The Domestic Church and Growing in Faith at Home
Hello families! Welcome to this space that is designed just for you. As Church of the Presentation, we seek to give you the resources you need to carry your family through this difficult time. We seek to not only give you resources, but to give you hope. While Church looks different for us right now, we have an incredible opportunity to let Church be built in our very own homes. THIS is the mission of the domestic Church. THIS is what the family is called to: to live the Gospel at all times and to share the love of Christ with each other.
What is the Domestic Church?
It seems clear that God is calling us to discover the power and importance of the family – the Domestic Church. The term “Domestic Church” refers to the family, the smallest body of gathered believers in Christ. That means YOU! According to the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The family, is so to speak, the domestic church.” (Lumen Gentium #11) This means that it is in the context of the family that we first learn who God is and to prayerfully seek His will for us.
Though recovered only recently, the term dates all the way back to the first century AD. The Greek word ecclesiola referred to “little church”. Our early Church fathers understood that the home was fertile ground for discipleship, sanctification, and holiness. This is so true!
With churches closed for the most part, and masses limited in numbers or online, we simply don’t have access to the spiritual resources we normally rely on. We are, quite literally, stuck at home with little choice but to figure out how to encounter God as we shelter-in-place. Despite the very real limitations we’re all laboring under, we know that God has not abandoned us. We may feel very detached from everything, but in communion with Christ we can never be spiritually isolated from His Church. It is important to remember that all of the Church’s prayer and devotional life links us to the Mass and to the Cross of Jesus.
Every family is called to be a place of prayer, service, and love – a “little Church of the home.” Families naturally do this in their day-to-day lives: “The spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 315). They do this by strengthening the bonds of love among their members, and by asking the Lord’s presence into their homes. There are so many ways to make your family a domestic Church, and the content offered on this site can hopefully provide some guidance, comfort and support.
As a “family of families”, we are together in spirit, joined by the Holy Spirit. Know you are not alone, and know that we are here for you. And we miss you! But we know we will be able to gather again soon. We are Presentation!
“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”Mother Teresa
“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.”Catechism of the Catholic Church (2205)
“The family is called to be the temple, or house of prayer: a simple prayer, full of effort and tenderness. A prayer that makes life so that life becomes prayer.”St. John Paul II
How can you “build” the Domestic Church in your home?
- Begin praying as a family and reading from Scripture daily, certainly before meals, but also first thing in the morning or before bed. Find a time that works for your family. Use the liturgy of the Church as a model for prayer, and try to include heartfelt unstructured prayer as well.
- Pray a Family Rosary (each member leads a decade, and everyone shares intentions).
- Have a crucifix in a prominent place in the home, and in every bedroom.
- Make the Sacraments a regular celebration – take the whole family to Confession and Mass!
- Begin family traditions based on the seasons celebrated in the liturgical calendar.
- Make your vacation a holy pilgrimage by visiting the shrines and saints of our land and the world.
- Make worshiping God a priority. Never miss Mass, even while traveling – go to: www.MassTimes.org to find a church near you!
- Teach stewardship and charity to your children, through word and example.
- Demonstrate love for your spouse, your children, your neighbors, and the world. Remind their children that they are loved by God and have been given gifts to serve others.
- Talk freely about the presence of God in the joys and sorrows of your life.
- Welcome into your home and support priests, brothers, sisters, deacons, and lay ministers in the Church.
- Participate in the lay ministries and activities of your parish community.
- Allow your children to witness you in private prayer. Encourage your children to pray daily on their own, to listen for God’s call, and if heard, to respond.
Here are some good articles that may help you explore how to grow in faith at home.
Article: A How To Primer for Parents and Families (USCCB
Article: Making Your Home a Domestic Church(Our Sunday Visitor)
Lifelong Catechesis: This wonderful resource offers a place to read the Sunday Readings, and share Reflections, Questions, and Saint of the Week for families. (By Our Sunday Visitor)
Sunday Connection (By Loyola Press) – This is a great resource for families! It offers age-appropriate reflections, questions and activites related to the Sunday readings
“The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called ‘the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (CCC No. 1666).
Let’s Build up the Domestic Church!