The Domestic Church: Connecting to Marriage and Family

Where might the word of God be leading us when it comes to our family life?

The word of God leads us to the heart of what it means to be the Church, and therefore also to the heart of what it means to be a Christian family: For the Church and our families to be light, we must be centered on Christ and imitate Him, going out to the peripheries to bring the Gospel.

Marriage and family concerns everyone: Each of us comes from a family. Each of us is a son or a daughter. In God’s plan every child is meant to be the fruit of his or her mother’s and father’s love for each other in the sacred bond of marriage. This is why conversations about marriage and the family in the public square concern all of us, and this is why the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is important for all of us.

Acknowledging the experience and pain of broken marriages and families: Sadly, many of us have experienced or know family or friends who have experienced the pain of a broken marriage and family. Each experience is unique, and the Lord’s mercy is great. Even for those of us who find our family situation difficult –and that probably includes all of us at one time or another! –we each have a role to play in God’s vision of the family. Ultimately, all of us are part of the perfect family –God’s family –as beloved sons and daughters of God the Father.

“Domestic Church”: Very early in the life of the Church, the Christian family, founded upon the covenant of marriage between husband and wife, together with any children they were blessed with, became understood as the domestic church. This understanding has profound implications.

Two – Photograph by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America
Considering particular aspects of the family as the domestic church: What does it mean to call the family the domestic church?

The Catechism of the Catholic Churchspeaks of the family as the place where one learns endurance and the joy ofwork, fraternal love, generous – even repeated -forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life. (CCC, nos. 1656-57). A particular aspect(s) of the domestic church might be highlighted. Concrete stories orexamples could assist as well. Here, let’s take three of the points mentioned in the Catechism as it relates to the family: love, forgiveness, and prayer:

Family as school of love: First, family life is where we are meant to learn to love. The family has its foundation in the promise of lifelong, faithful,and fruitful love between husband and wife.

Family as school of forgiveness: Second, the family, as the domestic church, is called to be a school of forgiveness. Every day, we are reminded that we are far from perfect. We are all sinners in need of mercy, forgiveness, and healing.

Family as school of prayer: And now for the third point, on prayer: to love and to forgive in the way that Christ calls us requires the Lord’s grace. We cannot be salt of the earth and the light of the world without God.

As adomestic church, the family is called to be a school of prayer, keeping the Lord at the center of the home, so that His light will shine brightly throughout the home, into the neighborhood, the community, and the world.

May the Lord be glorified in all our words and deeds, and may our families shine with the light of Christ for all to see.

Resource: World Marriage Sunday 2020 (PDF)

Manhood Monday: Our First Ministry

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin

Alleluia  MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

[4:2325] This summary of Jesus’ ministry concludes the narrative part of the first book of Matthew’s gospel (Mt 34). The activities of his ministry are teaching, proclaiming the gospel, and healing; cf. Mt 9:35.

The time we spend with our family should never be a second thought. It should always be our first thought. ….it is our first ministry.  As husbands and fathers Jesus said we are the priest of our homes, and as dads our job is to get our family members to heaven.

“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 1666 and here.

St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church ….. this is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” Eph. 5:25-32

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

When I see this moment of hands reaching out to God in prayer, in community, it illustrates to me the outword expression of the inner faith of a community of prayers, in belief of what is hoped for.

Said another way, sometimes, when we don’t have answers or can’t provide a soulution, praying to God and trusting Him in faith has proven to do what we can not. In His time and not in ours.

God wants us to depend on Him, and Loves us to the point to provide us the freedom to make that decision.

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


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Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond are invited to attend.

The Domestic Church: How to ‘Walk the Talk’

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 1666

There are thousands of men in our Chicagoland parishes needing help in how to “walk the talk.”  Catholic Men Chicago Southland helps us in our walk as Catholic men, fathers, husbands, and grandparents. Being a resource to educate, support, and strengthen households is the mission of CMCS.

Here are some more examples about ‘the domestic church’ from the Catholic Catechism:

1655    Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.”166 When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved.167 These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world. (759)

1656    In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica.168 It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example… the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.”169 (2204)

1657    It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.”170 Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.”171 Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous—even repeated—forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life. (1268, 2214-2231, 2685)

1658    We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live—often not of their choosing—are especially close to Jesus’ heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family, often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden.’”172 (2231, 2233)

Please keep room in your prayers for struggling men, believing families, and for all Catholic men (in Chicagoland) to live out the CMCS motto: “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.