THIS feast definitely reminds us about the very crucial role the family plays in the development of a person and of society in general. In fact, it plays a truly important role in the development of the Church.

Because of this, we need to realize that there’s a certain urgency to make the family today an effective center of formation. With all the growing developments and complicated challenges of our times, we cannot afford to sit pretty and just allow blind fate to take its course. We have to take the bull by the horns.

We cannot deny the fact that many people have inadequate, if not erroneous understanding of what the family and its closely related institution of marriage are. In the US today, for example, they are now legalizing and are openly promoting the so-called same-sex marriage and open marriages.

It’s no wonder that we have many broken marriages and dysfunctional families nowadays with matching complicated consequences. Of course, the recourse to divorce does not solve the problem. It can even make things worse.

Everything has to be done to address this fundamental problem. And all the subsidiary institutions and offices—the Church, government, schools, NGOs, etc.—should lend a hand.
Continuing formation and evangelization about marriage and family has to be pursued without letup. Of course, the Church can take the lead in this, but this can be done also by many other people in the secular field. In this regard, the laity should also take a lot of initiative, since this matter concerns them more than the clergy, and they have the experience and the competence to talk about this matter.

For one, couples planning to marry should be made to realize clearly that their marriage brings with it the duty to make their family the basic center of formation for their children. They should be prepared and equipped to carry out this delicate duty.

As the basic center for formation, the family that is led by the parents should know how to lay the foundations of the human virtues and the life of faith and piety of the children. It should be well-versed with the doctrine of faith and the traditions of piety so that as early as possible the children would have the right attitudes and outlook in life.

Parents, for example, should know how to distinguish the different characters and temperaments of their children as well as how to motivate each one of them as he or she is. For this, parents may need some basic training themselves which can be offered by the parishes and schools, and even public and private offices.

Parents should be ready by acquiring the necessary competence to face the modern challenges of raising children, especially the teen-agers, today. They must know how to run a home, how to be good administrators of money and the things of the house, how to understand the character of the children, how to get the children improve in their individual behaviours, etc.

Parents should know how to inspire their children to pray and work, to develop virtues and the skills in dealing with pressures and temptations around. A clear plan of formation should be articulated with due diligence such that in time a certain healthy family life and culture are established.

Parents should realize that their own formation is also something they should take care of. They have to update themselves regarding marriage and family life through an ongoing plan of formation. In this, they can also take initiatives, with the help of other parents and other experts, to organize classes, talks and chats for this purpose.

The important thing to remember is that the family is made an effective basic center of formation for the children.