|The new Familia web site is full of user-friendly features.|
February 24, 2009. Have you ever wondered what more you could
do to be a better wife and mother, or a
better husband and father? Familia USA is an apostolate
that can connect you to the resources and mentors you
need to grow and develop in your specific vocation as
a spouse and parent.
Built around small-group studies of Catholic
teachings on marriage, parenting, and family life, Familia USA has
already proven its effectiveness at transforming lives, marriages, and
Now it can offer even more help with a
new and improved web site full of resources that can
meet the needs of first-time visitors, participants, and program facilitators.
The redesigned site went live on January 20 with expanded
content, audio clips and conferences, new navigational tools, and interactive
training for people who are interested in leading study groups.
Content and Tools
"The new site has a one-stop portal for
marriage enrichment resources, as well as wide-ranging tools for leadership
training, program updates, conference centers, and our fundraising program,” said
Jean Stolpestad, project coordinator for Familia.
For new participants who want
to find out where the nearest Familia team is located,
the “find a team” locator instantly connects visitors to
their local contact, making it easier to connect and communicate.
parents who wonder how to get their squirming children to
get something out of Sunday Mass, the free download “Next Sunday Ideas” is a practical solution. Each download offers
a simple lesson on next Sunday’s Gospel passage, games and
projects to apply the lesson, and a brief story of
one of the saints who lived the week’s virtue with
style. The games and projects do not require any special
materials beyond what is ordinarily found in the home.
to take a first peek at what a Familia lesson
is all about? Interested visitors can now preview the first
lesson of every program. The web site also has an
expanded resource library providing quick and direct access to a
variety of resources.
For Familia facilitators and leaders, there are formation
packages offering deeper levels of formation and support materials.
resource links connect visitors to other tried-and-true family sites.
Familia was created in 1993 when a group of
couples saw the deep need to create an apostolate at
the service of marriage and family. Under the guidance of
the Legionaries of Christ, they worked with a team of
theologians and experts to develop a curriculum for small-group study
based on the Gospel, the Catechism, and papal documents.
|The study circles are adapted to the needs of spouses, mothers, and fathers.|
past 15 years, the apostolate has reached over 30,000 families.
There are currently 8,000 registered participants in 10 programs.
has been highly successful in transforming the lives of its
participants because it creates a kind of “virtuous circle” that
engages the mind, heart, and will.
“The curriculum was developed
to help the message go from the head to the
heart to real life,” said Karen Sester, a national director
of Familia along with her husband Todd.
“First, they discover a
concept intellectually by reading and reflecting on the Gospel, the
Catechism, and the teachings of the Church,” she said. “By
discussing it and seeing it lived out in the lives
of their teammates and mentors, they start to value it.
And then they start living it in their own lives.
Once they start living it, their conviction deepens, and then
they want to share it with other couples.”
From learning an
idea to valuing, living, and then sharing it, the virtuous
circle is complete. And it is no surprise that conversions
are the result.
Lives Transformed, Stories Shared
One couple that experienced this
“virtuous circle” was Trent and Cheryl Carlson, whose marriage
was on the rocks when they met Familia. It was
through Familia that they came to embrace the Church’s teachings
on life and realized that Trent’s vasectomy was undermining their
marriage. With the support of their Familia friends, they decided
to go forward with a vasectomy reversal. Since then, they
have had three additional children and their commitment to the
Church’s teachings on life became so deep that they spent
a year speaking in parishes to share their testimony with
Another woman found that her years of participating in
Familia had given her the strength and the faith to
accept the death of her 11-year-old daughter from cancer. Thanks
to her newfound faith, which she had passed on to
her daughter, she was able to accompany her daughter through
a holy and peaceful death. After this experience, she felt
called to share her testimony with others as a speaker,
so that her story could help other parents who were
struggling with the early death of one of their children.
there are also cases of conversions. One woman decided to
repeal her divorce papers after just four sessions of her
first program. Another man came to his third Familia session
with news of a radical change: he and his family
had begun attending Sunday Mass again, all because of the
previous week’s Gospel reflection and discussion.
When asked why Familia
has been so effective at changing lives, Karen Sester said,
“It all hinges on the facilitators being well prepared, well
formed, and ready to love and mentor the participants.”
this new web site is so important,” she said. “It
will give the facilitators access to consistent resources that will
help them to serve their teams even better.”
Find out more
about how Familia can help you strengthen your own marriage
and family by visiting the web site at www.familiausa.net.