Communication in times of difficulty

Number 6

Dear friends, here we are with you again with this sixth bulletin in this time of prayer and reflection, as we await the arrival of the child Jesus, our Lord.

Remembering each other also through this bulletin we are sending you, we wish you a happy Advent and a good reading.

International Leading Team


Clarita & Edgardo BERNAL

International Responsible Couple



Dear Family of Teams of Our Lady

We are publishing this new issue of #farbutnear, a few days before the celebration, in the christian world, of the birth of the child God or Christmas.

This date has always had a special meaning for people of faith. But this year, the restrictions imposed by COVID, will perhaps create a more authentic meaning, freeing us from commercial opportunism. Between gifts, luminous trees, snowmen, even in countries where we never have snow, Santa Claus, fireworks, and opulent dinners with generous wines, the true meaning of Christmas tends to be hidden and sometimes forgotten.

In fact, to establish a reference for the Catholic world, Christmas was set on the date of 25th December, starting the celebration the night before. But it is not just a date that we Catholics celebrate, but a fact that is transcendental for the history of humanity and the history of salvation: the birth of the child Jesus, redeemer of the world.

It should be noted that chronologically it is not certain that the date of the birth of the child Jesus would have taken place on 25th December. Scholars and some sacred writers place the birth of the baby Jesus between 17th December and 25th March from the year 747, after the foundation of Rome. All of this, which is good for us to know, is nothing more than an academic discussion that in no way affects the essence of what this event, transcendental for our faith, inspires in our hearts. It starts from the awareness that one day God, through a child in a manger, came into our lives to radically change them by saving us and redeeming us with a love without limits until offering his life for ours.

The celebration of the Nativity is so important that the Church proposes a special time of preparation of four Sundays before 25th December, so we arrive at the celebration of the feast of the birth of Jesus, with a willing heart. This is called the time of Advent, or time of preparation for the "coming".

In Advent, our hearts beat in time with the heart of our mother Mary, in that expectation of the child she carries in her womb. It is precisely in that expectation, that we can receive grace through this time of reflection, recognition and penance, to prepare a place in our own hearts to welcome the newborn Jesus.

As we said at the beginning of this short article, we are given on this occasion, a privileged opportunity to live the true meaning of Christmas. Either by our own conviction or by the imposition that the relentless COVID has imposed on the whole world, this year we can live the celebration from our hearts without so many external manifestations. Instead, we can celebrate an intimate party between our family and the family of Nazareth where the child Jesus will be the great honoree. We can spend the resources we saved by letting go of the chains of consumerism, by providing a dignified Christmas to a less fortunate family. Through us, they too may feel His light and love.

Today we do not want to refer to the difficult moments we have all experienced this year, but to leave them behind and look with optimism to the coming year. It is time to celebrate, to thank and to welcome, and from a distance to embrace each one of you, wishing you with all our hearts that the Child God will fill each one of your homes with peace, and will bless you abundantly in the coming year.

To conclude this fraternal greeting, we have taken the liberty of transcribing this text written by a simple parish priest of San Lorenzo, Pamplona, Spain, Father Javier Leoz, who sent this message to his parishioners. He came to the attention of Pope Francis who decided to call him personally on 7th November to express his pleasure and congratulations, for the joy of his message. We believe that it will be edifying for everyone:

THERE WILL BE NO CHRISTMAS? Of course there will be!

More quietly and with more depth.

More like the first one in which Jesus was born in solitude.

Without many lights on earth,

but with that of the star of Bethlehem,

flashing paths of life in its immensity.

Without colossal royal courtships,

but with the humility to feel,

shepherds and swains seeking the Truth.

Without large tables and with bitter absences, but with the presence of an all-filling God.

THERE WILL BE NO CHRISTMAS? Of course there will!

Without the streets overflowing,

but with a burning heart,

for the one that is to come.

No noise, no verbiage,

claims and stampedes...

but living the Mystery without fear

of the "covid-Herod" that aims

to take away even the dream of waiting.


because GOD is on our side and shares, as Christ did in a manger, our poverty, trials, crying, anguish and orphanhood.

There will be Christmas because we need

a divine light in the midst of so much darkness.

Covid19 will never be able to reach the heart and soul of those who put their hope and high ideal in heaven




A message to end 2020

Father Ricardo Londoño
International SC

For those of us who count time according to the Gregorian calendar, the year 2020 is nearing its end.

A year that will go down in history with its confusing memories. A difficult, complex year, full of uncertainty. It is a year that we can only evaluate later, since it is not easy to do so as we march towards its end.

In the places located in the northern hemisphere, the trees have been losing their leaves and we can see trunks and branches stripped of the vitality that is expressed in them. In the southern hemisphere, color and heat are present with the rebirth of the foliage. A contrast of which we are rarely aware. And yet, a hymn to the circle of life and a meditation on what is happening and what will come.

For the believers in Jesus Christ, it is the celebration of the beginning of a new liturgical year. At the end of November we began the season of Advent, and Christmas will come soon. It is worth considering what we are celebrating.

We celebrate time much more than space and we give it meaning. We look at the triple dimension of the past, present and future and fill the moments with symbolism. We appreciate the past that brought us the messianic hope of the People of the Covenant and its concrete realization in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word. The child in the manger, conceived in Mary by the action of the Holy Spirit, welcomes and manifests the history of salvation that is embodied in him. We look at our uncertain and questioning present and fill it with the realization of the grace of God, that in the Word and the Sacraments manifests to us the endless divine Mercy. And, we cast our gaze towards the future horizon of the eschatological and definitive. We are invited to participate in the great banquet of the Kingdom in the definitive conjoining of space-time made eternity and fullness in God.

Advent is a beautiful time that, through the beautiful texts chosen for the daily liturgy, accompanies us in our meditation on God's work. Isaiah, John the Baptist and the Holy Virgin Mary are the characters that open us to the mystery that will illuminate the darkness and make salvation shine. Christmas must envelop us in the sublime of God's definitive commitment to humanity. The sign is nothing more than a humble and poor child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Nothing newsworthy or worth coverage in social networks. And yet, there he is, God-with-us.

Let us celebrate in the reality of the time and place where we each live. Let us experience that, even if 2020 has been a difficult, painful, ambiguous, and demanding year, it has nevertheless also been an opportunity to show the value of fraternity, concern for others, and solidarity in the face of the dramas and tragedies that have been experienced around us. It has been the conjunction of kronos and kairos that has demanded resignation and openness. A celebration that has to mark the hope and the welcome to a 2021 that we yearn for with greater clarity.

May the abundance of God's love accompany each team member; may the mystery of the Manger Child fill us with the tenderness required for the service to those who suffer, and may the new year open horizons of fraternity and social friendship for all. This is my simple and warm wish.


Pope Francis invites to seek the meaning of Christmas signs

“There is no pandemic, there is no crisis that can extinguish this light.

Let us allow it to enter our heart”.

(ANGELUS, Saint Peter's Square, 6 December 2020)


With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. We transcribe below a short excerpt of this Letter.

(…) After Mary, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in the papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse.

Now, one hundred and fifty years after his proclamation as Patron of the Catholic Church by Blessed Pius IX (8 December 1870), I would like to share some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience. For, as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34).

My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how “our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone… How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all”.

Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.

1. A beloved father

The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation”.

2. A tender and loving father

Joseph saw Jesus grow daily “in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour” (Lk 2:52). As the Lord had done with Israel, so Joseph did with Jesus: he taught him to walk, taking him by the hand; he was for him like a father who raises an infant to his cheeks, bending down to him and feeding him (cf. Hos 11:3-4).

3. An obedient father

As he had done with Mary, God revealed his saving plan to Joseph. He did so by using dreams, which in the Bible and among all ancient peoples, were considered a way for him to make his will known.

4. An accepting father

Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. He trusted in the angel’s words. “The nobility of Joseph’s heart is such that what he learned from the law he made dependent on charity. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man. Even though he does not understand the bigger picture, he makes a decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity and her life. In his hesitation about how best to act, God helped him by enlightening his judgment”.

5. A creatively courageous father

If the first stage of all true interior healing is to accept our personal history and embrace even the things in life that we did not choose, we must now add another important element: creative courage. This emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties. In the face of difficulty, we can either give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring out resources we did not even think we had.

6. A working father

An aspect of Saint Joseph that has been emphasized from the time of the first social Encyclical, Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, is his relation to work. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.

7. A father in the shadows

The Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father, tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. He uses the evocative image of a shadow to define Joseph. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way. We can think of Moses’ words to Israel: “In the wilderness… you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you travelled” (Deut 1:31). In a similar way, Joseph acted as a father for his whole life.

“Get up, take the child and his mother” (Mt 2:13), God told Saint Joseph.

We need only ask Saint Joseph for the grace of graces: our conversion.

Let us now make our prayer to him:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,

and defend us from every evil. Amen.

(Given in Rome, at Saint John Lateran, on 8 December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the year 2020).

Youth Teams of our Lady: 44 years of a journey in communion

The Youth Teams of Our Lady began in 1976. They were born of a great desire of the children of the couples of Teams of Our Lady at the International Gathering that year.

In a world that still did not know about cell phones and emails, we can imagine Christine d'Ammonville, the daughter of the Ammonville couple, busy organizing a parallel meeting to that of the Teams of Our Lady. It was a different meeting, a meeting for young people, for the children of these same couples.

Christine sent letters to the whole world, inviting them to Rome in September. Hundreds of young people responded to her invitation.

Therefore, we truly feel we are children of Teams. Basically, with this image of parents and children we want to remember that we are one, and for this reason it is our great desire that there be greater communion between the two movements, which have the same root.

We are children always looking for the testimony of our parents. And we have received so much!

Over the past 44 years there have been thousands (truly!) couples of Teams of Our Lady who have opened the doors of their homes to receive the young people. They have opened their hearts and their families for the monthly arrival of several young people to their home, to share a meal together, but above all, to share a time of encounter and friendship based on Jesus, taken to His mother's lap.

In addition, there are so many who help us as assisting couples in the Sector, national and international secretariats. Couples who remind us that our youth movement, made by and for young people, counts on their help and experience to bring more young people to Christ together.

It is very good to open my calendar and see that I have a team meeting scheduled (either in person or by Zoom during these more demanding days). It is a great grace to be able to share my life with a group of friends who help me grow and become closer to Jesus!

Young people need a place of prayer and sharing that helps us in our daily life. The Youth Teams of Our Lady is a Catholic Youth Movement that responds to the desires and concerns of so many young people throughout the world.


Currently, we are almost 6000 team members around the world. But so many have already passed through here. So many have grown and have chosen their vocation.

Many of them are married today, some are priests, some are seminarians, some are consecrated, and among the new youth team members, there are so many whose parents were married through Youth Teams. And many of them are now part of the Teams of Our Lady.

It is very beautiful to think that they all said a ‘Yes’ to Our Lady, a transforming Fiat in which they consecrated their lives to her.

This journey that we make continues to be traveled together, as in 1976. Parents and children, Teams and Youth Teams of Our Lady, all on a path of communion. Let us ask God to always help us to maintain the friendship we have, and with joy let us thank each other for so many gifts received from each other.


The International Animation Team (IAT) is composed of the Spiritual Counselor (Father Valter Malaquias), Assistant Couple (Pedro and Patrícia Madeira Rodrigues), international leader and national leaders from all countries with active Youth Teams of Our Lady.

As the countries expand and grow, they take their place in this international animation team.


Portugal, Spain, USA, Brazil, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Syria, Canada, Angola and Mozambique.

Countries with a few teams or starting the expansion: Italy, UK, Sweden, South Africa, Togo, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic.

The IAT meets physically once a year and, whenever necessary, virtually.


The International Secretariat is the executive body of the IAT.

It normally stays for two years (and a maximum of four) in a given country.

Currently, the international secretariat is in Portugal until 2022. Members of the secretariat are from this country.

The members of the international secretariat can be found at https://www.ytolinternational.com/knowus.

Email for contacts: responsible@ytolinternational.com


Team meetings have the following structure: Meal, Prayer, Sharing, Study Theme and Point of Effort.

The meetings are held at the home of the assistant couple, where the meal is made and then followed by the moments of sharing, prayer and theme. At the end, a point of effort is defined, an attitude to be improved during the month that the whole team unites to fulfill (example: Praying the Rosary as a Team).

Each country has its own theme booklet, which is often inspired by the Pope's messages to youth.

Currently, we have made a new piloting booklet for all the countries, and launched a theme for the year so that in some of the activities that are carried out, the unity of the Movement can be taken into account. This year 2020-2021 is about Laudato Si and the Message of Pope Francis for World Youth Day (WYD).


In addition to the monthly meetings, the Youth Teams of Our Lady Movement holds national meetings, sector meetings, international meetings, pilgrimages, social action, presence at WYD, prayer evenings, retreats, formation meetings, etc.

The countries also have a national secretariat and sector secretariats. Everything is done by young people, for young people and for youth.


The couples who are chosen to assist the Teams are from the Teams of Our Lady. They are chosen by the assistant couples of the secretariats, who are also couples of Teams of Our Lady.

International Animation Team meeting photograph (July 2020).

Photo of the Secretariat meeting (Zoom)


SR OCEANIA - Chris & John Dighton

Responsible Couple for Oceania - Chris and John Dighton – Australia

Spiritual Counsellor for Oceania – Fr. Gary Walker - Australia

The Oceania Super Region includes five Regions in Australia, Isolated Sectors in the Philippines and New Zealand, and outreach into Timor Leste.

Teams 118 - Couples 506 - Spiritual Counsellors 72 - Widowed 54

The Oceania Team includes the Regional Couples from the five Australian Regions.

- Genevieve and Tim Power

- Cath and Bob Dixon

- Petra Ball and Terry McDevitt

- Meuris and Claude Gonsalves

- Jane and Phil Bretherton

- Helen and David Gill (Treasurers)

Outreach Liaison Couples, attached to the Oceania Team, liaise with the Isolated Sector Couples:

- Philippines – Sector Couples Genna and Butch Redulla and Cherrilyn and Emil Pugosa. Liaison Couple Sue and Adrian Fordham.

- New Zealand – Sector Couple Raewyn and John Jackman. Liaison Couple Penny and Peter Cahalan.

- Timor Leste – Liaison Couple Sue and Bren Millsom.

How Teams started in the Regions

The first team in Australia developed from correspondence between couples spread around the world, especially with Stephanie and Max Charlesworth. On their return to Melbourne from Belgium, this couple formed a non-affiliated group; in 1960 Judy and Greg Armstrong returned to Australia after being part of the first English-speaking team in Cheltenham UK. A three-month piloting program began in Melbourne in August 1961 and soon the Charlesworth’s group joined the Teams Movement as Australia’s first team.

In New Zealand the Teams Movement was introduced in 1995 by Peggy Corrigan from England. With the help of the local parish priest, she started and piloted seven teams located in Wellington. In 2018 five teams were formed in the Dioceses of Hamilton with strong support from the Bishop, and another in Auckland. These Teams were piloted from Australia both in person and by distance through Skype/Zoom, to become an isolated Sector within Oceania supported by a Liaison Couple from Australia.

In the Philippines, the first Team was established on the island of Cebu in 2000. With the vision and guidance of Fr Jose Burgues, a Spanish Piarist priest who had been a Spiritual Counsellor in France, and with support from a Liaison Couple in Australia, six couples came together, with Leleth and Troy Sorono the first Responsible Couple. There are now five Teams in the Isolated Sector of Cebu supported by a Liaison Couple from Australia.

Timor Leste – Over some years, Oceania Teams members have been connected with couples, nuns and priests in Timor Leste with the goal of forming Teams. Formal contact has been made with the Bishops. Following a visit to Timor by the Australia Liaison Couple in 2019, the Oceania team provided information and piloting material translated into the local language of Tetan. The plan for 2020 was for further visits to Timor to build on the already established connections was prevented by COVID19. We are still liaising by internet.

Location – Oceania is situated in the Southern Hemisphere in the Pacific and Asian region - see map below - Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Timor Leste.

The Regions are hundreds of kilometres apart by road and travel to the isolated Sectors can only be done by air, so one of our challenges in starting new teams is cost and time for travel.

For example a new Team has just been formed in Darwin in the north of Australia piloted by a couple from South Australia, 2000 kms away.

Our Response to COVID19

The Pandemic affected Oceania in many ways:

· The Oceania Team could not meet due to lockdown throughout Australia and in New Zealand and Philippines, so we held effective Zoom meetings over the year. But we missed being together face-to-face and unable to visit any of the Regions or Sectors. All regional events were cancelled, isolating members further. Many teams met only through Zoom.

· As some older Team members lacked technology, Regional Couples undertook the task of contacting all Responsible Couples in all the Regions by phone, something much appreciated.

· Oceania Team also prepared a special COVID newsletter posted directly to each Team member to make sure members still experienced their sharing in the regional and international movement.

· We encouraged the Oceania Team to focus on a Pastoral and Strategic Plan going forward from 2020 into 2021. Prioritised needs were support for ageing teams, reaching young couples, communication in general and reaching out to a broader range of cultural groups particularly in Australia.

Oceania Team plan for 2021

Meeting face-to-face is our primary goal. Otherwise we will continue to meet every three months through Zoom.

We will follow the recommendations that the Oceania Team agreed on this year to:

- continue to be involved in the preparation for the Australian Plenary Council

in 2021. Teams in Oceania have submitted documents in 2019 and 2020 on Marriage and Family life in the Church in Australia. Team members are also members of the Council preparatory group

- continue marriage preparation in parishes

- maintain contact with our local Bishops

- focus our outreach and try to visit isolated sectors in 2021

- overall, maintain a sense of unity in such a large region so that all Teams feel nourished as part of the wider Movement

Our prayer

That we, who have been given the gift of Teams in our lives,

find ways to share this gift with couples in our communities.

SR SRHN - Sofía & Gustavo Hernández

"Don't be afraid, let's go out…"

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, in the unity of the love of the Father and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and our Mother, Holy Mary of Guadalupe, who accompanies us today at this moment of our lives.

We are Sofia and Gustavo Hernandez Rojas, we have been in END for 30 years. We have three children, and we are from Mexico.

Spiritual Counsellor:

P. Manuel Rojas.

The Hispanoamerica North Super Region (SRHN) is made up of 6 Regions:

1. Central North America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador).

2. Central South America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama).

North Central Mexico (and Cuba).

4. Mexico West.

5. Puerto Rico and

6. Dominican Republic.

The SRHN was established on 19th July, 2019 at the International College in Valencia, Spain. We consist of 420 teams, distributed in 10 countries. Each country has its own challenges, great opportunities for expansion, very committed couples, and members in love with the movement.

From the beginning of the pandemic, we came together united in prayer and in the Holy Eucharist, with the generosity and dedication of the six Regions and our dear Priest Spiritual Counsellors. From the Eucharist, we wanted to encourage each other and be united as a SR.

We experienced the pain, the loss of team members, jobs, and uncertainty. But we felt the real experience of God's loving gaze, in the light of the orientation given to us in Fatima: "Don't be afraid, let's go out", and with the specific orientation of 2020-2021: Marriage, Sacrament of Mission. Only with his grace can we continue the mission within the Movement, in the Church and in society.

We are called to live passionately our being with Christ. We are called to be saints.

"The Teams of Our Lady have as their essential aim to help couples to strive after holiness. Nothing more, nothing less". (Fr. Henry Caffarel)

Through various platforms, the life of the Movement continues: Team Meetings, Eucharists, Rosaries, Prayer Vigils, Retreats, Formation Meetings, and Colleges. We are aware of the pressing need to be close through technology, which allows us to be united in a virtual way. We do not cancel activities; we only carry them out in a different way.

As a young Super Region, we are motivated:

To develop a sense of unity and belonging within the SR and toward the Movement;

To be custodians of fidelity to the foundational charism of Teams of Our Lady through the FORMATION of Regional Couples, Formators and Sectors;

To deepen the four pillars of the movement, with objectives defined in the SR based on the path traced by the ERI.

And as our founder Father Caffarel says: "Growth in expansion can be a danger if it is not accompanied by a deep formation". In addition, his conviction was that it should not be perceived as a human success, but as the fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit.

There is a lot of creativity in social networks. For some team members, it is a challenge to overcome. So as not to create confusion, we consider it important to be attentive and to be guardians of the unity and fidelity of Teams of Our Lady, and to follow the path that we have as a Movement. So we insist with the Regional Couples that they know and live, in their service, the four pillars of the movement. Often we forget the third pillar: The life of the movement, with its functions of Spiritual Animation, Liaison, Formation and Diffusion. There is a structure and organization to grow in conjugal love, and in the love of God.

We are challenged by Father Caffarel's message so that the Movement may walk in "Perfect unity, 'That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you. May they also be one in us (Jn 17:21)'. This is the foundation of the internationality and unity of Teams of Our Lady".

SR FLS - Catherine & Christophe Bernard

Responsible couple: Catherine and Christophe BERNARD

Spiritual Counsellor: Father Louis de RAYNAL

The Responsible Team consists of six couples and a Spiritual Counsellor.

The SR includes France, including overseas teams, Luxembourg and Switzerland, divided into 4 provinces, 20 regions and 143 sectors.

50 isolated French-speaking teams around the world are also attached to the SR.

There are 2305 teams, 9633 couples, 1841 priest spiritual counsellors and 67 spiritual accompanists.

Our 4 pillars, DNA of our Movement

Team life and fraternal help to grow in the Faith.

To encourage team members to listen to each other and to provide spiritual, human and fraternal mutual aid.

To give the Liaison Couple back its full place.

Accompany, support and take care of our priests and spiritual accompanists.

Conjugal spirituality, a vision for today's couples (conjugal prayer, the Sit-Down, the path of faith as a couple, the teachings and insights to live one's coupleness with a love tending ever more towards the love of Christ).

Among the means of progression, we have the yearly orientation, defined in three ways: the theme, the Letter of the END , the gatherings and meetings of mixed teams

A gradual pedagogy and tools to walk as a couple towards holiness (Endeavours, theme).

The House of the Couple, Massabielle, as a privileged place of welcome and spiritual formation.

Responding to Pope Francis' call to be a missionary

Speech in Rome on September 10, 2015

"I would like, in fact, to insist on this missionary role of the Teams”.

● The Tandem Couple program which brings together young couples, married or not, for two years with a pedagogy comparable to that of the END.

The Reliance Teams which bring together divorced Christian couples who are remarried or reengaged in a new union and who are looking for a place to live their faith journey as a couple and as a team.

The Intercessors. In 1960, Father Caffarel, seeing the expansion of the Teams in the world, had the intuition that a renewal of prayer was necessary for the Teams movement to hold firm and for the good news of Christian marriage to be proclaimed in the world.

Responding to his call, the Intercessors were born.

The Youth Teams of Our Lady. An YTOL team is made up of four to eight young people accompanied by a spiritual counselor and an accompanying couple.

Schools of Prayer. Meet Christ in depth in prayer.

A journey, currently under construction, for couples with more than ten years of life together, whatever their state of life.

Mission Kit. Organize a missionary evening in a parish by uniting the vital forces of the Teams and other movements present.

To be today "Church on the move"

The Responsible Team has implemented numerous proposals to accompany and support all teams and team members in this difficult period related to the pandemic and to be at their service.

Proposals during isolation:

● In mid-March, Catherine and Christophe Bernard sent a message to all Team’s members to remind them of the measures taken by the health and government authorities: "the urgency to protect the most vulnerable citizens".

They invited the team and sector responsible couples to suspend all meetings and to be inventive in weaving the link broken by the cessation of meetings, especially with elderly and isolated team members.

● An invitation was extended to all team members to pray to Our Lady of Lourdes for all the sick, by joining the novena from 17th to 25th March, 2020.

● In a video message on Joy Sunday, Catherine and Christophe Bernard and Fr. Louis de Raynal gave some ideas for this special Lent that we were given to live without forgetting the Hope and Light of the Resurrection.

● A newsletter: "Confined in tenderness", was sent to all the team members, with concrete proposals:

⮚ "On the path to Easter, engage in a process of contrition of the heart":

A proposal was put in place to help those who wished to do so, to prepare for this penitential time at home, under the gaze of God and his Word: Priest Spiritual Counselors of the Teams of Our Lady made themselves available and listened to them by telephone.

It was not a confession, but a help to live a process of contrition of the heart.

On the other hand, these priests could also answer specific questions of a spiritual nature.

This proposal started on Holy Monday for three weeks.

⮚ Professionals in the field of listening assured telephone hotlines throughout the weeks to provide listening and support to all those who wanted it.

● The Maison de Massabielle, a house of welcome and spirituality belonging to the Teams, was made available to house the nursing personnel who arrived as reinforcements at the Eaubonne hospital. This free accommodation is a contribution of the Teams and of the diocese to the fight against the pandemic. A family atmosphere and a prayerful atmosphere were strongly felt.

● The confinement may have caused relational difficulties in the couple and the family. Questions for one or more Sit-Downs were proposed to them during the confinement:

⮚ What rules of life can I give myself?

⮚ And questions for after the confinement, together with texts for reflection, so that everything doesn't go back to the way it was before.

● Many initiatives have been taken locally: regular calls to older team members, weekly mass by videoconference, support for young teams with meetings by Zoom.

Since the end of confinement

● An e-training in June was organized to reassure and provide information to couples who had to start a responsibility within the Teams from September 2020.

● The Gathering of the couples in responsibility was held in October 2020, in strict compliance with the safety instructions. It was a much awaited and appreciated time despite the physical barriers.

● The Sector responsible couples are accompanied in the organization of meetings in November in the Sectors. Documents on the holding of meetings and instructions are sent to them.

● A project to start Schools of Prayer (see above) was launched in the parishes and Sectors of the Teams, because the confinement revealed great misery and a great thirst to meet Christ in depth.


All these incentives allowed all the team members to be accompanied, guided and advised during the confinement.

At the end of this difficult period, a large number of team members shared with us their satisfaction with all these concrete proposals that allowed them to live their personal faith, as a couple and as a family, despite the many constraints they encountered.

The SR responsible team remains attentive to the concerns of the couples in responsability who wish to lead their teams with concern for the most vulnerable people, while respecting the health instructions.

Saint Paul also says: "Bear one another's burdens" (Gal 6:2).

Mutual aid is at the heart of the spirituality of the Teams of Our Lady. It invites us concretely and spiritually to take care of our neighbor, especially those who suffer. Let us live at the heart of God's love, a love that is always inventive!c

SR Portugal - Margarita & José Machado

The spirit of Teams of Our Lady arrived in Portugal in 1954 and 1955, as a result of contacts made by couples from Oporto and Lisbon with the secretariat of the Teams of Our Lady in Paris and with French team couples. In 1955, after the retreats guided by Father d'Heilly, Lisbon Team 1 was formed. In 1956 the Porto Team 1 was created (the first officially committed to the Movement), and also one in Coimbra and another in Almada. Since then, the Movement has always been active and is now established in practically every diocese in Portugal.

The Portugal Region was created in 1964 with Susana and Carlos Sousa Guedes as the first Regional Couple for Portugal. The Portugal Region was then born with 100 teams, distributed among the Sectors of Lisbon A (22), Lisbon B (21), Porto A (13), Porto B (13), North (6), Coimbra (20), and Overseas Sector (5). The Overseas Sector consisted of teams located in Mozambique (Beira and Lourenço Marques). After Mozambique, the first teams were also created in Angola. In 1967 there were 2 teams in Luanda and 12 in Mozambique.

In 1972 the first team responsible for the monthly newsletter was created, a document published regularly since then. The Super-Region Portugal was created in March 1974 (with 237 teams), after an invitation sent by the d'Amonville couple to Sofia and Carlos Grijó to assume the responsibility of this new Super-Region.

However, as a consequence of political changes in Portugal, the Movement went through some numbness and difficulties during the 70s. During this decade, the number of teams grew from 233 to 252. However, in 1976 the first National Meeting was held in Fatima, open to all team members, with 1000 people attending, including couples, spiritual counsellors, and youth. Until then, the national meetings were specifically for those with responsibility.

Since the 80s, the growth in the number of teams and sectors has been accentuated, with increasing recognition of the importance of the Movement for the Church and for society. In 2004 the Association “Equipas de Nossa Senhora” was created, recognized by the National Coordination for Family Affairs, the Ministry of Social Security, the Family, and the Child as an Association of Families with generic representation.

In 2005, the Movement celebrated 50 years of presence in Portugal. At that time, the Super-Region had 67 sectors organized in 11 regions, in a total of 893 teams. Of these, 114 were from Portuguese-speaking countries. In the same year, following a new expansion of the Movement in Angola and Mozambique, the Regions of Angola (66 teams, 45 in piloting) and Mozambique (43 teams, 22 in piloting) were created.

In 2008 the first team was created in Cape Verde with the support of Father Ildo Fortes, now Bishop of the Diocese of Mindelo. Also, in 2008, following the visit of two Spiritual Counselors, the first teams were created in S. Tomé and Príncipe. In 2009 the Province of Angola was created. Meanwhile, Cape Verde became a Region in 2017 and the pre-sector of Guinea-Bissau was created in March 2018, with the commitment of Bissau Team 1.

The Super-Region Portugal is currently organized into 5 Provinces, 22 Regions, 130 Sectors and 9 pre-Sectors, with a total of 1435 teams (162 in piloting), involving 7785 couples, 438 widows, 774 spiritual counsellors and 80 spiritual companions.

Fatima is a reference place for Teams of Our Lady in Portugal. Since 1976, national meetings have been held there, with hundreds of team members always participating. In 1994 and 2018 International Meetings were also held there.

The following photo illustrates the Sit Down moment that took place during the 2018 International Meeting, in which about 8500 team members participated, more than four thousand couples from 92 countries.

The Movement in Portugal has always collaborated in the action of the Church, particularly with regard to Family Ministry. There are several team couples involved in meetings of Marriage Preparation Centers, parish teams, Vincentian conferences, and other Church works.

In the year 2020, due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the teams have not been able to meet as usual and many activities of the Sectors and Regions have been cancelled. But the real spirit does not fade away and the spirit of service and dedication turns difficulties into opportunities, as happened with the holding of the 2020 National Meeting at a distance.


Mariola & Elizeu Calsing


#farbutnear: Let's start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

As far as the work of the Satellite Teams is concerned, we must remember that the four teams (Piloting, Second Union, Young Couples, Research and Reflection) were launched in October 2019 and, therefore, no face-to-face meetings were scheduled during 2020.

Communications and meetings, which are usually done electronically, intensified this year. In theory, therefore, the isolation and closing of borders between countries would not hinder the development of the work.

However, it should not be forgotten that the people who are members of the Satellite Teams have gone through the same suffering that the whole of humanity is experiencing, without distinction to nationality. So, of course, there was a need for a lot of adaptation according to the various personal circumstances of the couples involved in the various activities. But we can say that, thanks to everyone's efforts, the work went well.

As far as our participation in the routine work at ERI is concerned, always very demanding, we also had to adapt to work only remotely. We miss being able to embrace, to be together physically with our brothers and sisters of the ERI - and this only increases with the extension of the restrictive measures.

Creativity, resilience and forbearance are strong words for these different times. This is how we are working, reinventing ourselves at every moment. This is highly positive because there is always an opportunity to learn new things, to do differently what we have been doing until now.

#farbutnear: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative ones, if any.

We worked more intensively for this Extraordinary Virtual Meeting in its planning and preparation. During the meeting, our work was follow-up and back-up.

We felt an immense sorrow for the cancellation of the International College, because, once again, we could not be near the SR and RR couples. However, everyone's commitment to the success of the virtual meeting was the high point, because everything worked so well. As a matter of fact, the evaluations show it well. For us there wasn't exactly any negative point; but, it's important to say that we really missed the personal hug and the personal contacts.

#farbutnear: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

For next year there is the expectation, as for the Satellite Teams, that we can hold face-to-face meetings, because some ongoing projects may develop better with the work of two or three days involving all couples.

If this is not possible, we will certainly have to continue in the virtual world, which could harm a little the results to be achieved. But, we are all very optimistic and we believe that the face-to-face meetings can happen, even if it is in the second semester.

Regarding our work as ERI members, we are already working for the next International College in July 2021, and we are confident that before that, we will be able to hold a face-to-face meeting of the ERI, perhaps in March.

#farbutnear: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

Our message, at the end of such an unusual year, is first of all to thank God for all that has happened and for all He has given us, even in the saddest events - which have been so many in so many places in the world. This has not only deepened our daily conversion, but also strengthened our faith, thus making us more hopeful, more confident, more docile to the designs of our Heavenly Father.

And secondly, a message of joy for the coming Christmas celebration. With a heart full of affection, we wish the whole team family from the four corners of the world, a Christmas of hope. Behold, we are given the God Child, whom the shepherds proclaim as the savior of the world. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Paola & Giovanni Cecchini Manara

International Secretariat

#farbutnear: Let's start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

Our work for the movement is varied and takes place at different levels. Normally, our service includes, among other things, a frequent presence at the secretariat in Paris, in order to carry out certain administrative and practical tasks. Unfortunately, in 2020, we were only able to visit the headquarters three times, twice at the beginning of the year, just before the confinement, and then in July, as soon as it was possible to travel. We were also in time to meet with the teams in Rome with whom we are collaborating to organize the 2021 Regional Couples International Meeting.

Despite the difficulties of travel, we worked remotely with the secretariat and the banks. Recently, we have been working very hard to manage the documentation of the Extraordinary meeting of the College and the publication of the Bulletin #farbutnear. We have also contacted the SR couples to continue the implementation of the Translation Protocol.

#farbutnear: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative.

It was an extraordinary challenge, involving a new way of communicating and a lot of creativity. In our opinion, it was a positive experience, although we missed the more direct relationship with people, which is certainly the most negative side. The prayer helped a lot to make us all feel connected. In addition, this experience has given us a lot of ideas about media opportunities and possible improvements for the next College, which we hope will be held face to face.

#farbutnear: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

We will continue to give our support to the movement in all its practical aspects, especially sharing with Edgardo and Clarita Bernal the work of the secretariat: the care in the practical and financial aspects that call us; the care in the requests of the SR couples; and the attention to good communication.

We sincerely hope that we will soon be able to go to Paris, where important things are waiting for us to be taken in hand and resolved definitively.

We miss the meeting with the ERI couples very much. The days we spend together are intense, with prayer and sharing, and are precious for enabling us to work better in our service. Seeing each other on a screen, besides being complex because we have very different time zones, is not enough to create that complicity, that unity of purpose and feelings that are an important support for the service of the ERI.

#loinmaisproche: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

To have confidence, to live the Gospel message with joy, in the heart of these difficult and bitter days. As couples with a responsibility in our movement, we have an important role to play: to provide positive stimulus for the couples entrusted to us and, as couples of the END, to sow hope in our world.

Faye & Kevin Noonan


#loinmaisproche: Let's start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our ERI role in 2020. This year, most meetings and events have moved online, and our approach to international liaison needed to be completely reimagined. In the past, we would have a schedule of visits to countries in the Eurasia Zone, but this was impossible during 2020.

Change is a powerful motivator for innovation. This year, online tools such as Zoom, have provided us with a simple way to invite Teams members from around the world into our home. We were able to attend events and meet people in a way we could not have envisaged. We have been inspired by the many ways Team members have embraced change.

For example, in Ghana, WhatsApp is used to teach the gospel message and create a Teams online community; Ireland has created an international online Marriage Masterclass; India moved to an online retreat using Youtube and had more attendees. The Zone leadership Team now meets every six weeks for planning, formation and discussion. In the past these members only met at annual College meetings.

This year has been a lesson to all of us about the power of faith and hope, and the love people show to others in times of adversity.

#loinmaisproche: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative

The virtual meeting presented some big challenges for us as a couple. Prior to the meeting, both Kevin’s parents spent time in hospital. Faye quickly travelled to be with them, but before Kevin could join her, the government unexpectedly closed the state border. This meant we had to plan and attend much of the meeting separated by 1200km.

Despite the challenges of a virtual meeting, everyone came together well-prepared and with a positive attitude, reinforcing the unity and spirit of END.

Our Zone Team had already begun holding regular online meetings before COVID, so the situation was very familiar to them. This meant we were able to commence deeper discussions from the first day.

Two of the SR/RR couples will complete their role this year, and it was disappointing that we could not thank them in person for their service.

#loinmaisproche: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

Next year will be a year of transition, as the world begins to reopen post-COVID. It will be a time of uncertainty, as some countries will transition out of the virus more quickly than others. We expect to be working on a combination of virtual and post-COVID initiatives throughout 2021.

Early in 2021, we plan to host a virtual meeting of all Eurasia Zone Regional Couples. The objective will be to build a Regional Couples network, so they can meet each other and become comfortable in sharing ideas. By the time the Regional Couples meet in 2022, we hope they will already have a close and productive relationship.

#loinmaisproche: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

The “Vocation and Mission” document (2018) begins with the words: ‘The changes that are taking place in our world today reinforce the urgency of discerning and facing the signs of the times with hope and boldness.’

This message is even more relevant today during the pandemic. We have witnessed how all Team members, from the ERI through to the base teams, need to be open to the challenge to discern, rethink and adapt to a changing world.

While the virus has caused much sadness and concern in so many countries, it has also brought Teams members around the world much closer, through prayer, solidarity and mutual help. Technology has linked us in ways we could have never previously imagined.

In the coming year, we must not forget what has already been achieved, and the opportunities that await in 2021. While we carry the sadness of COVID in our hearts, we must look to the future with hope and boldness.

Marcia & Paulo Faria


#farbutnear: Let us start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

The year that ends for us was one of much learning and joy.

At the College in Warsaw, we would have completed our first year as Liaison Couple for the America Zone. It is a mission that represents a lot for us. We see it as more than a role in the Movement, but as a loving and hopeful look from God who, trusting in us, calls us once again to service.

The service has brought us closer to many brothers and sisters in the Teams and their realities that, although they have different nuances, are in essence very similar.

As we became more settled in the role, the pandemic surprised us and led us to explore different and unimagined ways in the service of animation of SRs and RR entrusted to us. This was the greatest difficulty because, together with the SR/RR responsible couples and counsellors, issues arose that required great dedication and responsibility.

#farbutnear: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative ones, if any.

Pope Francis said that "...the Christian detaches himself from everything and finds everything in the logic of the Gospel, the logic of love and service.” This is exactly what sustained us when we were prevented from the personal and fraternal encounter and sharing of experiences that happen at an International College. The ERI had to detach itself from the usual ways, and seek new ways to preserve and value the essential.

In the face of the reality presented, the love for God and for the Movement led everyone to a commitment that allowed us to be as close as possible, and to transmit the necessary orientations for the life of the Movement.

A Brazilian poet, Cora Coralina, wrote a poem that says to make our houses a celebration, with music...a temple, with prayer and meditation...a school, where we learn and teach...to make our houses a creative place of love. That is what happened; all of us who participated made our houses a setting for the College with music, learning, prayer and meditation where each house was transformed into a creative place of love.

#farbutnear: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

The America Zone is a very active and lively zone. Thanks to these characteristics and the dedication of the SR/RR Responsible Couples and its Counselors, the Movement grows permanently. This growth must always be solid and well structured.

We are completing a year of a new configuration where Hispanoamérica has multiplied into three Super Regions: SRH-North, SR-Colombia and SRH-South. The process was implemented without great difficulties, and we expect good fruits not only for the Movement, but especially for all the couples.

SR USA has just replaced its Responsible Couple, together with the Counselor who is the son of Teams members. Their enthusiasm and motivation fills us with optimism. The SR is well structured with good opportunities for expansion.

SR Colombia and Brazil are very solid SRs that have structures and experienced leadership to guide them safely.

RR Canada, causes great joy to the Movement with their work in structuring and preparing to become a Super Region.

#farbutnear: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

We know that we will continue to face difficult times that will prevent us from holding many personal meetings, but as Cardinal Tolentino says, "we cannot abandon the pandemic, but we must make it a mission ground”.

This is our challenge, to make what we have here and now fertile ground in order to realize, with joy and enthusiasm, what God and the Movement ask and expect from us.

Thérèse & Antoine Leclerc


#loinmaisproche: Let's start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

The pandemic that has occurred suddenly has profoundly changed the way we work. The last ERI meeting was held in October 2019. For more than a year our contacts have been only by email and by video.

The meetings of the Regions and Super-Regions of our Zone have also been made more difficult. Fortunately we were able to visit the teams in Mauritius in January 2020 just before the arrival of the pandemic, and we were able to meet in August with the college of the Polish and Central European Super-Region during a lull in the pandemic. But other planned trips to Germany, France and Belgium had to be cancelled or replaced by a video.

These strong and sudden constraints have been the opportunity to become more and more aware of several aspects of Christian life and the animation of the Teams:

● We are incarnate beings, with a body and not just a Spirit or a soul. God himself became man. The body is a little forgotten in times of confinement when it plays a great role in relationships. We miss the non-verbal language, the gestures of affection, friendship, hugs, which give warmth and flavor to relationships.

● The love and power of God is much greater than we can imagine, and this gives us the ability to face many situations with creativity and imagination.

● The animation of an area, a Super-Region or a Region, does not only consist of doing or deploying what was planned, but also allowing the team members who are entrusted to us to always better nourish themselves with the grace given by the sacrament of marriage. This is only possible if we begin by listening to them and by taking into account what they are experiencing. This is particularly true in crisis situations.

● Prayer is vitally important.

#loinmaisproche: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative.

Being on the side of the organizers, this was at first a source of concern. Did we think of everything? Is the chosen formula suitable?

At the time of the participation itself we were calmed down because it seemed to be going well.

We were touched by the joy of being together as a family, which even expressed itself in video. We were very happy that it was a great success.

It was more difficult for us to experience the lack of interactivity in the exchanges. We missed not being able to debate and express different opinions. The medium of video slows down exchanges. The blog was quite poor.

#loinmaisproche: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

Perhaps the most difficult thing is the lack of clear perspectives on the concrete aspects of animation and reflection. When will we be able to meet face-to-face? When will we be able to schedule visits to the countries in our Zone?

We have decided to hold a Zone meeting by video every quarter. We will also be particularly careful to stay in contact as frequently as possible with the eight couples with responsibility (Attached Sector, Attached Regions and Super-Regions of our Zone).

#loinmaisproche: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

At the time of each crisis, there are tensions that arise between individuals, groups and countries. There is also a great deal of solidarity that is expressed.

We hope that the Teams draw their strength from prayer and from the infinite mercy of God. May we all be attentive to the weakest, to those who suffer the most from this situation, and may we be living witnesses to the fraternity among all.

Bernadette & Sylvestre Minlekibe


#loinmaisproche: Let's start this interview looking a little bit at the year that ends. What is your assessment of the work you do at ERI? Was there any major difficulty?

We work as a team and in collegiality with the other couples of the ERI, with the specific responsibility of being at the service of the SRs of the Eurafrica Zone.

The year 2020 has been an extraordinary year in which we have experimented a new form of work within the ERI, and with the Super Regions.

The face-to-face meetings for both the ERI and the International College were not possible and were replaced by virtual meetings.

These virtual meetings were generally well done and we tried to make the most of the possibilities of information and communication technologies. However, this does not prevent us from being frustrated, from feeling that we do not fully grasp the reality of the situations.

It is clear that by meeting physically, we better share the situation of the teams we want to serve, through simpler and clearer communication.

The work done for us in 2020 is globally positive, while waiting for the best COVID-safe conditions to meet, exchange and improve what is being done.

We are pleased that despite the unfavourable conditions, the virtual formation sessions, virtual retreats and the theme of the year have been studied by many team members. Everyone made efforts to keep the links with the others.

#loinmaisproche: For you, what was it like, for the first time, to participate in a virtual meeting in substitution of an International College? Highlight some positive points and some negative.

The Extraordinary Virtual Meeting ERI/SR of 2020, held from 30th August to 5th September in the place of the Warsaw College was our first experience.

This meeting allowed us to meet the couples of the SR/RR for the opening and closing Masses, passage of service, Zone meetings and the general assembly.

We knew that we could not experience totally in a virtual meeting the feeling of unity of the movement and the great joy that community prayer brings us.

So we tried to live this virtual meeting of the College to the best of our ability, with the possibilities that were offered to us.

The presentations were not interactive. We had to read them at least twice, to understand them and grasp their depth.

The time of the Zone meetings was limited, but we could not do more, because of the constraints of availability of some couples.

The constraint of translation did not allow for interactive translations, but our spiritual counselors in our Zone helped us.

Despite all the constraints, the joy of meeting each other was shared throughout the virtual meeting.

#loinmaisproche: For next year, what are the perspectives regarding your work in ERI? Are there any concerns, specific points or expectations that you would like to share? Explain a bit.

For this new year at the service of the ERI, our wish is to always be as a family with the whole of the ERI, to share our family concerns, and the weight and joys of work at the service of the teams.

For the moment, we cannot envisage meeting the team members and responsible couples in the countries of our Zone. But our prayer accompanies the team members who are in our care every day.

Our wish is to see the ongoing formation programs applied more in the Zone, in order to make the team members more loyal in their work.

Our wish is that in our Zone and in the movement, we never stop spreading the good news of Christian marriage, and that the couples of the Teams of Our Lady make themselves available to welcome and accompany the couples the Lord sends us.

For the couples who have chosen to become team members, we do not forget that the formation we receive in the Teams of Our Lady helps us to progress on the path of holiness that we want to follow, following Jesus.

Therefore, we must support the Regional and Sector responsible couples, forming and stimulating them to provide this formation every year.

#loinmaisproche: What message would you like to leave to the members of the International College and team members in general?

Dear members of the International College, dear team members,

We have experienced a very difficult year in 2020 marked by the covid-19 pandemic, but in faith we know that the Lord is walking with us.

We also know that the Lord, in his mercy, will help us to overcome this pandemic.

So let us continue to live in prayer and thanksgiving, keeping in touch with each other and helping each other as a team - which we know how to do so well.

And in this year in which we become more aware that our sacrament of marriage makes us missionary couples, let us go out to meet the couples that the Lord sends us, to reveal the goodness and love of God: in welcoming, helping and accompanying them in the face of the difficulties of these times. Let us not be afraid, let us go.