In our Catholic Tradition the family is seen as the Domestic Church or the Church of the home. It is primarily in the home and family that children learn their faith and learn to practice it in prayer as well as in behaviour.
It is also in the home that adults learn to develop their faith especially in terms of their relationship with God through one another. The gathering power for the family is their love for one another. Prayer in the home is essential to keep that love growing beyond the limits that each individual tends to place on it.
Our society today sees religion as something private. It is alright within the building of the church. Unfortunately many of us have gone in that same direction by removing prayer from our homes and restricted it to when we gather in the church or when we call into the church for a private visit.
In the past
Family prayer was the norm for Catholic families until comparatively recently. It has almost disappeared without us noticing it. The time has come to restore prayer as part of our family life, for the sake of the relationships that exist there, and for the sake of the faith that we profess.
How to go about it
- Create a sacred space in your home. This is a symbol of the fact that your whole home is sacred. This sacred space does not have to be very large. In the past it was created by the Sacred Heart picture that was in many kitchens.
- This sacred space could be a corner of your kitchen or sitting room. Mark it with a picture of Mary or of the Sacred Heart or one of the Saints. Gather at this point each day for your prayer.
- Decide on when you as a family will pray together. We suggest that you would aim for 5 minutes a day. When could you give that time together to prayer? Make this decision and try to stick to it as much as possible. Of course it can be changed for occasions.
- Decide how you, as a family, will pray during this short time. There are many good family prayer books available.
- Involve each member of the family in the prayer – not necessarily every time but as a feature.
- To get started it might be helpful to have an intention for your prayer each day and then say a Decade of the Rosary for that intention, with one person leading this decade.
- Finish with the sign of peace as at Mass.
Over the next few months we hope to give you more indications of how you can make this prayer more creative. The important thing is to get started as soon as possible.