Eucharist at the Core of Our Families

At the World Meeting of Families, Lisa Hendey read from her chapter of Liguori Publications' new book, Family, the Church and the Real World.

At the World Meeting of Families, Lisa Hendey read from her chapter of Liguori Publications’ new book, Family, the Church and the Real World. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hendey.

Liguori Publications is celebrating the release of its new book, Family, the Church and the Real World, at the World Meeting of Families this week. Lisa Hendey, one of several authors involved in this project, read from her chapter, titled “Faith, Family, and Finding the Time: How to Get Everyone in Your Family Focused on Faith.”

Here’s more about the book, from the publisher’s synopsis:

Family life is both messy and holy!

If you embrace only the holiness, or if you just get lost in the messiness, then you miss the fullness of the experience that is living as a family – both in the domestic church and the Institutional Church. Here you’ll find inspiration from Scripture and modern advice that does more than just tell you how family life is “supposed” to be. This book gives you real, practical wisdom on how to navigate the holy messiness of family life.

Insights have been gathered from experts in every area of family life, including: Dr. Sean Reynolds, Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, Lisa Hendey, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Dr. Don Paglia, Christopher West, Fr. Andrew Wisdom, Dr. Tom Neal, and Greg and Jennifer Willits. You’ll discover that Catholic Church teaching on marriage and family is rooted in our ultimate calling – to love with all we can muster, even through those messy moments.

Liguori Publications shared Lisa’s entire chapter as a downloadable PDF and provided this excerpt for us to share here. What a gift to readers at home who weren’t able to attend the World Meeting of Families!

family church and real worldEUCHARIST AT THE CORE OF OUR FAMILIES

In today’s world, it seems countercultural to live a family life centered on the Catholic faith and the Eucharist. While recent studies show one quarter of the adults in the United States identify themselves as Catholic, we also know that fewer than 25 percent of Catholics say they attend Mass weekly. Perhaps you’ve experienced the unusual situation of a parish nearly empty on a typical Sunday, but filled to the brim for back-to-back Ash Wednesday services. Even some parents who pay for a Catholic school education prioritize travel with sports teams over Mass attendance as a family. Without the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith, families begin to lose the very core of what makes them truly Catholic.

When families come to me to discuss the challenges they are facing in their Catholic homes, one of the most frequent questions I ask is, “Do you make attendance at Mass as a family a priority in your life?” All too often, my question is met with a variety of excuses about busyness, children who refuse to attend, or work priorities that make Mass attendance “impossible.” Believe me when I tell you that I can definitely relate to being the mother who finds herself alone in the pew with two rowdy toddlers on the receiving end of glares from elderly parishioners. (Perhaps that’s why these days I go out of my way to try to offer a word of encouragement to any young family I meet at Mass.) Without the centrality of the Eucharist as the core foundational value of our families, we are lost. Until we commit ourselves to not only attending Mass together as a family but also to finding a role of true service for ourselves and our children in our parishes, church will never feel like the second “home” it is intended to be.
–by Lisa Hendey

Want to know more? Watch the book trailer:

Excerpt from Family, the Church and the Real World used by permission of Liguori Publications • © 2015 All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Hendey. All rights reserved.


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.

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