Building up family programming in your parish

We all do better when we are surrounded by other people who motivate us and push us to new levels.  It is no wonder that the number of individuals making a living as personal trainers has sky rocked in recent years!  The same goes for our faith life...we need motivated and faithful individuals around us to push us and to keep us on track.  In my own life I have struggled at times to find this, and have found great delight in finding families that make our family strive for improvement and a deeper faith life. 

A great place to start is within our local parish.  Does your parish already have an active family focused ministry?  If so, get involved.  Put yourself out there and meet new people.  Listen to all that they have to teach you and learn from the achievements and the struggles they have had.  If you don't have an active family focused ministry, talk to your parish office about getting one started.  Below is a list of programs that have been implemented in my own parish or in active parishes near me.  Start small, pray, and watch your community grow!

·         Parish Family-Centered Activities:  Start small with just one event and build from there

o   Advent, Lent, Trick-or-treat, All Saints Day, Mardi Gras, Summer service projects, Fall clean up volunteer opportunities, Christmas

o   Potluck after 1st Saturday devotions

o   First Friday evening devotions

o   Monthly Family Holy Hour:  rosary, craft activities, family prayer/song

o   Potlucks for families

o   Little Flowers

o   Blue Knights

o   Partner with Knights of Columbus to offset costs

o   Author nights:  read book, craft, snack, social time, Q/A

o   Living Rosary in May:  children lead prayer with guided help, take rose to Mary statue once finished saying their prayer, each child gets a blessed Rosary

·         Parish sponsored family retreat weekends

·         Family camping week or weekend

·         Parent’s night out:  child-care provided at your parish to allow for parent focused speakers and presentations.

·         Parish rosary before Sunday mass or Friday evenings

·         Monthly required parent activities as part of Faith Formation:  This seems like a great opportunity to educate parents.  Rather than having them simply come to Faith Formation and sit in on class, have them come and be educated.  By educating them, we educate their children. 

o   Parents attend a portion of the time with kids, then 30 minute speaker on relevant Catholic teachings/hot topics related to parents and family life

o   Rather than experts or Priests, have parishioners speak on these topics.  This shows that real families in this parish are living out their faith on a daily basis.  It makes it seem more attainable and reinforces it when parents see those families at Mass and other events.

§  NFP

§  Family daily prayer

§  The beauty of the Rosary

§  Tools for strengthening the faith of your family

§  The Saints and their importance

§  Putting Christ at the center of our lives

§  Modest dress

§  Reverence for the Eucharist

§  Why we don’t eat meat on Friday

§  Giving God control

§  Pro-life and politics

§  Our call to civil obedience

§  Purgatory

§  Why we make confession to a priest

§  Why priest can’t get married.  Why women can’t be priests.

§  What is the role of a deacon?

§  You are what you seek

§  Guarding young minds, eyes, and hearts

§  The sacraments

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