ALSO KNOWN AS
Teams of Our Lady
The Teams of Our Lady movement came into being in France at the end of the 1930s through a number of married couples who began to meet every month in each other’s houses under the guidance of Fr Henri Caffarel. Their purpose was to explore the significance of the sacrament of marriage in depth, to hold it up against their own experiences, and then to try to work together to live coherently within society as Christian families and couples. As more couples sought to join them, the movement was formally established with the promulgation, on 8 December 1947, of the Équipes Notre-Dame Charter. The movement was created to meet a need felt by couples who realised that married life is a vocational pathway to salvation which is more than procreation; the Teams seek to enhance their experience in the light of the Word of God by reading the signs of the times, and by reflecting constantly on ways and means of implementing the founding charism in different circumstances of history. On 19 April 1992, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Équipes Notre-Dame as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
The purpose of the Teams of Our Lady is to help couples discover the richness of the sacrament of marriage and to live a married spirituality in accordance with the demands of the Gospel, with the mutual help of the members of a core team and the strength of an international movement. According to the founder Father Caffarel, the essential objective of the Teams of Our Lady is to help couples strive for holiness. Each team is a community of couples, united by the sacrament of marriage, that meets "in the name of Christ" and wants to help its members to better respond to the Lord's call. The movement, which is Christocentric, has been placed under the patronage of Our Lady because Mary is the perfect example of availability and submission to the will of God. The presence of a priest in the life of the team is not only that of a spiritual advisor; his presence and active participation make Christ present as the head of the Mystical Body. Thus, couples in Teams of Our Lady seek to witness that marriage is a source of love, happiness and holiness, as well as human fulfilment. Living in the world, strong in the values of the Gospel, they want to be "leaven in the masses" and to be present in the life of the Church and society, as witnesses of Christian marriage and a sign of hope where the fundamental values of marriage and the family are threatened.
The Teams of Our Lady are structured on a collegial basis. The International Team has overall responsibility for the movement, and comprises married couples from different countries assisted by a Spiritual Counsellor. Each of the member teams is composed of between five and seven couples and a Spiritual Counsellor, and each team keeps in contact with other groups via a liaison couple. Teams in the same town (or geographical area) make up one or more sectors, and the sectors make up regions. The life of the movement depends entirely upon the voluntary offering of time, effort and resources by the couples themselves. They work to develop the Teams movement particularly in the geographical areas where large distances and low incomes are likely to cause a serious obstacle.
Lettre des Équipes Notre-Dame, periodical published in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Arabic and Polish.
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