March 27, 2020

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Live more as a domestic Church in COVID-19 outbreak

Sean GallagherThe Church has taught from its earliest days that each family among the faithful is a domestic Church. 

It is in the family that people of all ages, but perhaps especially the young, are brought to faith in Jesus Christ, have their first encounter with him and grow in relationship with him. 

It is in the family that parents form the faith of children through their example, their teaching and in leading the household in a faith-filled life of prayer and service. 

In God’s plan, all members of a family are channels of grace to each other, helping each other to grow in holiness, both in their ordinary daily interactions and in the larger challenges and blessings that they sometimes experience together. 

And as they receive and give God’s grace to each other daily, they show forth more in the small corner of the world in which they live an attractive vision of the kingdom of God to their broader family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and sometimes complete strangers. Families in this are prime agents in carrying out the mission of evangelization that Christ gave to his disciples. 

Sometimes, we may forget about the reality of the family as the domestic Church. Maybe we simply take it for granted or are significantly involved in our parish, seeing that as the main way we live out our faith. 

The culture around us, with all its focus on this world alone, can lead families of faith to forget about their eternal mission and how it is lived out here and now. 

But if there was any time when Catholic families need to be robust in being the domestic Church, it is now in the midst of the growing outbreak of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. 

With the public celebration of the Mass sadly but by necessity suspended, families must redouble their efforts to pray together for each other, for the Church and for the world. 

Thankfully, there are many resources available online to help families pray together, including videos of daily and Sunday Masses being posted on the archdiocesan website ( 

 Falling back to the basics like praying the rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, the daily offering, the Angelus and other traditional prayers is always a bulwark of faith for families. 

If families take time at different points throughout the day to pray together during this challenging time, then God’s grace will strengthen them all the more to make love and virtue the foundation of their daily interactions. 

Getting that strength is important now because we’re probably spending more time together than we usually do. God’s grace working in our lives can help us in such situations to gradually smooth off the rough edges of our personalities that can rub up roughly against those with whom we live. 

As challenging and sometimes as frightening as living in this outbreak can be, with the ever-present help of God’s grace and the prayers of all of his angels and saints, especially our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, this can become a time when the faith of everyone in our families can actually be strengthened. 

Leaning heavily upon the love of Christ from which nothing can separate us, may the Holy Spirit, who knows no social distancing, draw all families closer together in the communion of the saints so that our hearts may overflow with joy on that happy day when we can all join together again around the altar of the Lord. †

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