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Parish Family Groups

What are Parish Family Groups?

Parish Family Groups are part of the world-wide Passionist Family Group Movement (PFGM).

The aims of the Family Groups are:


To get to know other members of the parish.

To support our fellow parishioners by sharing each other's joys and sorrows and so building the Christian community as in the early Church

To involve our children in our Christian sharing either directly, if possible, or indirectly by our example

The PFGM is an international organisation and was founded in 1973 by Fr Peter McGrath CP in the parish of St. Anthony in the Fields, Terrey Hills, Sydney, Australia. Since then, it has grown from those very humble beginnings to an important part of community life in over 400 parishes in six countries. The Movement is Ecumenical and continues to grow. Read more about the Passionist Family Group Movement at Passionist Family Group Movement

In November 2012, Fr Peter, supported by Gwen Winterscheidt, visited our parish and celebrated with us at all our Sunday Masses to talk about the Family Group Movement, it's early Christian Church ethos, and the great benefits Family Groups can bring to a parish today. Fr Peter encouraged parishioners to sign-up at Mass. Afterwards Fr Peter and Gwen energetically formed a dozen Family Groups which began their lives at a launch event a couple of days later.

A Family group is made up of a group of people from the parish, it can have everyone in one group from the youngest to the oldest, single, married, children - all are welcome.

Link to enquiry form for family groups

Group Structures The Family Groups are supported by a network of volunteers. We have one Parish Family Groups Co-ordinator whose role is to offer support to leaders and their Groups and act as a bridge between the Groups and our Parish Priest, Father John. Each Group has a leader or co-leaders whose role is to support the development of the Group and to facilitate activities. However, it is the responsibility of the whole Group to make it a success, raise ideas for get-togethers and organise events in the spirit of supporting our fellow parishioners inside and outside of church.

New parishioners find the Family Group Movement in St Mary's and Holy Family a real boost to their sense of belonging in the parish; people have developed friendships they wouldn't necessarily have formed and have been able to share in the happiness and sorrow of fellow parishioners through supporting our Christian community in this way.

In St Mary's Parish we have 6 active groups and everyone is welcome to join a group and come along to any of the events they run. Most groups meet once a month and celebrate being a Family Group in various ways, mainly socially and with lots of fun.

If you wish to join a Family Group, you can find out more by contacting the Parish Family Group co-ordinator via the presbytery on 01473 728115 or email secretary@st-mary.org.uk

In 2015 the Bishops Conference of England and Wales Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship which includes Marriage and Family Life ran a project about Family Groups - this video was produced and used for the Proclaim 15 National Conference in July 2015.

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