On 23 March 2016. News from Senegal, France, India and Germany on the following topics: listening cells, St. Joseph, visits to families, and the Pro-Life Week.
• SENEGAL / CENTER FOR LISTENING The diocese of Dakar, Senegal, is preparing to open a center for couples, families and single people who want to explore topics concerning the family. This was announced on 17 March 2016 by the Diocesan Commission for Family and Education. The portal of the Diocese of Dakar explains that the cell proposes "a structure that allows a moment of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, listening and sharing, every Thursday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm." According to Father Joseph Bouré Dioh, head of the Commission, this new structure of the family ministry in the Diocese of Dakar has been created in response to the desire to take into account Pope Francis‘ final exhortation at the last Synod on the family to rethink family ministry.
• FRANCE / SAINT JOSEPH Saint Joseph is not only the patron saint of the Holy Family of Nazareth, but he is also the patron saint of the ecclesial family, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, recalled on March 19th, 2016, during a Mass celebrated on the feast of St. Joseph at the Paris convent of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor. "As the protector of the ecclesial family, we need, sometimes, to confide in him and entrust ourselves to his care in the daily life of our families. If he is the protector of the ecclesial family, he also is of all households. In pain and sadness, we know how the experience of family life can be weakened and rendered difficult," Cardinal Vingt-Trois added in his homily.
• INDIA / PLENARY ASSEMBLY The Catholic Bishops of India, the Bishops urged the clergy to help improve the lives of families. Several ways were presented: increasing visits to families, strengthening the preparation for the sacrament of marriage, developing listening programs for couples and families, and creating a dynamic that allows parishes to be attentive to the faithful and take care of the weakest, including the elderly. The Catholic Bishop‘s Conference of India, composed of 178 bishops in 171 dioceses, is the most important Asian Bishops‘ Conference and the 4th largest in the world.
• GERMANY / PRO-LIFE WEEK From 9 to 16 April, Germany‘s Catholics and Evangelical Protestants will celebrate the traditional ecumenical Pro-Life Week, an initiative created more than 20 years ago with the aim of raising public awareness about the defense of life from conception to its natural end. This was announced by the German Bishops‘ Conference on its website, on 22 March. This year, the highlighted theme will be the dignity of the elderly. The week will open with an ecumenical service in the Cathedral of Mainz, presided over by the Bishop Cardinal Karl Lehmann, with the participation of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishops‘ Conference, and Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, president of the Council of the Evangelical Church of Germany. Locally, various events will be organized in schools and parishes to raise awareness about the living conditions of the elderly.