Rola duszpasterstwa rodzin ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem realiów litewskich

The Role of Family Pastoral Care Taking in Consideration Lithuanian Realities

  • Miroslav Dovda Lublin Catholic University
Keywords: marriage, family, family centre, family pastoral care, preparation for marriage, teaching of the Church on family, newly-weds, małżeństwo, rodzina, Centrum rodziny, duszpasterstwo rodzin, przygotowanie do małżeństwa, narzeczeni, nauka Kościoła o rodzinie

Abstract

The teaching of the Church often emphasizes preparation for marriage and family and the importance of pastoral care in this area. Theologians and educationalists attempt to define what family pastoral care is, and the authors from different countries propose various definitions. In the narrow sense, family pastoral care is the activity of certain Church structures; in the broad sense, it aims at family goodness. In addition, a very important task of pastoral is the transformation of a family to “home Church.” Pope John Paul II emphasized the following: “Family, become what you are.” In order to implement this, consultations, knowledge, care of family and marriage, and any other caritative, social, and political support and initiatives are necessary.

The teaching of the Church often emphasizes preparation for marriage and family and the importance of pastoral care in this area. Theologians and educationalists attempt to define what family pastoral care is, and the authors from different countries propose various definitions. In the narrow sense, family pastoral care is the activity of certain Church structures; in the broad sense, this is pastoral care which aims at family goodness. In addition, a very important task of pastoral care is the transformation of a family to “home Church.” Pope John Paul II emphasized the following: “Family, become what you are.” In order to implement this, consultations, knowledge, care of family and marriage, and any other caritative, social, and political support and initiatives are necessary.

The aim of this article is to ground the main requirements and attitudes of family pastoral care and to determine the future development of family pastoral care on the basis of the Church’s Magisterium and local traditions, taking into consideration the historical and contemporary religious situation in Lithuania. The main task of family pastoral care is the protection and care of family and marriage, preserving their identity in the community of life and love. In order to achieve this, the main areas are the following: education, culture, and social and political decisions. In addition, such aspects as the ability to recognise dangers, teaching to resolve conflicts, help in family planning and sexual education of children and the youth, and support in cases of social poverty are involved in the activities of family pastoral care structures.

Preparation for marriage and family is regulated by the Church documents and the norms of the Episcopates of each country. For this, certain activity structures are necessary, the direction of which is presented in this article. The present investigation indicates what has already been done in Lithuania and what future activity directions are. In addition, the article emphasizes the need to improve the quality of family pastoral care. For instance, the teaching of the Church has determined the stages of preparation for marriage and family. Each stage has its challenges and difficulties, and family pastoral care should help in overcoming them. The author attempts to find optimal ways of resolving the problems. This article emphasizes the main challenge to family pastoral care in Lithuania; i.e. for a large group of newly-weds, the church is only a building for a nice ceremony. In addition, other disadvantages are also indicated: one forgets and does not highlight the importance of personal relations with the parish community or the information about the marriage is not announced in advance in Lithuania. Furthermore, the newest challenge is the gender ideology.

The distant, closer, and close stages of the preparation for marriage and family require pastoral care structures to help making responsible decisions in order to prepare for mature life. In each stage, pastoral care structures have to implement certain aims and tasks. Taking into consideration present challenges, the structure of the above-indicated stages should be improved.

Thus, a topical question has been formulated for the Episcopal Conference and the Centres of Family Pastoral Care on how to improve and unify the preparation for marriage and family as the present differences of requirements in various parishes highlight only a formal attitude to the whole process. The scientific analysis has demonstrated how much should be done in the area of family pastoral care.

Published
2018-10-15
Section
Theology and Philosophy