I recently had the chance to read the finished galley copy of Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s latest book, The Domestic Church, Room by Room. This incredible text illustrates for all Catholics the need not only to practice the faith on Sunday mornings in our parish communities, but also in every aspect of our personal and domestic activities. Donna provides a tour of the Catholic home and associates particular scriptural, doctrinal and social significance with each room and asks the readers to prayerfully consider their own roles as a parent, spouse, child or sibling in living the Catholic lifestyle in all aspects of their personal domestic lives.
The book is intended for mothers to share with other mothers the richness of tradition and spirituality that is associated with Catholic motherhood that also includes the great responsibility of promoting the family’s appreciation of faith on a daily basis. The fact that the author makes the book interactive among prayer, reading and interrogatory dialogues is a magnificent indication and re-affirmation of the Catholic belief in parental responsibility in the religious education of their children. Donna’s inclusion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church further solidifies the theological responsibility that the Church entrusts to Catholic mothers (and fathers) in the establishment of a Catholic household.
As a Catholic parent, father and husband I find it unique that Donna uses the book as a catechetical tool not only for religious education of children, but also as a deeply sensitive appreciation of the constantly evolving relationship of Catholic marriage and its critically essential relationship to the permanency and success of a domestic Church. The work shows an insightful exposition from a female perspective of the intensely intimate interactions between husband and wife as well as parents and children.
The Domestic Church, Room by Room is a wonderful theological extension of our Catholic faith from the Sunday celebration of Eucharist that shows all of our personal and domestic activities as the logical, spiritual and personal expression of Jesus Christ among us especially in our own homes and lives. A significant point of this book is the attention given to interactive participation intended between mothers that explores our common Catholic faithfulness among families. Donna has touched very deeply the fleeting lack of family communications in prayer and social interaction that occurs in our 21st century society. Catholic sacramental, parish, and social activities are always uniquely rooted in the expression of the Catholic family. Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle shows us very clearly with her latest book that catechesis, evangelization and theological participation in the mysteries of the Catholic lifestyle are indeed a critically important aspect of motherhood, marriage and family development.
The fact that the book is written by Donna as a room-by-room theological elaboration of very practical pastoral theology premises for mothers should not scare off the male components of the Catholic family unit either. This book clearly shows that the role of men in the proper instruction and prayerful development of faith in the family is a responsibility they need to embrace as well. The Catholic family and sacramental life calls both male and female to responsible roles of family leadership. Perhaps Donna should follow up this book with a sequel, The Domestic Church, Room by Room, The Father’s Guide. This author thinks it is time for Catholic males to illustrate their willingness to express and show their Catholic husbandry and parenting skills in a new 21st century light.
The importance of the role of the Catholic family is the underlying message that is the essence of Donna’s book. For us as Catholics to continue to progress on our journey to the Kingdom of God, her book is a great expose on the importance of family, faith and prayer in the ongoing life of our Domestic Catholic Church.
I think Catholic readers will enjoy this book very much. It provides Catholic sacramental and pastoral theology to digest in a manner that is not overbearing or frightening to the reader. Donna has done a great job taking a subject that is often not communicated at a personal and intimate family level that we are able to relate with, and share with others of our Catholic faith.
Donna’s website is www.donnacooperoboyle.com.