Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has often focused on the need for strong Catholic families. He spoke of the Catholic family as an institution that prays, keeps the faith, and experiences joy. He challenged families to pray together in the midst of the many distractions and busyness of daily living. During a Mass for Family Day, he stated, “…we need simplicity to pray as a family; simplicity is necessary! Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is not something extraordinary: it’s easy. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And also praying for one another! …That is what it means to pray in the family and it is what makes the family strong: prayer.”
In addition to making time for prayer, the publication “Our Sunday Visitor” indicated that the foundation of solid Catholic family life is Sunday Mass. It stated, “When we approach God’s altar to receive the Eucharist, our share in Christ’s Body and Blood deepens our communion with him and through him, builds up his Body, the Church. Together in community, we sing hymns and learn how our voices blend. We listen to the Word of God and learn how to follow Jesus. We pray together and learn about silence and humility. On Sunday we are reminded that the center of our family life is Christ.”
Mother Teresa also had a great concern for the family. The following “Prayer for the Family” composed by her reflects the call for family unity:
Heavenly Father, you have given us the model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, O Loving Father, to make our family another Nazareth where love, peace and joy reign.
May it be deeply contemplative, intensely Eucharistic, revived with joy.
Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow in family prayer.
Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our families, especially in their distressing disguise.
May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus make our hearts humble like his and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way.
May we love one another as God loves each one of us, more and more each day, and forgive each other’s faults as you forgive our sins.
Help us, O Loving Father, to take whatever you give and give whatever you take with a big smile. Amen
As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to heed the call of Our Holy Father and Mother Teresa and pray for the strengthening of the family as we continue on our journey of faith.