Tikanga a Whānau - Family Life
Families are wonderful gifts to the Church. They are a Domestic Church; the place where faith is first taught and caught.
Being Family Together
Dear parents, your children need to discover by watching you, that it is beautiful to love another.
You are a family!! Your child/ren are a gift from God- and a great responsibility. During these important growing-up years, you are the most important influence in your child’s life. Recent research shows that parents have far more influence than commonly suspected in the formation of their child’s behaviour and character - far more influence that peers, popular media. You can have more effect on your child’s moral development than you realise, or at least you can if you choose to step into that role to the best of your ability.
- Catholic Families Worship Together – The Mass is the source of and summit of our Christian life. Therefore, as a family, its good to attend Sunday mass weekly together. Being part of a parish is more than just going to Mass (although that's a wonderful start). We are also called to actively participate in parish life – our spiritual home away from home. Additionally, we must also recognise that we do not always get it right, we struggle to be the loving people that we are called to be. Therefore, it is important to attend reconciliation, in order to seek God’s healing and grace, so we might live better lives. This is one of the habits we nourish in families. Parishes often hold reconciliation services during Advent and Lent.
- Catholic Families Pray Together – As a “domestic church”, we recognise that we cannot love one another as God loves us unless we are in relationship with God. To be in a relationship suggests we spend time with them, talking and listening. As families we pray together. We praise and thank God for all that we have been blessed with and for the grace to love each other and the world better. We recognise the expression “the family that prays together, stays together.”
- Catholic Families are Called to Love – Tertullian (one of the wise ones of the Church), once proclaimed, “The world says, ‘Look at those Christians, see how they love one another!" The Christian life is first and foremost a call to love. We recognise that families are “Schools of Love.” Therefore, as a family, we constantly challenge ourselves to seek to discover new ways to be even more open with and loving to each other
- Catholic Families Celebrate Family – We recognise that, because our family relationships are the primary vehicle God uses to perfect us and challenge us to become everything we were created to be, family life itself is the most important activity. As families, we are called to cultivate our domestic church. We nurture regular family rituals and shared activities such as family dinners, family prayers, a games night and/or “family days” and regular time for one-on-one communication and relationship-building. We hold these activities as sacred rituals of the domestic church and value them.
- The Catholic Family is a Witness and Sign – God wants to change the world through us. First, by our striving to show in every way possible that we are loved by God, and rejoicing in it. Second, by show love for others through our serving the world-at-large. We do this by being aware of the world around us and searching for ways to 'clothe the naked, visit the housebound, give food to the hungry..."
At the end of every Mass we are sent to proclaim the Good News. This is a call to service. There are many ways that children can respond to this call with a little help from the family. This list is like a starter pack and by no means complete.
1-4 years old
- Assist in baking for someone in need of cheer
- Visit for an elderly neighbour and sing a song or ask them questions about their life
- Plant flowers or a plant to give away
- Help assemble a gift basket
- Choose toys and items to donate to those in need - not only ones that are finished with but ones children would still like to play with.
5-10 years old
- Help make lunch for the less fortunate
- Make a meal for someone who’s sick or recovering from surgery
- Clean a room in the home of someone else
- Earn money to give to an organisation or to someone in need
10+ years old
- Mentor young children - help lead children's' liturgy
- Volunteer for an organisation, such as a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
- Clean up parks
- Volunteer time to sit with a neighbour and talk
- Do odd jobs for those who are unable to themselves
You're Not Alone
The great thing about being part of the Catholic family is that you are never alone. There are over a billion other people in the family and many of them are just like us. They suffer the same anxieties and frustrations. Fortunately they also share their wisdom.
Tips for raising committed Catholic children
Theologian Thomas Groome knows first hand the difficulties of being a parent to a child that isn’t always thrilled to attend Mass.
In this interview, Groome discusses some of the questions parents face in trying to teach and hand down the Catholic faith to the next generation.
A list of Counsellors and Therapists can be found here.