2018 Feast of the Holy Family
“Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, Subduing nations before him, stripping kings of their strength, Opening doors before him, leaving the gates unbarred:”Isaiah 45:1
Dear Your Holy Family Ministry Supporters,
Just as Cyrus had doors opened for him, Your Holy Family Ministry has had many new doors opened to us this year. We are excited to share with you the many gifts God has granted to the ministry this year. It has been a very active and fruitful year. Your Holy Family Ministry ran three retreats—instead of only one. We were invited to run a parish retreat for St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station for 10 families. In June, we were invited to run a family retreat in Wyoming with COR Expeditions of Wyoming Catholic College for 9 families. The Ministry also hosted our annual October family retreat, which served 30 families.
The Wyoming Retreat is an amazing experience and we plan to return again during the summer of 2019. We do hope that some of you may consider joining Your Holy Family Ministry at this Retreat in Cora, Wyoming. In 2018 we were able to have two Priests on the Retreat. It was truly an amazing blessing to have Fr. John Michael Paul, Community of St. John, and Fr. Richard Goodin, Order of Friars Minor, Province of St. John the Baptist, available for the families for the duration of the Family Retreat in Wyoming. This Retreat runs for the duration of a week, rather than just one weekend. The longer format really allows the families to bond and form community together.
Our October Retreat was at a beautiful new facility this year. We were able to use the Echo Valley Camp at H. E. Butt Foundation Camp in Leakey, TX. Again, both Fr. John Michael Paul and Fr. Richard Goodin were able to join us for the duration of the Retreat. What a beautiful gift it is to the families to have two Priests alongside our families on the Retreat journey. Sadly, Echo Valley will be undergoing some renovations in 2019, but we do plan to return to Leakey in 2020. For our 2019 Family Retreat in October, we will return to Forest Glen.
Your Holy Family also conducted multiple family formation classes for parents at St. Max in Houston, TX and at St. William in Round Rock, TX. These classes focused on engaging the parents and providing them with family activities they can implement to help their families grow closer to the Lord, and closer to one another. We continue to be amazed at how God leads our ministry into many new opportunities in various environments to serve families.
Only You Can Form Saints
On this Feast of the Holy Family, we would like to reflect on the parental roles of Mary and Joseph. In scripture, we are reminded that Jesus’ parents spent time teaching him not only secular skills, but also formed Him in the ways of prayer and faith. We, too, are to model this behavior by embracing our parental role of being the primary teachers of our children in the fundamental truths and ways of the faith.
For Our Church
Although it has been a fruitful year for Your Holy Family Ministry, our Church family is suffering with the ongoing scandal of the abuse of minors by members of the clergy–even bishops and cardinals. Alongside the horrific tragedy of this abuse, we have also had to grapple with the revelations that our leaders have failed to remove the abusers, and some may even have been complicit. The scandals in the Church have caused much turmoil within families, especially those who have been personally touched by abuse. Please continue to pray for all victims and their families.
For Our Children
While the victims of these crimes suffer the most, the betrayal of trust by leaders of our church—Priests, Bishops and Cardinals—affects all of us. In many ways, the faithful are angry and seeking out justice. As the body of Christ suffers, we seek answers and accountability. As parents, we need to answer the questions that our children have, and it is crucial that we help our children understand that we will do all we can to protect them from harm. We need to assure our children that most Priests are good men, striving for holiness and working faithfully to help lead us to Jesus. We must make certain our children know that we will do everything we can, as their parents, to protect them from those Priests, or anyone else, who would seek to harm them. Our children need to know that we love them unconditionally, and that we will do whatever is necessary to protect them from predators, no matter who that predator may be. We must teach them, and continually remind them, to guard their hearts and think about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,” (Phillipians 4:8). We need to help instill in our children the confidence to truly know and believe that our love for them is unconditional.
For many parents, we may need to reclaim this right to educate and protect our children. For others, we must stay the course of protecting and educating our children. Our society continues to try to coerce us to believe that we must surrender our parental role to the teacher, the coach, the church, or the priest. This societal trend for parents to entrust their children to other adults at young formative ages has put our children in harm’s way. Priests, Religious, and lay ministers were never intended to be responsible for passing on the faith to our children, yet many parents feel that this is what the church expects. We can look to the Catechism to see this clearly laid out in paragraph 2223, “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children… The home is well suited for education in virtues.” Parents are given a special grace by God in the sacrament of Marriage to form their children in the faith, and while parents may choose to supplement their instruction with other holy men and women in their community, it should never replace our duty. If we again look to the Catechism, in paragraph 2225 we read, “Through the grace of the sacrament of Marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children.” There are times when much good can be derived from allowing our Parish Community to assist us in the formation process, but never to replace us, as we see in the Catechism, paragraph 2226, “Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years… The Parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and families.”
For Our Future
Our church is hurting, our families are hurting, and we can be a force for bringing in the healing of Jesus to remedy the sickness that has infiltrated not only our society, but our church as well. This is a time for heroic families to rise up and model the Holy Family.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
In order for Your Holy Family Ministry to continue to provide retreats, we need to raise $20,000 for the two retreats planned for next year. We strive to make our retreats available to families of all sizes, income levels, and abilities. Your donation will help us continue our ministry!