The Christian Family Movement (CFM)

The Christian Family Movement (CFM) is a national movement of parish small groups of Catholics and their families who meet in one another’s homes or in parish centers to reinforce Christian values and encourage other fellow Christian parents through active involvement with others. Its mission is “to promote Christ-centered marriage and family life; to help individuals and their families to live the Christian faith in everyday life; and to improve society through actions of love, service, education, and example.” CFM action groups contain five to seven families and the adults meet one or two nights each month in each other’s houses.

At meetings, the members of CFM practice the Observe – Judge – Act method, usually guided by the various programs provided by the CFM USA National Office. The members discuss what they have observed in their family or neighborhood and then judge what they have observed by the standards of the life and teachings of Jesus. After these discussions, they commit to actions that will positively affect their communities, in either big or small ways. This method has led to action in such areas as “foster-parenting, prison ministry, refugee sponsorship, religious education, and couple counseling”.

Joseph Cardijn, the founder of the Young Christian Workers Movement in Belgium, was the originator of the Observe Judge Act method (also known as the Jocist Method).




Fr. Angelo Fernandes, Rector of the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Name, Mumbai, was a man of foresight. 

He was keenly aware that there was too much preoccupation with the ‘individual’ (not ‘person’) in society and even in the Apostolate. It is the family that is the foundation for human development, which must evolve from the grassroots. The child, the family, and the community are the focal points. He felt the urgent need of a family apostolate for the married couples of his parish. 

It was in the nineteen fifties that Cardinal Josef Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers Movement, and Pat Keegan of the Family & Social Action, UK came to Bombay to start a unit of the YCW in the Holy Name Parish. Fr.Angelo spoke to them about his concern for the family. Cardinal Cardijn, as the spiritual founder of the CFM and other related Movements, referred him immediately to Pat and Patty Crowley of Chicago, USA. Pat and Patty, along with Bernie and Helene Bauer had worked with other couples in the nineteen forties to found and establish the Christian Family Movement (CFM) in the USA from where it spread to the rest of the world.