Diocesan News

Holy Family Consecration

Knights of Columbus lead Beatrice parish in ‘Faith in Action’ program

BEATRICE (SNR) - Families at St. Joseph Parish in Beatrice participated in the Knights of Columbus initiative of “Consecration to the Holy Family” March 19, the solemnity of St. Joseph.

The Holy Family Consecration dedicates one’s family to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council recommended programs are found in the “Faith in Action” manual. Father Barnhill, a former director of the diocesan Family Life Office and pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Beatrice, recognized the value of the Holy Family Consecration initiative.

“The Knights have created a foundational model in the consecration program,” he said. “With the printed material and structure already available, I found some additional reflections and created a timeline for families or couples to follow.”

Holy Family Consecration begins with serious and mindful preparation for at least a week prior to the consecration. Father Barnhill said this is a major aspect of this program. He chose the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, March 19, which is the parish feast day.

The parish began preparations March 10 with novena prayers to St. Joseph. Father Barnhill noted that participants may also use the “Consecration to the Holy Family Prayer Card” in advance of the Act of Consecration.

“The family should pray together each day for the week before the consecration,” he said.

Families also chose to fast for one week leading up to the consecration from a food item, from social media time, or  from screen time or television time.

Sister Marcia of the Schoenstatt Community came to Beatrice March 13 to speak to couples.

The sacrament of penance was also strongly encouraged before the consecration day.

Finally, Father Barnhill explained, some families chose to make their Consecration to the Holy Family by reciting the prayer Sunday, March 17 after the weekend parish Mass. Other couples and families chose the parish feast day, March 19 for their consecration prayer.

Father Barnhill compiled six suggested practices to strengthen family life from a pastoral letter by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix entitled, “Complete My Joy.” Bishop Olmsted, a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, was ordained a bishop in Wichita, Kan. in 1999. He has served as Bishop of Phoenix since 2003.

Keeping the Lord’s Day holy
A Catholic family prioritizes Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy as the height of the week, Father Barnhill said, and outlined suggestions: Make Sunday Mass attendance a non-negotiable when planning the family calendar; Dress for Mass to reflect the solemnity of the occasion; Arrive at Mass early to honor the Lord, in whose house we are guests; Show reverence to Jesus, present in the tabernacle, by genuflecting with love and honor; Participate actively in the Mass by prayerful silence, singing and speaking the responses with conviction and fervor and inviting your children to do the same.

Monthly confession
Parents are responsible for leading the whole family to the Sacrament of Penance. Bishop Olmsted wrote, “I can think of few other things you can do for children that would have a more lasting positive effect in their lives, and bring peace to your home.”

Daily family meal (as often as possible)
Father Barnhill pointed out that a social study found the regular family meal to be the number-one habit that led to children’s success in school.

A meal should be as unrushed as possible so that real encounters happen between parents and children.

“Families need to disconnect from the world’s pace, be present to one another and break bread together,” Father Barnhill said.

Time together as spouses
The family spiritual plan necessitates a regular time away, or a form of consistent time alone together as spouses. As spouses, time away from household tasks and children is a fundamental source of renewal for one’s marriage.

Bishop Olmsted wrote, “The type of time away is less important than the commitment to it; spousal loneliness, which is common in marriage, is denied a foothold as you nurture the love you committed at the altar.”

Bishop Olmsted suggested adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a couple, and an annual retreat as spouses.

Establish boundaries for technology in the home
“No one can be naïve to the reality that technology can bring about harm and even great evil to our homes,” Father Barnhill said. Pornography, violence, profanity, endless ideologies and angry political material are readily available at the palm of a child’s hands.

Some families do not allow television and computers to be placed in private rooms, but only in spaces that are more public. Some have set specific times or curfews for the use of portable devices. Parents know their children better than anyone else and must make those choices.

“Be knowledgeable of the addictive nature of electronic devices,” Father Barnhill instructed. “Don’t let your plan for spiritual life be undermined or even sabotaged due to lack of boundaries and family guidelines.”

Consecration of the home to Mary
As bishop of Phoenix, Bishop Olmsted places importance of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico: a story of faith, obedience, Mary’s intercession and God’s grace. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of America. This sixth practice of family spirituality is consecrating your home to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Practically, this begins with placing an image of Mary in a special place in the home. As pastor, Father Barnhill offered to bless Marian images while blessing homes.

The Holy Family Consecration Prayer can also be the formal dedication (consecration) of the family and their home.

Following the consecration, the Knights of Columbus initiative suggests to “celebrate the consecration!” This consecration holds lasting impacts, Father Barnhill said.

“Although the time of preparation has ended and consecration has occurred, devotion to the Holy Family continues,” he encouraged. “Strive to resemble their ideal model of a loving family.”

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