Holy Family Fest brings focus to parental role
While the Labor Day Weekend might be considered the final celebration of summer for many, the Sunday of that weekend is becoming a celebration of faith – family faith – at the Pro Sanctity Center north of Elkhorn.
Holy Family Fest, now in its third year and scheduled for Sept. 4, offers families a chance to share a special day focused on faith in the family through programs, liturgies and more. Family Fest sponsors – the Apostolate for Family Consecration and Pro Sanctity – say it’s a day of "family fun without leaving God behind."
The timing – at the beginning of the school year – provides an important reminder about faith and family. Catholic schools and parish religious education programs bring the faith to our children in a variety of ways, giving them some sense of understanding of what the church teaches, why that’s significant and how to make faith a part of their lives. And the importance of that role can’t be emphasized enough.
But teaching the faith, learning the faith, witnessing the faith must begin and be affirmed at home. That’s an important message – and the focus – of the Holy Family Fest.
No matter how strong religious education programs are in schools and parishes, the message must be reinforced and lived at home.
The children won’t learn to appreciate prayer if they don’t see their parents pray and pray with them. They won’t look for ways to learn about their faith if study and Scripture reading aren’t a part of their parents’ lives. They won’t understand mercy and service and compassion unless they see that lived out in the lives of their parents – in their relationship, in their home, in their community.
And children won’t understand the unconditional love and forgiveness of God unless they experience that love and forgiveness in their parents.
Holy Family Fest reminds us of the importance of parents’ role in the faith lives of their children. Granted, the Family Fest provides just one day of family faith sharing. But all journeys begin with one step. Perhaps that day at Family Fest will turn into an ongoing faith journey for the parents and children who attend.
A MESSAGE FOR ALL
Pope Francis had a simple, straightforward message for the millions attending World Youth Day in Poland last month. Don’t be couch potatoes, the pope told the young people, urging them to go out into the world and leave their mark in history.
Many might perceive the pope’s directive as a very tall order, perhaps even impossible. But Pope Francis wasn’t asking every young person to be a world leader, discover a cure for cancer or lead an international space mission to Mars or even beyond. He was asking them to live to their potential, to be all they can be, to strive to make a difference in the world – in our church, at work, at school, in our community.
That often involves stepping out – away from the pack, and can mean facing challenges and sometimes requires taking risks, the pope said. But those challenges won’t be so difficult or the risks so great for young people anchored in a strong faith. And that begins by going "all in" with Jesus, by saying "yes" to following him.
Leaving a mark in history is one thing, but shaping that mark by a faith grounded in Christ is quite another.
Great advice for young people. And something the rest of us also need to hear.
Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at email@example.com.