Building Your Domestic Church: Family Prayer

“Parents desirous of nurturing the faith of their children are sensitive to their patterns of growth, for they know that spiritual experience is not imposed but freely proposed. It is essential that children actually see that, for their parents, prayer is something truly important. Hence moments of family prayer and acts of devotion can be more powerful for evangelization than any catechism class or sermon.”
-Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia #288

Upcoming Events

Holy Family Prayer

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love;
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience
violence, rejection and division;
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.


-Pope Francis, December 2013

Prayer for Families

We bless your name, O Lord,
for sending your own incarnate Son,
to become part of a family,
so that, as he lived its life,
he would experience its worries and its joys.

We ask  you, Lord,
to protect and watch over this family,
so that in the strength of your grace
its members may enjoy prosperity,
possess the priceless gift of your peace,
and, as the Church alive in the home,
bear witness in this world to your glory.

We ask this thought Christ our Lord.

—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

Practical Tips for Praying Together as a Family

  • Model and discuss spirituality at home as much as possible.  Children will always take appropriate cues from parents who are engaged in their own faith lives.
  • Celebrate milestones and everyday moments with prayer. Offer blessings over family members on birthdays, baptismal anniversaries, marriage anniversaries but also for everyday moments – like before big tests, games, when family members get sick, etc. A great resource for this is Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers.
  • Incorporate the liturgical calendar into the family calendar. Are there any feast days that are special to your family?  Consider changing table or home décor to reflect different liturgical seasons and/or offering special Advent, Lenten or Easter prayers every Sunday night of that season.  Consider creating liturgical decorations (such as Advent wreaths) with children.  Try Catholic Mom, Teaching Catholic Kids, Catholic Icing, Catholic Sprouts, or A Catholic Mom’s Life for more suggestions on how to live liturgically as a Catholic family.
  • Create prayer habits when the family always prays together, such as prayer before meals or prayer before bedtime. These prayers may look different for each family, but the routine and consistency are key.  The message is that God is always with us, and we are always thankful for Him.
  • Attend a family retreat together. Our Diocese is blessed to have Whispering Winds Catholic Camp & Conference Center, which offers annual family retreats during the summer and a variety of family-friendly activities throughout the year.

Praying with Toddlers and Preschoolers

For young children, it is important to expose them to the rhythms of family prayer.  Try to pray at consistent times (such as before meals or bedtime) so that the children understand that this is part of your family’s routine.  Pope Francis talks about the importance of stories in family prayer and it is important to remember that children have an innate capacity for stories.  Gift your children brightly illustrated Bibles and read them stories about the saints.  Help young children at mass by sharing the week’s Gospel story in your own words.  Trust that the Holy Spirit and their own imagination will carry their prayers.

Praying with Elementary School Children

Pope Francis also speaks about the importance of prayerful actions.  Children are encouraged to participate in faith formation programs and children’s liturgy at your parish.  This is also a good age to begin service-learning; consider having your family participate in a volunteer project together.  This is a great age range for biblical exploration, consider reading a familiar story such as the “Good Samaritan” or the “Multiplication of the Loaves & Fishes.” Have the children close their eyes and pretend that they are in the story.  Ask them what they see, hear, smell, etc.  What does Jesus say to them?  Teach your children the rosary or other basic Catholic prayers and offer them together as a family.

Praying with Adolescents and Teenagers

This is the age where they are beginning to explore their own ways of living their faith.  Encourage them to spend time with their parish youth group and form relationships with their youth minister and peers at the parish.  If they start to share doubts or question their faith, engage with them honestly and offer to learn the answers together if you do not know them.  Have thoughtful conversations with them about Confirmation and the intentionality that this sacrament entails.  Continue to pray and serve together as a family.

Adult Spirituality

For information regarding adult spirituality, please see our Adult Spiritual Formation page with additional resources.


Wendy Baez
Associate Director
Phone: (858) 490-8295
wbaezEmail at
Janelle Peregoy
Associate Director, Separated and Divorced Ministry
Phone: (858) 490-8292
jperegoyEmail at
Vivian Toscano
Administrative Assistant
Phone: (858) 490-8299
vtoscanoEmail at