Family Fun Day Encourages Christian Families

Bishop Pat Dunn blesses children at Family Fun DayThe attacks on family life in this current age are constant and unabating. Where once family was mum, dad and the kids and the wider family unit was available for constant support and encouragement, today that is no longer the case. Families are often broken. Sometimes the support is just not there. There are many single parent homes. Now, the very heart of family is being attacked by the homosexual agenda which wants to see same-sex marriage and adoption become the norm – not just here in New Zealand, but throughout the whole of the Western world.

Blessed John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI exhort the faithful to support the natural family, to protect it and to take care of its members. Blessed John Paul II told us that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.” If we do not care for our families, the future is very bleak indeed.

Family Life International NZ decided four years ago that one of the ways we can support families, is by holding an annual Family Fun Day, where families and children (both born and yet to be born) are celebrated.

Yesterday, Family Life International held it’s third annual Family Fun Day at the beautiful grounds of the Franciscan Friary in Hillsborough, Auckland. The emphasis at our Family Fun Day’s is always on back-to-basics fun, and camaraderie. Yesterday was no different.  About 500 people attended throughout the afternoon.  There were pony rides, animals to pet; old-fashioned running races such as the sack, and egg and spoon classics.  The giant bubbles display was a real hit with the children and wowed the aduts too.  The back-drop to all this wonderful fun was a variety of musical acts from Mother of Divine Mercy Youth, Joseph Plazo, Elena Silijic, Jeffey Nathan, Sione Mohenoa, Julia Whibley and the Zimbabwe Catholic Community.  How blessed we are to have so much talent within our Catholic Community.

One of the highlights for many of those at the Family Fun Day, is the release of 500 helium-filled balloons which have messages such as “Children are a gift from God” and “Life is Precious”.  Bishop Pat Dunn gathered those present and spoke of the preciousness of life.  He asked each person present to think of someone who is pregnant and say a prayer for the baby.  The group paused for a moment as they did this, then, the balloons were all released at the same time.  A spectacular sight from the ground.

Following the balloon release, participants were asked to join in a Rosary Prayer Procession around the beautiful grounds.  Bishop Pat Dunn lead the prayer, and after each decade the words “Ave Maria” could be heard lifted up to heaven.  The Franciscan Friary has a beautiful grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.  Here the procession ended and Bishop Pat blessed the children present – both born and unborn.  The blessing of children unborn recognises their humanity and their part in the family from their first moment of conception.  It is a reminder that the child hidden in the secrecy of his mother’s womb, is very much alive and loved.

Congratulations goes to the two prize winners. The wheel barrow (filled with all sorts of goodies) was won by Jean Simpson, a long-time volunteer at Family Life International.  At the time of the draw, she was busy cleaning up the kitchen after the afternoon teas!  We are so very grateful to Jean for her service, how fitting that she should win the raffle!  This year we also had a pretty amazing door prize of a Samsung Galaxy mini 2 smart phone.  This was won by Kaipara Solomon.  We hope he enjoys his new toy!

There is an urgent need for families to be supported today.  Family Life International NZ hopes that this Family Fun Day, went some way in celebrating families, celebraing children and encouraging parents in their great responsibility.

 

Photos from Family Fun Day 2013 can be found on Family Life International NZ’s Facebook page.

Respect Life Month – Day Twenty-Four

Group of teens“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”  (Mother Teresa)

  • Encourage and strengthen family life by participating or organising a Family Fun Day. In Auckland Bishop Pat Dunn will join us on February 3rd, 2013 for good old fashioned races and games and entertainment. He will then lead us in prayer, finishing with a blessing for all children, and a special blessing for those children in the womb and their mothers.  All people are invited – young old, married, single, Religious – in this way we strengthen too, the family of God.

Prayer for Family Life

Dear Lord, with Mary and Joseph, you have lived within a family;
Teach me always to appreciate the precious gift of being part of a family.  Show me ever new ways to protect and comfort those closest to me, and let me, each day, do something that will say ‘I love you’ without speaking the words.  But remind me also to frequently say those words.  Let me never part from any member of my family in anger.  Prompt me always to turn back without delay -to forgive, and be forgiven.  And let me see your image within each person in my own family, and in my greater family, knowing that in your Kingdom, we will truly be one family, united by your sacrifice on the cross.  Amen.

Celebrating Family

Blessed John Paul II wrote in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.”  Why would that be so?  Because it is within the family that children learn to be responsible, caring people who will one day shape the world through their actions and beliefs.

It is vital that every-day families are supported in their efforts to raise children.  Often these families are left to it and no one acknowledges the hard work, and sometimes great struggles that families endure in raising children.  Our focus seems always to be on those who are completely falling apart at the seams (and rightly so, but not at the expense of building up families that are not dysfunctional).

One way that we believe we can strengthen and encourage families is by holding a Family Fun Day.  Family Life International NZ, together with the Secular Franciscans held our second Family Fun Day in Auckland on Sunday 5th February.  About 800 people attended this year’s Family Fun Day!  

The Day featured running races, entertainment, face painting, candy floss and Old MacDonald’s Farm.  Veges were donated for us to sell, and Tip Top turned up with 600 free ice-creams!  But more importantly, there was an opportunity for us to shape our children’s minds and hearts by sharing the message that all children – both born and unborn are precious!  We did this through releasing 500 balloons (biodegradable) with pro-life messages (yes, its the thing of the moment – but wow what a colourful, joyful way to celebrate life).  Bishop Pat Dunn, Bishop of Auckland, led participants on a prayer procession which finished at the grotto for Our Lady.  Here, Bishop Pat blessed all the children present, both born and yet to be born.

It is our prayer at Family Life International NZ that the day will stay engraved in each person’s heart.  That the children who attended will grow to be the next generation of people who will shape our nation to be one that stands for life.  We pray that each family that attended felt encouraged.  We pray too, that each family present will warmly welcome any newly conceived child, no matter the circumstances or the difficulties experienced.

While the Family Fun Day is only a drop in the ocean for promoting life, faith and family, it is a brilliant opportunity to spread the pro-life/pro-family message to those who may otherwise dismiss it. 

If you would like to know more about our Family Fun Day format, please email us.

Pro-Life Month – Day Twenty-Four

“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”  (Mother Teresa)

  • Encourage and strengthen family life by participating or organising a Family Fun Day. In Auckland Bishop Pat Dunn will join us on February 5th, 2012 for good old fashioned races and games and entertainment. He will then lead us in prayer, finishing with a blessing for all children, and a special blessing for those children in the womb and their mothers.  All people are invited – young old, married, single, Religious – in this way we strengthen too, the family of God.

Prayer for Family Life

Dear Lord, with Mary and Joseph, you have lived within a family;
Teach me always to appreciate the precious gift of being part of a family.  Show me ever new ways to protect and comfort those closest to me, and let me, each day, do something that will say ‘I love you’ without speaking the words.  But remind me also to frequently say those words.  Let me never part from any member of my family in anger.  Prompt me always to turn back without delay -to forgive, and be forgiven.  And let me see your image within each person in my own family, and in my greater family, knowing that in your Kingdom, we will truly be one family, united by your sacrifice on the cross.  Amen.