Marriage and Family Life

In a Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family (28 December 2014), Bishop John Arnold wrote:

"As part of the work of the Synod on the family, you may know that Pope Francis has asked us to take time to reflect on marriage and family life, and our own experience. It is all too evident that both marriage and family life have been challenged and, in our generation, they have seen unprecedented breakdown. Despite its many struggles, we know that without the gift of family our society would have lost something fundamentally important and good. Marriage is such a noble vocation and family life must be strengthened and assisted, especially in times of difficulty."

"The Bishops of England and Wales have prepared some simple reflections on the Call, the Journey and the Mission of marriage and family life. I am asking that these reflections be made available to all parishes and religious communities as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. I ask you to invite your congregations and communities to read these reflections and to share your thoughts with one another, especially in your families. If you would like to share those reflections with me then I would be happy for you to write to me. I cannot promise to answer every reply but I will certainly consider what you write, and will use it as part of my submission to Cardinal Vincent Nichols and to Bishop Peter Doyle, who are to be the representatives from England and Wales at the second Synod on the family next October."

(+John, Bishop of Salford)

The reflections from the Bishops’ Conference are available on their website ( and include the following questions:

  • What are your joys and hopes of marriage and family life today?
  • What are your struggles and fears of marriage and family life today?
  • How can we better understand marriage as a vocation?
  • How does your marriage enrich you?
  • How does your family life enrich those around you?
  • In what way, through the abiding presence of God, is your family "salt of the earth and light to the world," and a place of and for handing on our faith?


O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr Michael Cooke, 04/01/2015