Below is the Vatican provided text of the intervention of spouses Buysile Patronella and Meshack Jabulani Nkosi during the 3rd General Congregation, Oct. 6, of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. The spouses are members of the Advisory Committee for the National Family Desk of the Southern African Episcopal Catholic Bishops’ Conference and spoke on “the Discernment of the Family Vocation”:
The Discernment of the Family Vocation
My name is Jabu Nkosi and this is my wife Buyi. We have been married for only 35 years and are blessed with 5 children and 8 grandchildren. Three of our children are married in the church, all of them with non-Catholics and are walking in two faiths but one love. One of our sons-in-law and our daughter in-law want to become Catholics and we are looking forward to the Easter of 2016 when we will be welcoming them into the Catholic family as full members.
In the past 33 years we have accompanied many young people with whom we have shared our life experience, the word of God and the Church teachings, giving them an opportunity to make choices for their lives. We pass on the Good News of the love of God for us through His Son Jesus Christ and we in our life, every day try through God’s grace to become good news to each other and to young couples and the world. This is made possible by letting the Word of God, Christ Himself, be our compass. We have and have had our numerous challenges, of perhaps not seeing things the same way or hurting each other in one way or another but our redemption has always been to try to be humble enough to say “I am sorry”, as in the words of the Holy father, “pardon me, thank you and may I” please are indispensable words if we are to live in peace and harmony in our family. It is important to remember to say “I love you” to each other and to the children. “Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate emphasises the importance of love as the principle of life in society, the place where a person learns common good” since the family is the first place where, a new person learns to love, to forgive, experiences forgiveness and learns to share about God and the Church as the family is the first school of Love and Humanity.
The choice we made 35 years ago is the choice we continue to make every day to care for each other in the family and to be faithful to each other as we committed to love forever. Modern society which unfortunately has developed a ‘throwaway culture, this kind of commitment seems to be utter foolishness and is ridiculed and discouraged. Young people then tend to be afraid to get married and to look at this commitment as a burden. Part of our calling is to encourage them to enter into the journey of Holy Matrimony looking at Christ as their new hope.
We have experienced new life being born, and have seen our parents giving us support in raising our children. We have also seen them getting older, more frail and have taken care of them until they passed on. We have seen our children develop to parenthood themselves and us assuming a supportive role for them and their families. We continue to pass on our faith, all the Christian values and the culture of “Ubuntu”- humaneness. This brings joy and fulfilment and has made our lives richer and fuller through the grace of God.[Original text: English] [Provided by the Vatican]