Holy families produce vocations and saints. Take the example of Sts. Louis and Zellie Martin. Five girls entered the religious life. One of them became a saint—St. Therese of Lisieux. There are countless stories of families where two or three siblings take up a vocation in the Church. This past week Bishop Parkes congratulated his brother Fr. Parkes on his appointment as the bishop of Savannah, Georgia. And just a few weeks ago, we saw the reunion of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) with his ailing brother, Georg Ratzinger, days before his death. Another family that produced a pope and a monsignor. What is the secret?  Family prayer.

With the news of Georg Ratzinger’s passing, I decided it was time to pull a book off my shelf and give it a read, Ignatius Press’s My Brother, The Pope, an interview type book which recounts the memories and experiences of Pope Benedict’s brother. Chapter two of the book recounts Georg’s memories of family life and prayer. Perhaps today, we all can look at this family, and see how their practices might inspire family prayer once again and with that hopefully the grace of vocations in the Church. Let’s discover the secrets to family holiness through the memory of Pope Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger.

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