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“The Church is the family of God’s children, and God wants every family to be a beacon of the joy of his love in our world. ~ Pope Francis

Finding Joy With Each Other

2713 West Chestnut Ave., Altoona, PA 16601


Andre McCarville, Director

Maureen Roberts, Administrative Assistant

Ages and Stages of Families
enriched and served
by Family Life Ministry

We serve parishes and families of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese:

Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset.

  • Traditional
  • Multi-Generational
  • Parents
  • Widowed
  • Elderly
  • Bereaved
  • Married
  • Engaged
  • Step-Families
  • Separated/Divorced
  • Single Parent
  • Childless
  • Young Children
  • Teens
  • Singles
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Family Spirituality

Scheduled Family Life Programs and Resources:

Please contact the Family Life Office to set up a one-on-one course with a Sponsor Couple, or to use the online course of Unveiled.

Email –
Phone – (814) 317-2643

Mass for Widows & Widowers
St John Gualbert Cathedral – Johnstown, PA
May 30, 2021

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” 2 Timothy 4:17

9 Days for Life is a novena for the protection of human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.

The hectic and busy lives of people easily lead them into a situation of over-looking or forgetting those who cannot keep the same pace–those with intellectual disabilities–by accident or from birth. Faith & Light is a faith sharing group which includes family members, caregivers and friends of persons with intellectual disabilities. Meetings are held at the Family Life Office with activities held throughout the diocese.

Available to borrow:
– Books
– Periodicals
– DVD’s


Can be sent via mail


Rediscover the one you  love!

Get away from jobs, kids, chores, computers, phones and focus only on each other. If you would like greater depth, growth and enrichment in your relationship, don’t miss this chance.
412.635.7775 or 814.823.4600


     Reflections on the Sunday Reading

       ~Used with permission from “Family Perspective” by Bud Ozar

” ‘Advice’ books abound on marriage and parenting. Jesus tells us in today’s gospel the real secret: satisfying relationships depend on how well we sacrifice our needs to serve others. It is not about ‘getting,’ it is about ‘giving’ ourselves. If you feel like you are a servant to your children and spouse, then you are doing it right.”

“Having possessions is an illusion. In today’s gospel, Jesus told the young man to give up his need to control and put his trust in God. He could not let go! In families, our need to control destroys relationships. We can lead, teach and encourage, but we cannot control anyone but ourselves.”

“In today’s gospel, Jesus encourages married couples to throw away the marriage rulebook. Rules are for those with ‘hardened hearts.’ Married couples are called to be a sacramental reflection of God’s faithful and selfless love…a place where people live and love beyond rules and formulas.”

“The words in today’s gospel, ‘Whoever gives a cup of water in the name of Christ will not lose their reward’ hits us at home. As parents, we gain our ‘reward’ when we bring water to a frightened child in the middle of the night, or Kool Aid to parched five-year olds, or hold ice chips to the fevered lips of a spouse. It is that simple and that sacred. In our homes, we give until it hurts ‘in the name of Christ.’ “

“Disagreements are common in families. However, what would you say if Jesus posed the same question, ‘What are you arguing about?’ Is it silly and petty? Is it an attempt to impose your will and control on another? Today, Jesus tells us and his disciples to give it up. We are meant to serve each other, not control. “

September 12, 2021 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 8:27-35)

“If we want to be happy at home, we must commit (“lose ourselves”) to our family. If we try to be independent from others (“save ourselves”), we end up lonely and alone. Happiness is found in commitments. The gospel is true: We save our life by losing it!”

September 5, 2021 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 7:31-37)

“Because the deaf man in today’s gospel recognized his disability, he could seek help from Jesus. Deafness abounds in families: in our children (“Oh dad, not that again”), in parents (“It is just a stage”), and in spouses (“Are you listening?”). Before Jesus can enter your home and heal, you must first recognize your deafness.”

August 29, 2021 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)

“In today’s gospel, Jesus warns, ‘what comes from within can defile’ a person. Families need to worry about ‘outside influences’ but also about ‘inside influences.’ The values our children carry for a lifetime are learned at home. Habits of the Hearth are the most powerful influences on a child. That is the good news! That can also be the bad news!”

August 22, 2021 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:60-69)

“Even though many found the teachings of Jesus ‘difficult’, He did not back down. In our families, it is important to say what is difficult to hear, to speak the truth with kindness, to correct with love and guide with understanding.”

August 15, 2021 – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:39-56)

“’Blessed is the fruit of your womb’ can be said of all mothers, because every child is ‘blessed’ and a child of God upon whom God ‘looks with favor.’ This is our deepest identity and destiny. We do not earn this blessing. God’s love is a free gift to each of us.”

August 8, 2021 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:41-51)

“’Stop murmuring’ Jesus told the disciples in today’s gospel. Complaining is a dead-end and constant complaining is nagging. We might feel better, but others feel bitter. Silence or grumbling will not resolve the problem. Address differences honestly and respectfully. Do not make them personal attacks.”

August 1, 2021 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:24-35)

“In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us: ‘Do not work for what perishes.’ Give your life to what endures such as the family history you are creating, the love and mutual respect, which bonds you together, the memories you share, and the forgiveness generously given. These true treasures are worth working and dying for.”

July 25, 2021 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6:1-5)

“In today’s Gospel, Phillip worried about ‘enough food’ for the crowd. What is ENOUGH? When does our ENOUGH deprive another family of their fair share? Jesus performed today’s miracle because one child was willing to share and risk living with less. Can your family live more simply so that other families can simple live?”

July 18, 2021 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 6:30-34)

“In today’s gospel, ‘the apostles gathered around and told Jesus all they had done.’ Listening allows the other person to express, understand, and appreciate their experiences. Whether it is the excited chatter of a young child or the repetitious stories of an aging grandparent, listening is important. It is not just time well spent, it is sacred time.”

July 11, 2021 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 6:7-13)

“Jesus sent out His apostles without many ‘things’ because THINGS distract. We collect, argue about and protect our ‘things.’ Garage sales only transfer ‘things.’ We even ignore each other because we have ‘things’ to do. What ‘things’ are separating you from your family?”

July 4, 2021 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 6:1-6)

“Today’s gospel is so familiar, it hurts! The hometown folks could not accept the presence of God in Jesus. After all, they had watched him grow up. We can easily make the same mistake if we do not see God present in the ordinary routines of our family. ‘The Lord be with you’ is a statement of fact. Believe it. Live it.”

June 27, 2021 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 5:21-34)

“The healing of the woman and the child in today’s gospel is a reminder we are all wounded. We retreat to those we love looking for acceptance, listening, understanding, and support. Families must be healing communities where Jesus is present in our care for one another.”

June 20, 2021 – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time/Father’s Day (Mark 4:35-41)

“Just as the apostles in today’s gospel were amazed at the power of Jesus, so our children are amazed at our lack of fear of dark rooms or monsters in closets or under beds. As the apostles depended on Jesus, children depend on us to restore quiet to their lives. Getting out of bed at night to quiet a child’s fears is the stuff of holiness.”

“It is interesting we call the first person of the Trinity, Father. Our dads help us understand God as Father in the way they love, protect, teach, discipline, and spend time with us. What an awesome responsibility, to be the window through which children view God.”

June 13, 2021 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 4:26-34)

“Parenting is a lot like the story of the farmer in the gospel parable today. All growth is the Lord’s work. We have no control over the process. In fact the farmer doesn’t even understand it, for the seed grows even when he sleeps. As parents we can influence our children but nothing we do can guarantee results.”

June 6, 2021 – Body and Blood of Christ Sunday (Matthew 28:16-20)

“One gets the impression there was always a lot of sharing, discussion and learning during the many meals Jesus and the disciples ate together. How does this compare to the meals in your home? Today’s gospel challenges us to make our meals more than physical functions and more a time for sharing.”

May 30, 2021 – Trinity Sunday (Matthew 28:16-20)

“In today’s gospel Jesus commands, ‘Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you.’ This command is meant for every Christian. In light of this command, parenting is not only the most difficult task a person can take on, it is also one of the most apostolic and missionary tasks. Jesus commands all parents to teach their children ‘all that I have commanded you.’ “

May 23, 2021 – Pentecost Sunday (John 15:26-27; 16:12-15)

“Today, on Pentecost, we remember Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in raising our family and he expects us to use this personal gift. Let us turn-off the noise, apps, and distractions in our lives and let the Holy Spirit ‘guide us to the truth.’ “

May 16, 2021 – Seventh Sunday of Easter (John 17:11-19)

“Jesus was worried about His disciples and He turned to prayer. No matter how much time we spent trying to ‘guard and protect’ our children, each day they become less dependent on us and we must let go and let God. Prayer and parenting go together.”

May 13, 2021 – The Ascension of the Lord (Mark 16:15-20)

“As Jesus appointed apostles, he also appoints parents to represent Him in the family; ‘make disciples of your children, baptizing and teaching them all I have taught you. Don’t worry, I am with you always.’ “

May 9, 2021 – Sixth Sunday of Easter/Mother’s Day (John 15:9-17)

“Today’s gospel challenges us to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Jesus is our model and he asks us to ‘lay down our life’ (our time, attention, opinions, and needs) for each other. This is the sacrament of the family, when God is made visible in our sacrificial love for one another.”

“The words of Jesus in today’s gospel, ‘Abide in me,’ are appropriate on a day we honor mothers because there is a special bond connecting mothers and their children, extending beyond birth and death. They will always ‘abide’ in each other. It’s a lasting presence.”

May 2, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Easter (John 15:1-8)

“Like the vine grower in today’s gospel, parents must ‘prune and cleanse’ the branches in their family if their children are going to be rooted. Discipline, limits, and setting goals are a necessary part of parenting so our children will grow and ‘bear fruit.’ “

April 25, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Easter (John 10:11-18)

“Today’s gospel is a job description for Christian parents. For most people the most influential shepherds in their lives are their parents. Every parent is called to be a ‘good shepherd’ to ‘freely lay down their life’ for their children, to ‘love’ and ‘know’ their children and to ‘lead’ them so ‘they know your voice.’ “

April 18, 2021 – Third Sunday of Easter (Luke 24:35-48)

“The apostles were afraid of Jesus until he ate with them and they touched him. In your family, the ordinary acts of eating together, touching, embracing not only confirm our love for each other, but also celebrate God’s presence in your family. These ‘ordinary’ moments contain the ‘Extraordinary.’ “

April 11, 2021 – Divine Mercy Sunday (John 20:19-31)

“In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.’ Accepting someone as they are, without demanding they prove themselves or meet our expectations, creates a rich relationship. Without acceptance, a home is only a house and a family is just a group of housemates.”

April 4, 2021 – Easter Sunday (John 20:1-9)

“That first Easter morning was confusing. Jesus was missing and Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John ‘did not know’ what to do. In family life, there are confusing moments when ‘we don’t know’ what to do. Like the apostles, we are Easter people when we believe and trust in each other even when all seems lost.”

March 28, 2021 – Passion (Palm) Sunday (Mark 14:1-15:47)

“The Passion of Jesus makes it clear, no one escapes suffering. Suffering is inevitable, but no one should suffer alone. That is one of the primary roles of families, to stand with and support each other in suffering.”

March 21, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Lent (John 12:20-33)

“Relationships come with a price tag. We must be willing to entrust ourselves to another, to let go of our autonomy and die to our independence. It is in dying to our independence that we find interdependence with others.”

March 14, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Lent (John 3:14-21)

“Today’s gospel speaks of light and darkness. Often a parent is deliberately ‘left in the dark.’ Darkness can be comforting for it makes no demands on us. Light can be disturbing for it forces us to act. Parents walk a delicate balance of when to ‘sit in the dark’ and when to ‘turn on the lights.’ “

March 7, 2021 – Third Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25)

“Today’s gospel says Jesus chased the merchants out of the temple. It does not say He was angry. Jesus teaches us to act from conviction and not from anger. He did not condemn the merchants, only their business practice. Attack the behavior and not the person.”

February 28, 2021 – Second Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10)

“The apostles thought they knew Jesus, but when He changed in front of them at the Transfiguration, they were ‘afraid.’ In families, we cannot freeze relationships because change and growth are inevitable. Children grow up, parents grow old, and spouses change. Transfigurations are all around and within us. Relationships can only grow when we embrace the new and let go of the old.”

February 21, 2021 – First Sunday of Lent (Mark 1:12-15)

“Jesus went into the desert to put his life in perspective. This Lent, take a fresh look at a difficult relationship in your life. Concentrate on the positive things that person does, not just the negatives. Try to understand why their behaviors ‘bug’ you. Can you honestly share your feelings with them without attacking them? Make Lent a time to mend and forgive.”

February 14, 2021 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:40-45)

“Family life is about decisions. The leper in today’s gospel knew this when he said to Jesus, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Jesus knew this when He said, ‘I do will it.’ Love is not an emotion. It is a decision to be with and for another person in ‘good times and bad,’ even when we don’t feel like it.”

February 7, 2021 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:29-39)

“In today’s gospel, Jess went to the ‘house of Andrew and Simon’ to relax but discovered that Simon’s mother-in-law was very ill. Like Jesus, we come home to relax, but are confronted with problems. Take a tip from Andrew and Simon who ‘told Jesus about it at once.’ “

January 31, 2021 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:21-28)

“Today’s gospel reminds us ‘unclean spirits’ still haunt our families. These ‘spirits’ thrive inside our grudges, punishing silence, impatience, and abruptness. Today, Jesus offers you the ‘authority’ to cast out these spirits from your life and your family.”

January 24, 2021 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:14-20)

“It must have been difficult for Zebedee to watch his sons walk away and follow Jesus. It was the end of ‘Zebedee and Sons Fishing, Inc.’ Our children were never ours. They are only on loan to us. We raise them to let them go.”

January 17, 2021 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 1:35-42)

“Jesus’ question in today’s gospel is still valid today: ‘What are you looking for?’ What do you want from your spouse, children, or parents? Families are populated with imperfect people. To expect perfection is unreal. To expect and accept imperfection is wisdom.”

January 10, 2021 – The Baptism of the Lord (Mark 1:7–11)

“The gospel today points to Jesus’ humanity; like us He needed recognition (‘You are my Son’), affection (‘My Beloved Son’), and affirmation (‘With you I am well pleased.’). In our families, it is easy to focus on irritating behaviors and take for granted all the positives. This New Year, take a lesson from God the Father, be an affirmer and not a blamer.”

January 3, 2021 – Epiphany Sunday

“The Magi in today’s gospel were led to Jesus by a star. Who are the stars your children follow? Do not let it be the tabloid stars. Resolve in this New Year to be the guiding star in the life of your children.”

Helpful Links to Family Situations:

Publications for purchase from the Family Life Office:

 Practical and spiritual ideas for grieving persons and families. Focuses on grieving as a normal process of healing. Section with questions for individual reflection or group discussion. 55 page booklet.

Out of the Darkness into the Dawn: A Journey Through Grief Booklet

Ideal guide for families and individuals in search of spiritual and festive home practices. Contains traditions, activities, home rituals, and holiday legends from Thanksgiving to Epiphany. 53 page booklet.

Holiday Spirituality in the Home: Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas Booklet

Ideal guide for families and individuals in search of spiritual home practices focusing on the Lent and Easter seasons. Contains popular traditions, rituals, and devotional activities. 40 page booklet.

A Change of Heart: Lent and Easter at Home Booklet

This ministry attempts to reach out to families who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or early fetal death by providing them with spiritual tools to help them to grieve their child.

Heaven's Treasure Box

Parent resource for married and single parents, Catholic and Christian interfaith couples, parents already strong in their faith practice and those wondering where to begin.

Parent resource for Baby’s First Year “Passing on the Faith”

Sequel to Passing on the Faith: Baby’s First Year.

Parent resource for Age 1-4 “Passing on the Faith”

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