The 2nd edition of Days for Family Accompaniment

Supporting imperfect and struggling families



Organised by the Institute for Advanced Family Studies (IESF) of the International University of Catalunya (UIC) in Barcelona, the second edition of Days for Family Accompaniment was attended by 400 people.

The IESF, with the support of the Joaquim Molins Figueras Foundation, hosted the second Conference on Family Accompaniment on 3rd and 4th May. Over two days, 400 participants from all over Spain gathered at the University to exchange ideas and good practices relating to family support. There was great emphasis on the notion that the concrete family is not an abstract ideal, rather a reality comprising imperfect relationship and bonds of “forever love” that grow and mature throughout life. Such bonds allow individuals to mature and recognise that they themselves are part of the fundamental family bonds created by marriage.

In attendance was the Under-secretary for Family and Life, Prof. Gabriella Gambino, who was welcomed by the Rector of the University, Dr Alfonso Méndiz Noguero, and by the Director of the IESF, Prof. Montserrat Gas. Prof. Gambino presented the Family Global Compact, which the UIC wishes to adopt in order to promote solid and more specific training programmes for those who dedicate themselves to the pastoral care and support of families.

Family, the generative nucleus of society even in times of difficulty

“The family, even when experiencing difficulty, remains the generative nucleus of society. That is why we must focus our efforts on it, to support it, to make it the engine of virtuous relationships that foster the common good in wider society,” stressed the Under-secretary in her address, whereby she explained the vision and objectives of the Family Global Compact. She then proceeded to present various themes that emerged from the extensive international research that was carried out by 70 Catholic universities around the world who have Institutes for the Family.

Having round tables comprising representatives from the dioceses and various Institutes for the Family, and opportunities to discuss such themes and issues, is of upmost importance. These opportunities will ensure that academic efforts can focus on facilitating pastoral care which fosters the formation of the laity and the accompaniment of families in all situations that the challenges of our time bring to the attention of experts, educators and parents across the globe. Prof. Gambino explained that, if the academic and pastoral worlds do not work together at the service of the Church, people will continue to question why young people do not marry, why they choose not to have children, and why parents fail to transmit the faith to the newer generations.

Ceriotti, Pérez Soba, and young influencers: Research and projects on family support that aim to counteract loneliness

Neuropsychiatrist and consultant to the Dicastery for  Laity, Family and Life, Dr Mariolina Ceriotti Migliarese, addressed these issues. She explained how to accompany young people in a manner that allows them to become mature adults who are capable of choosing to “love forever”: “In forever love there is no ‘right’ person, only the person you ‘choose’. You can learn to choose again, day after day, because ‘forever’ is in the present. The bad day always comes to an end and tomorrow will always be a new day that depends on us.”

Prof. Juan José Pérez Soba of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Rome also participated in the Days. He explained how family support is a preventative tool that can be used to protect familial relationships and heal what is “the wound of today’s world, loneliness”.

The Conference was also attended by several experts in the field and young influencers, all alumni of the postgraduate course in Family Coaching and Guidance, who shared their personal and professional experience following years of working with families, and their most innovative projects which helped develop their commitment to accompaniment.


The UIC held the first edition of the International Workshop on Family Accompaniment in 2022, with over 800 participants from 50 countries around the world. The University intends to respond to the question posed by Pope Francis in Amoris laetitia: “But nowadays who is making an effort to strengthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?” (n. 52).

14 May 2024