Home is a Holy Place

The second phase of the Celebrating Family Project was launched at our ‘Parish is a Welcoming Family Day’ with the Bishop last September. It is called – ‘Home is a Holy Place’.

What is ‘Home is a Holy Place’ about?

‘Home’ is the place you call ‘home’!

  • Home life is so varied, and full of ups and downs. There isn’t a family who haven’t known difficulties of one sort or another, from ordinary, daily irritations to the heartache of tragedies, and everything in between, not to mention the juggling of demands, and trying to balance home life with work, or no work.
  • ‘Home’ and ‘Family’ includes brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins, parents and grandparents, children, grandchildren, and within our family members are many single people too who contribute their gifts to the life of the whole.
  • ‘Family’ is used here as a very inclusive term – and the Bishops of England and Wales, through their Marriage and Family Life Committee, and the ‘Celebrating Family Project’ have provided Home is a Holy Place resource to look at and celebrate our everyday ‘family life’.

‘Holy Place’ recognises that at the base of family life, whatever shape our family takes, are relationships and love – and love holds a power in it – to bring new life, forgiveness, encouragement, affirmation and so much more!

  • As Catholic Christians, our faith, our response to Jesus Christ, and his Gospel, is lived out in very ordinary ways – and we may not recognise this as ‘holy’! However, it is holy to get up in the night and look after the sick child or elderly relative, or make that phone call to a lonely person. It is holy to forgive one another, to clean and to cook, to shop and to provide for your family, to be welcoming, to eat meals and share life with others in lots of ways – it is holy, because God is present as love!

HOME is a HOLY PLACE is a resource that aims to help us to grow in our awareness of the holiness of daily living – to recognise that ‘spirituality’ isn’t just about going to church or praying – it is part and parcel of the messiness of family life, in the joys, sorrows and hopes.

In a very down to earth way, it helps us, whoever we are, clergy, lay, married, single, look at family life, and invites response to questions:

  • Who for you is ‘family’?
  • How do you and your family show love for one another?
  • What are the challenges in your family relationships?
  • When are you most aware of God in your family experience?

It does not assume your family is perfect! It does not ask how many times you pray, or if you have holy pictures on the wall, or how often you make it to church, or what parish groups you belong to. But it does help you to see where God is, as love, in your life – and perhaps it will help you and your family grow in love and relationship with God too.

The Home is a Holy Place Resource Pack comprises:

  • A 27-minute DVD in 5 sections
    • Introduction – overview
    • Part 1 – Home is a holy place because God is present there as love
    • Part 2 – Home is a holy place because relationships within the family reflect God’s relationship with us
    • Part 3 – Home is a holy place because God’s presence graces all creation
    • Closing Reflection – set to ‘Saints and Angels’ composed/performed by Victoria Banks
  • A 24-page booklets – visions and goals in more detail
  • Getting Started
  • Prayer cares/feedback postcard
  • Family – and adventure in Love (‘magazine’)
  • Leaders sheets: Before you Begin and Where Next
  • Group reflection sheets –
    • How do you and your family show love for one another?
    • What are the challenges in your family relationships?
    • When are you most aware of God in your family experiences?

Twenty-three Home is a Holy Place resource packs were distributed to the twenty parishes and three primary schools who were represented at the launch day.

Caroline has many more resources packs ready for any parish, school, or group who would like to take and use it. Caroline is happy to come and introduce Home is a Holy Place to any interested group in the Diocese – for example:

  • Leaders of Children’s Liturgy of the Word (Schools and Parishes)
  • Parent and Toddler groups
  • Parenting Groups
  • Catechists
  • Ascent groups
  • SVP groups

This resource can really support you in life, and give you a renewed very positive ‘mindset’ about faith and families today.

How might you use this Resource Pack in parishes, schools, other groups? Be imaginative, make connections across boundaries for home/school/parish, building communities, helping raise awareness of the importance and power of ordinary-everyday loving relationships! For example:

In a parish setting

  • A series of meetings in Lent – one on each of the three ‘reflection sheets’
  • With a group of older people – to explore their role in affirming and encouraging family life
  • With the parents in a parent/toddler or parenting support or prayer group
  • Leaders of Liturgy of the Word with Children
  • Groups of Catechists
  • Leaders of RCIA Journey in Faith: understanding Catholic Christian spirituality and the family as ‘domestic church’
  • All church ministry groups (Word, Eucharist, Music)

In Sacramental preparation programmes:

  • With parents preparing for their child’s Baptism
  • With parents preparing for their child’s 1st Holy Communion
  • As part of a marriage preparation programme
  • With people on the Journey in Faith – a session for RCIA

In school developing the Home/School/Parish link (Every Child Matters, Every Parent Matters, Cohesion in the Community links)

  • As part of a ‘Welcome’ session for New parents (new parents evening/open days)
  • A session for any interested parents – affirming them in family life
  • Use as part of a parenting programme – building strong, confident parents
  • A drop-in session before collecting the children from school, or when the children have been dropped off at school – cup of tea and watch the DVD and chat together ‘What do you think?’ and responses to the questions on the DVD
  • As part of an INSED for staff and/or chaplains in both primary and secondary schools to raise awareness and support their parents and children in their spiritual/family life

There is a ‘Home is a Holy Place Resource Pack’ available free of charge to every Parish in the Diocese.

If you would like a Resource pack, or a workshop to introduce the Pack in your parish or deanery, or your school, please contact Caroline Dollard, the Celebrating Family Project Worker for the Diocese, by email caro@ccrcharity.org.uk or carolinedollard@dioceseofmiddlesbrough.co.uk or telephone 01347 868340

You can download the material yourself from www.homeisaholyplace.org.uk or
Follow the link to find copies of the resource material on this website.

If you would like an ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ workshop to explore ideas about becoming more friendly, family-sensitive, welcoming parish communities, please contact Caroline. Hospitality comes from the heart of God, and therefore the work of welcome in our parishes is vital, and there is always room for new ideas!

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