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‘Together in Holiness’ conference emphasizes centrality of family

26 8.31.17_ADSF2017_Together In Holiness PAGEYoung families were among the 200 attendees at the “Together in Holiness” conference Aug. 5 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Belmont. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone emphasized the importance of marriage and family to children, to the good of the individual and to society, saying the family is central. (Photos by Dennis Callahan/Catholic San Francisco)

August 31, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

The family is the key “to just about everything,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in his homily at the Mass that kicked off the second annual Together in Holiness family life conference Aug. 5 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Belmont.

The conference drew about 200 people and featured nationally known speaker Dr. Ray Guarendi and local theology of the body speaker John Hamlon and Mary Caprio, St. John Paul II Foundation fellow.

“Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, and especially Pope Francis have emphasized the centrality of the family in evangelization, since it is where we first learn about God, about the faith, about love and forgiveness. This conference is part of our archdiocesan effort to support families in this endeavor, particularly following the U.S. bishops’ convocation in July,” said Ed Hopfner, director of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Marriage and Family Life ministry.

The unprecedented U.S. bishops’ convocation on evangelization organized around Pope Francis encyclical “The Joy of the Gospel” brought together thousands of leaders, bishops, laity, priests and religious in Orlando, Florida July 1-4.

In Belmont Aug. 5, Archbishop Cordileone emphasized the importance of marriage and family to children, to the good of the individual and to society, saying the family is central. However, he said, “For society to function well, families don’t need to be perfect. Our family wasn’t perfect. Our parents weren’t perfect.”

But, he said, growing up, “We always knew that our parents would be together and we always knew they would do what was necessary to take care of the family.” What is important, Archbishop Cordileone said, is “Families exist so children grow up being loved and learning to love in turn.”

The Together in Holiness conference was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the St. John Paul II Foundation in Houston.

“The theme of the day was the family as a school of love,” said Suzie Lopez, conference coordinator, from the St. John Paul II Foundation. The foundation describes itself as “a Catholic apostolate dedicated to building a culture of life and love, through integrated education initiatives that proclaim the gospel of life and form families as intimate communities of love.”

In addition to Mass, the conference included noontime eucharistic adoration and opportunities for confession that kept seven priests busy, Hopfner said. Complementary child care was provided to allow young couples to attend.

“Dr.  Ray delighted the crowd with his humorous style and insights on family life, drawn from his clinical practice, as well as his own experience raising 10 children, while John Hamlon spoke on St John Paul II’s brilliant updating of Catholic teaching on love, marriage, sexuality and the human person,” Hopfner said.

The Aug. 5 conference was the second annual conference and Hopfner said a third conference is tentatively planned for September 2018.

Visit www.sfarch.org/marriage, www.facebook.com/SFMarriage/, www.forlifeandfamily.org.

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