Tag: family

Family Life in the Domestic Church

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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)

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Alpha Unites Family, Deepens Faith

Sr. Ann Shields and Gemma MacDonald

An Alpha course changed the lives of everyone in high school senior Gemma MacDonald’s family. Gemma shared her story at the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally.

After hearing about the program, the family of nominally practicing Catholics first encourage Gemma’s recently widowed, alcoholic grandfather to attend.

“On his weekend away (for a part of Alpha called the Holy Spirit weekend), my grandfather had a battle between lightness and darkness, and in the end, light won,” said Gemma. “He hasn’t had a desire to drink since then.”

Gemma’s grandfather agreed the weekend transformed his life: “After praying for the Holy Spirit to come, the next day, I didn’t have the urge to go in the liquor store,” he said.

He now spends most of his time helping with Alpha. He explained, “I think of the ten lepers who were cured; now I try to help others find Jesus like I found Him.”

His conversion encouraged the rest of his family to attended Alpha together. They also went reluctantly, but experienced a tremendous conversion.

“It renewed all of our relationships and brought us deeper into our faith,” said Gemma. “Our family dynamic shifted from us working individually, to us working as a team.”

Since then, the family has started both youth and adult Alpha programs at other parishes. At sixteen, Gemma even became the volunteer coordinator for adult ministry at a parish.

“The gifts of the Holy Spirit are working through us,” concluded Gemma’s father, David. “I think they can work through everybody. You just have to be present.”

To locate an Alpha course near you, visit www.alphacanada.org or www.alphausa.org.

Leave a Heritage of Faith

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The following brief reflection originally appeared in the June 2016 newsletter of Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinators Don and Pat Turbitt. You can subscribe to their newsletter by emailing them at [email protected]

“All your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of your children.” (Is 54:13)

There is no heritage like the knowledge of God’s love. There is no inheritance as empowering. As you live your life of faith before your family, it’s like stocking a vault that will bless everyone. And it’s never too late to begin. As you live authentically before God, you leave a blueprint for those who are watching. That example can last for generations, beyond your view, and may be more influential than you can imagine.

You can be that kind of person—the kind that builds up and strengthens. Ask the Lord God to help you. He will show you how.

Blessings to you,

Don and Pat Turbitt

Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinators