"Families are at the very heart of our archdiocesan efforts to unleash the Gospel, because they are the first and most important setting in which evangelization takes place . . . Families today face unprecedented challenges, and for this reason our local Church must commit a major portion of her resources to supporting families and helping them live out their call to holiness." - Unleash the Gospel, Guidepost 7
What is the Mission Direct Area of Family Ministry?
The whole focus of the Mission Direct area of Family Ministry is to assist families to live as domestic Church and support them in their needs.
The term “domestic church” is used to describe the family’s mission and purpose. The domestic Church does on a small scale, what the Church universal does on a large scale. It makes disciples. The family is the place where Jesus is first proclaimed, where faith and vocations are nurtured, and discipleship is lived out in real and tangible ways.
This Mission Direct area includes the following ministries:
- Marriage Ministry
- Infant Baptism
- Family Ministry
- Family Support Ministry
Family Ministry complements the work of faith formation by nurturing the key areas of family life that influence the health and well-being of today’s family. A healthy, holy marriage serves as a solid foundation for the domestic Church. Marriage Ministry helps to build that solid foundation by providing formation and enrichment to couples in the various stages and circumstances of married life. Infant Baptism is a prime opportunity to not only provide sacramental preparation, but also collaborate with other ministries to provide evangelization opportunities for parents and workshops on the domestic Church. This helps parents embrace their role as spiritual guides.
Family Ministry is oriented toward helping parents disciple their children and providing resources and formation for the day-to-day challenges facing families today such as parenting, communication, depression/anxiety, pornography, social media, etc. Family Ministry is also responsible for promoting vocations in the Family of Parishes. Childcare is an essential ministry that enables parents to participate in parish life and provides children an opportunity to encounter Christ and experience community. Family Support Ministry is responsible for assisting struggling families by listening to their needs, offering resources, and organizing support groups as needed.
Natural Family Planning is integrated throughout this Mission Direct area to help couples live as missionary disciples in a communion of persons and provide resources and formation to support children, teens, and adults in understanding true personhood in light of the Gospel.
As you develop and grow these ministries in your Family of Parishes, be sure to explore these links for strategies and resources:
- Marriage Ministry Resources
- Infant Baptism Ministry Resources
- Natural Family Planning Page
- Family Support in Families of Parishes
- Resources for Couples of Child Loss
- Pastoral Resource on Transgenderism
- Eucharistic Adoration Guide for Married Couples
- How Engagement, Family Ministry, and Discipleship Formation Will Evangelize Together in Families of Parishes
- An Introduction to Family Ministry in the Families of Parishes Structure
- How to Utilize Marriage Coaching at Your Parish
- How to Minister to Divorced Catholics
- See more articles on Family Ministry here.
- October 14th Kick-off Training Session
- November 11th Training Zoom Recording | Handout
- December 9th Training Recording | Handout | Process for Structuring Ministries
- January 13th Training Recording | Handout | Notes from Pete and Patti Connors Marriage Ministry Team Testimony
- February 10th Training Recording | Handout
- March 10th Training Recording | Handout
- April 7th Training Recording | Handout
- May 10th Handout
A Framework for Forming Families for Mission
All the ministries in this Mission Direct area are guided by a framework that was developed to assist parish leaders in developing strategies to achieve the Vision for Families in Unleash the Gospel. It also provides direction to fulfill the Family Action Steps in the pastoral letter. The framework:
- Includes a vision for the domestic Church to help Families of Parishes better appreciate the end goal when forming families.
- Explores the building blocks of family faith which serve as prerequisites for the domestic Church to be fully alive in its mission.
- Explores the stages of family life.
- Outlines a clear path of discipleship to form parents to equip them for mission.
- Proposes a strategy to support the pastoral needs of families.
Download and read A House Built on a Rock: Forming Families for Mission
The USCCB has recently published a Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life. It is an excellent resource that provides guidelines for the pastoral accompaniment of married couples and families in every phase of life, drawing upon the teachings and recommendations contained in the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
A Culture of Vocations in Families of Parishes
Promoting vocations is an important part of growing the Church, but it takes the work of many people to foster a culture of vocations. The culture of vocations begins in the home and is supported by the community. As we begin renewing the family through this Mission Direct area, we have the opportunity to help families become the seedbed for all vocations, but especially the priesthood and religious life. Here’s how:
- The Family Ministry Coordinator is responsible for equipping parents to guide their children in discerning their vocations.
- The Family Ministry Coordinator is also responsible for promoting vocations in the Family of Parishes.
- The Family Ministry Coordinator serves as the liaison between the Archdiocese of Detroit Vocations Office and the Family of Parishes.
- Families of Parishes are supported by the vocations office through programming and resources.
- Together, they are responsible for developing strategies to create a culture that inspires and encourages vocational discernment.
- Detroit Priestly Vocations Website
- 5 Ways Your Parish Can Promote Vocations
- Building a Culture of Vocations in Families of Parishes
- Vocations Ministry Resources for Families of Parishes
Take It to the Next Level
To be successful in the Mission Direct area of Family Ministry, parish leaders are challenged to:
- Identify and welcome new families, connecting them to ministry offerings as needed.
- Support and accompany married couples through the various stages and circumstances of married life.
- Collaborate with other ministries to evangelize parents and help them claim their role as spiritual guides of their children.
- Survey the families in your parishes to identify their needs and concerns and use this as a starting point for workshops and support.
- Provide practical resources and workshops for the areas of family life that need the most nurture.
- Create opportunities to connect families to one another through social events or small groups.
- Make childcare available to enable parents to participate in events and activities.
- Support families of different cultures and families with special needs.
- Help parents to nurture their own vocation and provide tools to empower them to help their children discern their vocation.
- Provide outreach, support, and resources for struggling families.
For content ideas for Family Ministry, visit the SPARK Knowledgebase or join the Family Ministry Group in the Encounter Grow Witness Online Community.
For support for ministries within the Mission Direct area of Family Ministry contact:
Associate Director of Family Ministry
Support for Directors of Family Ministry and NFP
Marriage and Family Support Ministry Specialist
Support for Marriage Preparation, Marriage Coaching, Marriage Enrichment, Marriage Support and Divorce Support
Family Ministry Coordinator & Engagement Support
Support for Family Ministry and Childcare
Fr. Craig Giera
Director of Priestly Vocations