The Holy Father on Family Prayer

From Amoris Laetitia 'The Joy of Love' by Pope Francis

There is so much encouragement for families and for parents in this document which is available from booksellers and free from the Vatican online here.

16. The Bible presents the family as the place where children are brought up in the faith... The family is ths the place where parents become their children's first teachers in the faith. They learn this 'trade', passing it down from one person to another; 'When in time to come your son asks you... You shall say to him...' (Ex 13:14).

44. The family is a good which society cannot do without, and it ought to be protected.

57. I thank God that many families, which are far from considering themselves perfect, live in love, fulfil their calling and keep moving forward, even if they fall many times along the way... there is no stereotype of the ideal family, but rather a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems.

84.  The Synod Fathers also wished to emphasize that "one of the fundamental challenges facing families today is undoubtably that of raising children, made all the more difficult and complex by today's cultural reality and the powerful influence of the media". "The Church assumes a valuable role in supporting families, starting with Christian initiation, through welcoming communities". At the same time I feel it important to reiterate that the overall education of children is a "most serious duty" and at the same time a "primary right" of parents. This is not just a task or a burden, but an essential and inalienable right that parents are called to defend and of which no one may claim to deprive them.

322. All family life is a 'shepherding' in mercy.

Encouragement for parents and families

Encouraging words for parents and their educational mission in the family, 20 May 2015

I hope that the Lord will give Christian families the faith, the freedom and the courage necessary for their mission. If family education rediscovers the pride of its leadership, many things will change for the better, for hesitant parents and for disappointed children. It is time that fathers and mothers return from their exile – because they have exiled themselves from the education of their children --, and reassume fully their educational role. We hope that the Lord will give parents this grace: not to exile themselves from the education of their children. And only love, tenderness and patience can do this.

Recent words about the Sacraments of Initiation from Pope Francis and the importance of parents, December 2014.

From the 2014 Family Synod...

This love [of spouses] spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.

The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit.

They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication.

The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.

Pope Francis on the importance of families

Here are some recent comments from Pope Francis on the importance of families.

'An Evangelised family is a valuable agent of evangelisation, especially radiating the wonder that God has worked in it.' 3 March 2014

'Justice and peace start from the home.'    1 January 2014

'Christian families are missionary families,in their everyday life, in their doing everyday things, as they bring to everything the salt and the leaven of faith!'

'Holy Family of Nazareth,reawaken in our society the awareness of the sacred and inviolable character of the family, an inestimable and irreplaceable good. Let every family be a welcoming place of goodness and peace for children and the elderly, for the sick and lonely, for the poor and needy.'     27 October 2013


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again 
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful 
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

Welcome Pope Francis! Thank you Pope Benedict!

The election of Pope Francis offers families with children a perfect opportunity to learn about the papacy and the office of the Pope. What a wonderful opportunity to talk to children about Catholicism, faith and the global church.


October 2013

Dear families, you, too, are a part of God’s people. Walk joyfully in the midst of this people. Remain ever close to Jesus and carry him to everyone by your witness. I thank you for having come here. Together, let us make our own the words of Saint Peter, words which strengthen us and which will confirm us in times of trial: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life" (Jn 6:68). With the help of Christ’s grace, live the joy of faith! May the Lord bless you, and may Mary, our Mother, protect you and be ever at your side. Thank you!

The Domestic Church is the first school of prayer

L'Osservatore Romano reports that Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Family Prayer at his General Audience on 28 December 2011.  He meditated on prayer in the Holy Family of Nazareth and its model for every Catholic family in the 'domestic church'.

Dear friends... the Holy Family is the icon of the domestic Church, called to pray together.  The family is the domestic Chruch and must be the first school of prayer.  It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents:  to live in an atmostphere marked by God's presence...
If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge the gap.  And so I would like to address to you the invitation to pray together as a family at the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thereby really to become of one heart and soul, a true family.

Family Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Liverpool seeks to support the domestic church by assisting parents in leading their own children in the lifelong call to holiness within the community of the Church.

"May the Family Be at the Center of Your Attention as Pastors"
16 February 2012
Address given by Pope Benedict XVI to
The Second Symposium of European and African Bishops.

May the family be at the centre of your attention as Pastors: it, the domestic Church, is also the most solid guarantee for the renewal of society. In the family, which guards usages, traditions, customs, rites permeated by faith, the most adequate terrain is found for the flowering of vocations. Today's consumerist mentality can have negative repercussions on the awakening and care of vocations; hence the need to pay particular attention to the promotion of priestly vocations and special consecrations. The family is also the formative fulcrum of youth. Europe and Africa need generous young people, who are able to take responsible charge of their future, and all the Institutions must have very present that the future is enclosed in these young people and that it is important to do everything possible so that their path is not marked by uncertainty and darkness.

Jesus spoke to them... 'and know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.' (Matthew 28:20)

Parents '...will be the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith.  May they also be the best of teachers bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do...' (Rite of Baptism)

Special Needs & Nugent
'Christian families are missionary families, in their everyday life, in their doing everyday things...'  Pope Francis
A DVD for parishes and schools