Sunday, May 22, 2011

May the Month of the Family

A counselor in the family court writes in the Catholic Times about the days in May devoted to family and the way Catholics should look upon these  days.

Children's Day goes back to 1923. The motto at that time was: "Let us be strong and honest children, always loving and helping one another."  The Children's' Charter was drawn up and the day commemorated on May 5th as a national holiday. This year a survey revealed that Korean children, when compared to children in other countries, were considered superior in scholastic performance and study habits. However, in their subjective evaluation of their happiness: (encompassing factors such as health, school, overall satisfaction with life, feeling of belonging, able to accommodate to their surroundings, and feelings of loneliness) they were the lowest on the scale used for OECD countries. The family was selected from among all the factors for happiness as being the most important by the students surveyed.

In Korea Mothers' Day started in 1956 on May 8th; in 1972 it was changed to Parents' Day. The relationship with parents is a strong indication of the happiness of children. If before the age of 18 we have divorce in the family, the thoughts  of suicide are over three times the average for that period of life.
The article mentions the efforts of the World Wide Marriage Encounter Movement  in 1981 to have a day to commemorate marriage. The first celebration of the day in Korea occurred in 1990, receiving the blessing of the Church in 1993 and then spreading to other countries. The National Assembly has taken up the idea and back in 1996 the President and the Cardinal presided at a ceremony proclaiming a Marriage Day. In Korea, the name was eventually changed to Husband and Wife Day, and is listed by that name in the liturgical calendar. 

For the first time in three years the number of marriages in Korea has increased; and the number of divorces has decreased by 5.8 percent. Births in 2010 have increased by 25,100 from the previous year. These are happy statistics for society and for the Church. The writer wants us to look at these positive tendencies in our society and with wisdom  make the efforts to continue in this direction.

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