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 CNS Story:

ARINZE-FAMILYLAND Jul-28-2008 (340 words) xxxn

Parents play vital role in education of their children, says cardinal

By Catholic News Service

BLOOMINGDALE, Ohio (CNS) -- Parents play a vital role in the education of their children because "the family is the basic cell of society," Cardinal Francis Arinze told families gathered at Catholic Familyland in Bloomingdale in mid-July.

"Religion is caught rather than taught, although we also need religious teaching," said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments

For more than 20 years, the cardinal has been attending one of the annual family fests held annually by the Apostolate for Family Consecration at its 950-acre family retreat center in Bloomingdale.

For four weeks every summer, the grounds of Catholic Familyland are open to families from all over the world for the family fests.

In his talk Cardinal Arinze quoted Pope Paul VI as saying, "The world listens to witnesses rather than to teachers; and if it listens to teachers, it is because they are first witnesses."

The first and most important place to learn the faith then is at home, he said, stressing the importance of not only family prayer, but regular attendance at Mass and reception of the sacraments as well as the reading of spiritual books.

Later in a homily during Mass, Cardinal Arinze spoke of the message of Christian hope and its connection to knowledge of the faith.

"Hope is a key word in biblical faith," he said. "To come to know God means to receive hope."

Cardinal Arinze said that man's reason can be misleading unless it is first enlightened by faith, and ultimately knowledge of God.

"God gives the promise of eternal life," said Cardinal Arinze, "which is our final hope."

He asked families to look to the Holy Family as a model for pure, self-sacrificing love to lead one another closer to God.

The Apostolate for Family Consecration was created by Jerry Coniker and his late wife, Gwen, in 1975 as a way to help families learn about their faith. It is an umbrella organization over the Catholic family park and Catholic Familyland Television network.


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