The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

at BENEDICTINE COLLEGE

Rules for Catholic Family Life

Importance of the Family

“As the family goes, so goes the nation, so goes the world in which we live.”

Blessed John Paul II

 

The Family and the Trinity

“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism, No. 2205).

 

Key to Family Unity

“The family that prays together stays together.”

Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta both said this

 

A Christian’s Motto

“I am third.”

(God is first, others are second.)

 

The Gospel on Five Fingers

Hold up one hand and count one word per finger (from Mother Teresa):

“I did it to him.”

 

Five Ways to Say I Love You

Words of affirmation

Quality time

Giving gifts

Acts of service

Physical touch

From Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.

 

How to Keep Your Kids Catholic

• Parents must be authentic Catholics themselves.

• Pray with and for them every day.

• Train them to understand what they believe.

Fr. John Hardon

 

Family Activities

Have a weekly family routine. A typical schedule:

Sunday – Family Day: Pilgrimage, museum or hike.

Monday – Family “Meeting:” Tell everyone the week’s plan.

All Week – Pray together daily: Schedule a nightly rosary.

Friday – Have fun: Game night or parents’ date night.

Saturday – Work together: Teach kids through projects.

 

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud to children encourages children to be readers, starts family conversations, improves vocabulary and pronunciation, makes learning entertaining, expands attention spans and deeply bonds parents and children.

 

Family Communication Rules

Your family member is not your enemy! Disagreements are opportunities to love and grow. Seek resolution, not victory.

When you speak

• Just state the facts – don’t interpret them or assume you know motives.

• No blanket statements – never say “you always” or “you never.”

• Don’t act out feelings – state them; with feelings, telling is better than showing.

When you listen

• Don’t interrupt – let the other finish and do your best to listen.

• Walk in their shoes – try to see the argument from their side.

• Repeat back what the other said – accurately and fairly.

When you finish

     Always say “I’m sorry” when you realize you were wrong.

     Always reply “I forgive you” to the words “I’m sorry.”

     Important: It is not necessary to sound sorry. It is not necessary to sound forgiving. Saying the words is enough.

 

Serve the Poor

Deeds of service capture kids’ imagination more than pious words.

Volunteer:  Contact your diocese, parish or local Knights of Columbus (KofC.org) or seek other opportunities. Do something every month.

Donate: Choose effective Catholic organizations, especially the bishop’s or archbishop’s annual appeal.

 

Media Criteria

Rule of thumb: If you don’t want them to imitate it, don’t let them watch it.

Developmental studies warn that TV should be severely limited for children, particularly the youngest ones. Studies show that teens who watch mature TV shows have higher pregnancy rates. We all imitate what we watch.

 

Top 10 “Catholic” Movies

According to a National Catholic Register survey …

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Sound of Music (1965)

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

The Song of Bernadette (1943)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Ten Commandments (1956)

The Scarlet and the Black (1983)

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

Schindler’s List (1993)

The Bells of St Mary’s (1945)

 

Must-Have Books

The Bible (Catholic edition)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (shorter Catechism including “Common Prayers” and “Formulas of Christian Doctrine”)

 

Periodicals

Receiving a good Catholic publication in your home reinforces your family’s Catholic identity and provides helps for Catholic living. Many of these “rules” originally appeared in The Catholic Digest and the National Catholic Register.

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Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes is vice president of college relations at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of U.S. House Ways & Means Chairman Bill Archer and then spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. He writes weekly for Catholic Vote, the National Catholic Register and Aleteia. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Catholic Digest. He lives in Atchison, Kansas, with his wife, April, and nine children.