The Postills live in the Leaside neighbourhood in Toronto. David (dad) is a VP of Marketing; Shannon (mom) is an executive in a global consulting firm. They have three children ages 18, 16 and 13 (Gemma, Anna, Jacob) and often their grandfather is also with them. They belong to St. Monica's parish at Yonge and Eglinton.
1. What does a typical day look like in the Postill household?
Shannon is up at an hour early for quiet time to organize and pray before everyone hits the ground. The three kids all wake as their various alarm clocks sound. Shannon and David go off to work together shortly after the kids get up. The kids are old enough to get themselves to school now, either by TTC or walking. After work or school, the family either meets up to exercise or gathers at home for homework and dinner. There is never a dull moment in our household!
2. As a busy, urban family, how do you ensure faith remains an important element of family life?
Faith presents itself in a few important ways. Jesus is the centre of our lives. Our next priority is family. This means we care for and love each other and make sure each member is thriving and doing well. This only works when we constantly seek forgiveness. "Forgive fast" is one of our goals as a family. Like any family, we have our share of squabbles so forgiveness is a daily exercise in order for us to continue to be faithful.
3. This year's theme for the National Week of Life and Family is "Love Grows by Giving." How do you see that play out in your family?
We very much see giving as a three-part exercise: we give through time, talent and treasure. We each give in the way that suits us best. We carefully select and discuss our volunteer hours. When we can volunteer together it is even better, such as when we ran Alpha programs at the church together as a family. Our talent is also put to use on parish council, faith-based boards, speaking opportunities, school activities and church activities. We like to sponsor and create opportunities that invite others to a life of faith. When we give financially to our charities we also discuss this to ensure we understand the sacrifices necessary when giving.
4. What does your family do to witness the joy of the Gospel outside of your home? What is your involvement in your parish or the broader community?
We run the Alpha program at our church. This program invites people to discuss faith over a meal. We do this as a family, preparing the meal, organizing music, the video and the table discussions. Alpha has brought community to our parish and enabled our family to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to others.
Our daughters have started a company called "Be The Vibe Jewelry" that raises money for Compassion Canada. Through this they are able to give back to their global community of brothers and sisters in need of their gifts and prayer.
We sit on the parish council and the boards of Christian Catholic Outreach and Alpha Canada. Through these opportunities we try to create environments that bring others to Christ.
5. Which local ministries or activities have had the biggest impact on the individual faith lives of you and your teens?
Alpha has been an important way for us to experience Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We have seen our faith come alive and impact our everyday relationships with God. In turn, bringing Alpha to others continues to be rewarding.
The children have actively engaged in Youth Alpha, running adult Alpha with us, EDGE, and Life Teen programs with our parish.
Our son attends a Catholic boys' school with a community that has truly enriched his faith in a way that is meaningful for young boys.
We have also benefitted from retreats and weekends such as Steubenville.
6. How do you model your faith to your kids during their teenage years when the interests of mom and dad don't seem "cool"?
Our children have been blessed to access various programs and weekend retreats that appeal to them. Attending these events without us and finding a faith community that is their age is key to their own sense of belonging. They also need role models who are closer to their age and they can find them through various ministries, such as Steubenville, Alpha, etc. We very much encourage them to have their own relationship with God and they find their own way to do that. They journal, pray, listen to Christian music and ask questions all in their own style and manner.
7. What is the greatest joy and the greatest challenge of Catholic family life?
The greatest joy is the laughter and marveling over the many "God moments" that happen in our lives. We know God is at work and we challenge each other to listen for where He wants us to be. We are here to serve and we seek out ways to serve together when possible. The greatest challenge is making sure that we find time to be together each week and to really be present with each other. We understand that a family is a ministry, so we need to put away our electronic devices to have real conversations.
May 14-21 is the National Week for Life and the Family. The 2017 theme is "Love Grows by Giving." For more information, visit the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.