The vision of the Domestic Church Institute is that each family live as a domestic church.
As the first community of Faith for members of the family and with God’s grace, the parents become its spiritual leaders and teachers. Each baptized child is provided an opportunity to know and accept his/her identity as a child of God, and begin to experience the joy of the Gospel, to understand and live its meaning, and to embrace its challenges by way of the family.
The aim of Domestic Church Institute is to bring the New Evangelization to families; to equip married couples and parents to transform their families into domestic churches where the home becomes a school of faith, hope, and love for the making of disciples of Jesus Christ prepared to engage in the mission of the Church.
Two separate but important studies reveal these facts:
In the Saint Mary’s Press research study, when asked when they no longer identified themselves as Catholic, 74 percent of the young adults sampled said between the age of 10 and 20, with the median age being 13 years old.
– Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics, 2018
“No other conceivable causal influence … comes remotely close to matching the influence of parents on the religious faith and practices of youth.”
– Smith, Christian. Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults
Parents turn out to be the single most important influence on the religious outcomes in the lives of young adults.
The Domestic Church Institute recognizes that challenges face parents today in raising their children in the Catholic faith. In addition to the tide of societal and cultural influences on their children, parents face varied personal, economic, and a set of challenges as individuals.
The Domestic Church Institute, however, believes in the God-ordained impact that parents have on their children and family. DCI identifies the Home-Court Advantage that Catholic parents innately possess and can use to optimize faith formation and full human development of their children. The Home Court Advantage is the grace that God provides parents to be the primary educators and first teachers of the faith to their children. Parents can face the challenges of parenting in today’s world with hope and joy.
How does the New Evangelization reach the family?
It is through the evangelization of parents. It begins with evangelization and conversion of the individual spouses. An encounter with Jesus presents a person with a choice: either to follow Him or not. When a Catholic chooses to follow Jesus, he or she becomes a disciple and lives a life of discipleship.
When a Catholic has committed their life to Jesus, responding to God’s specific call, their vocation, is embraced and lived as their path of loving God and loving others.
For disciples in the vocation of marriage, deeper commitment to their spouse, faithful service to their family, and the Christian formation of their children flow from their personal conversion to Jesus. Parents who are disciples of Jesus desire that their children and family also experience the life in Christ and His Body, the Church. The family becomes the first and primary faith community whose spiritual life is led by the Christian parents.
To inspire and encourage parents to engage in their role as the primary educators and best teachers of the faith to their children is a work that DCI is committed to do. To build a domestic church and equip parents to raise their children in the Catholic Faith are the works that DCI sets out to accomplish.
Directors: Bob and Nannet Horton
Bob and Nannet Horton are members of St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center in Ames, Iowa.
They strive daily to live out their marriage vocation as faithful Catholic disciples. There are seven children and thirteen grandchildren (so far) in their family. Bob is a Distinguished Professor of Soil Science at Iowa State University. Nannet is a homeschool teacher, a Family of the Americas Natural Family Planning teacher, and a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist.
They serve on the Marriage and Family Life Advisory Committee of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.