I’m a skeptic on the idealization of “programs.” But Pope Francis looks at four areas of ministry which do not require the results of a study group, or more synod meetings, but which task the abilities of ministers in parishes and would each require a determined and discerning effort:
Inventing renewed programs of
- pastoral care for the family based on the Gospel and respectful of cultural differences,
- pastoral care which is capable of communicating the Good News in an attractive and positive manner and helping banish from young hearts the fear of making definitive commitments,
- pastoral care which is particularly attentive to children, who are the real victims of broken families,
- pastoral care which is innovative and provides a suitable preparation for the sacrament of Matrimony, rather than so many programs which seem more of a formality than training for a lifelong commitment;
Innovation in marriage prep: that’s not an exaggeration. I suspect too much of what we do involves wedding preparation. Some of that is cultural. And optimistically, perhaps it is that we place too much reliance on the warmth of love, rather than the commitment and choice that transforms it into something lasting.