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Together in Covenant - Learning to Cope with the Empty Nest


By Amira Peter
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Mumbai, May. 21. On 16 May 2013 the Cherubs Team of the Family Ministry of the North Arabian Vicariate organized its monthly program for couples married in 1989, 1990 and 1991. It was attended by 35 couples and about 50 children.
The Program began with Mass at 6.30 PM celebrated by Fr. Blany Pinto. The liturgy was well prepared keeping the marriage theme in mind. The liturgical singing was animated by the melodious voices of the school children, ably led by Faust and Reema Nash. Through his homily, Fr Blany explained that our family must be modeled on the Holy Trinity, since we are made in the image of God who is Trinitarian. The homily was followed by renewal of marriage vows and a special blessing from Fr Blany. Mass was followed by a brief presentation by Cherub Leela Mathias on the various Parish activities to increase awareness and offer couples an opportunity to participate more actively in the parish community.

Dr. Milania Jacob followed with an enrichment session on ''Coping with the Empty Nest''. Many of the couples in the audience have children who have left the nest (or due to leave) for further studies overseas. Dr. Milania shared her own joys and sorrows of this experience, and encouraged the couples to use this new phase of life to focus on themselves personally and on their marriage, and all the things they had to put on hold all these years as children had become their priority. She also shared some tips on maintaining strong and effective bonds with children overseas without turning into ''Helicopter parents'' who keep hovering over their children, desperately trying to remote-control them. Being a trained and experienced physiotherapist, she finally taught the couples a few stretching and relaxation exercises.

This enriching session was followed by a lively fellowship of innovative games, spot prizes and plenty of dancing. The lively music provided by Cherub Shaun Rebello kept the couples on their feet while MC Russell did a stellar job of keeping them all engaged and excited.

All this while, in a separate area, a special program was underway for the children. For the youth, psychologist Pearl Barboza highlighted the significance and measures for developing a positive ''Self-esteem'' through an interactive audio visual presentation. This was followed by a self-assessment questionnaire and a group discussion. For the younger ones there was an animated movie and arts & crafts. Later they all came together for Bible Bingo and group jigsaw puzzling.

Towards the end of the program the children reluctantly joined their parent's party as they were having a blast themselves! A lively, family game of ''ribbons of love'' had parents and children scrambling all over to find ribbons and tie them together for the winning, longest ribbon.

Vote of thanks delivered by two participants expressed strong appreciation for the Cherubs and the Parish for organizing such an enjoyable and memorable evening. ''I am so thrilled we decided to attend!'' said Stella. ''My husband and I very reluctantly came for mass and were expecting to play some housie and head home. But we were so surprised and thrilled by the entire program. We enjoyed every minute of the evening and felt like we were reliving our wedding day.''

Nourished and enriched, the happy families returned back to their homes. Several couples also volunteered to be active members in the parish by registering for the various parish activities.
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