Pastor's Corner

2021 08-29   Family Love, A Vocation and Path to Holiness

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The traditional activities of many Catholic families have been disrupted or altered due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Mass attendance, prayer routines, work schedules, family meals, and other activities may have changed.   In some instances, this may have an adverse effect on the family unit.  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.  He said that we need simplicity to pray as a family and that prayer makes the family strong.

In addition to making time for prayer, as previously noted, 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” … “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.”

Pope Francis, in his continuing concern for the family, has called for the 10th World Meeting of Families which will convene in June, 2022.   The theme of the meeting will be “Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness.”  As reported in the Media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, Pope Francis stated that the meeting “…will be an opportunity provided by Providence to create a worldwide event that can involve all the families that would like to feel part of the ecclesial community.”

The following “Prayer for Families” asks God to continue to guide the family unit:

God, Our Father, loving and merciful,  bring together and keep all families in perfect unity of love and support.
Instill in each member the spirit of understanding and affection for each other.
Keep quarrels and bitterness far from them, and for their occasional failures instill forgiveness and peace.
May the mutual love and affection of parents set a great example.
Instill in children self-respect that they may respect others and grow in mature independence.
May the mutual affection and respect of families be a sign of Christian life here and hereafter, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, in the spirit of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we are encouraged to make a conscious effort to keep our families united, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.

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