CANCELLED: Family Talks

Family life has its ups and downs; from fall-outs and failures to success and celebrations. How do we make sense of it all and ensure we have a confident, Christian outlook on our contribution to life at home and beyond?

Let Professor Stephan Kampowski get to the heart of the issues of family life that affect YOU in these two special talks on Saturday 5 November at the Gillis Centre, Edinburgh. Register for these FREE talks here.

Talk 1: To Promise & To Forgive: Establishing and Healing the Bond between Persons

Promising and forgiving are acts that are crucial to human relationships. But what are they really about? Let Professor Kampowski explain in simple terms how these acts can strengthen bonds within your family and beyond.

Talk 2: Family Relationships and Personal Identity

How do you relate to those in your family? Those relationships can be improved and strengthened by being confortable with the truth of who you are - that is, how you identify yourself. Professor Kampowski take a fresh look at kinship, closeness, how we guard the origin of who we are and how we can postively influence our destiny and that of our family.


Dr Stephan Kampowski is professor of philosophical anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences in Rome. He is the author of The Fruitfulness of a Life and Embracing Our Finitude.

EVENT: Join us for a Family Afternoon on 25 June

Families are invited to join us at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh for a special event focusing on The Eucharist: Source of Family Love.

The day takes place on Saturday 25 June, 2-5pm and you can register on our Eventbrite page here (free event).

The day includes:

  • Separate sessions for adults and children.
  • Family prayer time in St Margaret's Chapel onsite.
  • Games/workshops led by the Servidora Sisters from Fife.

The garden of the Gillis Centre, at 100 Strathearn Road, is large and perfect for children to play in, so we hope the sun will shine!

Families with children of all ages are welcome to attend and there is free parking onsite. This event coincides with the 10th World Meeting of Families taking place in Rome.

Family Afternoon, Saturday 25 June, 2-5pm, Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh. Details and registration at Event organised by the Marriage & Families Commission.

Edinburgh couple praise benefits of Natural Family Planning

52 years ago this weekend, Pope St Paul VI published his encyclical 'On Human Life' (Humanae Vitae). Today couples in our Archdiocese are benefiting from Pope Paul’s vision and the science he inspired.

Research* and experience suggests that couples using Natural Family Planning have longer and happier marriages.

Pope Francis, in his letter 'The Joy of Love' has called on married couples to “be generous in bestowing life”, so Natural Family Planning (NFP) and an openness to life have always been part of married life for Edinburgh couple, Jenny and Lee Patterson.

Married for over 30 years, both feel that NFP supports married life because husband and wife share the responsibility of planning their family.

“It promotes discussion and shared decisions” Jenny says. “It means we’re together in this and the other person is saying 'I’m on your side'."

Lee says: “I like the fact that, with NFP, sex isn’t reduced to just an ‘activity’, it becomes part of the fabric of a couple’s life.”


As a qualified midwife Jenny knows that conception isn’t always guaranteed and is keen to state that the Billings NFP method is effective in helping couples to have a baby.

“It really helps to identify the shared fertility of the couple without expensive medications or treatments and is a positive way of supporting the creation of life. The loss or lack of conception is a big reality today” she said.

Dr Adrian Treloar (pictured below) from the Catholic Medical Association says: “For couples who use Natural Family Planning, data shows some very positive outcomes in terms of psychological measures, communication between husband and wife, and also marital stability.

"Using Natural Family Planning appears to be associated with happier marriage - it is rarely associated with divorce - and NFP couples are more likely to self-describe their family life as successful.

“The research hints that in our sexual lives, when we cooperate with our natural, God-given, biological fertility and sexuality we seem to fare better medically, socially and emotionally - ie, we are healthier.”

Marie Sandison volunteers with Fertility Care Scotland to give couples information on avoiding or achieving pregnancy using Natural Fertility Regulation.  She said: "The Billings Ovulation Method allows women to observe daily patterns of fertility and infertility and needs only simple observations. It can be used throughout a woman's life.”

Fertility Care Scotland run regular clinics and teaching is available online during the current Covid 19 situation: Contact: Fertility Care Scotland Email: or call/text: 07903300376. Visit for more information or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.




Holy Week: Family resources

Holy Week is almost upon us. We've compiled a daily guide for families so that children are prepared spiritually for Easter!


The online booklet was put together by our Catechetics Commission. It give children a basic overview of the importance of Holy Week and can be adapted depending on the child's age. It will also:

• engage them in the events which occurred during the last days of Jesus’ life on earth
• give them an overview of some of the practices that they will witness in their parishes/homes during this time
• encourage children to begin to relate Jesus’ suffering with his love

This Sunday

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. A stay-at-home Children's Liturgy guide for families is available.

As palms can't be distributed this year Thérèse Feeney, from our Cathechetics commission, has come up with a crafty solution. Parents or carers can help children make a mini palm tree out of newspaper or rolled up coloured card! See below.



VIDEO: Married couples urged: 'make each other saints!'

Married couples have been urged to help makes each other saints.

That was one of the messages from John Wilson, the Archbishop of Southwark, who was in Edinburgh on Saturday to speak on marriage and family life.

He told the audience at the Gillis Centre: "One of your principal vocations is to make your spouse a saint.

"One thing I say in wedding homilies is that if you don't do anything else from this day forward, you pray for your wife and you pray for your husband.

"Pope Francis says that moments of family prayer and acts of devotion can be more powerful than any class or sermon."

He added: "After the love that unites us to God, conjugal love - married love - is the greatest form of friendship that exists.

"St Pope John Paul II knew the transformative power of the vocation to marriage and family when he wrote 'the future of humanity passes by way of the family'. So if we get marriage and the family right, we get society right, we get the world right, we get the future right.”

Archbishop Wilson also spoke of the many challenges to traditional marriage in today's society, saying: "There's less support from our social structures, there's increasing fragmentation and individualism, there's an abandonment of any traditional understanding of marriage and family, of gender, of sexuality, of relationships.

"Pope Francis says our mission is clear - we can hardly stop advocating marriage simply to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities or out of a desire to be fashionable.

"If we did we deprive the world of values that we can and must offer. Our reply has to be a more responsible and generous effort to present the reasons and motivations for choosing marriage and the family, helping them to respond to the grace that God offers them."

(Images: Catriona Atkin)

Archbishop Wilson helping to 'strengthen the life of the family'

The Catholic Church’s vision for marriage and family is a "life-giving proposal" says John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark.

He's coming to Edinburgh this month to talk about the beauty and challenges facing married couples in the 21st Century.

He said: "The to speak about the church’s vision for marriage and family.

"It’s a positive proposal, a life-giving proposal. It’s about what it is to be created in the image and likeness of God, male and female, and how we live that through the vocation of marriage and family life."

Much of his talk will be based around Pope Francis' encyclical Amoris laetitia ('The Joy of Love').

He added: "Pope Francis touches on lots of themes from scripture and the tradition of the church. That includes the pastoral reality of our experience about the joy of God’s gift of love. That’s experienced in a special way through the sacrament of marriage.

"The family – that domestic church - is the foundation, the building block of our communities and the life of our church. I'll be looking at how to strengthen the life of your family, its spirituality and sense of vocation. It's also a chance to support people in the challenges they face in marriage.

"I think the example parents give of their loving relationship and their faith as disciples together overflows into the life of their children. It’s the best foundation someone can have for a life of faith themselves."

Whether you're married, divorced, separated or single, come along and discover more.

Your Marriage is Your Vocation, Saturday 26 October, 2-5pm, Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh. Book your place now at Eventbrite or call 0131 623 8900.