Recently this question was posted on a Facebook page, “For those with grown or adult children who still practice their Catholic faith, what is the secret to keeping them in the faith?” There were many great answers such as, teach them about their faith when they are young, bring them to Mass, pray for them each day, offer rosaries for them, etc. These are all necessary and wonderful ways to keep your kids faithful but no one mentioned anything about fathers.
I posted that we need to pray for our husbands and for their faith. Why? Because our husbands are key to the faith of their children. Our culture and our society has reduced the role of fatherhood as meaningless and as a result fathers are mostly if not entirely, absent in their roles as spiritual leaders of the faith in their homes.
In an article written by S. Michael Craven, he writes that during the colonial period in America men defined themselves by their level of community involvement and fatherhood. Marriage and fatherhood were seen as being among the highest aspirations in a man’s life. Today the highest aspirations of men seem to be career success and personal leisure; and against these they seek to balance marriage and family.
This article was written in June of 2011, by Mr. Craven. I think we all recognize that things have not gotten any better for marriage and family and the way in which men are viewed. In fact, it is declining and rapidly doing so.
So what is all this based on? Real facts! There was a study done by the Swiss government in 1994 that revealed this information to be factual. The study reveals this, that it is the religious practice of the father of the family, above all, that determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.
As Mr. Craven stated in his article, In short, if a father does not go to church-no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions-only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). One of the reasons suggested for this distinction is that children tend to take their cues about domestic life from Mom while their conceptions of the world outside come from Dad. If Dad takes faith in God seriously then the message to their children is that God should be taken seriously.
Pray for your husbands, regardless of the current state of their faith. Your prayers and your example of faith will sustain and encourage their faithfulness.
To read the full article by S. Michael Craven, http://www.battlefourth.org/articlesdetail.asp?id=432