Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
We had a pastoral council meeting this past week. Because I’m convinced that there has to be a culture of faith in the home – concrete faith activities and prayer – in order truly to nourish our children into a relationship with Jesus Christ, with all the fullness provided in the Catholic Church, I chose as the topic of our last pastoral council meeting “faith life in the domestic church”.
“Domestic church” is a very old term in the Church’s Tradition, but I came to know it through the writings of Pope Saint John Paul II. “Domestic” comes from the Latin word domus, which means “home”. So “domestic” has something to do with the home. “Church” is that institution Jesus founded to be his missionary instrument in the world sanctifying its members, and reaching out to sanctify the whole rest of humanity. So calling the family home a “domestic church” indicates the way families themselves are the small cells within a parish that function as a “mini-church”, with both an internal faith life, and an outreach to the rest of society. I very strongly urge you to read Pope Saint John Paul II’s document (It’s not too long!), Familiaris consortio, “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World”. The document was written in 1981, but I did not read it until my seminary years. It really inspired me about the mission of Christian families today. Christian families are amazing conduits of God’s grace for the world…. just by living fully together their faith and love in Jesus Christ.
Up until encountering Pope Saint John Paul II’s document, I really thought of families as simply a basic social unit; but I never really thought of how the family has an actual religious mission, given by God, to sanctify its own members and reach out to the world around it. Family life is not something you simply fall into by accident, because God happens not to be calling you to priesthood or religious life. Family life involves a call from God. And, therefore, practice of the faith in families actually has to be quite intentional. Especially nowadays with so many elements of the society around us leading humanity away from the good, the true, the beautiful, we want to build a culture in our homes that involves all of this – and the source of all that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful is Jesus Christ!
Thank the Lord for families that attend Mass every weekend! Everything revolves around Jesus coming to us in the Mass. But there is the need in family life to appropriate all the grace pouring from the Eucharist, by means of family prayer time and Catholic traditions and activities. And, given the intense busyness of our modern families – especially extracurricular activities that demand so much time from our children – there is a particular need for great creativity in our prudent and intentional structuring of family faith life.
With all of this in mind, we discussed in pastoral council the “domestic church” program of the Knights of Columbus. Fritz Koch showed us some of the content of the program. Perhaps you remember that about a year ago the Knights of Columbus provided booklet kiosks at each campus with absolutely excellent teaching material regarding family life. These booklets are aimed at heads of families (mothers and fathers) to give them inspiration on Catholic topics, and even some very practical suggestions on things to do in family life to enhance faith. That way parents don’t have to reinvent the wheel entirely. They can take a look at some other ideas, and take what fits for their family, and modify various elements as need be. The overall purpose is to provide as many resources as possible for parents to help them in this high task. Parents are responsible for building their own family’s faith culture.
The basic “how-to” resource booklet of the Knights’ domestic church program is entitled “The Family Fully Alive – Prayers, Meditations and Activities to Enrich Your Family Life”. This booklet was handed out to parishioners about a year ago, provided by our Knights of Columbus councils. We decided to hand the booklet out again, aiming at the first weekend in December. The booklet is organized with monthly activities and themes, starting with Advent – so it make sense to begin in December.
In addition to the booklet, we will be looking at the possibility of adding some type of “Family Fully Alive K of C” corner to the bulletin each week, with ideas from K of C publications on family life. In addition, we might have a family activity corner that includes suggested faith activities that are not necessarily taken from K of C materials. The bulletin creators still have to consider these ideas.
Then we also discussed the possibility of a quarterly Catholic movie night – perhaps held at the K of C hall in Paulding – that families could attend. This could be a fun, Catholic outing. There are plenty of resources – especially with our FORMED subscription – that will provide us both family-friendly documentaries and children’s movies. I’m sure I would be looking for somebody to organize such movie nights, and help choose the content.
So, there is the gist of our most recent pastoral council meeting. We obviously have to do some follow-up work to figure out how all of these ideas could be realized.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,