Catholic Men: Family as First Ministry

As Catholic Men and husbands, our family is our first ministry.  Some of us men question that our work should be our first ministry, because of how it provides for the family.

However, 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. I mean, 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.  And if we are a single man we have an obligation to our parents and siblings.

I find this to be very clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, how the husband is the head of the home and, together with his wife, models the Holy Family with their children.

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)

1659    St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church…. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32).

1666    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.

I am told by some people they have the impression that because I share words like this that my household is perfect and I speak from experience. People have also said to me that my only priority should be to work and provide financially for my family, for this is what God says.

Our work, or  the ‘what’ we do in life, is not our identity and has nothing to do with who we are as a man, Catholic, husband, father, and person in Christ.

Rather, the ‘why’ we work is to be a witness of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our paycheck is a certificate of performance, and it is through ‘how’ we witness that God provides.

If I speak from experience, it is only from many coffee time discussions with men. This is why over a decade ago I saw a need for a Catholic men’s movement in Chicago, starting for myself to grow and be accountable too. So I started one so that others may benefit.

This is my purpose in life because it is my passion, it is not my identity.

How about you?


Frank J Casella


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