Change can elicit a wide range of emotions—excitement, sadness,
fear and a number of others. Every day we deal with change
in our lives.
This month, we at St. Anthony Messenger are making
some changes. After 40 years, Mary Lynne Rapien, author of
the “Between Youth and Me” column, is retiring. Rather than
try to re-create the magic with which Mary Lynne filled each
of her columns, we have decided to start anew.
These pages will now be devoted to Catholic families and
the issues with which they deal, such as what certain Catholic
traditions mean and how to celebrate them with your children,
what it means to be a family or helping your kids get the
most out of Mass. Basically, the main purpose of this column
is to help reinforce Catholic culture at home.
In addition to those types of topics, we’ll also talk about
current issues such as how to combat violence and promote
peace, ways to take back our family time and how to teach
Some months we’ll offer discussion questions, other months
will see us offering a special recipe or project.
But even though we are starting something new, some things
will stay the same. For instance, “Pete and Repeat” will continue
to challenge you every month on these very pages.
And we’ll still have something for the younger age-groups
with a kids’ section. We will also have a section targeted
to teens. Both will offer information on that month’s topic
specifically geared toward those age-groups.
Writing From the Heart
Perhaps you’re wondering who I am and what my interest is
in writing this column. Well, first and foremost, I’m a mom
to two-year-old Madison. I am also, however, an aunt to seven
nieces and nephews (Edward, Mary, Samantha, Rex, Rosie, Russell
and Lucy) and godmother of two. My husband, Mark, and I have
been married for six years. And I have been an assistant editor
for this magazine for seven years.
As to why I am writing this column, I guess the best way
to explain it is that I have a passion for this topic, especially
since I had my daughter. I was raised Catholic and attended
Catholic school from elementary school through college, so
Catholic faith and tradition have always been a constant in
my family and my life. I remember my mom always saying that
our family could get through most anything with faith. I always
believed her and things almost always seemed to work out.
That strong faith tradition is what I want to pass on to my
daughter. But as I have found in the past two years, it’s
not always easy. Some things I forget, others I guess I just
never truly understood—at least not enough to explain them
I often find myself struggling with ways to celebrate the
many faith traditions I recall from my own childhood and what
they meant. (Exactly when and why did we put up the Jesse
tree?) In discussions with others, I was pleasantly surprised
to find that I was not the only one in this boat. And so,
an idea for this column was born.
The Importance of Families
The family has always been an important part of the Catholic
faith. Twenty years ago this November, Pope John Paul II invoked
the Holy Family as an example of the day-to-day joys and challenges
of family life: “Through God’s mysterious design, it was in
that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden
life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian
families. It was unique in the world. Its life was passed
in anonymity and silence in a little town in Palestine. It
underwent trials of poverty, persecution and exile. It glorified
God in an incomparably exalted and pure way. And it will not
fail to help Christian families—indeed, all the families in
the world—to be faithful to their day-to-day duties, to bear
the cares and tribulations of life, to be open and generous
to the needs of others, and to fulfill with joy the plan of
God in their regard.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also emphasizes
the importance of families, calling them “the community in
which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to
honor God and make good use of freedom. Family life is an
initiation into life in society” (2207).
And so in light of that long-standing tradition of the Catholic
faith, I welcome you and your families to St. Anthony Messenger’s
newest column. I look forward to meeting you here each month,
and hope you will share your questions, experiences, concerns
and suggestions with me. Send them to me at “Faith-filled
Family,” 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45210 or e-mail
me at Family@franciscanmedia.org.
Next Month: The Christian Connection With Halloween