With the publication of his pastoral letter, “Enriching the Church: The Role of the Family in the Life of the Church of Syracuse and Beyond,” Bishop Robert J. Cunningham announced a special Year of the Family, which began in the diocese on Dec. 3, 2017.

In his letter, Bishop Cunningham reflects on the mission of the modern family — evangelization — and how it can be accomplished by forming an “ecclesia domestica,” a “domestic church.”

“How does the modern family strive to live God’s plan for marriage and family today, namely, by forming a domestic church of their own?” Bishop Cunningham writes. “Allow me to suggest a few time-honored, but very practical, powerful, and effective ways: (1) prayer and worship, (2) formation, (3) community, and (4) service.”

Throughout the Year of the Family, the Diocese of Syracuse and its ministries will focus on each of these pillars and provide resources families can use to build their domestic churches. This week, a look at the ways the Catholic press can help strengthen your domestic Church.

Last February, Greg Erlandson, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, delivered the Cardinal John Foley Lecture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in suburban Philadelphia. “Erlandson suggested Catholic media including television, radio, digital, and print publications may best address the need to form lay Catholics to accept the leadership roles they will increasingly need to take in the church,” reported CatholicPhilly.com, the news website of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“Catholic news and commentary can inform Catholics on the issues of the day by ‘helping them to see reality through Catholic eyes,’ Erlandson said, adding the church ‘needs a voice to tell the stories that are not being told, or not being told well, and it needs a voice to mobilize Catholics….

“‘The regular appearance of a Catholic publication with news, analysis, columns, and features in a virtual or actual mailbox does more to help form more adult Catholics than any other method or tool,’ Erlandson said.”

So how can this very edition of your Catholic Sun help you strengthen the faith of your family?

Prayer and worship. Spend some time each day with the daily readings. You can find this week’s readings on page 15. Dive into Sunday’s Gospel. The Word of the Lord reflection on page 15 may give you a new perspective.

Formation. In his weekly column, Bishop Cunningham focuses on timely issues as well as the timeless truths of our faith. Find his column on page 3. Our rotating cast of columnists offers varied perspectives on aspects of the faith — turn to page 14 to see this week’s offerings.

Community. In this week’s column, Bishop Cunningham notes that the Catholic Sun “is our family newspaper, creating a common bond among the faithful of the seven counties of our diocese” and that it “builds a sense of membership in the universal Church, taking us beyond our parish and diocese.” Every week, the Sun features stories of faith communities in action — turn to page 8 to find out how two linked parishes are lighting the fires of faith, and turn to page 10 to read about a very special member of our faith community.

Service. “A strong Catholic identity is what helps to transform our service into charity, into that which we do to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of others, extending to them an invitation to be a part of God’s Kingdom, a part of Christ’s Body, the Church,” Bishop Cunningham writes in “Enriching the Church.” This week’s cover story highlights eight clergymen who recently were honored for their service to our Catholic schools. On page 7, you’ll see how students at Cathedral Academy at Pompei spent some time in service to women religious — and stay tuned for next week’s issue, which will highlight service projects undertaken by our Catholic school students during Catholic Schools Week.

• Bonus suggestion: Visit thecatholicsun.com and spend some time exploring the archives — you’re guaranteed to find a story that speaks to your heart, informs your mind, and strengthens your soul.

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