Archive for the “Family” Category

We had a beautiful Good Friday in my family. Despite all that is going on at work, I did manage to take the day off yesterday to recognize Good Friday. The day was marked by two very special events, neither of which had been planned.

As a matter of course, our family recognizes each year the hours of 12-3 as a time for quiet, prayerful reflection on the sacrifice Jesus made for us all those years ago. Typically, it is a time marked by personal reflection, bible reading and prayer. However, yesterday as my older daughter, my son and I were all quietly sitting in the family room reading our individual bibles, the kids started to ask me some questions, starting with how to interpret the actual hours of the crucifixion based on Mark 15:25. This question lead to another and another. I decided to put down my reading and take this opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with them. Shortly, we were joined by my wife and younger daughter and we had a long, vibrant discussion on Christianity, Easter, Catholic tradition and Church History. After about an hour and a half, we prayed the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a family. It was a wonderful family faith experience.

Our other new experience was a Tenebrae service. We were preparing to go to the veneration of the cross service at our parish at 7:30, when my wife asked what the schedule was at Incarnation, a neighboring parish. Their schedule showed Tenebrae service at 7. I honestly had never heard of this service, so I quickly googled it and found this explanation. This struck us both as a very appropriate service for Good Friday, so we hopped in the car and headed off to Incarnation. When we arrived, Monsignor asked me if I would do some of the readings, which I was happy to do.  The readings were read from the pews, very informally and (as is intended) had the feel of a prayer service for a departed loved one. This service was very befitting of our Good Friday and I was thankful that we tried it.  If you haven’t tried it before, I recommend it.

I must confess however that the last readings were very difficult to read since the sun had pretty much set and the font size was small.  I will have to suggest to monsignor either an earlier start or larger type for future.

I guess the lesson of the day is that sometimes it is best to let go of your planned activities and let the Lord guide you to new places.

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I love my wife!

It is the feast day of Saint Valentine, or more simply Valentine’s day. While this certainly not unique for Valentine’s day, it seems an appropriate time to once again proclaim it publicly.

I have known her now for nearly twenty years and our relationship now is so much stronger than it was in the early days. It has certainly much different today than it was back then, but I am happy to report that with the ups, downs, laughs, tears, joys and struggles, we have grown together. Sadly, we often hear that couples are unhappy or breaking up because they “grow apart.” It’s easy for me to understand how that could happen, but thankfully, that has not been the case for us.

While she deserves so much of the credit for that, much of it also belongs to God. When we got married, a theme of our wedding and our engagement was that “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Ecc 4:12).” Looking back over our years together, that has certainly proven true. Like all married couples, we have had our good times and our difficult times. Circumstances have taken us through many turns together, including three kids, 5 moves, job changes, etc.. But I can honestly assess that a strength of our marriage throughout has been our shared faith.

It would be inaccurate to call that shared faith a constant over the last two decades (It too has had it’s peeks and valleys and in aggregate it has grown substantially). But it is clear to me that the times when our marriage has been strongest coincide with the times that our faith has been deepest and most evident. The three ply chord passage is not only accurate, but each strand strengthens the others.

I thank God every day for my wife, and I am also very grateful to my wife for strengthening my relationship with God.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart!

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Zenit has published an interview with Meg Meeker, who has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine, as well as teen counseling and is the author of “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know,” and “Epidemic: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids“.

This interview speaks to the heart of what this blog is about – the unique roles and responsibilities of fathers in passing on our faith to our children (in this case our daughters). Among Meeker’s points in the interview:

  • A father is a daughter’s great ally, a point which she says is “not only overlooked, but is directly attacked.”
  • a father’s influence builds up self-esteem, helps his daughter to avoid sex, drugs, alcohol, and stay in college.”
  • Our culture has been teaching men to avoid the instinct “to protect and guard a daughter” in the name of gender neutrality.
  • A father’s critical role in the area of sexuality, particularly with the aggressive marketing to young girls.
  • A father sets “a template …on her heart about what to expect, to think, to feel, and know about men from there on out, affecting even her relationship to God, because Christ is a man.”
  • How increased sexual activity in young girls is leading to an increase in depression of our teenage daughters and how a father can make such a difference in a girl’s self esteem and self confidence helping them to avoid these problems.
  • “One of the greatest mistakes that parents make in their kids is a misunderstanding of what happiness and joy is in their kids. Parents just want their kids to be happy, but they perceive incorrectly that it comes from receiving pleasure, so when children receive, receive, receive, happiness does not come, resulting in a lot of unhappy kids.”

I encourage you to read this interview. Reflect and pray on this and your relationships with your daughters.

Love your daughters and let them know it!

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Another story from Catholic News Agency out of Spain. The Association of the Rosario of Santo Domingo el Real is encouraging families in Spain to pray the rosary together for the intentions of family and faith. While the call is specifically for Spanish families, the idea and benefits are universal. Hats off to the Association for this campaign.

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Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco, archbishop of Valencia, Spain has written about the importance of family in society (see story here). Cardinal Garcia-Gasco, who was made cardinal just three months ago says “A society without families, or with confused or weakened families, is a society continually exposed to violence,” and therefore “investing in healthy family life is the best bet for stable and lasting peace.”

With the traditional family under attack by society – and make no mistake that it is – it is important to have clarity on how the tearing down the family is a key ingredient in societal decay. Here in the U.S., as we have begun the selection process for our next president, the Cardinal’s words remind us of the importance of the so-called family values issues or social issues. Many of the plans we hear about undermine the traditional family and faith. He reminds us of what really brings the kind of peace that society needs when he say “With God as the origin and goal of the lives of individuals and nations, the consequences for all human beings to live in peace and dignity are decisively favorable.” “To forget about God or silence Him from the lives of people does nothing to bring about the peace that we all long for,” he added.

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Happy new year to all of you. I hope that 2008 is a year rich in family blessings and one of growth in your family’s relationships in Christ.

We had a really good family night at home watching movies, watching the ball drop and reminiscing about 2007. Traditionally, this is the night that we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, my wife’s all time favorite. We didn’t have enough time for that this year so we watched A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott instead (with the proviso that we would watchIt’s a Wonderful Life later in the week) . I hadn’t seen that in many years.  We paused the movie at around 11:45 to fill our glasses for a New Year’s Toast and to watch the ball drop, make some noise and recognize the passing of another year together.

2007 was a good year for us as a family and we are looking forward to a successful 2008.

May 2008 be rich in peace, love and togetherness for your family!

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One of the key roles in my life (and thereby in my posts) is the role of Homeschool Dad. I want to share some thoughts about the role of Homeschool Dad as it is such a key element of who I am and what formulates many of the thoughts for this blog. It is not my intention for have this site be directed specifically for Homeschool Dads, but since it is a big part of our faith experience and family experience in my house, it will be a recurring theme so I feel it is important to articulate where I am coming from in that sense. (more…)

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Do you think you are you influencing your family’s faith, values and behavior? The answer is almost certainly yes. The more important question is how you are influencing them. I know many good men who struggle in numerous areas of demonstrating and leading faith in their families. I know many church attending children who regularly attend services with their siblings and their mothers. I also see many of them (mostly the daughters) active in church activities being dropped off and picked up by their mothers. (more…)

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Today is the feast day of the Holy Family – an important day to reflect on the role of Catholic Fathers. Today’s gospel reading ( Matthew 2: 13 – 23) reminds us of the role of St. Joseph in the Christmas story.

Joseph was responsible for the well being of the baby Jesus and the Blessed Mother. The story tells us of how he was visited by Angels in dreams telling him to take the family to Egypt and to return. We are all very familiar with this story and it is easy to put this story in the seeming serenity of the nativity setting at Christmas. In reality, Joseph had just brought his pregnant wife a long distance to comply with the census only to watch her give birth in a stable without the help of family or the comforts of home. To be told at that time that he must take his family to Egypt because the King wanted to have the baby Jesus killed would be anything but serene. Joseph’s listening and his faith in God helped to make the entire ministry of Jesus, and the new covenant possible. As a father, I think it is important to reflect at Christmas time on the (often overlooked) role and awesome responsibility of St. Joseph. It should inspire to all fathers. (more…)

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