Building our domestic church and starting weekly family meetings

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"The family is, so to speak, the domestic church.  In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children..." - Dogmatic Constitution of the Church

I want our home to truly be a "domestic church".  Over the last few years, we've incorporated the ideas listed by the USCCB here for making our home and family a domestic church, and they have made a big difference with both us as parents and with the children.  In fact, just having crucifixes on the walls has led the kids to constantly find crosses and mention Jesus when we are out and about.  Although these ideas have worked well, we have been meaning to do a better job of preparing the kids for mass by discussing the readings in advance.

I'd heard a couple years ago about how the LDS (Mormon) Church has something called Family Home Evening, which is a special family night once a week that includes prayer, scripture, and family bonding time.  This is such an awesome idea, and I want to start something like it (a Catholic version) with my own family.

The Catholic Church doesn't have its own structured program, but after searching, I did find this Family Catechesis program from The Apostolate for Family Consecration.  There are some great materials here (especially the discussion guides that you can access by clicking English Set A, B, or C), but I think this program may be a little much for our family of young children (5 and 2 years old).  

So I decided to take some of the basic ideas found in the program and tweak it to create a simpler format for our family that hopefully won't take too much time or effort to prepare for each week. 

For easy reuse and to limit paper, I created a simple slideshow that includes pages for each main part of the weekly family meeting or "domestic church".  I plan on keeping one as a template and typing into it each week.  

This is what I'm going to use this week for our first meeting:

Here are some basics on how we will use it, some of which come from the Family Catechesis program described above:
  • Opening Prayer 
    • Start with spontaneous prayer asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance
    • End with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be
  • Liturgical Calendar
    • State whether it is Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc.
    • Tell about any feastdays in the upcoming week.
    • Read the readings for the week, which can be found here.
    • When preparing you may also want to watch the video reflection for the Sunday's readings, which can be found in the left sidebar.
  • Family Activity
    • This can be anything that relates to the scripture readings, like videos, children's books, crafts, coloring pages, a family outing, planning a service project, baking, etc.
    • I am making sure whatever we choose to do is not simply fluff, like coloring a sheep because it was in the story.  I really want to teach the meat of the story, and this can be done in lots of fun ways.
    • Some ideas can be found at
  • Scripture Verse of the Week
    • Choose a part of one of the readings or a related bible quote to focus on for the week, and maybe even memorize.
    • We will be displaying it on a Weekly Verse chalkboard frame that I'm in the process of making.
  • Closing Prayer
    • Start with a spontaneous prayer related to the week's focus.
    • Every member of the family can add petitions, which can be added to a family prayer board
    • Could include common prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be) or a special prayer from a saint.

If you're interested in having your own family meetings, feel free to use the template below.  I believe you can edit it by clicking the settings gear and then download as PPTX.  

I'm sure I will be improving this as we go along, but I'd also love to hear any suggestions or how your family does family meetings.


  1. I came across your blog while gathering my ideas and materials for Lent this year. I love that you have created your own Catholic Family Meeting. I read a few Mormon blogs and I feel that their church does a really great job of guiding their families in developing their domestic church. I have wanted to create a Catholic version of a Family Home Evening, but really wasn't sure how to do it. Thank you for giving me a jumping off point. :)

  2. Katie, thank you so much for your comment! It sounds like we were looking for the same thing in creating a Catholic version of Family Home Evening. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I'd be happy to hear them. :)