2014-12-18 12:09:00

Holy Cross Family Ministries in India, Part 1

“A family that prays together stays together,” is a catch phrase in Catholic circles, made popular by Fr. Patrick Peyton of the Holy Cross Congregation (CSC).  Known for his initiative in popularizing family prayer, especially the Family Rosary in the late 1940s, in the United States, his ministry expanded after his death to include family counseling and programmes that promote family values, in what is today known as the Holy Cross Family Ministries.  Holy Cross priest, Fr Arul Raj, is the National Director of the Holy Cross Family Ministries in India, based in Bangalore city.  In this capacity, Fr Arul Raj was invited as an expert to the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in the Vatican, Oct. 5-19, on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”   We talked at length with Fr. Arul Raj to know about the challenges of India’s Catholic families. 

Last week, in the first part of the interview, Fr. Arul explained how the Holy Cross Family Ministries started. The Holy Cross Congregation entered India nearly a century earlier, in 1854, taking up the Bengal mission that also included what is today north east India.  Currently there are 2 provinces and 2 vicariates in India.  Fr. Arul said, the Holy Cross family ministry is not just the family rosary, but includes family enrichment programmes, family retreats and they eventually hope to start a Holy Cross family institute in India.    Talking about the challenges of Indian families, Fr. Arul Raj said there is a breakdown of communication between couples.  In the background of India’s widespread IT culture, they have little time for each other, expecting much from each other, but with little tolerance and acceptance.  Besides, they don’t have enough resources and patience in crisis moments.  Another issue is the patriarchal mindset of Indian men, expecting much from the wife, with parents demanding much from sons.  At times, with one of the couple away for extended period of time because of job migration, overseas or within the country, the responsibility of bringing up children often rests solely on the partner at home.  But, Fr. Arul says, in the Indian situation, there is often the safety net of grandparents helping bring up grandchildren.  He however stressed that the Church’s service to the family must not be limited just to marriage preparation programmes, but couples need to be followed up long after marriage especially in moments of crisis.  Well today, Fr. Arul Raj begins the final part of this interview, speaking about the elderly who are at times neglected,  having to fend for themselves.  Listen: 


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