Broken Bay’s Domestic Church Movement sparks national Interest

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Foundation members of Poland’s Domestic Church Movement Elizabeth and George Wolski. Photo: Tom Croll
Foundation members of Poland’s Domestic Church Movement Elizabeth and George Wolski. Photo: Tom Croll

Parishes across the country have inundated a Central Coast community with enquiries about its new program aimed at renewing the way Catholics engage with their faith and connect beyond church buildings.

In an Australian-first and following exclusive coverage in The Catholic Weekly, St Patrick’s  East Gosford has been flooded with inquiries about the Domestic Church Movement, designed to evangelise families … arguably one of the biggest challenges facing the Church today.

Inquiries from parishes within the Broken Bay Diocese as well as those as far afield as Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and even Zambia, Africa, have been received about the program which was established in Poland 50 years ago.

Bishop of Broken Bay Diocese Anthony Randazzo has sung the praises of the new movement and said the attention it has received from across Australia is extremely “encouraging”.

“This is not a novel or bespoke approach to our faith. It is a way to embrace and explore the treasures we already have in our teachings on marriage, family life and the sacraments.”

“We are already seeing communities around the country keen to know and hear more about what Fr Greg and the Domestic Church Movement is embracing in our Diocese and that can only be a good thing,” Bishop Randazzo told The Catholic Weekly.

“This is not a novel or bespoke approach to our faith. It is a way to embrace and explore the treasures we already have in our teachings on marriage, family life and the sacraments.

“We know every home is called to be a ‘domestic church’. Pope Benedict XVI told us family life is centred on the lordship of Christ and the love of a husband and wife mirrors the mystery of Christ’s love for the Church, his bride. That doesn’t change.

“Living your faith in your families, your parishes, and communities can have a rippled effect that changes the world.”

Melbourne Archdiocese is one of many communities interested in the movement and said its huge appeal is due to its focus on the family nurturing faith, which it believes is indispensable to the mission and life of the Church and wider community.

Father Greg launches the Movement in the parish during Mass at St Patrick’s in East Gosford. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Father Greg launches the Movement in the parish during Mass at St Patrick’s in East Gosford. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“What we can do to form this domestic horizon of Christian life is vital and life-giving,” Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli said.

“Love and the nurturing of the faith begins at home, spreading from family to family, from house to house. Indeed, this is how the early Church began and grew … in the home.”

Introduced by Elizabeth and George Wolski, the long-time members of the movement arrived from Poland about a year ago to support their daughter Maria and husband Adrian, Gosford parishioners who’d recently had a baby.

While here, parish priest Fr Greg Skulski SDS asked the founding members of the program to establish the initiative due to its resounding success.

“Due to the enormous response to the program, Fr Greg Skulski stressed there is only one more opportunity for parishes to get involved in 2022.”

For the movement to be launched in a new country, the first parish to install it must have foundation members from Poland to oversee it, and the proud grandparents perfectly fit the bill bringing with them more than 40 years’ experience.

What makes the Domestic Church formation attractive is that it is not a novel approach to the faith or a new vision of Catholicism limited to a particular spirituality, but a way to access the treasures of the Church’s teachings on marriage, family life, prayer and the Sacraments, from the perspective of a spouse and parent.

Due to the enormous response to the program, Fr Greg Skulski stressed there is only one more opportunity for parishes to get involved in 2022.

He said to avoid disappointment, communities needed to register for a course, which will involve a series of monthly meetings starting on 22 May and continue until the end of the year.

St Patrick’s Parish at East Gosford launches their new initiative, the Domestic Church Movement program. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
St Patrick’s Parish at East Gosford launches their new initiative, the Domestic Church Movement program. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Fr Greg said he was not surprised by the huge reaction to the story or the program, as it’s something the Church and its parishioners have been crying out for.

“I really can’t believe we are the first in Australia to have it, so many families are looking for this type of program that they can share with other small groups of families and meet together on a semi- regular basis for not only social activities but also formation,” he said.

“We only introduced it to the parish a few weeks ago and it has already created a real buzz, I can honestly see it spreading to other parishes and dioceses across the country and changing the way Catholics engage with the Church and attend Mass.

“We would be more than happy to meet with priests who think that they would like the Domestic Church to be part of their parishes or any people who went through the formation in the Light-Life movement in different countries who would like to help it grow in Australia.”

“At the heart of the movement is what happens at home and supports parents wanting to reclaim the faith and formation of their families, often outsourced to schools and parishes.”

The Domestic Church is the family branch of the Light-Life Movement founded in Poland by Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki with the guidance and support of his bishop, Karol Wojtyła (later Pope St. John Paul II) who devoted it to the Immaculate Mother of the Church.

Today, more than 23,000 couples in 30 countries including the US, Sweden, Kenya, Russia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ukraine and the Philippines, are enjoying the structured formation in line with Catholic teachings and traditions.

At the heart of the movement is what happens at home and supports parents wanting to reclaim the faith and formation of their families, often outsourced to schools and parishes.

Couples promise to follow the seven commitments that make up the “method” for the Domestic Church Movement, including daily individual prayer, daily couple prayer, regular study of the Scripture and family prayer.

If you would like more details about the next gathering of the Domestic Church Movement in Gosford on 22 May email [email protected]

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