Couples seeking ongoing formation for marriage and parenting may find an answer in Catholic Households on Mission.
Before their weddings, Catholic couples are required to attend various kinds of premarital counseling and classes. The requirements vary by diocese, but most couples do some kind of formation for at least six months.
After the wedding, however, there’s not much ongoing formation to be found. Many couples feel lost and adrift in the early years of marriage and parenting, and wish the Church offered some kind of classes or coaching to guide them through these important and challenging transitions.
Now an ongoing formation program exists for those needing help, available not only to engaged couples but also to couples at all stages. CatholicHOM (Households on Mission) is an online platform for Catholic marriage and family formation, available for a monthly subscription fee. And yes, there’s an app.
“CatholicHOM provides parents with creative, comprehensive marriage and family-building resources and ongoing, personalized professional coaching to help all types of families draw closer to God, their faith, and each other,” said Dr. Gregory Popcak in an interview with Aleteia.
Besides being the founder of CatholicHOM, Popcak is a psychotherapist, speaker, and author of over a dozen books integrating the Catholic faith with practical advice. He is the founder and director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute and hosts the nationally syndicated Catholic radio advice program, More2Life, with his wife, Lisa.
“CatholicHOM is the antidote to today’s culture,” Popcak said. “Every day, we’re giving Catholic families the resources, faithful support, and encouraging community they need to rediscover their confidence, discover new ways to encounter Christ at home, and raise the next generation of intentional disciples. If that’s what you want for your family. CatholicHOM is here to walk with you.”
Only 15% of kids raised in Catholic homes become faithful Catholic adults, Popcak continued, citing a recent study his organization did with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. The Popcaks strongly felt a new approach was needed.
They later worked with the OSV Institute, the McGrath Institute for Church Life, and Holy Cross Family Ministries to organize the Notre Dame Symposium on Catholic Family Life and Spirituality in 2019.
“A completely new approach to family spirituality and family ministry” came from this event. Called the Liturgy of Domestic Church Life, it has the following aims:
- Teaching families how to experience God more meaningfully at home
- Presenting family life as a little way of holiness that draws families closer to God and each other
- Showing families how to use their gifts to be a blessing to others so that they can learn how to be dynamic “domestic churches,” outposts of grace in a hurting world
- Turning each Catholic family into a ministry capable of being God’s blessing in the world
“It’s a powerful approach to living the faith at home that literally every type of Catholic family (traditional, blended, single parent, etc.) can do regardless of their ethnic or cultural background,” Popcak said.
How does CatholicHOM work in practice, and what makes it unique? Here is our conversation with Gregory Popcak.
Who is CatholicHOM for?
CatholicHOM was created to support couples and families at every stage. It’s for any Catholic household that wants to experience God’s love more perfectly at home.
Engaged couples can go through our Theology of the Body Based Catholic Vision of Love pre-marriage program and learn how to build a solid, faithful Catholic household from the ground up. Married couples without children can take advantage of our online marriage retreat and marriage-building resources. All types of families with children of all ages can go through our fun, professionally animated CatholicHOM Foundations Course to discover how they learn to love God and each other more deeply, connect more meaningfully and care for each other more generously. Grandparents can use our resources to share the faith with their grandchildren when they visit. And all members can take advantage of the ongoing, personalized, coaching services provided by my team of trained pastoral counselors. All of these resources are included in the subscription price.
What is unique about CatholicHOM compared to other parenting resources available?
CatholicHOM is all about relationships, community, and accompaniment. We have tons of resources (videos, downloadable activities, podcasts, courses, etc.) but that’s really not the point. The point of the app is to build a vibrant community of faithful families who are capable of living the Catholic vision of love at home and sharing that vision with the world.
My team of pastoral family life coaches works hard to build a relationship with each family that joins; responding to their questions, suggesting resources, and shepherding them through the challenges they face. From there, subscribing families start learning to support each other by sharing their successes and struggles, praying for each other, and encouraging each other wherever they are in their faith and family journey. Finally, when families start seeing the benefits of CatholicHOM, they start looking for ways to create faith and family Sharing Groups in their parishes and homes using the CatholicHOM resources.
CatholicHOM is a wrap-around, comprehensive family formation platform that is capable of supporting all types of families wherever they are in the faith or family journey.
Do you have any favorite stories to share about how CatholicHOM works in practical situations in family homes?
There are almost too many to list. Just the other day a family shared how their child, who said he hated prayer, started actively participating in family prayer after they got some tips from our Family Life Coaches. Another family with kids from 15-5 shared how all their kids started talking about ways they could work together to be a more loving family after they watched our animated CatholicHOM Foundations Course videos together. Another mom shared how her husband, who hasn’t been willing to discuss faith at home, has started allowing her and their kids to pray over him every day. Yet another member said that after getting tips from our coaches and listening to one of the CatholicHOM podcasts, she resolved a discipline issue she’d been having with her 10-year-old. And a grandmother shared how she’s discovering ways to make sharing her faith fun when she watches her grandkids.
We did a poll of our members, and 85% said that they experienced significant positive changes in the quality of their family life and their ability to celebrate their faith at home in as little as two weeks.