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Catholic Activity: The Man of the House



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The following is an excerpt from a homily by Fr. John E. Coogan, S.J. given in November of 1961.


The special need for more frequent Communion is on the part of the men and the older boys. No man can afford to "keep his religion in his wife's name." The man is by nature the head of the family, and the family usually ends up where he leads. He can't expect his family to continue to live a very vital Catholic life unless he sets the example. As an Army captain can't hole-up in some rearline trench and cry out, "Onward, Christian soldiers!", neither can the husband and father expect his wife and children to do much in the Church Militant if he is a non-combatant, "too proud to fight."

An interesting evidence of the power of example of the adult male in encouraging devout religious practice was had in England during World War II. In a certain Catholic orphanage the larger boys were refusing to obey the Sisters' directives to approach the Communion rail with folded hands. In the neighborhood of the orphanage was a GI camp whose soldiers soon became heroes to the orphan lads. One day a crowd of the GI's came to Mass in the orphanage and went to Communion, of course with hands devoutly folded as is done in our country. When the orphan boys saw Tex and Bill and Tom properly approaching the Communion rail, the troubles of the Sisters with the boys were over. "Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn in no other."