This course gives a historical overview of the family’s place in society across the ages. Whereas the family has always been the primary agent for performing certain tasks from birth to death, there have been significant changes in family responsibilities over the past 150 years. Many family functions have shifted to other institutions, and thus the family is often dependent on “experts” in health care, education, recreation, protection of children, etc. Pope John Paul II called a Synod to address such issues because of the family’s essential role as “the basic cell of church and society.” Pope Francis called another Synod thirty years later, asking once again how do we support and strengthen the family, how to “accompany” them through these challenging times. His post synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia articulates the synodal teaching in today’s context. The focus of the course will be on the “partnership model” proposed in the U.S. Bishops’ document, A Family Perspective in Church & Society, and used successfully in a growing number of other institutions such as schools, hospitals, and social welfare agencies.