Every member of my church lives in one building. We live together, day by day, under the same roof, in our sacred house of worship … and it isn’t always easy.
The others living with me in my church often have their own ideas on how our church should function. As church members, we often have to work through our differences and agree to compromise. Sometimes, our household conflicts have to be resolved by executive decision of the church leadership.
The church I’m referring to is the domestic church, the church of my family, the church of our Christian home. I lead "my church family" together with my wife Belinda. The members of our church are the three wonderful children we care for as we live out our vocation as a married couple.
The concept of domestic church dates back to our earliest tradition. After the Ascension, the faithful began to assemble in house churches, with families forming the basis of each community. Since the first believers began to gather in faith, the family has been the primary source of Christian love and support, faith and forgiveness.
Several documents of the Second Vatican Council reintroduced this conventional understanding. In Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) the council restored the ancient concept of the family church: "The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children."
In Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) the council identified the family as the most basic unit of our church, and declared that nurturing healthy families is vital to our individual happiness and communal well-being.
Like "my church family" all living together under one roof, every Christian family is a domestic church.