A Brief History
Family Life Bureau, founded by the late Rev. Fr Edmund Dunne, CSsR, and a group of dedicated lay people, began its work in 1983. In 1985, with the entity officially registered under the Societies Act of Singapore, there was a name change to Family Life Society (FLS). Operating initially from just a single room, FLS provided pregnancy crisis counselling. FLS also offered the “Celebration of Life” programme, a values-based sexuality programme that helped young people in schools, junior colleges, and churches to develop good relationships in support of family life and that also upheld the sanctity of life. Over time, FLS offered a variety of services, such as counselling by a group of para-counsellors offering pro-Bono services at the parishes.
In February 2014, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) with Monsignor Ambrose Vaz as Spiritual Director was established. ACF would minister more directly to the needs of the Catholic community in Singapore in the family life apostolate, helping to empower families to be fully alive in loving as God loves, becoming intimate communities and witnesses of life and love and sharing in the life and mission of the Church.
FLS continued to serve the needs of the wider community of Singaporeans. Over the 35 years of its existence, FLS has stayed true to its Catholic roots while being of service to all, regardless of race, language and religion. Its range of services in 2020 included:
- Marital and Family Therapy working with individuals, couples, and families;
- Children & Adolescence Therapy Services to support parents and their children through stages and challenges in life;
- Pregnancy Crisis & Support supporting women with unplanned pregnancies; and
- Educational programmes for teens and parents.
Since its formation in 2014, ACF had introduced several new initiatives to address the needs of Catholic families. Examples of these include:
- Catholic Family Dialogue, to gather the views of Catholics to respond to the needs of families in the community;
- Couple Mentor Journey (CMJ), to journey with engaged couples and couples in their initial years of marriage;
- Programmes to reach out to Catholics who have experienced the pain of divorce or separation;
- Programmes to educate Catholics to understand Same-Sex Attraction; and
- Programme to journey with post-confirmands to discover the teachings of Pope St John Paull II on the Theology of the Body (TOB)
Other existing family programmes and services offered in the Catholic Church were also co-opted as ACF family partners.
A New Beginning
To achieve better leverage on the limited resources in attending to the needs of families and to enhance its Catholic roots and ethos, the Catholic leadership in Singapore decided to merge the operations of FLS and ACF. This led to the formation of Catholic Family Life in 2020.
Catholic Family Life Limited (CFL) is a Company Limited by Guarantee incorporated in March 2020. As of 1 January 2021, CFL has assumed and integrated the operations of Family Life Society (FLS) and the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF).
The new organisation continues the programmes and services offered by its predecessor organisations to promote the dignity of all individuals and families, and to lend emphasis to our true identity as Children of God.
As a consolidated body, CFL intends to be more efficacious in developing and implementing strategies in support of families and family life, and in developing and offering formation and support programmes to individuals and couples at every stage of their lives.
The Larger Community of Support and Service
CFL will be working closely with its Affiliates and partners to promote family life and enhance family relationships. These organizations include:
- Beginning Experience
- Couple Empowerment Programme
- Couples for Christ
- Engaged Encounter
- Marriage Encounter
- Marriage Preparation Course
- Natural Family Planning
- Couple Mentor Journey
- Catholic Divorce Support Group
Collectively, and in support of each other, we can go forth to form, empower and restore individuals and families, so that they can develop into communities of life and love that guard, reveal and communicate the love of God.
For more information on these groups, and on the programmes and services offered by CFL, please visit us at www.familylife.sg.