During the month of October across our Polish National Catholic Church we celebrate the Solemnity of the Christian Family. In our culture we see fewer and fewer examples of a Christian Family, praying together and following the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are reminded during this month to strengthen our commitment to our faith and our individual family as well as our parish family.
In the book of Genesis we read about God as the Creator of all things, including the institution of the family. The very basic concept of family defines it as a husband and wife with one or more children. However, we know that this is not always the case in every family situation. For example, some families do not have a mother or a father present; and some families have a husband and wife, but no children. Even in regard to Jesus we realize that Mary is His mother and Joseph is His guardian. The importance of the family in society should not be underestimated, for that is where we learn and develop our basic moral values.
At the Third General Synod of the Polish National Catholic Church in 1914 the delegates instituted the Solemnity of the Christian Family and selected the second Sunday of October to celebrate it. The Solemnity of the Christian Family commemorates the values of the Holy Family and how we should apply these values to our own families. The responsibility of children to respect, honor and love their parents is found in the Bible. It is important for each of us to remember the Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and mother. Love and respect of parents toward their children is also taught many times in Holy Scripture. Parents not only have a responsibility to provide for the physical and material needs of their children, they are entrusted to provide for their spiritual needs as well. The parents are to bring up their children in the Christian faith and should set a good example for the children to follow. Parents are to teach, guide and discipline their children in the love of the Lord. This solemnity reminds us of the importance of mutual love and respect within each Christian family.
Just as an individual family is part of society, the Christian family is part of a parish family, which is part of a larger family called the Church. The individual Christian families and the Church share a common faith in Christ and worship Him. This solemnity also reminds us that the Christian family is built on the foundation of Christ Jesus, our Lord. We become a part of the Christian Family in the Sacrament of Baptism, through which we are united with Christ and become brothers and sisters in Him.
The Church is essential to the Christian family because the family members encounter Christ in the parish community by participating in worship at Holy Mass, receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, hearing the Word of God and receiving the other sacraments.