I am a 17 yr. old cradle Catholic who has been practicing his faith for one year now. I never really learned anything in my CCD classes when I was younger so I was really uncatechized. However, I always had an openness to the faith, probably because of baptismal grace, and I have really come to love God and my Catholic faith. I absolutely love Holy Mother Church and I think I may have a vocation to the priesthood but I am not sure.
The rest of my family, however, is not devout. My 2 sisters (both younger than me, 12 and 15 years old) don’t really know anything about their faith and don’t really care, but they are not hostile to the faith as far as I know. My parents have been divorced for a few years (no annulment, and I don’t think there are grounds for one.) My mother is friendly to the faith and somewhat traditional, but isn’t really that devout and isn’t that catechized herself. She knows that the divorce was wrong, was very much hurt by it, and has no intention to be with other men or remarry. Also, our parish isn’t that orthodox and is the type of parish where, even though there are no liturgical abuses by the priest, nobody goes to Confession but everybody goes to Communion. Catechesis, as I mentioned before, is really poor.
My father is a whole different story all together. He is the one who initiated the divorce and is now living together with his girlfriend, and there are indications that he was with her before the divorce, but either way it doesn’t matter when it comes to Catholic doctrine since he is still married to my mom in the eyes of God.
My sisters and I spend most of our time with our mother, except every other weekend when we stay at our dad’s. I go to Mass every Sunday, and my mom goes every weekend I am with her but sometimes doesn’t go when my sisters and I are at our dad’s because she “feels lonely.” My sisters go once in a while but don’t feel compelled to go (and neither my mother nor my father makes them go.) If they go they go with my mom. My father never goes. When I am at my dad’s, I walk to the parish near his house (it’s only ten minutes away) for 7:30 Sunday Mass.
I really want to bring the faith to my family. I love them all very much and I believe that none of them deserve the faith any less than I did before I had my conversion. (I know I said I was a cradle Catholic but coming to really know and believe the faith felt like a conversion, and as I understand it conversion is an ongoing process for all Catholics.) I have tried several times to tell my sisters that going to Mass on Sunday is not an option, but my mom, while she thinks they should go, tells me something like “nobody should force others to go to Mass because faith is a personal choice.” Another time I tried to get everybody to say grace before meals but again my mom told me I shouldn’t be forcing my sisters to believe.
I really don’t know what to do. I feel that I have a duty to do something and say something, but this is really overwhelming and I fear messing up and making them hostile to the faith. I do not think it is wise to say anything to my dad, because he gets easily offended and would probably accuse my mother of “setting us against him” as he has done already in an unrelated matter. Also, I don’t want to get my sisters caught up in an ugly family fight that. However, I feel guilty and partly responsible for his sinful lifestyle because I do not speak up against his sin.
Please understand. I am not trying to make excuses and I do pray about this often. If anybody has any advice on how I can go about sharing the faith to my family, it would be GREATLY appreciated!