Every year the Church in the United States sets aside a day to celebrate the family, and this year is falls on today, September 23. It may seem a little strange to celebrate the family, which is something that we usually take for granted. The first thing is to remember that not everyone has a family, and that not everyone who does appreciates them. There are many people in the world who not only struggle with feelings of loneliness, but who truly have no one to rely on. Today we thank God for the families that He’s given us. We thank God for our biological families or the families that we grew up in, whether that was a step-family, foster-family, or an orphanage.
It’s in the family that our faith is shared, strengthened, and past down from one generation to the next. Sometimes people expect the Church, or the Catholic school system, to pass on the faith to their children, and these institutions do have a role in that. However, the influence of Church and schools pales in comparison to the influence of a child’s parents and family. If the faith is not being practiced at home, then it probably won’t be passed on. This is why we call the family the domestic Church, meaning the Church in the home. We have to worship God at home, in how we pray together as a family, in the love we share with one another, and in sharing our blessings with those who are most in need.
We call the Church a family. We call God our Father, and the Church our mother, and the faithful our brothers and sisters in Christ. God is our Father because He gives us life when we are conceived and new life when we are baptized. The Church is our mother because she nourishes and raises us spiritually. We call all of the Christian faithful brother and sister because we are united to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through the Holy Spirit. The grace of God through the Church can make us better, more loving members of our families, and the love of our families can make us better followers of Christ.
Next Week: Oyster Festival
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.