The first CFM groups in Hungary started in 1996, upon the initiative of Tony and Lily Gauci, European President Couple of ICCFM (International Confedaration of Christian Family Movements) and with the support of Msgr. László Bíró, Bishop for the Family, of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The roots go back to as early as the 1950’s when thousands of married couples started building family groups – in cooperation with their priests – from Spain to North and South America. The action of married couples and priests who worked in CFM was enormous. Time, travelling, meetings, prayer and great enthusiasm – this is what best describes the first years of pathfinding. From old documents relating many kinds of initiatives one basic item can be traced as common to all couples who built family groups: husbands’ and wives’ love which reaches out into the world. This love is nurtured by Christ, and it is the Church which brings Christ into our lives.
CFM groups had worked 10 to 15 years before Vatican Council II. Through studying marriage and marriage spirituality, they lived and renewed the lay apostolate of the Church. During Vatican Council II, the Movement’s permanent delegates were in Rome, revealing to Bishops interested in family issues all the wealth they had been given by the Holy Spirit.
Meanwhile, the number of groups who used Cardinal Cardijn’s method of “Observe – Judge – Act” continually increased. At the time it was something new that both husband and wife took part in the meetings. Strengthening families was a key issue also because this was the time when the divorce rate began to increase rapidly.
Because of the need for international cooperation, a common issue with Vatican II, the International Confedaration of Christian Family Movements (ICCFM) of the CFM’s of different countries was established in 1967. It is important that neither ICCFM nor the CFM’s of individual countries had a strong financial background. This means that, for example, fares had to be covered by the couples or groups themselves. In fact, this has not changed ever since.
ICCFM – which unites tens of thousands of families in 50 countries of the world – was recognized by the Pontificial Council of the Laity as an international association of lay people in accordance with the Canon Law in 1989. It was granted Consultative Status (Category II) by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as well as full membership of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations.
CFM Hungary has been a full member of ICCFM since 1998. At present there are about 130 groups all around the country.