STONY PLAIN – Inspired by the Nothing More Beautiful evangelization series and the Year of Faith, Ephphatha House is running a series on the family called Giving Glory to God in the Family.
The program actually mimics the series' format in that it has a main speaker who gives a catechesis of the family followed by a family that gives witness.
"I chose the topics from the Catechism of the Catholic Church," said Annette Marie Williams, program director. "The catechism defines the family in the eyes of the Church and how the family is called to follow Christ closely."
The series began Jan. 12 and continues until Nov. 9. "Our purpose is to give a family perspective on our Church and on society," Williams said.
"I think God is counting on us as adults, as teachers and as parents to make our children apostles. I believe that's the New Evangelization that His Grace (Archbishop Richard Smith) has been talking about."
Presentations are held the second Saturday of every month at Ephphatha House, near Stony Plain.
Presenters speak for 40 minutes beginning at 1:30 p.m. followed by the family witness at 2:30 p.m.
Williams said all the witnessing families practise their Catholic faith. They are expected to bring their children along to be part of the presentation.
During the opening session, Paul and Carol Quist, coordinators of family ministry at Holy Trinity Parish, gave the catechesis of family. Darryl and Julie Tymchuk, accompanied by their nine children, gave the witness presentation.
Five families, including 23 children, attended the first session. Organizers hope to attract at least 10 families to future sessions.
On Feb. 9 the presenter will be Father Ray Guimond and the family witness will be John and Janice Neill and their nine children. Guimond will speak on the Christian family and the Neills will give their insights about living their Catholicism with their children.
On March 9, Father Paul Moret will speak about the family and society. The witness family will be Harold and Veronica Kennedy, who have 14 children, including four foster children.
"All these families do home teaching," said Williams, stressing she didn't plan it like that.
Janice Neill, who will speak with her husband John on Feb. 9, said she is pleased to have been invited to the Giving Glory to God event.
The family lives on an acreage near Stony Plain and attends St. Joseph's Church in Wabamun.
They have homeschooled all their children with success. Three have completed high school and their oldest is finishing her final year of college.
The main reason for homeschooling them is "to raise them in the importance of family and faith," Janice said.
The Neills also want their children to have a personal relationship with the Lord. "I'm trying to teach them not just to go to church on Sundays but to have a friendship with the Lord all the time."
Occasionally, the whole family goes to Ephphatha House for adoration, something John has been doing twice a week for about 12 years. "We are just a humble Christian family," Janice said.