By Archbishop Christopher Prowse

The Advent/Christmas season is upon us!

Family life generally starts to take a more prominent focus in our minds and hearts at this time. Christmas cards are written and sent – sometimes with gifts attached. Family gatherings are organised. This can be both a happy and challenging time. The opportunities for family reconciliations and healing present themselves.

My experience is that learning from our new Australians – our migrant communities – can really help us all in these family times.

Personally, I have learnt from and observed Filipino families as they celebrate Christmas. The Christmas tree is always centered around the Nativity scene of the Holy Family and the birth of the Saviour, the baby Jesus.

The Holy Family gathers all families together in faith, joy and hope. Family bonds are strengthened and healed.

I recall one Filipino family informing me of what the word FAMILY means. (My Filipino friends love acronyms.) (F) Father (A) and (M) Mother (I) I (L) Love (Y) You! What a great summary of the soul of family life, especially at Christmas time.

In asking God’s choicest blessings upon all of you this Advent/Christmas season, may you find appropriate occasions to share your love one for one another. May Jesus be the very center of these love affirmations.


Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn