Faith and Family is a weekly column by Lani Bogart, in which she provides practical ways to connect the Sunday readings, especially the Gospel, to the lives of families. Lani oversees all things catechetical at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and co-leads the Committee to Serve Wives and Widows of Deacons for the Diocese of Phoenix.
We know the Christmas stories so well that sometimes we forget the stunning truth they tell. Let’s pause and consider the incomparable Gift we are given at Christmas.
GOD comes to live among his creatures. He comes in the form of a newborn baby!
Mary kisses GOD’s chubby cheeks and touches GOD’s tiny toes!
Wiseman traveled great distances for one reason only – to adore GOD made present in Baby JESUS. How will your family celebrate Epiphany today?
Whether you make a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or kneel in silent prayer as a family before the manger, I hope you will take some time today to adore our Lord.READ MORE
Jesus’ hidden years at Nazareth are worth contemplating. What was it like growing up with the perfect Mother to meet all his human needs? What did he learn from her and Joseph and what did they learn from him? We know we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our parents for the gift of life and the many sacrifices they made to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate us.READ MORE
All sing prayerfully: Here are the prayers for the fourth week of Advent:
This week we light all four candles.
Leader: O Lord, stir up your power, we pray, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of your Grace, your merciful forgiveness may come and dispel all sin and darkness from our hearts. Through Christ our Lord.
All sing while lighting the candles: Light one candle for hope, one bright candle for hope Christ brings hope to every heart. He comes, he comes Light one candle for peace, one bright candle for peace Christ brings peace to every heart. He comes, he comes. Light one candle for joy, one bright candle for joy Christ brings joy to every heart. He comes, he comes. Light one candle for love, one bright candle for love Christ brings love to every heart. He comes, he comes.READ MORE
The joyful Sunday in Advent (known as “Guadete”) is represented by rose (or pink) instead of the purple color. A family member lights the pink as well as the two previously lit purple candles after the following prayer has been said.
Here are the family prayers for the Third Week of Advent:
Leader: O Lord, we beg you, hear our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of your coming to us. Through Christ our Lord. All: Amen
All sing while candles are lit: Light one candle for hope, one bright candle for hope Christ brings hope to every heart. He comes, he comes. Light one candle for peace, one bright candle for peace Christ brings peace to every heart. He comes, he comes. Light one candle for joy, one bright candle for joy Christ brings joy to every heart. He comes, he comes.READ MORE
Here are the family prayers for the Second Week of Advent:
Leader: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for your only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve you with pure minds. Through Christ our Lord.
A family member now lights two purple candles.
All sing while candles are lit: Light one candle for hope, one bright candle for hope Christ brings hope to every heart. He comes, he comes. Light one candle for peace, one bright candle for peace Christ brings peace to every heart. He comes, he comes.READ MORE
For the next few weeks, you will find here an outline for your family to use to bring the liturgical season of Advent to your domestic church.
1st WEEK OF ADVENT
Lighting candles in an Advent Wreath is a simple way to start a tradition of family worship in the home. Gather your family around the Advent wreath the time of day that works best for your family; maybe just before the smallest child goes to bed.
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: W ho made heaven and earth.READ MORE
Parents fulfill at least in part, the demands of the Gospel when they provide food and clothing for their children who without exception, come into this world naked and hungry.
Mothers stay up at night to soothe and comfort sick children.
Daughters, sons and grandchildren make it a priority to visit their elderly parents who are “imprisoned” in nursing homes during this pandemic.
I wonder how many parents will visit over the holidays with their adult sons and daughters who are imprisoned in another way; enslaved by false ideas of freedom or by alcohol or drugs?READ MORE
The past three weeks we focused on the domestic church and how we can, as families, become Living Catechisms. This week we finish our series as we zero in on the fourth and final pillar of the Catechism, Prayer.
As Catholics we have the richest tradition of prayer in the whole world. Each family can incorporate their own favorite prayer traditions into daily life.
Help children understand that prayer is not mere recitation of memorized words, but an intimate conversation with God who knows us through and through and wants us to know him too.READ MORE
In this third of four parts about living as a domestic church let’s consider the third pillar of the Catechism, Life in Christ.
Families can truly live this pillar by making their homes schools of virtue and by helping each member of the family better form their consciences according to the teachings of the Church.
First, we emphasize the good, the true and the beautiful. When we know and love the good, evil’s appeal is diminished. If we focus on a “virtue of the week” and try to “catch” each practicing a particular virtue, our children can make the connection between how a life of virtue leads to increasing levels of responsibility as they grow older. This can also help them grasp the true meaning of human freedom, which is not doing whatever we want, but being free from anything that would hinder our doing good.READ MORE
Last week we discussed how each family as a domestic church can become a living catechism by living in visible and true ways the first pillar of the Catechism – the Profession of Faith.
The second pillar of the Catechism is the Celebration of the Christian Mystery. By it we learn to live the Sacraments of the Church. Families can enter into the rhythm of the liturgical year by making sure Sunday is the center of our week. We do this by making our family plans around being at Mass rather than fitting Mass in as an afterthought.
Sunday ought to be a day of rest and enjoyment for our families. Planning ahead so that chores and homework are done before Sunday can help a great deal with this.READ MORE
Last week we introduced the topic of the domestic church which each Catholic home is called to be. We are to be a microcosm of the Church.
Each domestic church is also to become a living catechism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is made up of four parts or pillars and Catholic families are called to give life to the Church’s teachings found in each part of the Catechism by putting them into practice, first at home and then in the parish and the larger community.
The first pillar is The Profession of Faith. Parents help children learn the faith we believe by teaching them to say the words of the Creed and by sharing with them the great story of God’s love for us which is found in Sacred Scripture. As they help each child find his/her own place in the great love story between God and his people, their children will be able to answer the questions, “Who am I?” and “What am I called to do?” They will know how to answer, “I am a child of God, called to love God above all things and love my neighbor as myself.”READ MORE
Maybe you have heard that the Catholic family is the domestic church. But what does this mean? It literally means household or home church. It is the place where each member is welcomed with great joy, just like each new member in the parish Church is welcomed with the Sacrament of Baptism. Each one belongs and is loved not for what they can produce, but for the unique and irreplaceable person they are. It’s the place where God is honored and praised, where meals are shared, just like the Eucharist is shared and we worship God at Mass.
Just like at Mass, it is from the domestic church that each family member is strengthened to share the love they have received at home with the whole world.READ MORE
Some time ago, after leaving a church parking lot and stopping at a light, a complete stranger pulled his car alongside mine and motioned for me to open the window. Thinking he had something important to tell me about my vehicle, I complied.
The man began ranting about how he knew I thought I was better than everyone else because I went to church, then cursed and swore at me, calling me names and telling me that I had endangered his life with my bad driving. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. My brain was so busy trying to process the angry barrage of words that I had no response except, “I’m sorry”. The light changed and we went our separate ways. But I have thought of that man a few times since, and when I remember, I pray for him and the woman who was in the truck with him, that God would deliver him from anger and heal any wounds caused by people who were Christian in name only, that God will keep the woman safe.READ MORE
One thing that helps parents pass on their faith and values to their children is eating meals together.
Children who eat family dinner with their parents each day are much more likely to continue practicing their faith when they are grown. Eating meals together also helps establish human connection, which is crucial to maintaining happiness and a sense of belonging.
As you gather, all phones, tablets and screens ought to be turned off and/or put away in another room to show respect for each other.
Here are a few ideas for conversing with your kids when you’re gathered around the table. Pick just one and try it out next time you have a meal together.
1. Parent(s) can share a story about the kids when they were babies or toddlers.READ MORE