Family and Child

Associations of Families for Families


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Four Steps Toward Mental Ease

Posted on July 1, 2017 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

What it all really boils down to is finding the strength to reject the societal norms that have become so prevalent. Here’s how:

1. Get it Out – The first thing you can do is talk to somebody. Make a connection with someone who will be there to support you when your feelings are positive or negative. That’s what real friends are for. There is no reason to feel ashamed by not feeling good all the time. We need to stop acting like it’s not something we all go through. We all experience an entire spectrum of emotions, and real friends will take the good with the bad.

2. Ditch Your Devices – With all the engaging programming on television and online, it is easy to fall into the trap of making best friends with a device. Same goes for social media.  However, these things will never be a substitute for making real personal connections

with real people in real time. This will also keep you away from the steady flow of negative information that is prevalent in our media.

3. Offline Networking – It’s not enough to rely on just one person for mental support—you really need a network of people. Finding or even building a community of people around a shared interest or activity can do wonders to alleviate the feeling of going at it all alone.  Even when the problems are intensely personal, just having people there to refocus your attention on something can make it all seem a little bit easier.

4. Changing Your Diet – All too often, we bury our worries in alcohol or unhealthy foods because these substances make us feel better… but only temporarily. The problems don’t go away. Furthermore, study after study has shown that processed foods and alcohol make our brains less capable of handling the hassles of daily life. Instead, eating a nutrient-rich diet filled with green vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats gives your brain the nutrients it needs to cope and your body the energy it needs to work it off.

( 16 2017 )

For your soul's health

Posted on June 24, 2015 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

We are more than our bodies and bodily appetites. Why ‪#‎Catholics‬ who seriously care for their soul's life may want to consider the monastic kind of retreat I am offering. Contact me at [email protected] for more details.

Fathers who lead their sons

Posted on June 21, 2015 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

It is a sad, sad reality that many if not most fathers do not know how to or fail to relate to their sons as they approach puberty. This issue will be one of many concerns at Families for Families Retreat described on my facebook page. 

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Lesson parents can learn from third graders

Posted on April 28, 2015 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Your children's teacher may know more about your children than you do.

Dad, Mom, How well will your children be prepared for marriage?

Posted on April 9, 2015 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

According to a recent research article:

"Fully 37 percent [of young adults] condemn “sex between adults who have no intention of establishing a relationship.” Another 21 percent think the random, anonymous hook-up might be wrong “depending on circumstances.” So slightly over half of Millennials think that there might be more to sexual morality than “don’t rape people"."  Really?   Read more . . .

Do you think God cares about your self esteem?

Posted on April 7, 2015 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

How’s your self-esteem today? If you’re over 50, you might not have given the matter much thought. If you’re under 40, you’ve probably heard that you should give the matter a great deal of thought. If you’re under 30 — odds are you’ve been urged to think about your self-esteem constantly, because, it is — or so you’ve been told — the source of all other goods. You’ve grown up on cautionary tales about the terrible things that people do as a result of low self-esteem.  Read more . . .

Husbands and Wives Discuss Natural Family Planning

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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Can Christianity Survive the Sexual Revolution?

Posted on March 26, 2015 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Can Christianity Survive the Sexual Revolution?  Man, woman, husband, wife and child define humanity -- how we relate and mirror the creative power and love of God.  The article copied here needs to be studied and its recommendations followed for the sake of society and especially the Catholic Church from whom we receive our lives in Spirit and truth.

Families for Families Principles

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The Ten Principles of Families for Families

Full text of Ten Principles is in the Library Page


Principle One: Liberating Compromised Families

There are many compromised families today trying to balance their lives between two worlds, the here and the now and the world to come. But “No one can serve two masters”, Jesus taught, “He will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [the world].”  (Matthew 6:24). The world would have us serve its mundane, material needs for its own profit and convince us that we must do the same – for money, the “good life” and our own satisfactions and pleasures – with only a passing regard for family, spouses and children. Recognizing the danger of excessive attachment to material goods, John Paul II held that “children must grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere life style and being fully convinced that “man is more precious for what he is than for what he has”: excessive personal attachment and satisfaction from material possessions and sensual pleasures especially food and sex.


Principle Two: Restoring Fundamental Family Values

We need to acknowledge our disorders before we can remedy them.

  •  What’s going on at home?  Family time, conversation and home care?  Or solitary meals, television, internet and calls away from home alone? 
  • What’s going on outside the home?  Family ‘home-work’, family visits and outings? Or individual projects, sports and social activities detached from family? 
  • What’s going on at work?  Employment at regular hours, home-care and the companionship of children?  Or odd working hours, daycare, notes on the frig and sudden cell calls leading to a “degradation of fundamental values” : “independent spouses” . . . and a haphazard “relationship of authority between parents and children.”?


Principle Three: Chastity and Conjugal Love in Marriage

The degrading message that sexual relations should be “safe” free from all consequences and pregnancy pervades commericial media. But trust, fidelity and chastity in marriage are not “a rejection of human sexuality . . . . [but] rather strengthen the “spiritual energy capable of defending love from the perils of selfishness and aggressiveness”. "Such discipline bestows upon family life [the] fruits of serenity and peace and facilitates the solution of other problems; it favors attention for one’s partner, helps both parties to drive out selfishness, the enemy of true love, and deepens their sense of responsibility. By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring”.


Principle Four: Sex Education of Children

“Parents [are] called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education against a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to something commonplace, the body and selfish pleasure” rather than marriage – that “sex is truly and fully personal . . . an enrichment of the whole person – body, emotions and soul . . . leading the person to the gift of self in love . . . where chastity is absolutely essential. Without “home schooling” children in these virtues they are at “risk of becoming more and more depersonalized . . . inhuman and dehumanizing” which incites many kinds of “escapism – alcoholism, drugs and pornography".


Principle Five: Small scale Churches inside the Large scale Church

“The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and radiates” its values to the world. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and in the neighborhood” where they live.


Principle Six: Remote Preparation for Marriage

The best “preparation of young people for marriage and family life” happens inside their own homes. By the grace of their good example parents exercise the greatest influence in preparing their children for marriage more than all others. Considering marriage and a possible spouse’s virtues and character is far more important than the attractiveness and appearance of another. The trust a parent and a child have with each other will be the best ‘silent advice’ a young adult child may receive from his and her parents when contemplating marriage. Adult children naturally compare the people they meet with their own father and mother and the personal sensibilities they have as husband and wife.


Principle Seven: Pastoral Care after Marriage

“Within the church community--the great family made up of Christian families--there will take place a mutual exchange . . . and help among all the families, each putting at the service of others its own experience of life, as well as the gifts of faith and grace. Animated by a true apostolic spirit, their family to family relationships constitute the simplest, most effective kind of family care.


Principle Eight: The Church Community in a Particular Parish

“No plan for organized pastoral work, at any level, must ever fail to take into consideration the pastoral care of the family.” The “lost sheep” in the family of God rarely if ever make an appointment to see a parish priest. As Jesus did they must be met where they are in their families or other settings. Parents and families know where to meet their children and relatives and how to reach them better than strangers. They have the best and perhaps only opportunity to draw them back to the fold with patience, forbearance and their intervention.


Principle Nine: The Family

“Married couples and Christian families have by virtue of the graces they received in the sacraments -- are best suited for building up the Church.  Married before God they are empowered to lead their families by the witness of their lives in conformity with the divine law, through the Christian formation of children, through helping them to maturity in faith, through education to chastity, through preparation for life, through vigilance in protecting them from ideological and moral dangers, through their responsible inclusion in the church and civil communities, through their help and advice in choosing a vocation, through their mutual help of family members for human and Christian growth together and through their works of spiritual and material charity towards other families including the poor, the sick, the old, the handicapped, orphans, widows, spouses who have been abandoned, unmarried mothers and mothers-to-be in difficult situations.


Principle Ten: Associations of Families for Families

“Associations of Families for Families” accept the “task to foster among the faithful a lively sense of solidarity, to favor a manner of living inspired by the Gospel and by the faith of the Church, to form consciences according to Christian values and not according to the standards of public opinion; to stimulate people to perform works of charity for one another and for others with a spirit of openness which will make Christian families into a true source of light and a wholesome leaven for other families.”


Conclusion and Summary

Saint John Paul II summed up his motives for building “Associations of Families for Families” -- because “the future of humanity passes by way of the family”.


“There are countless people who cannot in any sense claim membership in what could be called in the proper sense a family.” These include those who live “in extreme poverty”, in “promiscuity, lack of housing” and “irregular relationships and extreme lack of education. There are others [those] who, for various reasons, have been left alone in the world. And yet for all of these people there exists a ‘good news of the family’.” “For those who have no natural family the doors of the great family which is the Church . . . a home and family for everyone, especially those who “labor and are heavy burdened.”


The “Care of the Family in Difficult Cases” requires special care: “ideologically divided” families, “mixed marriages of non-Catholic spouses”, “trial or cohabiting couples”, couples married outside the Church and separated and divorced Catholics who have remarried. A priest should be consulted in such cases.



Letter of Introduction

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Family and is a Christian Catholic resource for families, for advice and help among families, parents and children and guidance in building local "Associations of Families" inspired by Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation, "Familiaris Consortio" (The Community of Families).

As a Catholic priest I will help parents and children "beset by the many profound and rapid changes that have affected society and culture" which Saint John Paul II described in his Apostolic Exhortation especially families who are "uncertain and bewildered over their role or even doubtful and almost unaware of the ultimate meaning and truth of conjugal and family life."  All inquiries are important if for no other reason than they are your concerns. 

This effort is a "work in progress" for me and for all who chose to engage in this exchange which includes, one, articles for discourse and commentary, two, an open forum for questions and answers and, three, research studies and recommended reading.

As time and schedule dictate I will meet with families who want to form an Association of Families which I have already begun doing.  Use the "contact" form to reach me.


Father Tom Bartolomeo

Founder and editor

Speech by Mother Teresa at the National Prayer Breakfast

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Mother Teresa's Prayers & Comments at the National Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C.

February 3, 1994

On the elderly in nursing homes

I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them - maybe. I saw that in that home these old people had everything - good food, comfortable place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on the face. I turned to Sister and I asked: "Why do these people who have every comfort here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?"

I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile. And Sister said: "This is the way it is nearly every day. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried. Are we there? Are we there to be with them, or do we merely put them in the care of others? Are we willing to give until it hurts in order to be with our families, or do we put our own interests first? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, especially as we begin this year of the family. We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that "the future of humanity passes through the family."

On Natural Family Planning

The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily. I also know that there are great problems in the world - that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning. We cannot solve all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love. And this is what happens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion.

On Chastity

The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and said: "You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other." And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.

On Abortion

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

On Generosity

I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said: "Mother Teresa, there is a family who have not eaten for so long. Do something." So I took some rice and went there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shining with hunger. I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did you go? What did you do?" And she gave me a very simple answer: "They are hungry also." What struck me was that she knew - and who are they? A Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and Muslims, to enjoy the joy of sharing.

But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts. And you see this is where love begins - at home in the family. So, as the example of this family shows, God will never forget us and there is something you and I can always do. We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our hearts, and share that joy with all we come in contact with.


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