“The Church is the family of God’s children, and God wants every family to be a beacon of the joy of his love in our world.“ ~ Pope Francis
Finding Joy With Each Other
2713 West Chestnut Ave., Altoona, PA 16601
Andre McCarville, Director
Dotty Caminiti, Office Coordinator
Maureen Roberts, Administrative Assistant
Ages and Stages of Families
enriched and served
by Family Life Ministry
We serve parishes and families of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese:
Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset.
- Single Parent
- Young Children
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Family Spirituality
- YOUR FAMILY!
Scheduled Family Life Programs and Resources:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – (814) 317-2647
April 30 – May 2, 2021
A free conference on the theology of the body, from the Theology of the Body Institute. Available worldwide between Friday, April 30 @ 12:00 PM and Sunday, May 2 @ midnight.
9 Days for Life is a novena for the protection of human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.
The hectic and busy lives of people easily lead them into a situation of over-looking or forgetting those who cannot keep the same pace–those with intellectual disabilities–by accident or from birth. Faith & Light is a faith sharing group which includes family members, caregivers and friends of persons with intellectual disabilities. Meetings are held at the Family Life Office with activities held throughout the diocese.
Available to borrow:
Can be sent via mail
FAMILIES AND THE GOSPEL
Reflections on the Sunday Reading
~Used with permission from “Family Perspective” by Bud Ozar
“One gets the impression there was always a lot of sharing, discussion and learning during the many meals Jesus and the disciples ate together. How does this compare to the meals in your home? Today’s gospel challenges us to make our meals more than physical functions and more a time for sharing.”
“In today’s gospel Jesus commands, ‘Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you.’ This command is meant for every Christian. In light of this command, parenting is not only the most difficult task a person can take on, it is also one of the most apostolic and missionary tasks. Jesus commands all parents to teach their children ‘all that I have commanded you.’ “
“Today, on Pentecost, we remember Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in raising our family and he expects us to use this personal gift. Let us turn-off the noise, apps, and distractions in our lives and let the Holy Spirit ‘guide us to the truth.’ “
“Jesus was worried about His disciples and He turned to prayer. No matter how much time we spent trying to ‘guard and protect’ our children, each day they become less dependent on us and we must let go and let God. Prayer and parenting go together.”
“As Jesus appointed apostles, he also appoints parents to represent Him in the family; ‘make disciples of your children, baptizing and teaching them all I have taught you. Don’t worry, I am with you always.’ “
May 9, 2021 – Sixth Sunday of Easter/Mother’s Day (John 15:9-17)
“Today’s gospel challenges us to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Jesus is our model and he asks us to ‘lay down our life’ (our time, attention, opinions, and needs) for each other. This is the sacrament of the family, when God is made visible in our sacrificial love for one another.”
“The words of Jesus in today’s gospel, ‘Abide in me,’ are appropriate on a day we honor mothers because there is a special bond connecting mothers and their children, extending beyond birth and death. They will always ‘abide’ in each other. It’s a lasting presence.”
May 2, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Easter (John 15:1-8)
“Like the vine grower in today’s gospel, parents must ‘prune and cleanse’ the branches in their family if their children are going to be rooted. Discipline, limits, and setting goals are a necessary part of parenting so our children will grow and ‘bear fruit.’ “
April 25, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Easter (John 10:11-18)
“Today’s gospel is a job description for Christian parents. For most people the most influential shepherds in their lives are their parents. Every parent is called to be a ‘good shepherd’ to ‘freely lay down their life’ for their children, to ‘love’ and ‘know’ their children and to ‘lead’ them so ‘they know your voice.’ “
April 18, 2021 – Third Sunday of Easter (Luke 24:35-48)
“The apostles were afraid of Jesus until he ate with them and they touched him. In your family, the ordinary acts of eating together, touching, embracing not only confirm our love for each other, but also celebrate God’s presence in your family. These ‘ordinary’ moments contain the ‘Extraordinary.’ “
April 11, 2021 – Divine Mercy Sunday (John 20:19-31)
“In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.’ Accepting someone as they are, without demanding they prove themselves or meet our expectations, creates a rich relationship. Without acceptance, a home is only a house and a family is just a group of housemates.”
April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday (John 20:1-9)
“That first Easter morning was confusing. Jesus was missing and Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John ‘did not know’ what to do. In family life, there are confusing moments when ‘we don’t know’ what to do. Like the apostles, we are Easter people when we believe and trust in each other even when all seems lost.”
March 28, 2021 – Passion (Palm) Sunday (Mark 14:1-15:47)
“The Passion of Jesus makes it clear, no one escapes suffering. Suffering is inevitable, but no one should suffer alone. That is one of the primary roles of families, to stand with and support each other in suffering.”
March 21, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Lent (John 12:20-33)
“Relationships come with a price tag. We must be willing to entrust ourselves to another, to let go of our autonomy and die to our independence. It is in dying to our independence that we find interdependence with others.”
March 14, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Lent (John 3:14-21)
“Today’s gospel speaks of light and darkness. Often a parent is deliberately ‘left in the dark.’ Darkness can be comforting for it makes no demands on us. Light can be disturbing for it forces us to act. Parents walk a delicate balance of when to ‘sit in the dark’ and when to ‘turn on the lights.’ “
March 7, 2021 – Third Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25)
“Today’s gospel says Jesus chased the merchants out of the temple. It does not say He was angry. Jesus teaches us to act from conviction and not from anger. He did not condemn the merchants, only their business practice. Attack the behavior and not the person.”
February 28, 2021 – Second Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10)
“The apostles thought they knew Jesus, but when He changed in front of them at the Transfiguration, they were ‘afraid.’ In families, we cannot freeze relationships because change and growth are inevitable. Children grow up, parents grow old, and spouses change. Transfigurations are all around and within us. Relationships can only grow when we embrace the new and let go of the old.”
February 21, 2021 – First Sunday of Lent (Mark 1:12-15)
“Jesus went into the desert to put his life in perspective. This Lent, take a fresh look at a difficult relationship in your life. Concentrate on the positive things that person does, not just the negatives. Try to understand why their behaviors ‘bug’ you. Can you honestly share your feelings with them without attacking them? Make Lent a time to mend and forgive.”
February 14, 2021 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:40-45)
“Family life is about decisions. The leper in today’s gospel knew this when he said to Jesus, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Jesus knew this when He said, ‘I do will it.’ Love is not an emotion. It is a decision to be with and for another person in ‘good times and bad,’ even when we don’t feel like it.”
February 7, 2021 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:29-39)
“In today’s gospel, Jess went to the ‘house of Andrew and Simon’ to relax but discovered that Simon’s mother-in-law was very ill. Like Jesus, we come home to relax, but are confronted with problems. Take a tip from Andrew and Simon who ‘told Jesus about it at once.’ “
January 31, 2021 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:21-28)
“Today’s gospel reminds us ‘unclean spirits’ still haunt our families. These ‘spirits’ thrive inside our grudges, punishing silence, impatience, and abruptness. Today, Jesus offers you the ‘authority’ to cast out these spirits from your life and your family.”
January 24, 2021 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:14-20)
“It must have been difficult for Zebedee to watch his sons walk away and follow Jesus. It was the end of ‘Zebedee and Sons Fishing, Inc.’ Our children were never ours. They are only on loan to us. We raise them to let them go.”
January 17, 2021 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 1:35-42)
“Jesus’ question in today’s gospel is still valid today: ‘What are you looking for?’ What do you want from your spouse, children, or parents? Families are populated with imperfect people. To expect perfection is unreal. To expect and accept imperfection is wisdom.”
January 10, 2021 – The Baptism of the Lord (Mark 1:7–11)
“The gospel today points to Jesus’ humanity; like us He needed recognition (‘You are my Son’), affection (‘My Beloved Son’), and affirmation (‘With you I am well pleased.’). In our families, it is easy to focus on irritating behaviors and take for granted all the positives. This New Year, take a lesson from God the Father, be an affirmer and not a blamer.”
January 3, 2021 – Epiphany Sunday
“The Magi in today’s gospel were led to Jesus by a star. Who are the stars your children follow? Do not let it be the tabloid stars. Resolve in this New Year to be the guiding star in the life of your children.”
Helpful Links to Family Situations:
Publications for purchase from the Family Life Office:
Practical and spiritual ideas for grieving persons and families. Focuses on grieving as a normal process of healing. Section with questions for individual reflection or group discussion. 55 page booklet.
Out of the Darkness into the Dawn: A Journey Through Grief Booklet
Ideal guide for families and individuals in search of spiritual and festive home practices. Contains traditions, activities, home rituals, and holiday legends from Thanksgiving to Epiphany. 53 page booklet.
Holiday Spirituality in the Home: Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas Booklet
Ideal guide for families and individuals in search of spiritual home practices focusing on the Lent and Easter seasons. Contains popular traditions, rituals, and devotional activities. 40 page booklet.
A Change of Heart: Lent and Easter at Home Booklet
This ministry attempts to reach out to families who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or early fetal death by providing them with spiritual tools to help them to grieve their child.
Heaven's Treasure Box
~ Parent resource for married and single parents, Catholic and Christian interfaith couples, parents already strong in their faith practice and those wondering where to begin.
Parent resource for Baby’s First Year “Passing on the Faith”
Sequel to Passing on the Faith: Baby’s First Year.