I. Restoration Of The Family

"Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."

-Pope Paul VI

CULTURE: Then when our families are strong, and our parishes are strong, we can not only withstand the storms that seek to damage and destroy us, but courageously go out into the community at large and the wider culture, encouraging, sharing, and joining forces with other parishes in becoming united fortresses of faith and transforming the culture in the process by our countercultural, joyful, zealous witness. And having renewed our churches, and by praying for our clergy, our priests and bishops will be strengthened and encouraged to speak out against the evils of the day and defend the family and the Faith, and help reclaim the culture for Christ. With their words and our deeds, magnified by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish a much-needed, much-wanted, restoration of Christendom. For self-identified Catholics in the United States are about 25% of the population or nearly 80 Million. If a mere 10% of Catholics were engaged and lived their faith, fulfilling the mission they were created for, that would be 8 Million genuine, joyful, witnesses, a stark and attractive contrast to the depravity and disengagement that surrounds us.  Just a



FAMILY:  Okay, so it can start small and simply, by inviting 3-5 other families into your home letting them know in advance it’s for a night of food, family, and yes faith. If possible invite a great, joyful priest or religious, someone who can lead a discussion, prayer, or just answer questions about or objections to our Catholic Faith. As this is an organic renewal, there are no rigid rules, or strict program schedules, but pray and allow the Holy Spirit to address and meet the specific spiritual needs of your family gatherings (yes, we're gathering, not scattering). For remember, St Paul didn’t have the same approach in Philippi “Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved”(Philippians 4:1), than he did in Galatia “You stupid Galatians!” (Galatians 3:1) (Note: we do not endorse the full-on, in your face Galatian approach). 

For those who prefer a specific structure, ask to your priest or religious or email us for ideas and potential options. Regardless of the specifics, make sure to make your 

gatherings joyful, non-judgmental, welcoming and yes, fun events, recognizing the different stations in life and current situations of your guests, uplifting and encouraging them by example rather than by preachiness. Include the children in part of the evening, giving them a flavor of the Faith as the reason for gathering, but don’t overdo it, and allow them to play and have fun together, so they’ll want to return. Rotating hosts and homes, making the dinners easy and inexpensive – pizza or pot luck – serving beer or wine and being humble, joyful ambassadors of Christ and having fun, especially during the fellowship portion of the evening, inviting God into all that we do, will make these evenings great, highly anticipated, and transformative events. Then over time, when it is ready, this cell of faith divides, and the families involved then go forth and host their own get-togethers putting together a group of 3-5 other families. In this fashion, the Church will be renewed family by family, reaching out to others so as to bring them closer to Christ and His Church, creating, supporting and encouraging a web of faithful Catholic families who then become the backbone of the Body of Christ. The families that participate and deepen their faith thus become fully alive and fully involved in the life and mission of the Church, and are not only able to withstand the attacks of a godless, immoral culture, but are equipped to transform it. 

CHURCH:  These families having been restored to their traditional ideal, and centered on Christ can go forth and transform and revitalize the Church. Coming together as families of the family of God, not in some contrived sense of human hospitality, but in a spirit of authentic Christian community, fellowship and charity, and strengthened by the Mass and sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist, we become the mystical Body of Christ, so that we can bring Christ to others. By coming together at every Mass, knowing, loving, greeting, and praying for those gathered together with us, we’re not doing anything dramatic or heroic, in fact, it’s just what our Churches have done for most of our history. Building up a genuine sense of shared purpose, commitment, and community, (which should be easy with a culture and government as hostile to our religion) and loving God and loving others because of God, is the foundation of any restoration project.

But wait, there’s more. The family friendships that we form, founded upon faith, are far deeper than the superficial or even digital “relationships” that dominate our disconnected, shallow and secular society. For being able to discuss matters of faith, and knowing that we’re all serving in God’s army, opens up our souls to others,  building up a sense of spiritual camaraderie, that crosses and encompasses all parts of the person: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and psychological. Face it, it’s not standing around the water cooler talking about the weather. As healthy cells that form the Body of Christ, we function for the good of the Church, by our support, encouragement, counsel, witness, and servant leadership, we lead others to a deeper relationship to Christ, making the Church stronger, healthier, and more fully alive.

The revitalized and renewed Church can then again become the social and spiritual centers of our communities, where we see many familiar faces (most of which have actual names) and not only feel more welcome ourselves, but can bring this sense of attachment and belonging to others. The parish church can once again become the site where we can grow in holiness, not simply from our participation in the sacramental life of the Church, but by loving our neighbor, performing acts of charity, solidarity, and subsidiarity, as well as spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The parish church by virtue of the fact it contains the glorified risen living Christ in every tabernacle, should be the spiritual epicenter and source of good in every community, if we simply engage and unleash His transformative power. For our churches needn’t be sterile, lifeless, unoccupied structures which we visit for an hour or less each week, but places of meeting, encounter, faith, prayer, study, fellowship, fun, food, sports, entertainment, and maybe even cocktails, all of which can be used to build up the Kingdom of God.

There is clearly no monopoly on good ideas, for if there were I’d be Baltic Avenue (in the low rent district) but check out what your parish offers, and join in, or if you don’t like the choices, see if you can start your own group. As long as it’s honestly designed to make your parish a better place and consistent with her mission (i.e. no Ventriloquism Club – that’s just creepy), doesn’t lead to near occasions of sin (i.e. Alcoholics For Alcohol), and doesn’t make more work for your pastor or his staff, (i.e. The Blessing of all my common household items club) pastors should be in favor of it. Some better ideas are Movie Night (with Catholic or Christian themes), Open gym (which begins with Our Father/Hail Mary /Glory Be), Book Club (again Catholic/Christian themes), Bible Study, Prayer Groups, Service Organizations, Parents of Small Children, Catholic Speaker Series, Theology on Tap, and of course, Bingo.

Last year at our parish, we started our own - three parish-wide events which were incredible successes where more than 2000 people participated, based upon three identified needs, actually three words – Faith, Service, & Community. The faith event was a Eucharistic Procession on the Feast of Corpus Christi from our parish to the parish in the next town. The service event was a town-wide food collection, sorting, and distribution effort donating thousands of bags of groceries to four worthy charities. Finally, the community event was a huge festival on the parish parking lot on the feast of our patron saint. What we found out that God magnified and multiplied our meager efforts because we simply sought to go out into the deep and lower our nets for a miraculous catch. While we will never know the graces and blessing that resulted from our simply aligning our will to His, in an effort to evangelize our parish, but one immediate recognized benefit was that on the third day after we brought Jesus into the streets in a reverent and joyful Corpus Christi procession, the abortion clinic in our town was listed for sale.

faithful remnant of 10% could renew and restore the culture, by living meaningful, heroic lives of truth, goodness and beauty, making others sit up and take notice of the desired qualities which today are in too short supply. If we are merely joyful, humble and obedient, rather than condescending, preachy, or hypocritical, many will want what we have, as the materialism, hedonism, and consumerism of our throwaway culture can never satisfy or make one truly happy. With this bottom-up approach coupled with the top down, moral authority of a 2000 year old divine/human institution founded by Christ Himself speaking out, teaching, serving, and bringing the mercy, healing, and salvation of Christ to the millions of lost sheep, with the worldwide platform she has, can transform the world. For she was able to transform every pagan culture she encountered without the universal megaphone, a rudimentary knowledge of Christ, and presence in nearly every country of the world, with only a simple, rag-tag, unwashed band of transient preachers and baptizers. God will abundantly multiply our own meager efforts, and re-Christianize our culture if we are faithful to doing His will, though with slightly better hygiene than the early evangelizers.

But, we are a House of God divided - between different factions, liberal vs. conservatives, social justice vs. pro-life, cafeteria vs. obedient Catholics. We have to heal our own divisions, and unite around a common goal, to reclaim the culture for Christ against a common enemy that seeks to marginalize, weaken, and destroy the Catholic Church. For our internal divisions do not bear witness to Christ (John 17:21), and are not attractive to others, and neither is our disobedience, our animosity, our arrogance, our negativity, or our hypocrisy. If we simply conform our lives to Christ and the teachings of His Church, in humility and obedience, living, working, teaching, recreating, voting, consuming, worshipping, in all we do, the culture can’t help but be changed – for the better, and many more will be added to our numbers. Though the government has attacked, tried to marginalize, and encroached upon the charitible role of the Church and our personal obligations to love and serve our fellow man, we cannot let the government or any secular, modern day "ism" become our religion, as it has for too many today. We have to put God first, being Catholics first, putting our faith above any political party,  ideology, or secular cause. And look around, the wind is clearly at our back, as the Pope is extremely popular, the Church is becoming relevant again, and Catholicism is, well, almost cool.

If by our witness and our outreach we help the estimated 70% of Catholics return to the Mass and sacraments, the awesome salvific power of God will be unleashed, like a great awakening not seen since Pentecost. And we don’t have to do it ourselves, we simply have to be faithful to our mission, in our own small way, and God will take care of the rest. For how does one explain how a poor, unsophisticated Albanian nun could establish an order of more than 4000 nuns with more than 600 foundations in 133 countries taking care of the poorest of the poor? With God all things are possible, and he wants to accomplish “great things” (Luke 1:49) through us, for the glory of God and salvation of souls.

What proof is there that this family-first approach will work? Just look at the miraculous spread of Christianity in the first few hundred years of the Church where Masses were celebrated in family homes, where  the faith was spread heart to heart, house to house, and family to family, and where whole households were baptized and added to the Faith at a time. It works and it does because it is according to the plan of God.. 


      It’s no coincidence that the Church is holding a Synod on the Family this year. For the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church, and has been preparing families for their crucial role in the renewal of the face of the earth which is at hand. It’s also no coincidence that the family has been under attack, and to many observers is in a state of shambles, with fewer couples entering the sacrament of matrimony, fewer remaining intact, and even fewer still resembling the traditional family established by God and existing for more than 6000 years since. It is why this appears to be the perfect and providential time for us to come together and join forces with the thousands of other faithful families in this epic struggle for the restoration of the family, the Church, and Christendom.  For to some, if not most, it seems like things are falling apart, but to God, and those who hope in Him, things may be merely falling into place. The question we must ask is do we want to be a part of something so much greater than ourselves and share in the victory of Christ, or do nothing allowing evil to continue to permeate the culture, the Church, our own homes, and even  the hearts of our children, of which we will be held responsible. For as Jesus said: "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters" (Mt. 12:30), and from the look of things, it's gathering time. The wind of the Holy Spirit is at our back, eyes are being opened, hearts are repenting, and souls are being converted. The harvest of souls will be great, but Christ needs you to be a laborer, and to pray for and encourage other laborers to join in this great mission to restore the family, the Church and the Christian moral order.

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2) 


So how exactly does this organic renewal of the family, the Church, and the culture work?