Homeschool Family Kickoff!
For nine consecutive years, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe has hosted a Homeschool Family Kickoff at the end of August, a day for homeschooling families to connect with each other, to grow in faith and pray together, and to have a good time. “Working in the pilgrimage department,” says Director of Pilgrim Services Steven Doll, “I wanted to be able to reach out to unique groups, homeschool families in particular … and give them a special day to come on pilgrimage, a special invitation to come and meet other homeschool families, and connect with them, and learn from each other, and also partake in the spiritual mission of the Shrine.”
This mission, of course, is to help all pilgrims to encounter Jesus through His Blessed Mother. The mission consists especially in administering the Sacraments; and the day’s schedule includes the full roster of opportunities for Mass and Confession. The Shrine’s mission also includes strengthening pilgrims in their lives of faith by promoting the good, the true, and the beautiful; accordingly, the kickoff includes several talks especially chosen to inform and encourage Catholic homeschooling families.
Picnic and games!
In addition, the Shrine is a center for building up community life. The event brings together families from varying backgrounds and places—“We’ve had families drive from as far as North Dakota to attend this event,” Doll recalls—spurred by a common dedication to their faith and to living their familial vocation. In particular, all can take time to be together and enjoy each other’s company during the picnic lunch after Mass, with outdoor games and a grilling fundraiser provided by the Troops of St. George. Attendees may bring their own lunch or purchase from the fundraiser.*
Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima
The event falls on ,August 26, which also happens to be the day that the miraculous Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima is visiting the Shrine. Thus, families this year will be able to join in the veneration of her image, including the 10:30 a.m. procession. The event speakers include the statue’s custodian and the national coordinator for the World Apostolate of Fatima, highlighting the connection between the families’ mission and Our Lady’s message. Doll points out the perennial importance of our Blessed Mother’s presence in home life:
“Our Lady is the Queen of Peace, and when you have a big bustling family, like many of us do, we definitely need Our Lady’s intercession to keep peace in the home, especially while trying to educate. That would be a great blessing.”
In the words of his Eminence Cardinal Burke, “Marriage and the family is the primary and unmistakable way of evangelization.” Our Lady’s Shrine is blessed to welcome Catholic families, to support them in their journey of educating their children and striving together for holiness. Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, they may remain mostly unseen and unknown, yet their lives of faith, prayer, and service are a transforming power for the Church and the world.
*Advance payment is not required, but pre-orders are kindly requested, and may be made to Bill Coppernoll at firstname.lastname@example.org.