Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
This past week on Catholic radio, I listened to an interview of Gregory K. Popcak, a nationally
recognized psychotherapist, speaker, and author of books on marriage and family issues. He announced
a conference that would be taking place this coming July, to envision how practically to live out the
mission of Catholic family life, especially as it has been so beautifully articulated in the writings of
Pope St. John Paul II. That holy Pope wrote such works as Love and Responsibility, a couple years
worth of Wednesday audiences which became the Theology of the Body, and a magnificent papal
exhortation on family, entitled On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. In these
works, there is so much beautiful theology on family life and marriage. What steps can be taken to
articulate a general vision for how practically to live out this theology in each family? Dr. Popcak
explained that the vision would have to be general enough, so that each family can still create its
particular family culture, yet concrete enough to be useful.
The interview discussed one of the presenters who explains why she remained Catholic after she went
away for college: It was the French toast! Although there is some humor in this, there is also some
concrete reality. Every Sunday her family got together for a brunch that included French toast. The
French toast was warm and delicious! The Sunday gathering included some extended family prayer and
faith sharing. Dr. Popcak explained that in order to hand on the Faith to our children, there have to be
warm, positive experiences of family and faith together.
The interview lamented somewhat the way families today get pulled in every direction, so that the
parents actually do not put concrete effort into building a family culture. Family life is just decided by
all the other things that have to be done… Even to the point of leaving the family without any family
time at all! Families don’t eat together. They don’t pray together. They don’t share with one another
about what’s going on in their lives. They never talk about the higher things.
Here are questions especially for our young families: Are you intentionally building your family
culture? Regarding the Faith, have you built into your family life specific, warm, Faith-filled family
Consider something as simple as a Sunday brunch when you get home from Mass. Either as brunch is
being prepared, or immediately afterwards, there’s family sharing time, where each person mentions the
highlight of the past week – the greatest blessing. Likewise, each person mentions what was most
difficult about the past week – the greatest trial. Then there is a prayer time together, were each person
mentions one thing he or she is thankful for; and each person mentions a petition. Then somebody
could read the weekly quote from the bulletin’s, “Saints on the Eucharist”. And somebody else could
read the paragraph from the weekly “Catechism Corner”. Anybody could comment on or ask a question
about what was read from those two paragraphs. Either Mom or Dad breaks the quotes down for the
little kids. Then the family prays a decade of the rosary together. Here is just a bit of brainstorming for
a very simple structure for a family gathering that includes faith sharing and prayer… to get your own
family-vision wheels turning, in case you could be served by a concrete suggestion like this.
This weekend I am away for the Sunday Masses, although I am still covering the Saturday Masses. I
am attending an ongoing education conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I hope to be back very late
Wednesday evening… But we’ll see what the weather determines.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,