La naturaleza de la Iglesia: madre, maestra, familia – por José M. Amaya


La Iglesia es evangelizadora por naturaleza. La Iglesia es madre, maestra y familia de familias. San Juan Pablo II insistía en que la familia es la “iglesia doméstica.” La familia es el lugar donde se aprende, se vive y se interpreta la fe (DGC 226-227; CCE 2222-2226)(Mateo 5,48; Lumen gentium 39- 42).

El Bautismo es la mejor herencia que he recibido. Mis padres me llevaron a bautizar cuando tenía dos meses de nacido. Mi papá me enseñó el Padre Nuestro. Me enseñó que Dios es amoroso y lleno de misericordia. Mi mamá me enseñó el Ave Maria. Me enseñaron a ser cristiano y a amar a la Iglesia de Cristo. ¿Quién te presentó a Dios por primera vez en tu vida?

Una de las preocupaciones de nuestro tiempo es que la mayoría de los padres de familia dejan a sus hijos en la catequesis y no asisten ni a la formación para adultos ni a misa. En el Bautismo, tanto la familia como la comunidad eclesial prometen transmitir la fe a los nuevos cristianos. La Iglesia tiene el deber de apoyar a los padres en la tarea de transmitir la fe a los hijos. De la misma manera los padres de familia tienen la responsabilidad de conocer su fe para ayudar a los hijos a entender la fe que profesan para vivirla al servicio de los demás.

Por tanto, parroquia y familia son corresponsables en mantener viva la llama de la fe en los adultos, jóvenes y niños (DNC 20). Familia y parroquia están llamadas a colaborar en la formación de todos. Mis padres fueron mis primeros catequistas con su testimonio de vida y continua oración (DNC 54C). La formación que recibí de mis catequistas en la parroquia reforzó las semillas de fe que mis padres sembraron.

¿Qué van a hacer con los dones del Espíritu Santo que van a recibir en la Confirmación?, nos preguntó Doña Emma Pasten antes de la celebración del sacramento. Esta pregunta resuena en mi corazón y en mi mente desde mi adolescencia. Si la familia es la “iglesia doméstica” donde se aprende, se vive y se interpreta la fe, la parroquia y la familia deben forjar lazos de colaboración para fomentar la fe de los adultos, jóvenes y niños en una catequesis de por vida. Así las familias, a la pregunta: ¿Quién les ha permitido sobrellevar y superar los problemas y retos en la vida familiar? podrán responder: “Dios”.

José Amaya es director de formación en la fe para la Arquidiócesis Castrense de los Estados Unidos de América.

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The Church – Mother, Teacher, Family – By Dr. Patricia Mann, Ph.D.


The other day my stepmother visited and brought with her two boxes that had belonged to my deceased mother. One contained her college yearbooks, the other held a variety of sports trophies she had won.

The boxes, sitting now in my foyer, present me with a quandary. While they represent a wealth of memories, relationships, and achievements dear to my mother, they have limited meaning for me. I am one generation removed from the joys and struggles they represent. If I put them in my garage, they will have little or no personal meaning to my sons when they find the boxes on my demise. Yet, to dispose of them seems somehow sacrilegious. How fleeting is the mark we make here on earth!

One of the great blessings of the Catholic faith is the belief that our lives have infinite meaning. As part of the Communion of Saints, we continue to live on in the entire faith community, not just in the memories of our succeeding generations. We are blessed in the Catholic Church with a family that offers us the promise of eternal life in Christ and in the Communion of Saints.

As Mother, Teacher, and Family, the Church also strengthens our earthly families with ties of love, purpose, and meaning that are unbounded by space and time.

The Church is our Mother, a source of life. There is perhaps no other bond that matches that of a mother and child as to the depth of love and devotion. Through her role as the parent, she opens her arms to embrace us in good times and bad. She never abandons us, no matter how far we may go astray. She is the vehicle of our sanctification in Baptism. It is through the Sacraments that she nurtures our faith and keeps it vibrant and alive in Christ.

My best teachers were the ones who believed in me and my ability to succeed. The way they lived was equally as important as what they said. While the Church teaches our families about Christ, she also models for us what the Christian family can be by her characteristics of universality, holiness, and unity. She not only teaches, she is Teacher by her very nature.

The wonderful reality about the Church is that in her, we are members of the “Family of families.” Our earthly families are embraced by a truly extended family that is eternal. Through our membership in the Church and the Communion of Saints, our lives and their significance do not fade away like unrecognizable faces in a yearbook, but are destined to shine forever in the heavenly kingdom with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Dr. Patricia Mann holds a Ph.D. in Religious Education from The Catholic University of America. She has more than 20 years of experience as a DRE, with a special emphasis on adult faith formation and initiation..

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Safeguarding the Dignity of the Human Person – By Pixie Smith

Multi Generation Indian Family Cooking Meal At Home
The theme for the new catechetical year is “Safeguarding the Dignity of the Human Person.” In its simplest form, this means living a virtuous life. On a practical basis, what does this mean for us as catechists and catechetical leaders working with children, youth, and families?

In 1965, the bishops of the Second Vatican Council approved the Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis). It states, “Therefore children and young people must be helped, with the aid of the latest advances in psychology and the arts and science of teaching, to develop harmoniously their physical, moral, and intellectual endowments so that they may gradually acquire a mature sense of responsibility in striving endlessly to form their own lives properly and in pursuing true freedom as they surmount the vicissitudes of life with courage and constancy.”

This means that those of us who are serving in our Church’s catechetical ministries have an obligation to teach and support the teaching of the Cardinal Virtues of justice, fortitude, temperance, and prudence as well as the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and love (charity). The dignity of every person is rooted in the reality that each person has been created in the image and likeness of God. While the unique qualities of each individual can be scientifically proven, using science without a solid “valuing” of human life violates the dignity of that human person. By having an understanding of Catholic values and virtues and by practicing virtuous living, we are able to appreciate and value each person.
Virtue formation is included, to some degree, in many catechetical programs. If we do not include an intentional focus on these parts of our lessons, however,

this vital component may be overlooked. This year, our catechetical theme suggests and challenges us to be certain we are teaching and offering opportunities for practicing virtuous living in our faith formation programs. This will contribute to safeguarding the dignity of the human person.

Learning about virtues and integrating virtuous living as a habit in our lives is a lifelong and arduous process. Here are some simple and practical strategies to encourage virtue catechesis in our catechetical sessions and in the home:

Justice: Strengthens us to act responsibly and give to God and others what is due to them. Set reasonable, age appropriate rules and stick to them. Constancy in following rules and the consequences for not following helps children develop a sense of dependability and justice.

Fortitude: Ensures firmness in difficulties and the courage to always do what is right. Be vigilant about helping children and young people understand their feelings. Help them identify and practice appropriate responses to emotional shifts. This will help develop confidence and a commitment to do what is right.

Temperance: Teaches us to do all things in moderation, having power over our “instincts.” Practice healthy habits and establish boundary lines for acceptable behavior. Whether it is eating, talking, sleeping, exercising, praying, or watching TV/video games; there is a point where too much is “too much.” Setting limits for children can build temperance.

Prudence: Learning the process of discernment, learning how to make good decisions and right judgements; to choose to do right and avoid what is wrong. Give children the latitude to make mistakes and a chance to fail. Giving them opportunities to make age-appropriate decisions/rules for themselves and by allowing them to work through the process (even if results are less than ideal) will assist them in making right judgements in the future. Helping them practice steps of discernment — asking God for guidance, discovering what the Church teaches, and consulting trusted adults — will help them live prudently.

Faith: We believe in God and we believe in all that he has said and has revealed to us.
Helping children and young people to embrace what they believe is a catechetical challenge. Supporting children to take ownership of our beliefs so that they become their beliefs entails making faith relevant to them in the lives they lead when they leave the church property. Encouraging them to look for God in all things will support their ability to believe God can be found in all things and their faith will grow deep roots.

Hope: The aspiration to happiness that God has placed in the heart of every human person. In today’s social climate, it can be difficult to help young people know the true meaning of happiness. The focus on the idea that “personal possessions equal personal happiness” has swayed many from following the Holy Spirit to real happiness. When the Cardinal Virtues, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become habits, we are able to grasp the Theological Virtue of hope.

Charity/Love: We love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Caring for others, in our homes and families and in the broader community, is a common theme in all catechetical lessons. Putting the needs of others before our own is a necessary concept to develop. Unselfish living has become another unpopular social idea lately, but must be practiced in order to truly live out this virtue.

By developing an understanding and application of virtues within our faith formation programs, we can contribute to safeguarding the dignity of the human person.


Pixie Smith has been active in catechesis and liturgy for over 25 years as a catechist, children’s liturgy and music director, and coordinator of children/family/sacrament formation programs. She has numerous catechetical and leadership certifications in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Lay Ecclesial Ministry Certification from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama, and advanced studies in Theology and Organizational Leadership. She is the Southeast and International Sales Representative for RCL Benziger.


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Un hogar para los que sufren


por Arturo Monterrubio

Hace más de veinte años, leímos en nuestro boletín dominical un mensaje que precisamente pedía un hogar para los que sufren, un hogar para aquellos que no lo tienen. Pedía abrir nuestro hogar a niños que habían sido abandonados, con necesidades especiales, que habían sufrido de adicciones, discapacidad y que necesitaban una familia que los recibiera como uno de ellos “como uno que me pertenece” (Novo millennio ineunte 43). Al aceptar la invitación, empezó una jornada llena de emoción, gozo, esperanza y sufrimiento, que aún no ha terminado.

Al abrir las puertas de nuestro corazón y de nuestro hogar, de un día para otro, nuestra familia que constaba de tres hermosos hijos, aumentó a seis. Emprendimos esta jornada con miedo pero sobre todo con mucha esperanza. La realidad de la que venían estos tres chiquitos era tan diferente a la nuestra, con tantas necesidades y carencias, con tanto dolor y sufrimiento.

No fue una transición fácil, pero especialmente en esos primeros meses, nos conmovió el apoyo de nuestros vecinos, familiares, feligreses, amigos, y compañeros. Se unieron a nosotros al celebrar la llegada de estos tres niños a nuestra familia y en varias ocasiones nos ayudaron y prestaron un oído atento, haciendo realmente lo posible para que sintieran amados, aceptados, que no están “fuera” (Benedicto XVI, Discurso “Fiesta de los testimonios”, Milán, 2 de junio de 2012).

Pasamos por muchos momentos muy difíciles, ha habido muchas lágrimas y dolor, pero también gozo, alegría y mucho agradecimiento a Dios al ver cómo en nuestra familia crecía su amor. Dando un vistazo al pasado, agradecemos a Dios por lo mucho que nos enriqueció con esta vivencia llena de gracia en la que nos enseñó a ser compasivos, misericordiosos, pacientes, generosos y agradecidos por tantas bendiciones.

Ya sea, por adopción, enfermedad, diferencias, al abrir la puerta de nuestro hogar, de nuestro corazón a aquellos que sufren, nos enseña a sufrir con ellos y caminar junto con el resto de la comunidad cristiana el camino de Jesús hacia la cruz. Lo que nos llena de esperanza, es que no acabó todo en la cruz, sino que Jesús resucitó, así como esperamos sean los frutos de abrir nuestro hogar para los que sufren: tener una nueva vida en Jesús confiados en que “El Señor está cerca del corazón deshecho y salva a los de espíritu abatido” (Salmo 34,18).

Arturo Monterrubio es un diácono permanente de la Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston, es además director de la oficina arquidiocesana de la Vida Familiar y está casado por 34 años con Esperanza con quien tiene seis hijos. Ambos conducen el programa semanal “En Familia” de Radio María.

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