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Single Fathers Enquiry

Cardijn Community Australia

Seaford Branch

‘Inquiry’

Single Fathers

Supporting Single Fathers in Living Out Strong Loving Relationships with Their Children

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May 2009

Cardijn Community International – Australia

St Anne’s Seaford Branch.

Who Are We?

We are a small group within the parish faith community that meets together and uses the “Cardijn” method of analysis, reflection and action in coming to grips with the immediate problems confronting our friends, family and neighbours.[1] We are not judgemental, and not professionals or experts. We aim for simple, practical, solidarity.

Single Fathers

This program is designed to inquire into a problem in Seaford that was discovered following our initial Inquiry into ‘My Community’. We found learnt that in our parish of St Anne and in surrounding primary schools, young children came to school hungry. St Anne’s school provided breakfast three mornings a week for 42 children. Many children had little male role models in their lives which has a detrimental effect on those children. We wished to assist single fathers to live out strong loving relationships with their children following a marriage or relationship breakdown, or death of a partner.

The Method

To carry out this Inquiry we use the Cardijn inquiry method See, Judge, Act together the facts of this situation. We meet weekly at the parish centre each Thursday night at 7.00 pm for a period of an hour and a half. We hope to attract people with a concern for and experience in this problem.

The ‘See’ section of this Inquiry and the questions asked are designed to inform the inquirer of the factual situation facing single fathers and it may take several weeks of fact finding to be able to build up a picture of the experience of single fathers. The ‘See’ section of the inquiry is the place for facts, not opinions or generalisations. In the ‘Judge’ section we consider the facts in the light of gospel, while the ‘Act’ section is the place to make decisions and these decisions need to be recorded.

Note should be taken of questions that are not posed in the ‘See’ section that are considered relevant to the Inquiry. These questions can be posed at a later meeting and or be considered for a further Inquiry. The questions proposed are:-

Am I a single father?
Do I know any single fathers?
Are they my workmates, neighbours, relations?
How long have I / they been separated?
Do I / they live independently (or with family or friends)?
How many children do I / they they have?
How old are the children?
Where do the children live?
How often do I / they see the children?
Are there any legal controls on how often, or where, I / they see the children?
Do I / they have a good / difficult relationship with the children?
Do I / they support the children financially?
Do I / they communicate with the former wife, partner?
Does this communication affect the relationship with the children?
Have I / they formed a relationship with a new woman?
Has a new relationship affected the relationship with the children?
Who do I / they talk to about these things?
Do I / they know other single fathers?
Do I / they have professional / counselling help?
Would talking to other single fathers be useful?
Would talks by experts on men and relationships be useful?
Would social gatherings with other single fathers and / or their children be useful?
Do I / they have professional help / counselling available in crisis times?
Who in the church is interested / concerned with family breakdowns?

(Questions in this Inquiry that are considered irrelevant can be ignored.)

It may not be possible to consider more than one or two questions for a week. Over the Inquiry period each member would maintain communication with a group of single fathers he or she is in contact with, and may on occasions be in a position to offer some assistance to when need arises.

The parish group may identify quite a number of single fathers within the parish and be in a position to offer some regular on-going support. For example:-

Fathers and children’s breakfasts, dinners, outings;
Single fathers information nights;
Single fathers socials;
Other initiatives seen to meet a need.

Contacts:

Kevin Vaughan kedwardv@bigpond.com.au

David Moloney dmo74189@bigpond.net.au

Meeting One

Introduction.

1. Introductions

Brief introduction of ourselves.

2. Background: The Cardijn Process

Cardijn and his process.

The Australian History (YCW).

3. Format of the Meetings

What the meetings are about.

The method of the meetings.

Meeting Two

Inquiry: Single Fathers

Open and welcome

Opening prayer

Gospel passage and reflection:

John 10: 1-15

Jesus spoke to them again: In all truth I tell you, I am the gate of the sheepfold. All who have come before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep took no notice of them. I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: they will go in and out and will find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.”

Inquiry (‘See’)

· Am I a single father?

· Do I know any single fathers?

· Are they my workmates, neighbours, relations?

· How long have I / they been separated?

· Do I / they live independently (or with family or friends)?

· How many children do I / they they have?

· How old are the children?

· Where do the children live?

Judge

· What do the facts presented here tell us, what picture is painted?

· Is there anything of a critical nature that demands immediate action?

· Is there a need to seek more facts?

Act

· What action should be taken following the facts and judgements; who should take the action? It may help if group members circulate papers or articles relating to single fathers.

Items of Interest

Facts of Action

Closing Prayer.

Meeting Three

Inquiry: Single Fathers

Open and welcome

Opening prayer

Gospel passage and reflection (Read and discuss)

Luke 18: 15-17

‘And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Let the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”’

Inquiry (‘See’)

Relationships with Children

· How often do I / they see the children?

· Are there any legal controls on how often, or where, I / they see the children?

· Do I / they have a good / difficult relationship with the children?

· Do I / they support the children financially?

Relationships with Adults

· Do I / they communicate with the former wife, partner?

· Does this communication affect the relationship with the children?

· Have I / they formed a relationship with a new woman?

· Has a new relationship affected the relationship with the children?

Judge

· What do the facts presented here tell us, what picture is painted?

· Is there anything of a critical nature that demands immediate action?

· Is there a need to seek more facts?

Act

· What action should be taken following the facts and judgements; who should take the action? It may help if group members circulate papers or articles relating to single fathers.

Items of Interest

Facts of Action

Closing Prayer

Meeting Four

Inquiry: Single Fathers

Open and welcome

Opening prayer

Gospel passage and reflection (Read and discuss)

Matthew 7: 7-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

Inquiry (‘See’)

Existing Supports for Single Fathers

· Who do I / they talk to about these things?

· Do I / they know other single fathers?

· Do I / they have professional / counselling help?

Judge

· What do the facts presented here tell us, what picture is painted?

· Is there anything of a critical nature that demands immediate action?

· Is there a need to seek more facts?

Act

· What action should be taken following the facts and judgements; who should take the action? It may help if group members circulate papers or articles relating to single fathers.

Items of Interest

Facts of Action

Closing Prayer

Meeting Five

Inquiry: Single Fathers

Open and welcome

Opening prayer

Gospel passage and reflection (Read and discuss)

Matthew 8: 1-4

“After he had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. Suddenly a leper came up and bowed low in front of him, saying, ‘Lord, if you want to, you can cleanse me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘Of course I want to, be cured.’ And his skin-disease was cleansed at once. Then Jesus said to him,’Mind you tell no one, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence to them.’

Inquiry (‘See’)

Possible Supports for Single Fathers.

· Would talking to other single fathers be useful?

· Would talks by experts on men and relationships be useful?

· Would social gatherings with other single fathers and / or their children be useful?

· Do I / they have professional help / counselling available in crisis times?

· Who in the church is interested / concerned with family breakdowns?

Judge

· What do the facts presented here tell us, what picture is painted?

· Is there anything of a critical nature that demands immediate action?

· Is there a need to seek more facts?

Act

· What action should be taken following the facts and judgements; who should take the action? It may help if group members circulate papers or articles relating to single fathers.

Items of Interest

Facts of Action

Closing Prayer

Meeting Six

Single Fathers

Open and welcome

Opening prayer

Gospel Passage and reflection (Read and discuss)

John 15: 1-12

‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch – and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.’

Inquiry

Review the past five meetings, make any necessary changes and improvements.

Items of Interest

Facts of Action

Closing Prayer

[1] This method of ‘See, Judge, Act’ was used in Cardijn’s YCW movement in the 1950s – 70s.