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and personally, for God is love and those who live in love, live in God

and God dwells in them (cf. 1 Jn 4:16).”


In a Christian family that

belongs to the Church, daily living becomes, in itself, an expression of the

Church. The domestic Church is not complete by itself but finds its fullest

expression when it is united with and supported by the parish and the

larger Church.

“The Church is a family of families.”


By the love of the Father, as

disciples of Jesus Christ, and nourished by the Holy Spirit, we are called

to communion with others. There can be no discipleship without commu-

nion. In Jesus Christ, we become one family of faith, the universal family

of God in the Catholic Church. This culture of witness is sustained within

the Church through the Sacrament of Matrimony and the life of the

family. Marriage is the plan of God and has been elevated by Christ among

the baptized to be a sacrament, a covenant of love, “at the service of com-

munion and mission.”


It is through the example of one’s family that each

person most concretely understands how to live a Christian life. Parents

are the first educators of their children, and together with godparents, are

responsible for nurturing their children’s faith and giving them the exam-

ple of a life infused with the Gospel. Parishes should look for opportunities

to help married couples and families deepen their faith and make their

families true “domestic Churches,” places of prayer, love, and forgiveness.

Marriages and families also witness in an irreplaceable way to the faith-

ful, fruitful love of God. A healthy society is built on the foundation of

healthy families. As a result, marriage and the family must be supported

and strengthened by economics, policies, and laws outside of the parish.

Encounter Jesus in and Through the Church

The encounter with Jesus is carried out in and through his Church, of

which the Christian family is a central part. The Church is universal—a

community of faith that is diverse, international, and multicultural.

Because the parish, through its pastor and members, is typically the first

contact that Catholics have with the Church, “it is the responsibility of

both pastors and laity to ensure that those doors are always open.”



gelization must remain rooted in the local Church. It is in the parish that

one becomes engaged with the church community, learns how to become

a missionary disciple of Christ, is nurtured by Scripture, is nourished by

the sacraments, is catechized, and ultimately becomes a disciple of Christ.