Teams contemplate the joys, challenges of married life

Mark and Sarah Stoove were flag bearers for Australia at the gathering’s opening ceremony (Catholic Voice/Supplied)

The recent 12th international gathering of Teams of Our Lady was a deeply moving experience for five Canberra couples. Source: Catholic Voice.

They were part of a group of 38 Australians who arrived in Fatima, Portugal, for the gathering using very different means of transport. Some walked part of their journey following the Camino trail, while others chartered a bus and toured with fellow Australians.

The gathering focused on the joys and challenges of married life in the context of contemporary society. Enlivened by the gathering, a number of Teams couples later went on to attend the World Meeting of Families in Ireland.

The size of the world Teams movement came into sharp focus for the Australian delegation while sitting in Fatima’s basilica together with 8,500 Teams members, from 80 countries.

Attendees included a significant contingent of clergy, with 400 priests, 18 bishops, as well as four cardinals who spoke at the event.

Strict quotas had to be imposed on each country this year, as expressions of interest from the 150,000 members of Teams were about double the capacity of the venue.

Each day, a different part of the world led the agenda. There were many thought-provoking presentations from clergy and married couples. Especially memorable, was the speech from Cardinal Peter Turkson, who spoke on “Human Ecology: Fraternity & Communion”.

Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, the Emeritus Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, spoke of the courage of ordinary couples in times of extreme adversity. The message was punctuated by his own personal story of when he was kidnapped by Islamic militants.

Married couples from around the world also spoke about the everyday reality of married life.

South Australia’s Vee and Rene Pols delivered a well-received presentation on forgiveness in marriage. Attendees remarked with admiration about the Australian way of speaking plainly and directly, in a way that touched the hearts of many.


Canberra couples experience moving Fatima gathering (Catholic Voice

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