Family Units & Parish Renewal
The concept of family units, similar to the system of Basic Christian Communities developed in the Latin American Church, had an unceremonious inauguration in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam during the period of Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil (1919-1956). He had visualized a structure for effective evangelization, when he urged in his pastoral letter to form ‘wards’ or ‘units’ in the parishes of the archdiocese. In 1975 the statutes of parish family union was approved by the archbishop and gradually developed the department of family units and parish renewal. Now it has its central office in the pastoral centre of the archdiocese, called Renewal Centre, and a priest is appointed as the director.
The objective of the system of family units is to bring 20 to 30 families together, in the sprit of Ancient or First Christian Communities to establish intimacy and personal relationship in the parishes which are large communities. The motto is ‘Together in Love, Together in God’
The system of family units is at present established in all the parishes of the archdiocese and altogether there are 2786 family units. It has now become the engine of the parish activities, in every sphere of the parish, such as liturgy, catechetic, administration, festival, construction etc. Each family unit has 7 lay leaders. Thus 19502 lay leaders involve in the various activities of the parishes under the guidance of the parish priests. The department has its animating teams to enrich and encourage the lay leaders in the activities of the family units and in the parishes.