Catholic Spiritual Growth – Building Community at Home With Family Ritual

Catholic spiritual growth includes building relationships and forming communities. We are called to live as members of God’s family. If your vocation is to marriage and family life, one task that the Church gives you is to build an authentic community of persons. Using family ritual is one powerful practical step you can take to increase a sense of community in your family.

What is a community of persons?

When Pope John Paul II encouraged families in Familiaris Consortio to become a “community of persons,” he explained that a family should be more than a group of people who live together but who lead very different lives. While it is good and healthy for individuals to peruse activities that fit their unique gifts and calling, a family should be a community that has a vested interest in each other. They should actively support and encourage each other’s well-being and success.

It is so easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of the world and to forget to take the time to build relationship. How does the saying go? The people closest to us are often the most neglected. Don’t take family relationships for granted. I you are called to marriage and family life, part of that vocation is to actively work to build a community of love within your family.

What are Rituals?

Like routines, rituals are activities or experiences that we do over and over again until they become part of the fabric of family life. But rituals differ from routines in some very important ways. Because of these differences, building ritual must be strategic. Because of these differences, rituals hold amazing power for building authentic community and love. What are the differences between ritual and routine?

We Build Ritual?

Building ritual into your family life can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not used to thinking this way. But there are a few easy steps you can take to get started.

1. Acknowledge the rituals that already exist. Every family has some sort of ritual that they inherited from families of origin or that they created by establishing a “tradition.” Being aware that these rituals exist can help you maximize their impact on your family.

2. Find routines that can be turned into ritual. Why try to establish a new habit when your family already has habits in place? Instead, inject those habits with meaning and establish some roles to transform them into a ritual. Already eating together? Turn off the distractions and establish a ritual of conversation, asking everyone to tell something significant about their day.

3. Capitalize on the power of the holidays. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and feast days are filled with opportunities to establish rituals. And your family kind of expects you to do things to try making these times more special, so you may get less resistance. Establish a ritual of prayer around Advent or Lent, then let it continue into Ordinary Time.