My wife and I recently took a trip to Alaska. It was beautiful with tall majestic mountains, silver rushing rivers, and big animals like moose walking around like they owned the place! But beyond the vast scenery espousing God’s presence, there was a theme of family everywhere we looked. We stayed with an old dear friend of ours who lives with her husband and 16-year old son. This took us back to our own children as teenagers, a little funny, a little defiant, but always engaging! There were dinners with aunts who had great spunk and humor. We stayed at a bed and breakfast with the owner and her daughter. The mom spoke about leaving soon for Las Vegas to be with her cancer stricken husband. While we were gone, our granddaughter remained in the hospital. Helping to alleviate our guilt about leaving, my wife’s sister came to help out and then my son-in-law’s parents came until we returned. The Church places much weight on the importance of family, the domestic church. It is the caring and safe place where children grow out of their vulnerability to become their own persons. Christ knew this with his support of marriage, his commandment that we love one another, and his own respect and care for his mother. He showed this when he gave her away to his beloved disciple to protect and cherish at his crucifixion. Family is the place where we all start, learning the faith, developing religious habits, and testing the tenets of sharing and communicating. It is the place where life and faith begin. Those relationships and that learning are tested hard these days. But I have my money on the family! It is a resilient and powerful institution. It stands tall and strong, like the snow capped Alaskan mountains.