The Family Fully Alive – By Daniel S. Mulhall

When I think of family, the image of my parents and siblings comes to mind. One of ten children with seven brothers and two sisters, I come from a prototypical Catholic family of the 1950s. My parents have been married to one another for 65 years and have lived in the same home since 1954. When we gather in the house for family celebrations, more than 75 people attend: children, spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Some have college degrees, but most do not. Some are active Catholics or Protestants while others are not. And from my immediate family, nine are married to their first spouse. While for me this is a “normal” family, I know my understanding varies greatly from most people. But then “normal” is a different experience for every family.

During the week of September 22, 2015, family delegates representing dioceses from around the world will gather in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families. Several thousands typically participate in the event, but this year, in response to Pope Francis’ papal visit for the occasion, a million are expected to attend.

The theme for this gathering is: “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” In preparation for the meeting, a corresponding preparatory catechesis book also titled Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive was developed. The catechesis focuses on the ten themes that will strengthen the family unit. Dioceses across the United States are similarly reinforcing the event’s focus by encouraging families to reflect on the same ten themes.

As part of our goal to support the Church’s catechetical mission, RCL Benziger commissioned writers, noted for their expertise in family ministry, to compose brief articles reflecting on the ten themes. The articles’ intent is to provide you, our reader, with a starting place for personal reflection on these themes. The articles offer insights on challenges facing families today as well as valuable ideas to support and nurture those with whom you minister.

During the month of March, we celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph, husband to Mary and earthly father of Jesus. We dedicate this series of articles to St. Joseph and the Holy Family asking for continued guidance in and support for this endeavor.

Daniel S. Mulhall is a catechist. He also serves as the Director of Special Markets for RCL Benziger.

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