Forming Missionaries in Our Homes - Win a Blessed John Paul II Gift Package


Friends, I am preparing for a special presentation next week at the National Meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. My talk will focus on the topic of “The Domestic Church: Forming Missionaries” and will strive to offer the attendees resources and ideas for supporting the Catholic families they serve.

I would like to include some “real world” perspectives and ideas in this talk and am asking for your help. In the comments section below, please share your thoughts on how you form the young (and old!) missionaries who live in your home — What types of service do you do? Is “mission” an active component of your family life? Who are some of your role models? What could your local parish or diocese do to better support your family in becoming missionaries. For every comment you leave, you will receive one entry to win a very special Blessed John Paul II gift package I have created.

Share your ideas for "Forming Missionaries" and enter to win our Blessed John Paul II package!

Share your ideas for “Forming Missionaries” and enter to win our Blessed John Paul II package!

The items in this gift package were purchased on my trip to the Vatican Bloggers Meeting during the Beatification of Blessed John Paul II. Each of the items was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI. I hope they will be a blessing to the Domestic Church of whatever family wins this contest. I will randomly select one winner from the comments. Please enter by midnight Pacific time on Tuesday, April 20, 2013.

The items in this gift package include:

  • Blessed John Paul II Coin
  • Blessed John Paul II Medal
  • Blessed John Paul II Plaque
  • Blessed John Paul II Holy Card
  • Blessed John Paul II Bookmark

Thank you in advance for your support on this special project!

Update: Congratulations to Karee S., our winner, and thank you to all who participated.


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. Melanie Rogers on

    I wish our parish would talk more about missionaries and their important role for our Church! It would be helpful to hear from some missionaries and be given the opportunity to support them in prayer and in other ways as well. Living where there is a large LDS community, I think we shy away from the word “missionary” and our parish needs more concrete examples of what missionaries mean to the Catholic Church. Good luck on your talk!!

  2. Tammy Mansir on

    St. Francis of Assisi in Vista has a monthly planned Date Night for married couples. Babysitting at parish is $5 per family. So affordable!

    Our family = my husband, me(mom) and 2 sons (18 & 22 years old )watched Pillars of Catholism online each at our convenience then discussed the topic as a family.

    Youth Ministry blest our family so now we help in youth ministry as a family. YM appreciates having 4 chaperones, drivers, speakers, facilitators, dishwashers, or whatever is needed. Our sons are into production so now we also can provide sound and visual technology help!

    • Jen @ on

      Tammy – we are neighbors! We live in Oceanside and go to St. Thomas More, the sister parish to St. Francis. Small world 🙂

  3. Pingback: April 2013 Sunday Gospel Activities |

  4. Michael Myers on

    Create a committee that studies the missionary needs of the local environment. You don’t have to look to far! Then reach out to the entire community to partake in the missionary work, not just your own parish. Even reaching out to other Christian and secular organizations, outside the Catholic Church.

  5. Forming our kids to be missionaries is a simple, natural outgrowth of forming our kids to be saints and sending them out to interact with the wider culture. My kids go to their parish school, but they say other schoolchildren are amazed that our family goes to Mass every Sunday. When the teacher talked about rosaries, my eldest daughter (on her own initiative) brought in her favorite, which has fifteen decades instead of five. The other kids were surprised that our family prays the rosary together sometimes, and that my daughter knows how to say the prayers. The best way to become a mission family comes straight from JPII’s Familiaris Consortio: “Families, become what you are.”

    • Amen! Beautifully written. As a mom of two elementary children, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sara Champi on

    I am trying to win this for my daughter she just loves all things Pope related. When she grows up she wants to be a nun in the Vatican or the pope’s driver!

  7. A group of dads and the kids gets together and makes simple sack lunches and then drives them out and hand delivers to the homeless in our community. It is a simple, hands-on way for our kids to see and serve the needy.

  8. Dianne Wood on

    Here is an outline for a talk I gave recently on the topic of evangelizing our children based on my experience of raising my family. We have had 8 children and are now starting to work with our grandchildren. Hoping you may find something that is helpful:

    1. Family: The Domestic Church
    – The family is the place where a child’s character and personality is forged

    – It is in the family where love for God takes root, where they will discover their vocation

    – Faith is the best legacy a parent can pass on to their child

    – Bringing up a child in the Catholic faith involves more than just teaching doctrine, it also requires transmitting a way of life

    – Children learn best by example

    – The Gospel is most convincing to others when it is seen lived out

    – Seeing their own father or mother praying is very effective

    – With the influence of the media everywhere we have to be more creative then ever in taking every advantage in communicating the faith to our children.

    – The parents’ personal testimony should be evident at all times, giving example to their children with naturalness, without any show.

    2. Give Them Your Time, Build a Real Friendship

    – From a young age parents need to foster an atmosphere of trust with their children, and always be available to devote time to them

    – We need to bring up our children in an atmosphere of friendship

    – We must never yell, they must learn from our serenity and cheerfulness (if we have a problem with this deal with it in the confession and spiritual direction)

    – We must never give them the impression that we do not trust them(even if we do not)

    – We should give them freedom and we need to teach them how to use it with personal responsibility

    – It is better for parents to let themselves ‘be fooled’ once in a while, because the trust that they have shown will make the children themselves feel ashamed of having abused it—they will correct themselves

    – If they have no freedom, if they see that no one trusts them, they will always be inclined to deceive their parents

    – Having conversations with one’s children, besides being very enjoyable, is the best way to build a real friendship with them

    – When two people have a relationship of trust, a bridge is created between them that facilitates opening up one’s heart and speaking about one’s worries and concerns, which is also a good way to get to know oneself better

    I- We need to be ready to turn off the television or computer when they come and want to talk about something that is bothering them

    – We need to be ready to cut back in the amount of time devoted to work outside of the home in order to have time to spend with the family

    – We need to look for opportunities for leisure-time activities that facilitate conversation between family members

    – Pick them up at lunch time at school and take them out for lunch so you can have that friend to friend conversation.

    3. Teach Them to Pray

    – Saying grace at meals, reciting with the younger ones morning and evening prayers

    – teach them to turn to their guardian angel and our Lady

    – when they are having trouble with a friend help them pray to that friend’s guardian angel and Our Lady

    – Piety without doctrine is highly vulnerable to the intellectual pressures children will be subjected to throughout their lives, many teens weaken in their faith when they are tested

    – We often tell them to “offer it up” but do they know what that means.

    – And just because you told them something when they were little does not mean they remember it

    – We must teach them over and over repeating it in different ways

    – Be creative when teaching them doctrine: Use Read stories, tell them stories of your own life, read Fairy Tales and other good books to them, organize Catechism classes, clubs, camps, visits to nursing homes, walks in the woods….

    – Get into true discussions about what they have learned, make sure they are taking it in

    – The respect and love parents show for the Church’s teachings will help children understand the importance of studying Jesus’ doctrine

    – Fostering an attitude of worship requires that children meet Jesus face to face at an early age, we must help them to talk to Him personally

    – Being a good parent means being a parent who is good, who struggles to be holy

    – Children quickly notice this, and will admire their parents’ effort and try to emulate them

    4. Teach Them the Virtues

    – If piety and doctrine are not accompanied by solid human virtues, children’s thoughts and feelings will end up reflecting the way they live, and not what reason informed by faith dictates to them

    – For children to attain an understanding of unity in life on how they live is a challenge that cannot be met with mere improvisation, but requires careful planning and forethought, a “professional mentality”

    – Stress the importance of self-discipline, generosity, temperance, modesty, order…

    – set limits on their appetites, teach them obedience and patience, avoid consumerism

    – teach them how to use all media wisely: movies, computers, phones, social sites

    – parents need to be very careful where children are educated, and help create or seek out places that foster growth in the faith and human virtues

    – If you make a mistake, ask their forgiveness

    – It is also important that children experience forgiveness by their parents, which will strengthen in them the certainty that your love for them is unconditional

    – The message of salvation affects the whole person and needs to take root in both the head and the heart of the one who receives it

    – Parents need to study, read, reflect, ask questions, do research, attend conferences

    – Helping children to interiorize the faith requires showing them the beauty of living it

    – Parents need to set forth goals, but in doing so we need to show children the beauty of virtue and of a truly Christian life

    – We must get our own lives together, especially our spiritual life if we truly want to pass on the faith to our children and their friends

    • Dianne – this is amazing. I’m entering your name five times in the drawing in appreciation for all of the time and effort you put in with this. Thanks so very much!!

  9. Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families on

    Wow, I think Dianne’s comment should count as a whole bunch of entries! =) My mom heard her speak a month ago and is still quoting her.

    One tiny comment from me: some of my kids wear scapulars…especially if Grandma gave them the scapular with some insistence. A friend told me that her son asked if he could begin wearing a scapular…just like (his friend) my son Joseph. It’s awesome to see kids with growing devotions to our Lady or a particular saint…and awesome to know that it’s God’s Grace /the Holy Spirit working…and not solely dependent on me!

  10. Karen Hanrahan on

    Last year our parish did the 33 Days to Morning Glory program twice…..once for Consecration on October 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and once on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 12-12-12……..did this help our parish? Well, last year at the Divine Mercy service we had about 12 people…….this year we had about 125! the Holy Spirit is alive and well and definitely working! Thank you, Lord!

  11. mary donahue on

    my kids have joined the parish youth group and have service opportunites through our parish.
    At home they take on service to neighbor & family as the opportunity arises.
    Like grandpa ,who is 87 ,counts on my sons to shovel snow in the winter…as does a neighbor from our church.

    I remind them that Blessed Mother M Teresa MC told us to practice charity in the home and to our neighbor before we assist those far away.

    The hardest charity for siblings is being kind to one another some days.

  12. Carina Klockner on

    Teaching our kids missionary work in a busy family is hard. The best thing I know to do is lead by example in the “local” mission field and get the kids to pitch in. I started a meals for moms ministry at our parish and organize taking meals to moms w
    ho just had babies, are in the hospital, or have a child in the hospital. We also reach out to friends in need like to help with chores if a mother is on bed rest or other situations as they arise!

  13. As a mom of a toddler and 2 young elementary school-aged children, every day is another day to instill in them through physical reminders, (ie, statues of the Holy Family, pictures of them with their siblings and wedding photos of their parents and grandparents) and missionary work that the “domestic Church” is a living witness to God’s Kingdom here on earth. For the past 5+ years I personally have Coordinated the MOMS ministry at our parish. With that, women with children come together for fellowship and a non-threatning environment that is nurturing to their souls and encourages thin with the strength of the Holy Spirit to proceed with their calling of Motherhood not as the world tells them, but by what the Lord tells them.
    We have engaged fathering and the entire family through parish sponsored Egg Hunts and Trick or Treating and other events that are not just “social events”, but hopefully show the children of our community that the Family unit needs to be celebrated! Marriage needs to be celebrated! And we recognize that the mother is more often than not the most instrumental person in the “domestic church” to see all this through.

  14. christine newpower on

    Our parish has an active missionary-promoting spirit. We have visiting missionaries speak monthly, while our priest, a former missionary to Africa, brings in his friends and colleagues to speak. Our music liturgist recently returned from a year in Burundi, and continues to support a village through concerts and fund raising.
    In our home, we teach our children that they are missionaries in their schools, to classmates, teachers and anyone else they meet throughout each day. They know that they are witnesses of our Faith and may be the only example of Jesus’ teachings to some children. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, but at least they are aware how important they might be to someone else’s salvation.
    Thanks for another terrific giveaway Lisa. Always so thought provoking!

  15. Kristine Jenkins on

    I like using what’s out there already, letting my son and “CCD” kids know about the ways Catholics are missionaries *right now*…. CRS Operation Rice Bowl was a huge hit this year- our 4 yr old opened an Easter card, and brought the money to the cardboard “box for poor people”. Without prompting! We tried the recipes too (about half, I think)- well, the adults in the house anyway. There’s online videos and coloring pages too.

    Maryknoll has some great stuff too: we used to get their magazine (I just realized we need to send our moving address!) – they have a classroom program where you get free lesson plans (for religious ed or homeschooling families). They have great videos, with shorter segments on missionaries, like “The Field Afar.” And they had a coloring book too, but it’s easier to call and order than find it online…

    And then there’s the Catholic Home Missions, with a great Extension magazine, as well as educational stuff centered around their collection. I love their USA map too, showing mission dioceses (great for geography *and* mission!). There’s Catholic Worker Houses– the one in Gainesville has great online communication ( to learn about what’s happening. In the past, we’ve ordered pizzas for their community night, and then had pizza at home too. And don’t forget about the peeps doing a year (or two) of service nearby – we’ve connected our high school group with Catholic Volunteers in Florida ( but you can find a local one through Catholic Volunteer Network. A current volunteer will come and talk about what they’re doing (mission) and why and how it’s affecting their faith.

    Movies about saints are great – or if there’s a religious group nearby, have them come and talk about their patron (informally, over a meal or coffee or during a neighborhood walk).

    I think if I were to summarize the most helpful things to raise awareness in our space: 1) concrete resources: video, bookmark, table tent dinner prayer, maps, coloring books, photos etc. This can be online or mailed/parish giveaways 2) real, current stories as well as history 3) way to connect with current missionaries (pen pals, facebook fan page, local speakers- even alums)

  16. As part of our parish’s RCIA program, my kids and the prospective new members serve at the homeless shelter. Service to others can seem like an abstract concept for many, so this is a way to start off their faith journey with an eye towards helping each other. Missionaries right at home!

  17. I form myself as a missionary by doing lots of Christian and Catholic reading. I’m also the librarian at my parish, which I hope helps parishioners become capable witnesses too.

  18. I have a friend who is Southern Baptist, and she and her family are missionaries overseas. My children have met her so I often refer to this friend’s family as an example to my children of what it means to be a missionary. I also share with them my 2 mission trip experiences that I had as a young adult. My daughter and I watched together this video from Renewal Ministries ( of a recent mission trip to Mexico. We have already been speaking with her about taking her on a mission trip after her confirmation (maybe between ages 14 & 16; she is 9 now). After viewing the video, her heart was very much touched by the mission work and she is excitedly thinking about what country she would like to go to on her first mission trip. There is a wonderful ad on our Catholic radio station that says, “Remember, if you are baptized, you’re a mssionary.” We talk about that in our home; that God wants to use us right where we are; that we are not all called to go to a foreign country to share the good news. Most people whom we see everyday need to be touched by His love through us. 🙂

  19. Betsy VanScoyk on

    We talk about the Saints at our house, particularly Sister Rose Philipine Duschene, whose shrine is near our home. I tell our grandchildren how brave these ladies were to come to the US and work for the children here.
    Also…I am excited to say I am living my dream and am going on a Catholic Medical Mission called Helping Hands Medical Mission in July. I hope to inspire the children in my family and parish to want to help others.
    Faith Not Fear

  20. My family, all but thirty hours a month (except for summers, when it’s all the time) is my fiance and me. For thirty hours a month during the school year, and not at all during summers, we have visitation with his two teens. Why so little time? Because the kids’ maternal grandparents, with whom they live, and their mother, who retains custody, see us as a threat to the manipulation and lies they’ve been teaching the kids since the divorce in 2000. Oh, and we’re a theat to the complete control over the kids’ lives.

    That doesn’t leave us much time to teach them how to be anything, let alone missionaries.
    So we have to model it. All the time, whether or not the kids are here.
    This June, we will have been waiting for his annulment to be finalized for three years. We were engaged thirteen months before that. We’re doing the right thing in waiting (and waiting, and waiting…) because the kids need to know it’s the right thing.
    We are involved in choir, RCIA, lectoring (I’m the co-chair of lectoring), CRHP, and various random committees in our parish’s quest to build a new church and school. We volunteer at Learning Ally ( He’s a mentor for an at-risk young man. (I would, but substitute teachers are disqualified since we can’t leave our buildings during lunch). We fill our lives with activities and people that we can both teach and learn from because we enjoy it, and we hope that it rubs off on the kids, too.

    And I try very hard not to be jealous of all the people whose custody agreements are enforced, or who can see their kids whenever they want to.

    • Tonia, thank you for sharing this perspective – I really think all too often we forget about families like yours, who face (and are faithful in the midst of) such challenging circumstances. You are in my prayers and I thank you for chiming in.

      • Thank you.
        I hate to sound like a whiner, so I’m always glad when my challenges are seen as a challenge, rather than some unsolvable problem.

        • Tonia you are in no way a “whiner”. Honestly, I think we need to pay more attention to all of the families out there who face challenges like yours… hang in there, and let’s definitely pray with and for one another!

          • Will do!
            (And, by the way, THANK YOU!! for the step-family mentions in The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Some days, that’s my saving grace.)

    • Thanks for checking Dianne – I’ll be announcing our winner tomorrow. I wish I had prizes for all who participated! Your responses were so helpful to my presentation!

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