St. John Paul II, in his exhortation on the family, Familiaris Consortio, calls the family “the basic cell of society.” In that same document the Holy Father said “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.” The Catholic bishops of the United States, in the 1994 pastoral letter Follow The Way Of Love, state “What you do in your family to create a community of love, to help each other to grow, and to serve those in need is critical, not only for your own sanctification but for the strength of society and our Church. It is a participation in the work of the Lord, a sharing in the mission of the Church. It is holy.”
The Church in her Teaching gives primacy to family life and distinguishes marriage as the anchor of commitment, stability, and healthiness. Sociological research reveals crisis in family life among African Americans. Yet, the Catholic parishes that serve in those communities most vulnerable to this crisis are the least likely to focus on applying Teaching and resources for the strengthening of family life.
Pope Francis says in his exhortation The Joy of Love, “Families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.” It is an opportunity to reach out to families with radical hospitality as taught by Jesus. Francis also says that we must “remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other.” Our hospitality must welcome families of all forms and structures, and regardless of their messiness. We must encounter them with compassion and not judgement. Leading with compassion we are better able to recognize their goodness and honor their holiness.
The purpose of ArusiNetwork is to be a leader in directing the Church’s attention and resources to the crisis. Using our “Catholic Sacramental Imagination” we assist families to recognize their holiness despite the messiness of life. We encourage and empower them with life skills, and raise their sights on the public role that marriage plays in sustaining healthiness and procuring hope in the community.
African-American Marriage Video
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Arusi Network, Inc. was established to govern the ministerial work of Andrew and Terri Lyke. The mission of that work is to strengthen the institution of marriage in the African American community. The focus of that work is in marriage education, spiritual formation and ongoing social support through outreach from faith-based communities.
“We give the most powerful, transforming, miracle-making love when the beloved is least deserving. It is then that our love reflects the love of God given in the sacrifice of the cross. Our ‘Easter’ is of God’s shaping us into who we need to be.” - Andrew & Terri Lyke
Andrew and Terri Lyke are members of the Catholic Speakers Organization, CatholicSpeakers.com.