Tag Archives: Family

7 Quick Takes Ending My Radio Silence

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

It’s been quiet around the blog lately.

I have had an exceptionally difficult August. My first instinct in times of stress is to turn my usual action-oriented personality way up. I just Get Stuff Done. My second instinct is to flip out and keep my head down, to stay docile and quiet. That first instinct got me pretty far. I even managed my post for ATX Catholic. After that, I just tried to make it through my days as quietly as possible.

Things have eased up a little bit now, so I’m ready to try to regain my regular life.

— 2 —

My grandmother disappeared three weeks ago today. She lives near my parents back home in Maryland. My mom talks to her mom every day, so they are in near-constant contact. My grandma left her senior apartment complex to run a midmorning errand on August 4, and that’s the last time anyone saw her.

About a week later, Mr. Man alerted me to a local news story about my grandmother’s disappearance. I was reluctant to share our crisis at first. I wanted to ask for prayer, but I didn’t want to open up my grief. I still don’t. But I did, and I am, if only to increase our prayer support.

— 3 —

On August 8, I was suddenly slammed at work. I have been in the same role for two years, but I have never had the volume of work I experienced over the last three weeks. All of my energy went toward maintaining my day-to-day outside of work and managing my at-work workload.

— 4 —

Around August 9, I discovered that I had two simultaneous bacterial infections. (I thought it was just one at first, but I also thought it might be bedbugs. It was two. Neither was bedbugs.) They are clearing with the use of antibiotics, but it added insult to injury (or perhaps injury to injury), particularly because they are in the same area as my recently-diagnosed but as-yet-undisclosed-on-the-blog health condition. At least I already had an appointment with my doctor on August 16, and the diagnosis and treatment weren’t difficult. That helped ease the stress a little.

— 5 —

My stress increased, however, when Mr. Man’s family experienced their own tough times. It is not mine to share, but trust me, it’s a big deal.

— 6 —

In comparison to the rest of the month, this past week was excellent. In comparison to my regular life, it was pretty meh. My workload has returned to normal levels. I’m slowly getting back some of the mental space I lost when everything started happening all at once. I took two dance classes last night instead of my usual one, which made me feel invigorated and also tired.

— 7 —

I want to end on a cheerful note. I did some reading aloud at Spirit & Truth this week. One of our members complimented my lectoring skills. I pointed out that I have no athletic talent, so I consider lectoring my make-up skill. “Ah, so you have ath-lectoring talent,” she replied.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

How Bad Catechesis Happened and How to Fix It (Review of Msgr. Charles Pope)

You can take the teacher of out of the classroom, but you can’t take the teacher out of the heart. It has been many years since I taught full-time. I still have the heart of a teacher. My work with RCIA while I was in campus ministry was one of the best ways I’ve discovered to combine my background in education, my love for Jesus Christ, and my call to serve the Church and the world. Classroom teaching and campus ministry aren’t things I’m interested in doing full-time right now. Someday, though, God willing, I hope to get married and raise up some little souls of my own. I might not be the one who teaches my children how to write a five-paragraph essay (although I absolutely still could), but I hope to be one of the ones who teaches them about Jesus.


CC0 from Unsplash.

When I was in grad school, it was impressed upon us that parents are the primary educators of their children. As Catholic school teachers, we were outsourced labor. Valuable, enthusiastic, subject-matter expert labor, but outsourced nonetheless. Ideally, parents would educate their own children in all things, and especially in the things of the Lord. It is this point that Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington stresses in his recent essays about the four big mistakes we’ve made with catechesis and how to fix them. Although, there is no cure-all solution to generations of catechetical weakness, his idea is a step in the right direction.

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Not Alone Series: Adulting


How are you still connected to your family of origin (that’s the one you grew up in: parents, siblings, and extended family) even as you are adulting (a.k.a. living as an independent adult, at home or on your own)? How has your relationship with your parents changed as you’ve grown up? How connected are you with your extended family? What aspects of these relationships do you think are affected by your being single? How do you think your family relationships would change after marriage or entering religious life? (Thanks for the topic suggestion, Bek!)

To start, I am on the fence about the grammatical validity of the word “adulting.” Grammar Girl made a solid argument in favor of it last year. I tend to have a similar point of view about making up words: when no suitable word exists, the only logical thing to do is create a new one. Remember when “google” wasn’t a verb? That was only about 15 years ago. Even “teenager” was not a thing until the 50’s or so. There were children; there were adults; there was no in-between.

To the point, adulting is a challenge. People like Pope Francis for a lot of different reasons, but one of my favorite things is that, when he discusses the challenges of modern family life, he always includes the problem of the growing number of unmarried young adults. The statistics don’t lie: this is unprecedented. When my mother was my age, I was 2, and she’d been married for six years. That was not unusual. In the years between her day and mine, people started intentionally getting married later and intentionally having children even later than that (or never), leading us to today, when egg freezing is becoming so common that companies offer to pay for it. You can blame prosperity, higher educational standards, or individualism. Facts are facts: adulting looked a lot different just a generation or two ago.

As for my family, I’m not sure they quite know what to do with me. I know my parents are proud of me and that they support me; it’s a blessing that I’ve never doubted that. I’m pretty sure they expected to have babies underfoot again by now, though. I did, too. My brother is in college, so he doesn’t really have to be an adult yet. My sister is a college graduate living back at home. (If you happen to know anyone in environmental science, drop me a line.) She’s kind of adulting and kind of not, but she does what she can. It’s so strange when I go home for Christmas. We have a house full of adults with no children.

My parents rarely pressure me to get married and have babies, but my extended family thinks I’m just too picky, or that I focused on my career first and purposely put off marriage. They have said as much. The problem with those opinions is that they assume getting married or not is just a matter of choice or timing. It’s not. I would have chosen by now. I would have quit delaying long before now.

I imagine that, if and when I finally do get married, that gray cloud hanging over me will finally go away. My family won’t be wondering what’s wrong with me. I won’t be wondering what’s wrong with me. I want children, but I could be happy without them. I could even be perfectly happy as a religious sister. That would be weird for my family (they’re not religious), but it would be something finite. I don’t think God is calling me to religious life, but I can’t believe he’s calling me to nothing.

Fr. Mike Schmitz mentioned in his most recent video about vocations that the purpose of a permanent vocation (marriage, priesthood, or religious life) is to be the method by which you grow in holiness and get to heaven. The vast majority of people will be made holy through their marriages, priestly ordinations, or religious community life. Those lifelong, exclusive commitments will call them to sacrifice for the other, to love that person or people unconditionally, and to help get the other to heaven. Until recently, very, very few people were called to remain single for life and become holy as single lay men and women.

So is the calling to unvowed lay single life growing, or are we all just adulting wrong?

Next week’s topic: Conversation Starters

Watch this space for details; we are working on the schedule for the rest of October! Like our Facebook Page for regular alerts of upcoming topics.

Link up below!

Not Alone Series: Love Languages


Dr. Gary Chapman has outlined five ways people give and receive love in his book The 5 Love Languages. Take the quiz at 5lovelanguages.com to discover yours!
What is your love language? How does that affect your approach to romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships? How do you give and receive love with people who have different love languages?

Whew! I am just under the wire with this post. The link-up closes in just a few hours. I am so glad to have Rachel as my co-host!

I initially suggested the topic of love languages for NAS because I find it fascinating how much sense they make. As I mentioned last week, a friend of mine is highly skeptical of the love languages because he sees them as too limiting. (Interestingly, I often remind him not to put me in a box; he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does. We really are friends, I promise.) On the contrary, I find them useful for understanding the different ways people show and feel love.

The key to the love languages is understanding that some people will not feel loved if you don’t speak their love language, and understanding in tandem that you might feel that someone doesn’t love you because that person is not speaking your love language. For years, I met people who would say, “I’m just a huggy person” and think them certifiably insane and kind of mean for invading my personal space with such clear joy. I am not “a huggy person,” and I didn’t think that was really a thing until I encountered love languages. Now, I get it.

I have a different friend whose love language is definitely Physical Touch. He is a huggy person. If we were out somewhere together and he didn’t shake my hand, clap me on the back (not hard), or put his arm around me, I would think he was mad at me. He’s married; he’s not into me. That is just how he shows the love of friendship. I have always struggled with physical touch in general, but I get now that some people are just inclined to touch the people they love. I understand that they show me that they love me by hugging me.

My love languages are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. In preparation for this post, I dug up my first Love Languages profile, from back in June 2012. (I keep things. I’m that girl.) I scored equally in those two languages. I took it again before I started writing this post, and Quality Time came in higher by just a few points. If you’d asked me to guess, I would have predicted that result.

Words of Affirmation used to be my “thing.” I still well up with tears of joy thinking that, not only do I know my parents are proud of me, but I also know specific instances when they’ve told other people how proud they are of me. I know they love me.

These days, I build intentional friendships. I invite people I care about to spend time with me. I make the effort to see them, to talk to them. When my friends check their phones while we are having a conversation, I feel hurt. It makes me feel like they don’t care even though they do care. Doing chores is never going to make me feel as loved and appreciated as Quality Time does.

But this is not just a post explaining my love language(s). It’s about how I relate to people based on love languages. I have never been big on gifts. I like presents; everybody likes presents. But I would rather spend significant time (preferably pre-planned, but spontaneous is okay) with someone I love than get a token. However, I have learned to see the love behind the gifts. I can carry my own suitcase, but my dad likes to carry it for me, so I let him (and I don’t begrudge him if he’s carrying something else, so I have to do it). I can open my own doors, but it makes gentlemen feel like they’re being polite and manly and good people when I let them open doors for me. They are showing their love for me through Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service even though I don’t feel as clearly loved that way.

My takeaway from knowing what little I do about the love languages is how important it is to know someone’s love language and to speak it, even if it is not your love language. Looking at all five, you could probably guess yours. But could you guess the dominant love language of each of your family members? Your significant other or spouse? Your best friend? Can you think of ways to speak every love language? Imagine how much richer your relationships could be if you knew that mowing the lawn would be a much better gift than a tennis bracelet, or a birthday phone call would be met with more joy than a card, or kisses hello and goodbye speak much louder than texts throughout the day.

Now we just have to make love languages an even bigger “thing” so people will start sharing theirs the way they’ll share MBTIs and learning styles.

Next week’s topic: Dating

What is a date? How do you define “going on a date” with a man versus “hanging out” with him or “talking” with him?

Check our Facebook Page for regular alerts about upcoming topics.

Link up with Rachel at Keeping It Real… um, in the next two hours. I will be on time for my first hosting post next week, I promise.

My Thoughts for Pope Francis, Part Nine: Conclusions from Listening, Looking at Christ, and Confronting the Situation


Intro | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

It took me so long to work through all the questions that the synod finished long before this series did! That’s not because the questions are badly written or too theologically intense. You don’t need a theology degree to consider these questions. I don’t have a theology degree. I do have:

  • an undergraduate degree in English,
  • a master’s degree in secondary English education,
  • one year of part-time volunteer experience in high school youth ministry,
  • two years of full-time experience teaching high school English in Catholic schools, and
  • three years of full-time experience as lay pastoral staff in campus ministry.

If anyone can wrap their heads around this stuff without a theology degree, it’s me.

Last fall, I purposely avoided reading the interim relatio (the document that sparked all the media scrutiny, premature celebration, and premature panic). I was always waiting for the final draft. I’m sure the rough drafts of many classic stories would scandalize the most devoted reader!

So, after what seemed like forever, I read that final draft. Here are my summaries of the 3 parts of the concluding document, the relatio synodi. This is just what stuck out to me. I glossed over things I expected to see and focused on what was new and unusual. Section headings are from the original.

Part One, Listening: Context and Challenges of the Family

Loneliness and unemployment keep young people from forming the families they desire. Without the certainty of the knowledge that God is present and the security of premarital relationships (e.g., relationships with friends and family), the ability to enter into a Christian marriage is weakened. Without work, it is difficult to support a spouse, children, or aging parents. That keeps potential parents from getting married, welcoming children, and caring for their own parents. (number 6)

The idolization of emotions hurts the ability of people to enter into marriage or stay married. Marriage demands turning away from individualism and self-centeredness (because it’s no longer all about you) and requires commitment to your vows (so you can’t just leave if you’re not “feeling it” anymore). If you’ve spent your entire youth, adolescence, and early adulthood “finding yourself,” it’s no wonder you can’t “find” and commit to your spouse and future generations. (n. 9–10)

Part Two, Looking at Christ: The Gospel of the Family

Marriage as a lifelong, total, sacramental union is relatively new in the scope of salvation history. After the Fall, the ideal of marriage was lost, leading to Moses’ permitting divorce and remarriage. Christ, however, forbade divorce and remarriage in his own teachings. Scripture is organized in such a way that the story of God and man, Christ and the Church, begins and ends with a marriage: first, the original union of Adam and Eve, and finally, the wedding feast of the Lamb of God and his spotless Bride. (n. 13–16)

Although it’s true that many Catholics are only civilly married, divorced and remarried, or cohabiting, the fullness of the truth is sacramental marriage. We must speak the truth in love, which is more than mere compassion, just as Jesus did when he told the woman caught in adultery to “go, and sin no more.” (n. 24–28)

Part Three, Confronting the Situation: Pastoral Perspectives

Catholic families who are following Christ are the best method of evangelization about the gospel of the family. (n. 30)

Preparation for marriage and for initiation (e.g. RCIA and adult Confirmation programs) should include teaching on the family and the experience of real families. This connects the sacraments to one another and emphasizes the presence of families in the church community. In the first few years of marriage, we should offer liturgies and prayer opportunities focused on developing and showing examples of family spirituality. (n. 39–40)

The primary goal of the annulment process is to determine the truth about the marriage. That remains even in proposals to eliminate the court of second instance1 or to use a shorter process when “nullity is clearly evident.” The faith of the individual spouses might be considered as a contributing factor to validity. (n. 48)

The discussion about allowing people who are divorced-and-remarried to receive Confession and the Eucharist remains unresolved, although it would require a suitable penance determined by each person’s bishop. Whether re-admittance would be on a blanket or individual basis is also unresolved. The difference between spiritual and sacramental Communion needs further study to determine how they can be applied to this situation. (n. 52–53)

Same-sex marriage is not equal or even substantially similar to sacramental or natural marriage. When organizations tie economic aid to the requirement to legalize gay marriage, they’re doing a grave injustice to the poor. (n. 54–55)

My Final Thoughts

I have plenty to say regarding two of the hot-button issues discussed at the synod: communion for the divorced-and-remarried and revising the annulment process. I actually have some professional experience with the latter2, and now that the motu proprio has been issued, I have to work through everything again! I’m not quite ready to share that on the Internet, though. The Internet never forgets. If you know me in person, I’ll talk with you about it. For now, I’ll let those thoughts stay offline.

In general, I was pleased with the relatio synodi. The regrouping of topics makes it clearer that these discussion are focused on the Church’s primary mission: evangelization. People are facing real problems, so we’re listening. The family should point toward Christ, so we’re looking at him. He is our shepherd, so we’re examining the flock and maybe bringing some wayward sheep back into the fold.

I also want to direct you toward a few other post-synod writings that caught my eye.

First, read the message the synod fathers published to accompany the relatio synodi. It’s beautiful. It paints a picture of the pain families face today, and it offers a vision of the ideal. It also includes a prayer for families. If you haven’t been praying for marriage in general, for families, or for our Church leaders, you should be.

Second, Cardinal Dolan blogged a reflection on his experience of the synod. He was actually there and knows exactly what happened. He suggests that anyone who thought Church teaching would change due to the synod should read Catholicism for Dummies. That’s a real book, by the way. I own it, and I like it a lot.

Third, if you are wondering what this week’s motu proprio on annulments means, the best answer is “no one is 100% sure.” It doesn’t take effect until December 8, and I don’t know whether the new canons (laws) will apply to annulment petitions that have been started already or only to new ones submitted on or after that date. My best advice for anyone who might be interested in petitioning for annulment is to approach your pastor and make an appointment to talk about it. All annulments start with that step.

The media response to the synod was less than ideal, to say the least. The Church’s response should be one of relief. These important questions are being asked in an official and appropriate context. Answers are being proposed, discussed, and argued over. As Cardinal Dolan mentioned, the apostles did the same thing in Acts. There should be no battle between clergy and laity. We can work together to get everyone to heaven, united with Christ forever.

What was your response to the synod? Were you relieved, worried, or confused? Do you think it was a waste of time? Are you frustrated that there were no definitive answers or major changes in Church teaching?

  1. Currently, for all positive declarations of nullity (a.k.a. “getting an annulment”), the first tribunal’s positive decision (“this marriage is null”) automatically has to be confirmed by a second tribunal. The second tribunal is called “the court of second instance.” That court also has first-instance cases.

    If the second tribunal agrees, the former spouses receive a positive declaration, “get an annulment,” and are free to marry. If more than one marriage is being investigated, the next marriage can then be evaluated. (That happens more often than you might think.)

    If the second tribunal disagrees (“no, this marriage is still binding”), the former spouses receive a negative declaration, do not “get an annulment,” and are considered to still be married to each other. The declaration can be appealed to a higher tribunal: the Roman Rota. That is rare and expensive, but it happens.

    Pope Francis’s motu proprio references the court of second instance, but I have already read completely contradictory commentary about what the text actually says, so I will refrain from commenting. 

  2. I was trained as a field advocate for the Diocese of Austin, so I know exactly what is involved in “getting an annulment” here. I probably know more than I ought to. It makes me really fun at parties. 

7 Quick Takes That Are Legitimately Quick Again!


— 1 —

I got another referral credit for YNAB! Thank you, anonymous purchaser!

At this point, that means I spent 10% less when I bought it and have earned another 20% of the original purchase price ($60) since then. I’m not saying everyone will reap the same rewards, but it’s worth a shot, right? I have almost attained a positive (cash) net worth in about a year and a half thanks to YNAB. Refresh your memory on my YNAB journey, and then use my discount/referral link to save on getting YNAB for yourself!

— 2 —

I published my thoughts on the dumb-sounding phrase “capital-T tradition” yesterday. After the traffic I’ve been getting from my first post about Wunderlist and GTD, I knew it was time to press publish on that one, too.

One additional thought I have is about the word “tradition” at all. I prefer to use the words “custom” and “customary” in place of “tradition” and “traditional” when I talk about practices and beliefs that can change. For example, it’s not “traditional” to receive Communion on the tongue; it’s customary. There are several options that have been more popular or less popular over time. You can choose the one that works for you, and you are not a bad Catholic if your favorite isn’t someone else’s favorite.

“Traditional” is also easy ammunition for picking fights. As I heard on an episode of the Catching Foxes podcast recently, why do we always seem to argue only with people who believe and do 95% of the same things we do?

— 3 —

I dance West Coast Swing so that I can eat more cupcakes.

The fun, social applications, and exercise are just gimmicks.

— 4 —

That video with Jackie Francois Angel and Bobby Angel I mentioned last week had a couple of money quotes from Bobby, too, that stuck with me:

Loneliness is God knocking on your heart, asking you to spend time with him.

The great part is that even if all you do is whine to God about how lonely you are, he’ll listen. He gets it. It was lonely on the Cross, too.

Jesus, I trust in you. That’s a really easy prayer to say, but it’s a really hard prayer to do.


— 5 —

Further on dance, this week was my first time in Level 3, and it was awesome! The class was very full, but we managed to all warm up to “Uptown Funk” (slowed down slightly) without colliding. Slot dances are the best. I recognized several faces I’d seen in previous levels and at social dances. The patterns we learned were tricky, but I feel pretty confident about them.

I had two great moments. First, one of the leaders seemed un-confident when I rotated to him, but after we went through the pattern the first time, he said, “I do believe you’re making me look good.” Aww, yeah. Then, the next leader could sense that I was getting it, so he dipped me! I still can’t quite get my form right, but we both stayed on our feet, so I’m calling that a win.

— 6 —

I got to visit one of our in-progress construction sites for work this week. I’ve been to another one, but that was so close to finished that the client had already moved in. The air conditioning was on there. This one is mostly just piles of dirt with a couple of cool features in progress. I’m pretty sure I kicked up the style of the site about ten notches by being (a) the only woman, and (b) still dressed nicely, even though it was Friday, because I always dress for work. Getting to see the people and, well, dirt that becomes paperwork and dollar signs on my end definitely widened my perspective.

— 7 —

Today was my brother’s first real college football game. He is a sophomore by credit but took a redshirt year for eligibility. They won! I came in heavy on brains in the family, so he helps balance it out with some brawn.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

My Thoughts for Pope Francis, Part Eight: Families and Faith


Intro | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight

I’ve almost made it! I started this series in September and by golly, I’m going to finish it before the next synod starts in November. Ideally, I would have finished a series on the preparation for the next synod by the time it starts, but I will take the victories I can achieve.

It is unlikely that Pope Francis will ever actually read my thoughts (although, considering his actions, you never know), but it has been extremely fruitful for me to work through them. When people complain that the Church is too hierarchical, too top-down, or not applicable to adult singles, I’m going to point them this way. I encourage you to think about your own responses to these questions and what you can do to enrich the Church in terms of marriage, family, and evangelization.

On to the final section of questions!

The Relationship Between the Family and the Person

a.k.a. How Families Lead Us Toward or Away from Christ

Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?

We Christians are all trying to be like Jesus. He was community in and of himself (as one person of the Holy Trinity), and he formed a community of apostles and disciples to create the Church. Family is a tiny version of the Church—or, at least, it’s supposed to be. As I heard a priest put it at a house blessing recently, the father is the family’s pastor, and the mother is the director of religious education. Their primary goal should be to get each other and all their children to heaven.

I’m not sure how often that is a real goal, though. I’ve never been a parent or even a spouse, and I’m the only religious person in my family (besides maybe my grandmother), so the only ones helping me specifically to get to heaven are my guardian angel, the holy souls I have helped free from purgatory, and me. It might always be that way.

I have goals for my quasi-family and future family, though, God willing. I pray for my godsons, my sister (I was her Confirmation sponsor), and my family all the time. I don’t change who I am to suit who they might want me to be, so they’re stuck with their Jesus-freak godmother/sister/daughter/granddaughter/cousin whether they like it or not. I hope my example will help bring them to Jesus, too.

What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?

In Part Six, I wrote about the struggles of teaching children about the Faith when they don’t have any good examples of how to live as a person of faith. That’s the biggest obstacle. When the only adults you know don’t go to church, then going to church doesn’t seem all that important or necessary. When other families talk about being “done” with having children, then being open to life sounds like outdated, wishful thinking. When every other family at church rushes past yours, talking loudly, while you try to kneel for an after-Mass Hail Mary, putting in the effort seems like an exercise in futility.

The most critical situation obstructing a person’s encounter with Christ in family life is a family (or other families) that don’t live as though they have encountered Christ.

To what extent do the many crises of faith which people can experience affect family life?

I’d imagine this is a big problem in families that have faith life connected strongly to family life. When one family member decides not to go to church, that makes church seem less important to everyone else. This is especially important when the father is not involved in the family’s religious life: if dad doesn’t go to church, why should the kids have to go?

On a larger scale, this is true for special occasions: weddings and funerals. Any number of people could tell you a sob story about being mistreated (or just feeling mistreated) at a Catholic wedding or funeral. Those fall on both sides of the aisle, so to speak: from people wondering why they can’t receive Communion and demands for special music/readings/eulogies that are incompatible with the liturgy to priests refusing to give Communion on the tongue and homiletic insistences that the deceased is definitely in heaven. Special occasions bring out deeply-held beliefs that people cite as their make-or-break moment of faith.

Gay family members can also be an occasion for a crisis of faith. The nuances of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality can seem too burdensome, bigoted, “homophobic,” or just “not nice” when the love of a family member gets involved. It’s much easier to say that you just won’t be a Catholic anymore if your sister or brother can’t have a same-sex wedding recognized by the Church.

What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?

In the preparatory document, this was actually Question 9 all by itself. What I’ve broken up into several questions per post for this series were composed as multi-part questions. Thus, the prompt says “the above questions,” meaning “all the questions.” I think I’ve spoken my piece already, though, so I’ll end here.

To conclude, I have some thoughts about the final document issued by the synod. It’s called the relatio synodi. You might remember the media debacle that ensued when the rough draft of that document (the interim relatio) was released to the media. I’m not going to open that can of worms again. What’s done is done. The important thing now is to look forward to the World Meeting of Families in Philadephia, Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. during that meeting, and the upcoming extraordinary synod that will continue the work and discussions from last fall.

I think Pope Francis said in best in asking for prayers, not gossip, concerning the upcoming synod. Let’s join him:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendor of true love.
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Reawaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

How has your family life influenced your faith, for better or for worse? What plans do you have for your current and future family’s faith life? What are your hopes, expectations, and worries about this fall’s events? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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