On the 16th November 2019 more than 250 members of Teams of Our Lady from across the country gathered at Westminster Cathedral to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the movement in Great Britain. The principal celebrant was Bishop Peter Doyle, the Bishop responsible for marriage and family life), and concelebrants included Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton, Westminster Auxiliary Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Bishop of the Forces Paul Mason, Fr Chris Vipers, Director of the Agency for Evangelisation for Westminster, and clergy members of Teams.
The day was captured in a single phrase by Piotr and Dzidzia Chodzko-Zajko (Super Regional Couple - Transatlantic), who wrote after the event: 'We are still on a high,' a simple yet profound expression of the overall joy and happiness associated with the day. The other key fruit was the number of young couples and their children who continue to make up the rich tapestry of Teams.
Teams is an international lay movement in the Catholic Church, designed to enrich 'married spirituality', helping to make good Christian marriages even better by growing the graces received in sacramental marriage. Across the world Teams provides a proven method of increasing and improving prayer life, which helps couples grow closer to God and each other. The movement was founded in France in 1947 by Fr Henri Caffarel as the fruit of a simple request from three married couples in 1939 to find ways to support and develop holiness in the sacrament of matrimony.
From a small beginning, Teams has grown into an international movement. There are now 13,575 teams worldwide, comprising 68,615 couples and 10,194 priests and religious. Each team is made up of four to six couples and a priest/spiritual director. The spiritual wealth of Teams derives from the fusion of two types of priesthood: the priestly ministry and the priesthood of the faithful. Together they create 'the small church', a beautiful image of the domestic church in its fullness. The concrete relationship between the priest and the people of God helps to reinforce the understanding of the Church as a community in which members enrich each other on the road to salvation.
In Great Britain there are 111 Teams, of which 38 are in the Diocese of Westminster. In the last five years the movement has experienced a 20 percent growth in the number of new Teams worldwide. This growth is seen as a direct response to a desire by Christian married couples to seek the benefits of spiritual assistance to live out their vocation.
The gathering on Saturday was a visible affirmation that, not only is marriage and family life alive and well, but that this particular model of mutual accompaniment helps affirm and reveal its beauty. Each of the Teams, in their different ways, was a flickering reflection of the light that emanated from the beautiful icon of the Holy Family, which adorned the sanctuary.
Teams of Our Lady contact:
Piotr and Dzidzia Chodzko-Zajko Super Regional Couple - Transatlantic, Equipes Notre-Dame (Teams) [email protected]
Teams of Our Lady website: www.teamsgb.org.uk/index.html
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