These days, when we all get together, we are a two-pew family. Between my husband and children, my parents, my siblings, their spouses and their children, the car seats and diaper bags, the bag of religious-themed books to try to occupy the children, and the multiple toy cars for when those books inevitably fail, we easily take up a considerable section of the church during Mass. It can be easy to think about our family unit as being on a sort of Sunday stealth mission, trying to get in and out of Mass while attracting as little attention as possible. But more often than not, a friendly wave to the babies from across the aisle, an enthusiastic sign of peace with the toddlers or an encouraging smile from a knowing grandparent all serve as healthy reminders that we are not alone on this faith journey.
More and more, I find myself grateful for the community our faith provides. “The Church is a family of families,” Pope Francis writes in “Amoris Laetitia,” “constantly enriched by the lives of all those domestic churches.” No family is perfect, but if you take the time to look, it is not hard to find plenty of beautiful, lived examples of holiness among the infinite iterations of family present in our church. We are proud to highlight several in our family issue. Indeed our lives are enhanced when we use the word family at its most inclusive, when we acknowledge the intricate and important ways that we are deeply connected to one another, not only by blood, but by his blood, brothers and sisters in Christ.
In this series
How one ministry helps families live the sacrament of marriage in community
By J.D. Long-García
Marriage is thriving—but only among college graduates
By Rober David Sullivan
What will it take to keep young people in the church?
By Katie Prejean McGrady