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This article was published in the January 1994 issue of The Journal.


From an address by Fr Cyril Hally, Columban priest from the Pacific Mission Institute, Sydney, to the Ninth National Meeting of Members of Australian Diocesan Commissions for Ecumenism, held in St John Fisher College, Hobart, 4-6 October 1992. 

The basic household of the faith is the family. Hence the significance of the images of "domestic church", "domestic sanctuary" and "sanctuary of life". The family is the classic working model of diversity within the unity of love. Today in many families an interchurch diversity is a creative feature ...

For such families evangelising mission will include the ecumenical dimension. Members of interchurch families because of the high level of sharing are eminently suitable for engaging in three of the four fonns of dialogue - of life. of action and of religious experience. Some also are equipped to conduct the dialogue of theological exchange. 

If we wish to set an Australian agenda I suggest we encourage individual families and groups of families to engage in reflection/action as agents of evangelisation. The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelisation (Evangelii Nuntiandi. 75). Precisely as domestic churches such families are "temples" of the Holy Spirit. We need to be much more attentive to the sensus fidelium. 

Such an agenda includes. but goes beyond, the pastoral care of "mixed" marriages as recommended by the May 197] Report of the Joint Working Group of the Australian Council of Churches and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The domestic churches within the household of the faith could be genuine signs and instruments of intimate union with God and of solidarity among the diverse multicultural, multifaith Australians.