Family Life in the Domestic Church

Image Credit

This article originally appeared on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s website Unleash the Gospel.

Thirty-three years ago, united in the sacrament of marriage, Peter and I began an exciting and mysterious adventure. We charted a course for our life that wasn’t based on romantic feelings or wishful thinking. Although we had financial, career and family goals, we had one principal aim that informed the rest. Our deepest desire was to live with God forever and to help each other, our family and those God placed in our lives to get to heaven. This objective may sound cliché, abstract or in the very distant future, but it is actually concrete and practical, lived out each day in the context of marriage and family life.

The family is the primary social unit in which life in Christ and the life of the church are experienced and lived. Therefore, the church refers to the family as the domestic churchThe Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully describes the Christian family and our role as parents:

  • The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith.For this reason, the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity … It is a community of faith, hope, and charity.” (CCC, 1666, 2204)
  • Parents are the principal and first educators of their children.In this sense, the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life.” (CCC, 1653)
  • The home is the first school of Christian life and ‘a school for human enrichment.’Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous — even repeated — forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.” (CCC, 1657)

Continue reading here.

Debbie Herbeck

Debra Herbeck speaks at conferences and retreats about spiritual growth, discipleship, and her own journey from Judaism to the Catholic Church. For the past thirty years, she has worked extensively in youth and women’s ministry. Debbie is the co-founder and leader of Be Love Revolution, a movement dedicated to helping young women encounter and be God’s love in the world. Debbie is the director of Pine Hills Girls Camp. She also helps lead i.d.9:16, an outreach of Renewal Ministries that equips young adult Catholics to live as intentional disciples. She has written Safely Through the Storm: 120 Reflections on Hope, Firmly on the Rock: 120 Reflections on Faith, and Love Never Fails: 120 Reflections on Love. She and her husband Peter co-authored When the Spirit Speaks: Touched by God’s Word. Debbie and Peter have four children and four grandchildren. They live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Debbie can be contacted at dherbeck@renewalministries.net.