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Prayer as Recipe for Holier Families: Bishop Proposes Practical Tips

AMARILLO, Texas, JAN. 28th 2007 (
Prayer topped the list of several practical tips for strengthening the Catholic family that the bishop of Amarillo offered in a recent pastoral letter.

In the letter released this month, Bishop John Yanta suggested that families should go to Sunday Mass or pray the rosary together, but added that "minimum family prayer might begin with family meals together praying."

The bishop reminded parents of their responsibility to teach their children to pray. "No Catholic child," he said, "should be enrolled in a Catholic school or CCD program who doesn't already know by heart how to recite the Sign of the Cross, Our Father, and Hail Mary."

Bishop Yanta also warned parents to not make the mistake of asking their children what they want to be when they grow up, but rather to teach them to ask what God wants of them.

"Parents should remember and teach that the first calling of the Christian and Catholic is to follow Christ," he said.

The bishop said God "has a special love for every human person and a special plan for each of us."

"So the question becomes," he said, "What do you think God wants you to be in your life?"

Doing the will of God, Bishop Yanta wrote, is "the shortcut to holiness."

"You can avoid a lot of grief in life by simply surrendering to God's plan and do his holy will all the time," he added.

He gave as an example the Virgin Mary who "thought it was God's plan to marry Joseph; but God showed her a different plan. Mary changed her original plans and Mary's 'yes' inspires us to live a daily 'yes' to God's will or his plan."

"Every child is a gift," Bishop Yanta continued in his letter. "Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity."

"It takes strong faith," he added, "to have a large family."

Quoting Pope Paul VI, the bishop underlined the importance of the family, "a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings."