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Historical Family Day at St. Therese

Aug 6, 2008, 6:41 AM | Article By: By Augustine Kanjia

St. Therese's Catholic Church over the weekend staged their first and historical Family Day. The chief celebrant pointed out the real meaning of family in contrast to the western style family system. This was organised by the Parish Pastoral Council, inviting all parishioners to come and see themselves as a single family in the same faith. It helped parishioners know each other share and talk on different topics. The Family Day ended with the sudden death of Anthony J. Mendy, the president of the Parish Pastoral Council, also the president of the Senior Choir who was a staff of WAEC at Banjul. His demise towards the end of the celebration made the Family Day historical by nature as many came in joy and returned home in tears and sorrow. Augustine Kanjia was there and finds out about the day and how it all started and ended.

The Family Day in line with the church's drive for self reliance and a dynamic church, St. Therese parish has started its hard push to get off the ground, started off with parishioners knowing each other and taking each other as a family. They called all to be a part of the occasion by involving all church groups to prepare something for sale, which came out well. The day was remarkable, as the church premise was full of life and joy. Each group had its own stall and sold while music kept coming at no cost. The church was kept lively as people sang and danced with a musical band that played soul-moving melodies including the Senior Choir that moved the church. Little did any one know that Anthony J. Mendy their dynamic Parish Council Chairman was to celebrate with his members for the last time when he was pronounced dead at the West Field Clinic.

Fr. Joseph Carl Gomez, the Rector of the St. Peter's Junior Seminary and the Vocation Director and the Youth Chaplain, in his sermon said when people are thirsty they find a drink shop or cold water to quench their thirst. "If that aspect of our human body is satisfied there remain the spiritual thirst. When God Himself will wipe away their tears and make life meaningful then. God is inviting us today to come to the water; we shall not be thirsty again. God is going to fulfill all He has said to us," he said.

In St. John's Gospel, Fr. Carl continues, it tells us about the Word of God." I could have decided to go to the beach but I have come to celebrate with others. St. Augustine said 'our heart is restless until it rests in you." He further said that nothing can come between God and man, some one may come between you and your friends but not between you and God. Your experience also will never waver for the love of God.

Addressing St. Therese on the word Family, Fr. Carl said

The word family means a group of people united by marriage, blood or adoption and live together. The family is seen as mother father and children by some. "We have extended family and nuclear family. Nuclear family is only by paper because they have their own parents, brothers and sisters, uncle, niece etc. blood does not refer to the same blood. If someone is married but has no child and the uncle gives that person a child to take care of or have children but the aunt or uncle brings a child to be taken care of by that family, it becomes a family its another blood," he said.

He advised parents to play their role as husband and wife. They share their conjugal love, if they have children their love is extended. Their love he said must be constant. "Parents must care for their children and their love must not cease. Children must obey their parents. Wives must love their husbands and husbands are to respect their wives. The family must play its own part, as the community must. The family has an educational role to play."  Fr. Carl said it is not written in the Bible that wives should feed men. He observed that there were women who go shopping to satisfy their husbands and others take 1 by 6 only to buy make up.

Father Carl said parents should allow their children to know that it is end of month, that there should be a difference and to buy meat at least once a month to avoid their kids going to neighbours. He warned parents, brothers and sisters in law to be careful to protect their children's marriage. "I should not go into his home to cause trouble," he said.

Affection he said must be nurtured or else children will not be sympathetic when they grow. He urged couples to always pray for the other if things go wrong. He urged children to read Hebrews 12: 5-12 at home. "When parents beat you its not that they hate you, be obedient.

The day continued in joy but ended abruptly when the parish chairman, Anthony J Mendy collapsed while dancing, rushed to West Field Clinic where he was pronounced dead. Indeed his family that is the St. Therese's Catholic Family will forever remember him and the day seen as historical.