‘The Family Fully Alive’
8/1/2014Andrew J. Matt
Beginning in October, the Knights of Columbus will launch a yearlong, multi-dimensional program designed to help families and councils prepare for the 8th World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia Sept. 22-27, 2015. Titled “Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive,” the new initiative also coincides with the upcoming synod of bishops on the family.
Announcing the program last month, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said that the purpose of the initiative is to strengthen “families so they can more fully realize their mission to be authentic domestic churches through daily prayer, catechesis and Scripture reading, as well as through monthly charitable and volunteer projects that they can do as a family.”
The program is modeled on a similar initiative called “Toward a Family Friendly Parish,” which was developed and implemented in 2013 by members of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a religious community based in Madrid, Spain, and the staff of St. Mary Parish in Littleton, Colo. Father Luis Granados, who serves as parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish, explained that the 12-month parish-based curriculum was inspired by St. John Paul II’s teaching on the vocation of the family and its “mission to guard, reveal and communicate love” (Familiaris Consortio, 17).
“The Church cannot be salt of the earth, cannot accomplish its mission, without the family,” said Father Granados, who is a member of Dr. Earl C. Bach Council 3340 in Littleton. “The domestic church is a place of salvation.”
Adapted for use by K of C families and councils, “Building the Domestic Church” is grounded in prayer and expressed through family- and council-oriented projects all of which is explained in the program booklet.
The first step involves setting aside space in the home for a “prayer corner.” Families are encouraged to display a Bible, rosary, crucifix and religious images or icons, such as the image of the Holy Family that comes with the booklet. In addition to “A Family Prayer,” composed by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and printed on an included prayer card, the booklet features a selection of songs, psalms and other prayers.
Divided into 12 monthly themes, the program invites participating families to take part in three monthly events: a home-based family project, a council-wide volunteer project and a movie night.
For example, October’s theme is “Bringing Generations Together,” and projects include making a family tree volunteering at a Knights of Columbus Food for Families event. December’s theme is “The Family at Prayer,” and projects include designing a manger scene set in Bethlehem and participating in a Christmas Posada celebration. Movie nights feature family-friendly films such as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Lion King and Toy Story, among others.
Father Granados, who helped in adapting the “Building the Domestic Church” initiative, described the program as a way for families to become more fully engaged in the new evangelization.
“For Knights, it is an ideal way to grow in faith as husbands and fathers with their families as domestic churches together with their councils and parishes,” he said. “When this happens, families come alive and the Church comes alive with them.”
Program materials will be mailed to local councils following the Supreme Convention in August. An online version of the program booklet will also be available.
ANDREW J. MATT is managing editor of Columbia.