The Christian family witnesses Christ to all who seek Truth

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

Evangelization, urged on within by irrepressible missionary zeal, is characterized by a universality without boundaries. It is the response to Christ’s explicit and unequivocal command: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.”129

The Christian family’s faith and evangelizing mission also possesses this catholic missionary inspiration. The sacrament of marriage takes up and reproposes the task of defending and spreading the faith, a task that has its roots in Baptism and Confirmation,130 and makes Christian married couples and parents witnesses of Christ “to the end of the earth,”131 missionaries, in the true and proper sense, of love and life.

A form of missionary activity can be exercised even within the family. This happens when some member of the family does not have the faith or does not practice it with consistency. In such a case the other members must give him or her a living witness of their own faith in order to encourage and support him or her along the path towards full acceptance of Christ the Savior.132

Animated in its own inner life by missionary zeal, the Church of the home is also called to be a luminous sign of the presence of Christ and of His love for those who are “far away,” for families who do not yet believe, and for those Christian families who no longer live in accordance with the faith that they once received. The Christian family is called to enlighten “by its example and its witness . . . those who seek the truth.”133

Just as at the dawn of Christianity Aquila and Priscilla were presented as a missionary couple,134 so today the Church shows forth her perennial newness and fruitfulness by the presence of Christian couples and families who dedicate at least a part of their lives to working in missionary territories, proclaiming the Gospel and doing service to their fellowman in the love of Jesus Christ.

Christian families offer a special contribution to the missionary cause of the Church by fostering missionary vocations among their sons and daughters135 and, more generally, “by training their children from childhood to recognize God’s love for all people.”136

129 Mc 16:15.
130 Lumen gentium, 11.
131 Acts 1:8.
132 Cf. 1 Pt 3:1 s.
133 Second Vatican Council Lumen gentium, 35; Apostolicam actuositatem, 11.
134 Cf. Acts 18; Rom 16:3-4.
135 Second Vatican Council Ad gentes, 39.
136 Apostolicam actuositatem, 30.

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Through educating their children, the family carries out the work of the Church

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

The ministry of evangelization carried out by Christian parents is original and irreplaceable. It assumes the characteristics typical of family life itself, which should be interwoven with love, simplicity, practicality and daily witness.127

The family must educate the children for life in such a way that each one may fully perform his or her role according to the vocation received from God. Indeed, the family that is open to transcendent values, that serves its brothers and sisters with joy, that fulfills its duties with generous fidelity, and is aware of its daily sharing in the mystery of the glorious Cross of Christ, becomes the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God.

The parents’ ministry of evangelization and catechesis ought to play a part in their children’s lives also during adolescence and youth, when the children, as often happens, challenge or even reject the Christian faith received in earlier years. Just as in the Church the work of evangelization can never be separated from the sufferings of the apostle, so in the Christian family parents must face with courage and great interior serenity the difficulties that their ministry of evangelization sometimes encounters in their own children.

It should not be forgotten that the service rendered by Christian spouses and parents to the Gospel is essentially an ecclesial service. It has its place within the context of the whole Church as an evangelized and evangelizing community. In so far as the ministry of evangelization and catechesis of the Church of the home is rooted in and derives from the one mission of the Church and is ordained to the upbuilding of the one Body of Christ,128 it must remain in intimate communion and collaborate responsibly with all the other evangelizing and catechetical activities present and at work in the ecclesial community at the diocesan and parochial levels.

127 Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendæ, 36: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 71 (1979), 1308.
128 Cf. 1 Cor 12:4-6; Eph 4:12-13.

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Fr. Carr to offer TLM this Wednesday, Saturday

The Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) will be offered on Wednesday and Saturday mornings of this week by Reverend Father Richard Carr at St. Michael Church, 7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale.

On Wednesday morning, September 28, at 6:45 am, Mass of the feast of St. Wenceslaus will be offered. A votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will be offered at 7:00 am on Saturday morning, September 30.

Please note that these Masses are scheduled at the discretion of the celebrant, and are not part of the parish’s published Mass calendar. These Masses have been added to our seven-day schedule.

Catechesis of the family is vital to their apostolic mission

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

To the extent in which the Christian family accepts the Gospel and matures in faith, it becomes an evangelizing community. Let us listen again to Paul VI: “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part.”123

As the Synod repeated, taking up the appeal which I launched at Puebla, the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home.124 This apostolic mission of the family is rooted in Baptism and receives from the grace of the sacrament of marriage new strength to transmit the faith, to sanctify and transform our present society according to God’s plan.

Particularly today, the Christian family has a special vocation to witness to the paschal covenant of Christ by constantly radiating the joy of love and the certainty of the hope for which it must give an account: “The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come.”125

The absolute need for family catechesis emerges with particular force in certain situations that the Church unfortunately experiences in some places: “In places where anti-religious legislation endeavors even to prevent education in the faith, and in places where widespread unbelief or invasive secularism makes real religious growth practically impossible, ‘the Church of the home’ remains the one place where children and young people can receive an authentic catechesis.”126

123 Evangelii nuntiandi, 71: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [AAS] 68 (1976), 60 s.
124 Cf. Address to the Third General Assembly of the Bishops of Latin America (Jan. 28, 1979), IV A: AAS 71 (1979), 204.
125 Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 35.
126 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendæ, 68: AAS 71 (1979), 1334.

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God continually calls the family to discover and obey His plan

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

As a sharer in the life and mission of the Church, which listens to the word of God with reverence and proclaims it confidently,120 the Christian family fulfills its prophetic role by welcoming and announcing the word of God: it thus becomes more and more each day a believing and evangelizing community.

Christian spouses and parents are required to offer “the obedience of faith.”121 They are called upon to welcome the word of the Lord which reveals to them the marvelous news—the Good News—of their conjugal and family life sanctified and made a source of sanctity by Christ Himself. Only in faith can they discover and admire with joyful gratitude the dignity to which God has deigned to raise marriage and the family, making them a sign and meeting place of the loving covenant between God and man, between Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church.

The very preparation for Christian marriage is itself a journey of faith. It is a special opportunity for the engaged to rediscover and deepen the faith received in Baptism and nourished by their Christian upbringing. In this way they come to recognize and freely accept their vocation to follow Christ and to serve the Kingdom of God in the married state.

The celebration of the sacrament of marriage is the basic moment of the faith of the couple. This sacrament, in essence, is the proclamation in the Church of the Good News concerning married love. It is the word of God that “reveals” and “fulfills” the wise and loving plan of God for the married couple, giving them a mysterious and real share in the very love with which God Himself loves humanity. Since the sacramental celebration of marriage is itself a proclamation of the word of God, it must also be a “profession of faith” within and with the Church, as a community of believers, on the part of all those who in different ways participate in its celebration.

This profession of faith demands that it be prolonged in the life of the married couple and of the family. God, who called the couple to marriage, continues to call them in marriage.122 In and through the events, problems, difficulties and circumstances of everyday life, God comes to them, revealing and presenting the concrete “demands” of their sharing in the love of Christ for His Church in the particular family, social and ecclesial situation in which they find themselves.

The discovery of and obedience to the plan of God on the part of the conjugal and family community must take place in “togetherness,” through the human experience of love between husband and wife, between parents and children, lived in the Spirit of Christ.

Thus the little domestic Church, like the greater Church, needs to be constantly and intensely evangelized: hence its duty regarding permanent education in the faith.

120 Second Vatican Council Dei Verbum, 1.
121 Cf. Rom 16:26.
122 Cf. Paul VI, Humanæ vitæ, 25: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 60 (1968), 498.

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Our Lady’s Center schedules Tuesday evening TLM, potluck

On Tuesday, September 27, at 6:30 pm, a Low Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady’s Center, 3301 Rogers Avenue, Ellicott City, Maryland. A potluck dinner will follow in the Center’s conference room. Everyone is invited to attend.

Reverend Father Canisius Tah, associate pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, will be the celebrant. This Mass has been added to our seven-day schedule.

The Christian family shares in the Church’s saving mission

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

The Christian family is called upon to take part actively and responsibly in the mission of the Church in a way that is original and specific, by placing itself, in what it is and what it does as an “intimate community of life and love,” at the service of the Church and of society.

Since the Christian family is a community in which the relationships are renewed by Christ through faith and the sacraments, the family’s sharing in the Church’s mission should follow a community pattern: the spouses together as a couple, the parents and children as a family, must live their service to the Church and to the world. They must be “of one heart and soul”117 in faith, through the shared apostolic zeal that animates them, and through their shared commitment to works of service to the ecclesial and civil communities.

The Christian family also builds up the Kingdom of God in history through the everyday realities that concern and distinguish its state of life. It is thus in the love between husband and wife and between the members of the family—a love lived out in all its extraordinary richness of values and demands: totality, oneness, fidelity and fruitfulness118—that the Christian family’s participation in the prophetic, priestly and kingly mission of Jesus Christ and of His Church finds expression and realization. Therefore, love and life constitute the nucleus of the saving mission of the Christian family in the Church and for the Church.

The Second Vatican Council recalls this fact when it writes: “Families will share their spiritual riches generously with other families too. Thus the Christian family, which springs from marriage as a reflection of the loving covenant uniting Christ with the Church, and as a participation in that covenant will manifest to all people the Savior’s living presence in the world, and the genuine nature of the Church. This the family will do by the mutual love of the spouses, by their generous fruitfulness, their solidarity and faithfulness, and by the loving way in which all the members of the family work together.”119

Having laid the foundation of the participation of the Christian family in the Church’s mission, it is now time to illustrate its substance in reference to Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest and King—three aspects of a single reality—by presenting the Christian family as 1) a believing and evangelizing community, 2) a community in dialogue with God, and 3) a community at the service of man.

117 Acts 4:32.
118 Cf. Paul VI, Humanæ Vitæ, 9.
119 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et spes, 48.

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Fr. Markey to offer Sunday Missa Cantata at Silver Spring

A Missa Cantata with schola will be offered Sunday, September 25, at the Traditional Latin Mass Congregation of Silver Spring, Maryland. The celebrant of the Mass of the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost will be Reverend Father Greg Markey of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Holy Mass will begin at 8:00 am. Confessions will be heard from 7:30 to 7:55 am. All are invited to share coffee and pastry after Mass in the downstairs community room of the rectory.

Silver Spring TLM Congregation meets at the Historic Church of St. John the Evangelist, 9700 Rosensteel Avenue, Forest Glen.

The fruitful Christian family is a living image of the Church

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981):

Among the fundamental tasks of the Christian family is its ecclesial task: the family is placed at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history by participating in the life and mission of the Church.

In order to understand better the foundations, the contents and the characteristics of this participation, we must examine the many profound bonds linking the Church and the Christian family and establishing the family as a “Church in miniature” (Ecclesia domestica),114 in such a way that in its own way the family is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church.

It is, above all, the Church as Mother that gives birth to, educates and builds up the Christian family, by putting into effect in its regard the saving mission which she has received from her Lord. By proclaiming the word of God, the Church reveals to the Christian family its true identity, what it is and should be according to the Lord’s plan; by celebrating the sacraments, the Church enriches and strengthens the Christian family with the grace of Christ for its sanctification to the glory of the Father; by the continuous proclamation of the new commandment of love, the Church encourages and guides the Christian family to the service of love, so that it may imitate and relive the same self-giving and sacrificial love that the Lord Jesus has for the entire human race.

In turn, the Christian family is grafted into the mystery of the Church to such a degree as to become a sharer, in its own way, in the saving mission proper to the Church: by virtue of the sacrament, Christian married couples and parents “in their state and way of life have their own special gift among the People of God.”115 For this reason they not only receive the love of Christ and become a saved community, but they are also called upon to communicate Christ’s love to their brethren, thus becoming a saving community. In this way, while the Christian family is a fruit and sign of the supernatural fecundity of the Church, it stands also as a symbol, witness and participant of the Church’s motherhood.116

114 Second Vatican Council Lumen gentium, 11; Apostolicam actuositatem, 11; Pope John Paul II, Homily for the Opening of the Sixth Synod of Bishops (Sept. 26, 1980), 3: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 72 (1980) 1008.
115 Second Vatican Council Lumen gentium, 11.
116 Cf. ibid., 41.

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