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By Fr. Vaclav Klement, SDB

Brno, Czech Republic, 30 December 2018 -- Five full days with my mother in Brno (second largest city in the Czech Republic) were a precious gift at the end of this year 2018: listening and accompanying. Indeed most of the time was spent with my mother, the families of my two brothers who are living there, visiting the two SDB communities in Brno (Zabovresky and Lisen), visiting the only Korean Catholic missionary living in Czech Republic (Sr Maria Lucia Hwang) or meeting a few of our relatives - it was a time for listening.

This time I spent most of the time just in our family home, and was able to understand the current family dynamics in my home parish, which is a very vibrant one thanks to the strong group of about 50 families with many children. Family dynamics are so instrumental for sharing the gift of faith from generation to generation. Families with four children are not the exception. The most visible signs of family faith is the crowd of altar servers (some 50 of them from 7 to 27 years of age) and the wonderful Christmas cribs made of more than 2000 baked gingerbread cookies, the result of some 45 families who contribute to this spectacle each Christmas time.

Although my mother Maria (85 years of age) is no longer able to move around the town, she is fairly busy with her ongoing 'icon' production, prayer and reading every possible item of Catholic literature and following daily Mass and other religious program on the Czech Catholic TV channel 'Noe' (Director Fr Leos Ryska, SDB) - and since this year, one a wider Samsung TV screen! And last but not the least, our mother is probably among the most faithful readers of AustraLasia: almost every day my nephew comes with a printed version of the daily news (both text and photos) and you may see a large amount of printed 'ALA' news close to my mother's work table.

During the past five days I have listened to many joyful and some sad stories of many families, young and old people who have passed through our home: stories of suicides, health issues, accidents, stories of giving birth to the 12th child, of caring for Downs Syndrome children, adopting children or daily financial and relationship difficulties. What caught my attention was the consistent life witness of this small Christian community made up of families.

With thanksgiving for all members of our families, for our parents, siblings and their families!

With a prayer for all families in trouble, or sickness, suffering of all kinds!

With a prayer for all families of migrants and refugees all around the world!

Holy Family of Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth - pray for us!

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  • John Tamayo 2018.12.31 11:26

    Thank you Fr. Clement for sharing your family with all of us making us all a part of your family too. I will try to look for families with many children in our parish too and make them involve in our Parish life.Thank God your mother is vibrant and heatthy.

    Happy New Salesian Year.

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