the FLM,” she quipped.
“Our FLM’s direction has always been for each family to be the “Little Church”, and for that to happen, the parents; husbands and wives, must have a good relationship base, so that their children can see and be influenced. Then the family becomes a strong Catholic Family,” said Ronnie.
The term “Little Church” originated from St John Chrysostom. He believed that the mission of every Christian married couple is to make their home a little church. He inspired the married couples of his time and filled them with this vision.
The greatest struggle, as Pauline puts it, is that “a lot of married couples think that they have no time to strengthen their marriage.”
“In our three years, we have organised quite a few couple enrichment programmes in Holy Cross, but the challenge has been the couples who really need it do not make time for it. The younger married couples who also need enrichment, do not make time to enrich their relationship,” she said.
“In the past, we had the same mindset as well. Not prioritising couple enrichment programmes for ourselves. But we realised that for the sake of our kids and for the people around us, we had to re-prioritise our lives and work on our own marriage”.
Moving forward, as the ministry hits its third year, Pauline and Ronnie hope that they can do a little more strategic planning to “collaborate with more ministries in their parish to integrate family life into different aspects and activities of the parish”.
Reflecting on their journey, serving in the FLM has also helped them to improve on their own marriage. “When you work towards bettering other peoples’ marriage, we have found that we indirectly work on your marriage. I always tell Ronnie that we can’t not work on our marriage if, when we tell other couples to work on their marriages,” said Pauline. “It forces us to be on our toes and treat each other lovingly and with care”.