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Family Ministry

Parent Resources

"Family Dinner: Why it is important"

For many of us, having supper at home is a lost art.  We sometimes have a hard time coming together as families or using mealtime as a way to connect with each other.  We've gathered some tips for reclaiming this family tradition.

"The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction.  A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift."
- Laurie Colwin

Here are some tips:

  1. Manage your time.  Turn off the TV, phones, and other electronic devices.  Plan a time when everyone can be at the table simultaneously.  This might mean you say no to some things to make time for a family meal.  If dinner time is just not going to work consistently, then maybe breakfast or lunch instead.  

  2. Keep it simple.  There is no need to make every meal as special as Thanksgiving dinner!  Maybe it's picking up take-home on the way home and gathering at the table to eat.  Maybe all you have the time and energy for are bowls of cereal.  What is important is that you gather and share the meal as a family.

  3. Add something special.  Light a candle or put a flower in the center of the table.  Setting the table nicely teaches children the importance of ritual around the meal.  You can tell them that we set the table at home the same way as the table is set for the Eucharist at Mass.

  4. Talk! Discuss the events of the day.  What happened at school or work?  Everyone can share a "highlight" or a "lowlight" of their day.

  5. Clean up together.  Make this a household expectation.  Give everyone a small job and do it simultaneously (clearing, wiping, sweeping, vacuuming under the table, doing the dishes).  Even preschoolers can clear their own dishes.  Put on some good music to create some fun at clean-up time.

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Benefits of Family Dinners - CBS News

  • Maggie Rodriguez spoke with Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein about a new report that says children who eat family dinners have lower chances of substance abuse.

The Importance of Family Dinners - Christine Carter, PhD

  • Christine Carter, PhD, and Happiness Expert shares advice for parents on the importance of having family dinners and the benefits that it can have on your family.

Q&A with Fr. Leo Patalinghug

  • In this video Fr. Leo explains why it's so important for families to sit down together regularly to share a family meal to strengthen the family bond, as an antidote to the societal threats against family unity.

Fr. Leo Patalinghug - Grace Before Meals

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The Faith Connection

  • Shared meals were an essential part of Jesus' ministry, and the basis for our sacrament of the Eucharist.  As Christians following Jesus' example, we gather together at One Table. Why was supper so important to Jesus, and how can we reclaim it as Christians?

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Mealtime Prayers

  • Check out the page on our site that gives you ideas about how to make mealtime prayers more meaningful.

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