Reaching out to Catholic families
The de Fombelle family, Felicity and Paul, with children, Eric (2), Arnaud (3), Thibault (7 months). Photo: Rohan Thomson
An effort to reach out to Catholic families - particularly those that don't regularly attend Mass - has turned into a religious publishing success story with the potential to go national.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn launched the My Family, My Faith newsletter in May last year under the editorship of journalist Felicity de Fombelle.
Profiles of families and discussions about family issues, such as the challenges of combining paid work with raising young children, are among the mainstays of the newsletter.
It has proved so popular that negotiations are under way with other Catholic dioceses which are interested in starting their own publications which would use much of the My Family, My Faith content.
Ms de Fombelle said the newsletter, which is published eight times a year and has a print run of 25,000, had proved popular because it was mostly written by parents for parents.
She said the newsletter had been the result of discussions by diocesan staff about building relationships with families that sent their children to Catholic schools but did not necessarily attend Sunday services.
''We're talking about family life, we're talking about parenting and this is the stuff of the church. I think it's important that the church talks about these topics in a way that's very modern.
''We don't and we won't avoid the tough issues because there are issues like sexual abuse that have really dogged the church and there's no point and it would be silly to avoid those issues because they are important issues,'' Ms de Fombelle said. ''And there are other issues like why so many have left the church.''