Archdiocese of Hyderabad

Family of Faith

About Family of Faith

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. But be an example for the Believers: in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith & in purity” - 1 Timothy 4:12

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The Family of Faith commenced its activities in Hyderabad in 2010 as an Apostolate under the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. Our beginnings were humble with an initial membership consisting of a small group of like-minded laity and priests, all who shared an earnest desire to defend and teach the Catholic faith in its richness and fullness. At the outset, we express our sincere thanks to Most Rev. Thumma Bala (Archbishop Emeritus), for all the support and encouragement extended to us to go ahead with all the programs we initiated since our inception.

The initiative to start Family of Faith Hyderabad was taken by Fr. Raju Alex after contact and consultation with Mr. Sarat Fernandez from Mumbai. Mr Sarat Fernandez was instrumental in starting the Family of Faith Foundation of India under the Guidance of Bishop Agnelo (now retired) in Mumbai. With the help of FFFI Mumbai we coordinated our very first initiative in October 2013, to bring the popular American Catholic Evangelist and Apologist Steve Ray, to Hyderabad. This was the very first of its kind two-day convention on Apologetics in our Archdiocese. The convention was a resounding success and an eye opener on the depth, teachings and beliefs of the Catholic faith for the thousands who attended.

Thereafter the membership of FFFI Hyderabad increased and we were able to form a dedicated team of apologists along with Fr. Thumma Lourdu. Our next initiative was visiting parishes in Hyderabad and Secunderabad every Sunday evening and speaking about the teachings of the Catholic Church. The topics were as desired or chosen by the Parish Priest and the faithful of the parish and covered Mary the Mother of God, The Marian Dogmas, Saints, Relics, Purgatory, Peter and the Papacy, Born Again, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Infant Baptism, Are Catholics Saved, etc. and many more. At each outreach and parish that we visited, we encouraged people to buy our merchandise consisting of books on Apologetics written by well known authors and apologists in the field as well as DVDs. These outreaches were well received and gave the group a lot of encouragement to do more. Since then, our apostolate has grown into a full-fledged, cohesive and knowledgeable group to handle Apologetics and other teachings of the Catholic faith. As time progressed, we amended our title from Family of Faith Foundation India (Hyderabad Chapter) to “Family of Faith”.

Sensing a demand for Apologetics from the faithful, we conducted many Apologetics programmes over the years. To highlight a few:

Rev Fr. Vincent Barboza from Mumbai conducted an Apologetics convention on the 9th and 10th of August, 2014. This was attended by over 1200 participants.

In October 2014 at our FF office - for the Assistant parish priests of our Archdiocese. We had a packed house attendance and it was well appreciated.

At our FF office - a one-day seminar for the youth with over 30 youth participating.

At the St. John’s Regional Seminary at Ramanthapur - We conducted a three-day session where we instructed 22 Deacons on Apologetics through 12 classes.

In addition to the above we also conducted seminars on a host of relevant topics that were requested by the laity. Some significant topics we instructed them on were:

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

The Role of the Laity

Sacred Liturgy and Life

The Catholic Family – A three-part seminar covering the Sacrament of Matrimony, Annulments, Finances in the Family and Staying Married, Staying Blessed.

To further educate the laity, we have been regularly circulating handbills on Purgatory, Blessed Mother Mary etc., on All Souls Day and feast days of Our Blessed Mother at many churches and all cemeteries.

One of our recent initiatives was the commencement of the “Emmaus Program for Discipleship”. Rev. Fr. Packiaraj S.J and Fr. Aloysius Selvakumar consented to head the Emmaus Bible programme. With their vast experience in the Bible we commenced with the first batch and second batch of the “Emmaus Program for Discipleship”. The topics included the Bible (Scripture), Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic Traditions and Teachings, Mariology, Christian Spirituality, Mysticism, Lives of Saints Church History, Code of Canon Law and Church Documents. We were proud to educate and enlighten 27 students for the year 2015-2017 and students were given Certificates of Successful Completion.

It was a red-letter day in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad, when St. John’s Regional Seminary in collaboration with Family of Faith inaugurated the two-year, Diploma in Theology “Emmaus Programme for Discipleship”. The Rector and the Dean of Studies of St. John’s Regional Seminary along with the Vicar General of the Archdiocese were present at the inauguration. The diploma was launched in November 2018. The first batch for the Diploma in Theology consisted of 70 students of all ages. Classes were held every Saturday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at HASSS premises. The second batch of 47 students for the Diploma in Theology course started in November 2019. Due to the increase in the number of students we shifted the classes to St. Mary’s College of Pharmacy campus. The classes were running smoothly, however, unfortunately with the sudden arrival of the pandemic, the classes were stopped in March 2020. To date we have not been able to resume and are waiting for the St. John’s Regional Seminary staff to give us their consent to resume.

Looking at the horizon before us, we had to adapt to the present situation and circumstances during the pandemic lockdowns. Family of Faith capitalized on the digital platforms and began online instructions. FF invited Dr. Mario Joseph from Kerala, former Islamic-maulvi turned Catholic preacher to address the audience Live on Dec 2, 2020. We had an interesting gathering of over 100 participants who learnt much through the Islamic-Christian polemics he delved into. The following week, a former protestant pastor turned Catholic Apologist, Keith Nester (Ohio, USA) joined us via zoom Live speaking to an Indian audience on Dec 10, 2020. This was well attended with over 130 plus participants. His conversion testimony (with Steve Ray’s support) and answering participants’ queries on many areas enlightened us considerably. Then on Dec 16, FF invited Maria Sangeetha (From Divine Retreat Center, Muringoor, Kerala), who spoke Live via zoom about ‘Living a Tenacious Catholic life’- for this we had another full house and active participation.Prior to this period, FF had invited Rev Fr. Vincent Barboza to speak Live via zoom on the Marian dogmas apart from the inhouse Live zoom sessions we had conducted for those that logged in and learnt much from our instructions on the faith, not to forget a much less talked-about subject area (but that which is critical to our Church), ‘Private Revelations’.

We are very grateful for all the support and encouragement we have received from our local ordinary throughout this time.

The Apostolate’s major source of support and sustenance comes through the sale of Apologetic books & DVD’s and is further sustained by generous contributions by our members and well-wishers. The accounts of Family of Faith are audited by the Archdiocese of Hyderabad.

Our hope relies on our relentless prayers and determination to continuously encourage all Catholic faithful to participate in the FF programs, especially those who have a strong desire stemming from their steadfast love for the faith to learn more about the Catholic Church.

On a final note, the Family of Faith is a group of likeminded Catholics from different parishes of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad who are first, studying the faith themselves; secondly, they are defending the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church uncompromisingly; thirdly, they are animating others including how to strengthen their faith for the long haul.