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Courtney Vallejo reviews Julianne M. Will's new books for growing families who want to build up their domestic church.

When I first came across the book Intentional Catholic Family, I was drawn to the tagline: “creating your growth plan for a purpose-filled year.” I must admit that I thought it was a liturgical planning book. At this point in my motherhood, I have a house full of teenagers. We’re not necessarily celebrating feast days by making special treats or putting their shoes out for St. Nicholas. It’s not that I don’t want to do these things, it’s just that we’ve already done that with them and with our children being older, traditions have changed. For example, I scattered candy on the table on St. Nicholas's feast day, instead of putting candy in a teenage boy's smelly sneakers.

This book, however, turned out to be just what our family needs. It’s a mix of the secular “build your mission statement, what’s your why” idea but based entirely on the faith and building up the domestic church inside our home. Since living our faith with teenagers has changed from candy in the shoes to discerning vocations, I think it’s important to begin showing our children what it means to have a mission statement for their life. In following with the rule of life, as experienced in many religious orders, I want my children to learn to structure their lives of faith as they move out into their own independent lives.  


Intentional Catholic Familiy

Author Julianne M. Will begins this book by explaining the concept of creating a mission statement but more importantly I thought, really educates the reader about what the domestic church means and how the Church speaks about it, especially its job in the world.  

After about 30 pages of information and guidelines, the book moves into the hands-on portion. It creates a 52-week breakdown. Each week begins with an opening ritual and prayer, continues with a “let’s chat” section which gives a reading to inspire and educate the family on this process. During that process it offers each family member a time to share on a variety of questions provided. Each session closes with a prewritten prayer.  

As the book is based on a 52-week plan, I recommend grabbing a copy before New Year’s Eve. Maybe this year’s family resolution will be to walk through this weekly journey together. For us busy families, finding time to sit down together will take scheduling, but perhaps it can become a Sunday tradition. What a great way to spend time together as a family, celebrating the Sabbath and growing together.  

Ask for Intentional Catholic Family at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Our Sunday Visitor.




Copyright 2023 Courtney Vallejo
Images: Canva