Second Annual Family Life Conference Focuses on Helping Families Grow in Faith

| 04/16/2024

By: Armando Machado

Vatican delegate: “Every ability to speak in faith needs a contemplative context” 

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst during the early moments of the Mass he celebrated as part of the Family Life Conference in Tarrytown, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst during the early moments of the Mass he celebrated as part of the Family Life Conference in Tarrytown, Saturday, April 13, 2024. Photo by Armando Machado/The Good Newsroom

At the New York archdiocesan Family Life Conference, speakers and organizers sought to help participants better understand the importance of family in our world today, “expanding our vision as to what we can do to help families grow in faith,” said Ted Musco, director of the Office of Family Life, sponsor of the second annual gathering.  

The conference took place on Saturday, April 13, at the Church of the Transfiguration in Tarrytown, conducted both in English and Spanish. About 150 people attended part or all of the daylong gathering.             

“Having a home and being able to come home again in the course of your life – even if you are far away from home – is the blessing of a real family.” Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, delegate for Catechesis, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the keynote speaker, told the audience. His talk was titled “Family and Catechesis: Challenges and opportunities in a changing world.”               

“Young people break away and often do so at the point that is particularly important to parents,” Bishop Tebartz-van Elst said, citing the importance of ongoing child faith formation well into the teen years. In asserting his points, the bishop, a pastoral theorist, occasionally used the words of prominent writers, thinkers, and theologians, including St. Paul, Franz Kafka, and Pope Francis. He also regularly cited the 2020 Directory for Catechesis. 

“Catechesis in the family establishes an awareness of the beginning,” he noted, adding, “Every ability to speak in faith needs a contemplative context, and ultimately language and prayer can only emerge from silent amazement.”   

The bishop noted that when the personal development of youth “is driven by political and social ideology, there seems to be an increasing need for the contrasting basic understanding of family that the Directory for Catechesis takes as a basis for catechesis when it points out possibilities for an effective transmission of the faith.” Bishop Tebartz-van Elst later celebrated both a late-morning and late-afternoon Mass.

“This temple of love, the family – the tradition understands it as a domestic church: prayer at home, Sunday worship, sacramental life, reading the Word together,” one of the speakers, Dr. Hosffman Ospino, chairman of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, Boston College, said during his talk. He noted also that Christian families should engage in practices “to build the common good; the family exists in order to give witness to the world…witnesses of self-giving love (through service).”     

Dr. Ospino, citing the importance of catechism and family life, said spouses should consider themselves responsible for each other’s “holiness and salvation,” and for the holiness and salvation of their children. “So, there is an ethical responsibility in this context of love, in the context of the home,” he said. “The primary responsibility of a Christian parent is to ensure that their children are holy.”   

Guadalupe Ospino, National Family Life and Hispanic Ministry speaker (and wife of Dr. Ospino), simultaneously gave the same talk, but in Spanish in another part of the parish grounds. 

Also giving talks affirming the mission of the Office of Family Life were: Riquelmy Lamour, licensed clinical social worker, and mental health professional; Dr. Jimmy Walters, speaker and author of “Fatherhood and Mission”; and Robin Klueber, regional specialist, Manhattan, Youth Faith Formation of the Archdiocese of New York. 

“These themes are critical – catechism and family life. The family is the essence of civilization,” Monique Kozlowski, a conference attendee, told The Good Newsroom during a break. She said she very much appreciated the bishop’s message of “how our faith has to be spread through the Word, and also the message of listening.” Mrs. Kozlowski was with her husband Jan. They are Transfiguration parishioners who have five children and two grandchildren.   

Rafael Polanco and his wife Nuris were also among the attendees. “We’re here because of the theme of this event – the family, and how the Church helps form the family. Everything that helps us grow in our faith is of interest to us,” Polanco said. Parishioners of St. John Chrysostom Church in the Bronx, Polanco and his wife have two children.

For more information about the Office of Family Life visit their website or call (646) 794-3191.

01:41
This past Tuesday night, the high school came together to celebrate student success and the school’s 100% acceptance rate into four-year colleges. Cardinal Dolan even stopped by to give his best wishes.

By:

Patrick Grady

03:52
El 24 de mayo la Escuela Secundaria Cardenal Hayes en el Bronx recibió a la Peregrinación Eucarística Nacional para una noche de adoración bilingüe, la cual fue celebrada por el obispo Joseph Espaillat, obispo auxiliar de la Arquidiócesis de NY.

By:

Fernanda Pierorazio

Father Roger Landry called Neri “the great apostle of Rome in the 16th century."

By:

Armando Machado

Cardinal Timothy Dolan (center right) celebrates Mass for the 125th anniversary of St. Philip Neri in the Bronx, joined by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Espaillat (right) and Father Daniel O'Reilly (left) current pastor of St. Philip Neri.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan (center right) celebrates Mass for the 125th anniversary of St. Philip Neri in the Bronx, joined by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Espaillat (right) and Father Daniel O'Reilly (left) current pastor of St. Philip Neri. Photo: Steven Schwankert/The Good Newsroom
Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 7)