Pope Francis accuses us of missing opportunities when parents bring children for baptism and First Communion. I daresay he is right about many parishes and ministers.
230. It is true that many couples, once married, drop out of the Christian community. Often, however, we ourselves do not take advantage of those occasions when they do return, to remind them of the beautiful ideal of Christian marriage and the support that our parishes can offer them. I think, for example, of the Baptism and First Holy Communion of their children, or the funerals or weddings of their relatives or friends. Almost all married couples reappear on these occasions, and we should take greater advantage of this. Another way of growing closer is by blessing homes or by bringing a pilgrim image of Our Lady to houses in the neighbourhood; this provides an opportunity for a pastoral conversation about the family’s situation. It could also be helpful to ask older married couples to help younger couples in the neighborhood by visiting them and offering guidance in the early years of marriage. Given the pace of life today, most couples cannot attend frequent meetings; still, we cannot restrict our pastoral outreach to small and select groups. Nowadays, pastoral care for families has to be fundamentally missionary, going out to where people are. We can no longer be like a factory, churning out courses that for the most part are poorly attended.
This wraps up that section on “Some Resources” (Amoris Laetitia 223-230). Not many specifics in terms of movies, volumes, or gurus. But enough to spark imaginations, and for to set ourselves to doing some good work. Any suggestions of specifics that you have seen or experienced?