“The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it, parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children. . .” (Lumen gentium, no. 11)
There’s a lot that goes into marriage preparation, and this post is here to offer you some short tips on how to educate, encourage, and engage couples preparing for marriage to build a domestic church in their future home together.
First things first!
What is the domestic church?
The domestic church is founded on the union between husband and wife.
The domestic church is a temple for the Holy Spirit.
The domestic church is part of the bigger family of the universal Church.
The domestic church contributes to the evangelizing mission of the Church.
If you’re looking for a deeper dive into what the domestic church should look like today, you can consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1655-58
Okay, now it’s time to look at bringing this idea of building a domestic church to engaged couples.
Here at the USCCB, we have some tips for making that happen. (Please note, the following suggestions are not in chronological order or order of importance.)
- Provide a theological foundation of what the domestic church is.
- Talk about why the domestic church is important to the evangelizing mission of the Church and how married couples (not necessarily just parents!) are responsible for carrying out that mission.
- Explore what the domestic church is, and what it is not (i.e. pietism).
- Building a domestic church doesn’t have to be done alone. Encourage mentorship with other couples or bring networks together to talk about building a domestic church.
- Encourage family prayer (not just at Mass), but at home.
- Offer resources for daily devotions and prayer, especially to the Holy Family.
- Host “Domestic Days” at your parish to encourage and promote the domestic church model for families in your parish. Domestic days can include Mass, adoration, confession, lectures, family activities, and food!
- Set up small groups for families, engaged couples, etc. in your parish to facilitate discussions about the domestic church.
There’s so much that can be done to help engaged couples begin to form their domestic church and foster its growth as the couple grows in their own relationship. These are just some ideas to get you started!
Want some more information? Check out:
- USCCB – http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/parents/tools-for-building-a-domestic-church.cfm
- Knights of Columbus: Family Fully Alive Series – https://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/programs/family-fully-alive/10162-family-fully-alive-booklet.pdf
- Domestic Church Families – https://domesticchurchfamilies.com/
- Christian Family Movement – https://www.cfm.org/cfm_home