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Tawas Point Lighthouse, Michigan, USA

Photo Credit: Dennis Wingfield

Families that live their lives according to Joshua’s proclamation are beacons of light in their neighborhoods. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (CCC, 1666). If your family is a school of virtue and Christian charity, people will take notice. They will see that your family is different. They will be attracted to what you have.

St. John Paul II is his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) had this to say about families:

The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason too it can and should be called “the domestic Church” (Lumen Gentium, 11). All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons, making the family “a school of deeper humanity” (Gaudium et Spes, 52): this happens where there is care and love for the little ones, the sick, the aged; where there is mutual service every day; when there is a sharing of goods, of joys and of sorrows. Familiaris Consortio, 21

St. John Paul said the family is to be “a school of deeper humanity!” Life in our country is out of control. The daily news is replete with examples of how we have forgotten what it means to be human, to treat each other as equals, with love and kindness. If we are to change the course of this nation, it is going to be done one family at a time, living out the Gospel in their families, neighborhoods and communities.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit in his recent pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel, offered the following vision for families:

Families who, having embraced their role as the domestic church and in connection with other families and single persons, actively seek the spiritual and social renewal of their neighborhoods, schools and places of work. Such families and individuals would display a strikingly counter-cultural way of living: grounded in prayer, Sacraments and attention to Scripture; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society; and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times. Unleash the Gospel, p. 32

Archbishop Vigneron charged families to reclaim their identity to God through the following action plan (Action Step 1.3 Christian Family Identity, p. 33):

  • Attending Sunday Mass as a family
  • Daily scripture reading
  • Regular family meal times without distractions
  • Regular family prayer time
  • Frequent participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to heal wounds and brokenness through sacrifice, forgiveness, mercy, and love
  • Modeling Christ’s love by helping neighbors in need
  • Parents are the primary witnesses of the faith to their family

Be the church in your neighborhood. Be the “Domestic Church!” (Lumen Gentium, 11)

The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life. Gaudium et Spes, 47


Tawas Point Lighthouse, Michigan, USA

Photo Credit: Dennis Wingfield