Dear Christian families, proclaim joyfully to the whole world the wonderful treasure which you, as domestic churches, possess! Christian couples, in your communion of life and love, in your mutual self-giving and in your generous openness to children, become, in Christ, the light of the world. The Lord asks you daily to be like a lamp which does not remain hidden, but is put "on a stand, and ... gives light to all in the house" (Mt 5:15). - Pope St. John Paul II,
Address to Families, January, 2003
Evangelization begins in the home.
Parents, “by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, no. 11) Not only are parents the “first heralds”, but they are the primary educators of the faith to their children. No other person has as much positive influence over their children’s’ life of faith as their parents. When parents vibrantly live their faith with confidence and trust, their children learn to hope and trust in God through their example. Parents teach their children to live virtuous lives by modeling the virtuous behavior, and when they fall short parents can help the children understand mercy by seeking mercy themselves from God and those they have hurt.
As families of faith we must continue to foster home environments of vibrant faith, generous hospitality, and loving service to one another. Families are uniquely qualified to be evangelizers to those family members, neighbors, and friends who have fallen away from faith. We must always be ready and willing to “give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Pt 3:15).