Catholic Leaders Offer Help to Navigate the Holy Messiness of Family Life



Editor’s note: I would like to thank our friends at Liguori Publications for their sponsorship of this month. The book we’re sharing with you, Family, the Church, and the Real World, is chock full of practical solutions for living out the faith in your “real world” Domestic Church. It was an honor and a privilege to join with the well-known authors and experts who teamed up to create this resource for you and your family. We pray that it will be a gift to you! Lisa Hendey

16127-FB Pg. 60 faith is not only a creed quote

Greg Popcak, Christopher West, Lisa Hendey, and more Catholic leaders contribute to a new book on living the marriage vocation, building the domestic church, and living in love as a family

Family, the Church, and the Real World

Introduction by Mary Beth Yount, PhD  

“Wonder if you’re the only one from a messy family? Just think about the stories of messed-up families that are woven through the biblical narrative,” writes Thomas J. Neal, PhD, the opening essayist in the new book, Family, the Church, and the Real World (Liguori, 2015). Neal explains a central truth in the book: Jesus meets families in the midst of brokenness. The unifying center of marriage and family life is faith in Jesus and fidelity to his teaching.

Today, as media and society discuss marriage and family life, this refreshing collection of essays written by Catholic leaders in marriage and family life offers support to deepen the unity of families and find the holiness that underlies the mess.

Nine essayists clarify Catholic teachings on marriage and family, lay out the mission of the family, and inspire families to give their all to this communion of love.

They make their points in a brisk, down-to-earth way, as if sitting down to the kitchen table to unpack the big, encyclical-sized ideas and to identify bite-sized action steps, including

  • Four tasks to protect your family against the dehumanizing aspects of our culture
  • Thirteen actions to put your family on the way of love
  • Five traits that empower families to live the Catholic difference in their daily lives
  • Four ways to live out the liturgical calendar
  • Six conversation starters, and more

Family, the Church, and the Real World is a lifeline for families who struggle to grow in faith—and that takes in every family, say essayists Greg and Jennifer Willits. “As a family, we are struggling to stay in a committed relationship with God every day. Cling to God with every bit of your strength. The rewards you gain will far outweigh the effort you put in!” Sample pages are at

About the Contributors

Thomas J. Neal, PhD, is the academic dean and professor of spiritual theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He also leads retreats, workshops, and other catechetical events throughout the country. He blogs at

Sean P. Reynolds, DMin, is director of the office of youth ministry of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He holds degrees in theology and in community organization and development. He also is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter.

Gregory Popcak, PhD, MSW, LISW-S, founder of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, is the author of many books on marriage and family life, including For Better…FOREVER!, Parenting with Grace, and Holy Sex! A pastoral counselor and host of More2Life Radio, he also serves as an adjunct professor of psychology and graduate theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He is at

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of and author of The Grace of Yes and the Chime Travelers series of books for children. She shares her passion for the New Evangelization and the domestic church around the world through television, radio, social media, and her writings. Hendey speaks internationally on faith, family, and technology.

Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP, is a Dominican priest and preacher. He has more than a decade of experience in vocations ministry and currently serves as vicar for mission advancement and director of the Society for Vocational Support for the Dominicans, Province of St. Albert the Great. Fr. Wisdom authored Tuning In to God’s Call (Liguori, 2012) and Why Should I Encourage My Son to Be a Priest (Liguori, 2007.)

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a Catholic wife and mother, is an award-winning and best-selling journalist and author of twenty books, catechist, speaker, and pilgrimage host. She also hosts the EWTN programs, Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms and Catholic Mom’s Cafe, which she created. Her web sites are and

Donald J. Paglia and his wife, Chris, are codirectors of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut.

Christopher West is a husband and father of five. His global lecturing, multiple books, courses, study programs, and media appearances have made him the world’s most recognized teacher of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. His web site is

Greg and Jennifer Willits have been married since 1995 and are the parents of four sons and a daughter. They’ve cofounded multiple Catholic apostolates and currently host the popular weekly podcast The Catholics Next Door on

Learn more about or purchase Family, the Church, and the Real World here


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.

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