Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions – Family Foundations Institute (FFI)
Q. Who oversees FFI?
A. FFI is overseen by a Board of Directors. The Executive Director is charged with implementing the organization’s Board-approved initiatives within the annual Board-approved budget. The Executive Director, along with 3 part time staff (2 admin, 1 youth coordinator), coordinate many lay volunteers who implement FFI activities and initiatives. Each event has designated lay coordinators to assist in executing these events.
FFI is guided by Principle #1 and is constantly checking and referencing materials used seeking to ensure there is a Nihil Obstat ( i.e., certification by an official censor appointed by a bishop that a book is not objectionable on doctrinal or moral grounds), and by seeking guidance from appropriate individuals (including individuals of the Diocese of London) who are in good standing with their dioceses.
The main curriculum used for Family Catechism is the “Faith and Life” series. Family Catechism and Pure Life Gatherings also rely heavily on Formed.org for teaching material.
For speakers brought in for FFI Events, FFI follows the appropriate vetting process of the Diocese of London.
Q. Is FFI overseen by the Bishop of the Diocese of London? Does FFI answer to the Bishop?
A.No, FFI is not overseen by the Bishop of the Diocese of London nor is it the responsibility of the Bishop. FFI is not classified as Secular Institute nor Association of the Faithful. FFI is a lay endeavor initiated by the personal initiative of individuals.
Although the Bishop of the Diocese of London does not oversee FFI, the office of the Bishop of the Diocese of London and FFI work in fraternal cooperation with each other seeking to build up the Kingdom of God — each in their own particular circumstance. FFI’s Executive Director meets with the Bishop annually and the Diocese appoints a Liaison to ensure ongoing communication with FFI. The individuals involved in FFI activities should show love and obedience to their respective bishop, whatever diocese they reside in.
Q. Is FFI a Secular Institute or Association?
A. No, FFI is not a formally approved Secular Institute or Association nor does it seek to be. FFI is a registered charity and is simply a lay endeavor initiated by the personal initiative of individuals.
Q. Does FFI help the Church and parishes? Does FFI steal people away from parishes?
A. Yes, FFI helps the Church and parishes by encouraging lay members of the Church. No, FFI does not steal people away from parish initiatives.
FFI supplements faith formation received at the parishes and aims to ignite a desire for participants to be more involved in their parishes and the Church. A multitude of experiences and evaluations show that participants have been reinvigorated in practising their faith, to becoming more involved in their parish and have returned to their Church.
Many of the parents and youth from Family Catechism are the people who are the proclaimers, altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, choir members, teachers of parish sacramental formation, marriage prep, finance members, etc. because they attend their parish with their families, because they have authentic formation, and because they want to serve.
For example, over the years there have been teachers from 28 parishes in the London and surrounding area who have had a part in delivering the London Family Catechism. Repeatedly teachers have remarked that they are much better formed and strengthened in their faith because of their involvement in the catechism program; further, they are confident and enthused about further participating in Parish life.
There have also been individual initiatives that FFI has incubated or supported that benefit parishes. (For example, Sarnia Marriage Conference or Men of Faith Listowel)
Q. Does FFI have a specific spirituality? Is FFI Opus Dei?
A. No FFI itself does not have a specific spirituality. FFI is a gathering of many individuals and families who are enriched and guided by various authentic spiritualities of the Catholic Church. It should be noted that some activities administered by FFI have been initiated by individuals who receive their spiritual formation from the spirituality of Opus Dei. These events are open to anyone interested in participating.
Individuals have freedom to choose whatever is most helpful for them to develop a more intimate relationship with God.
Q. Does FFI have favoured priests who only fit a certain type?
A. No, FFI does not have favoured priests. FFI is a lay endeavour run by lay people for lay people who sometimes have sacramental needs of Confession and Mass. FFI initiatives have been richly enhanced and blessed by the offering of these sacraments. By the Grace of God and the permission of the Bishop, these have been provided on site by diocesan priests to supplement parishes and lead to more frequent reception of the sacraments.
Where appropriate, Adoration and Benediction have been provided with a profound effect, due to the generosity of many Diocesan priests. For example, 12 Diocesan priests offered confession during 2018 Pure Life Summit and regularly 3 or 4 Diocesan priests (not always the same ones) offer confession at monthly Pure Life Gatherings.
It is FFI’s sincere desire to inform, invite and involve local pastors in FFI events. We welcome all priests to help with this work but appreciate the heavy demands placed on our Diocesan clergy.
Q. How is FFI funded?
A. FFI is a registered charity and receives financial support through the donation of generous supporters.
All FFI events/initiatives have a participant fee which is set to be reasonable to the participant while striving to cover much of the event/activity costs. FFI believes it is important that participants pay a portion of the cost involved in delivering an initiative; however, it also believes in the importance of families and individuals becoming informed, encouraged, and connected so when necessary, we readily offer financial assistance to participants.
Q. How does the number of FFI events and initiatives continue to grow?
A. The number of FFI events or initiatives continues to grow three basic ways:
i) Individuals identify a need and want to offer an initiative; to get started, they have turned to FFI to assist, launch or take on this initiative.
ii) FFI recognizes a need in the realm of strengthening families or individuals and initiates an activity to address that need.
iii) The Holy Spirit brings together the right individuals and the right need to launch, without FFI’s solicitation, new initiatives and activities.
Q. How is it possible for FFI to run all of these programs with just one Executive Director and a small part time staff?
A. It is possible for FFI to implement its events and initiatives, as well as be open to new initiatives, by God’s Grace and by the many generous volunteers who by far outnumber the administrative support of FFI.
Each FFI event or initiative has designated volunteer lay person(s) charged as the Coordinator of the event and has the assistance of several more designated volunteers who make up the event’s planning group. The size of the planning group varies depending on the event’s complexity and the availability and interest of volunteers.
Throughout the year, there are approximately 150 of these core volunteers who contribute to making FFI events possible. [Men of Faith – 15, Women’s Seminar – 10, Family Camp – 8, Knight’s Quest – 15, Anchor Camp – 15, Family Catechism – 60 (10 locations), Pure Life Core Team (Summit, Gatherings, Adult Group) – 30]. FFI now runs a chapter of i.d9:16 in full partnership with the Diocese of London through the Vocations Ministry.
FFI’s part time administrative staff is largely responsible for coordinating the large body of volunteers, communicating details of the events to FFI contacts, looking after insurance and speaker vetting, and any other administrative support required to free up volunteers so they can be more effective in driving the event forward.
FFI has entrusted itself to the protection of Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady, Queen of the Family. FFI also asks St. Joseph and the Holy Family to guide its endeavors. All Glory to God.
Any questions or clarifications are welcomed. Please call, email or arrange for a meeting and we will be glad to respond.
Contact FFI at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Simpson, Executive Director of FFI