Swiss couple advocates large families in Kerala

Family with eight children visits parishes, encourage Catholics

Swiss couple advocates large families in Kerala
Francisca and Anthonini Pietro came with their eight children to promote pro-life and large families in Tellicherry archdiocese
George Kommattathil, Thalassery, India

January 11, 2011

An archdiocese in Kerala, southern India, has roped in a Swiss family to encourage its people to go for larger families.

Francisca and Anthonini Pietro came to Tellicherry archdiocese with their eight children to promote large families. The couple spent two weeks visiting various parishes before leaving for home on Jan. 8.

“I feel so sad that I have limited the number of children to one,” said Bincy Parasseril after listening to the Pietro couple.

Parasseril said the Swiss couple convinced her that “it is better to have more children.”

Her father-in-law, Mathew, said the Swiss couple “reminded us about lost culture of having more children.” The father of three said the Church in Kerala is worried over its dwindling population.

“Now we have become more selfish and limited our children to one or two. That means we do not believe in God or in his providence,” he said.

Father James Puthennadayil, who directs the Family Apostolate in the archdiocese, says the Swiss couple inspired many families during their stay.

“Of course deeds move people than words. Wherever the couple went as the promoters of pro-life they won the people’s heart,” he said.

Anthonini, a doctor, belongs to Lugano diocese in Switzerland. His wife, a lawyer who left her job to attend to the family, assured parishioners in Kerala not to become too anxious about having many children. “God will take care of the children,” she said.

Last year, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, had voiced concern over the dwindling Catholic population in Kerala. He asked his people to have more children to keep the Church alive.

Since then, many dioceses have started campaigns to create awareness about having more children.

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Kerala Bishops Push For More Children As Catholic Numbers Dwindle