The Christian Home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is the rightly called the domestic church, a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1666)Your daily interactions with God is part of your Domestic Church, so in a sense you are in church all the time. As a parent whose prayer is to see my children continue their Catholic faith as adults, I’ve realized that if I don’t make it part of our life more than just Sunday, than it becomes irrelevant. I’ve also realized that when it’s forced and it becomes the “because I said so” model I fail to allow my children to see the joy in their Catholic faith. Instead of “because I said so’s” let’s try to work on, “because it reminds us that God has never left us all week.” It’s important to visit Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass on Sunday, but it's also important to receive Him in our everyday. Make your daily interactions your Domestic Church. Below are a few ways you can celebrate your faith outside of Mass that will help you draw closer to God on Sundays.
- Do charity work together. Take your kids to the local homeless shelter and serve meals. Sign up for a fun run that supports a medical or social cause and offer up prayers for those whom it helps.
- Offer to do prayers at home for a special person, and remember to light a candle for them when you go to Mass.
- Be kind to the environment. Start a garden and remind your children that all good things come from God.
- Take the children with you to Adoration; even if you don’t make it a full hour, practice the quiet with them. Let them see Jesus present in the Eucharist.
- Practice going to confession with your family.
- Be kind to others. Remind your children that even those who don’t practice their faith or practice a different one are still children of God. Don’t limit your faith to just your Catholic friends.
- My youngest daughter and I use a Rosary app. She enjoys pushing the buttons and praying the Rosary with me, and we make it a special time together.
- Get involved with ministries within your church. I have been involved with Bible studies and book clubs. When my children see these, they realize that God is more than just present on a Sunday morning.
- Do simple acts; when we pass a church we use the sign of the cross.
- Pray together. Practice at meal times, in the car together, or even in the morning or before bedtime.
- When my daughter hears an ambulance drive by, she says “ Mary, help of Christians, pray for us.”
- Read the Bible together, or read the Sunday readings before you go to Mass.
- Our parish doesn't have a crying room or a Sunday school where younger ones can retreat, so being creative in the pews has been a challenge. I have found that coloring pictures of saints, or Bible coloring books can be incredibly helpful. My child is learning about God, but at her level.
- Invite your priest or deacon to your home for dinner. Your children will see that the clergy are more than just someone standing on a pulpit but part of your lives. And you’ll be surprised how your house does not have to be picture-perfect to receive guests.
Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear
About the Author
Andrea Bear is a wife, mom, and teacher in Northern California. She runs a blog called Life in the Grace Lane and also contributes to Catholic Stand and Today's Catholic Teacher magazine. When she's not writing or taking her kids to volleyball practice you can find her sipping coffee from the neighborhood coffee establishments or tasting wine from the local vineyards.