UPDATE: If you missed Fr. Sebastian's webinar, you can view the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ec6IWcOfk8

Dear Families,

I want to bring a very timely, truly excellent, and important resource to your attention. The family is central to Catholic life, as well as to civic life. It is also central to our mission in Mother of Divine Grace School, as we work to support you in educating your children in the living Catholic culture of your home and family. A right understanding of the family, and marriage, then, is crucial to our Catholic life, our country, and our educational mission.

But the family, and marriage, is viciously under attack in our day. Many people do not understand our Catholic position on these matters. Our children are exposed to errors about the family and marriage in nearly every movie they see or song they hear, as well as, sadly, often in the lives of those they meet in the public square.  

Fr. Sebastian Walshe, O. Praem., has written a book that can help us all: Understanding Marriage & Family: A Catholic PerspectiveIt can help us understand marriage and family more clearly ourselves, and the format is amazingly well designed to help us answer our children’s questions. Every chapter explains the true position clearly in terms of the proper principles, has the objections to those positions that one reguarly hears, and then gives the appropriate answer by applying the principles. I asked Fr. Sebastian to write a summary of his book. Here it is:

Some years ago, I was asked to put together an apologetics course for seniors in our College Preparatory school at St. Michael's Abbey. And while the traditional topics (such as the proofs for God's existence and the primacy of the Pope) were still important elements, I noticed that most of the students' questions were actually about how to defend the Church's teachings on marriage and family. This topic has become the front line of the apologetics battlefield. That is what motivated me to write this book. 

The book has three main parts, each of which responds to a significant need among high-school-aged students. The first part is an explanation and defense of marriage and family, insofar as these realities can be known by a careful examination of human nature, without recourse to any particular religious beliefs or systems. This part focuses upon marriage as something natural, not merely a legal contract or something created by the state. It includes many examples, objections, and responses.

The second part explains the essential link of marriage and family with the principal mysteries of the Christian faith (e.g., the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc.). In this part, I show that marriage and family are not only natural realities, but are also intended by God to signify and reveal supernatural realities. This helps Christian students to see that the Church's teachings on marriage and family are not independent of the principal mysteries of the faith, but intimately connected with them.

The third part of the book gives practical advice about forming proper relationships within the family and about healing damaged relationships. It also gives sound advice about courtship and preparing for marriage. It is the fruit of many years of counseling married couples and families, and it incorporates principles from the first two parts of the book.

In teaching the course using this book, I would typically read passages with the students and ask questions or give more detailed explanations about the passages. Then, when we reached the objections, I would ask the students to try to answer the objections themselves before reading my answers. The students found this exercise very fulfilling and helpful.

The target audience for the book includes high-school-aged students (preferably in their junior or senior years) and parents who feel bewildered at the myriad questions and objections which their teenage children are making about the nature of marriage and family. It can also be a great assistance for catechists. The book has the approval and endorsement of Bishop Thomas Paprocki and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, among others.

Fr. Sebastian is on the Mother of Divine Grace Board of Directors. He is a long-time family friend as well and is one of the converts mentioned in my mother’s book: Chosen: How Christ Sent Twenty-Three Surprised Converts to Replant His Vineyard. I can’t recommend Understanding Marriage & Family: A Catholic Perspective highly enough. It will answer questions you may have had and give you the right answers for questions your children have had. The third section gives outstanding practical advice about how to form Catholic families and also how to heal broken Catholic families. You can tell Father Sebastian is a confessor with great experience.

My last item is this: Father said he would do a webinar with our families on his book! We will be offering it on Sept. 18th, from 4 to 5 pm PT. Please see the top of this page to register.

May God bless you, and grant you great joy in your family,

Laura Berquist
Founder, Mother of Divine Grace School