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The Family as the First Setting for Evangelization | Unleashed

July 16, 2021

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In Marker 7.2 of Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron writes that “a family of joyful missionary disciples is one where sacrificial love after Christ’s example and in the power of his Spirit, is the principle that governs all of life.” Meet the Schunior family, who strive to do this everyday. As parents to Xavier and a baby girl on the way, Annie and David use small, everyday efforts to talk about God and the saints, to be witnesses of love, and to imbue the Catholic faith into every aspect of their family life.


I hope that as we go about our day and find little moments to connect with God that they’re meaningful for my son and for our daughter, as you know, they continue to grow up. I am Annie Schunior. I am a mom to Xavier, who is three and a half and a little one on the way, and I am the Marketing and Communications Director at Our Lady Star of The Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Right now, my husband and I are trying to figure out what Evangelization looks like in our home and in our family. Right now, hold on. David? Hey bud.

Every day is very different. As much as I would like to be the family that goes to morning mass or sits down and prays the rosary daily with each other, right now in the phase of life that we’re in, it’s a little different. It’s not exactly that. It’s a matter of just trying to find time to pray with each other and pray throughout the day and make it kind of part of our everyday life.

A lot of times when I’m driving in the car, I’ll just start saying the rosary out loud. Just having that time in the car with my son in the back in his car seat has just brought a lot of peace to our home and in our family. A few Sundays ago, we were sitting in church, we’d gotten to mass late, so we were a little stressed and we finally settled in and we’re sitting there. Of course, it was at one of the most quiet parts of mass during the homily. Xavier points up at the Stations of the Cross and yells at the top of his lungs, “Look it’s Jesus.” And I look up and sure enough, it was the station where Jesus falls and he kept saying, “Jesus fell. Jesus fell.” We were a little embarrassed that he’s screaming in church, but he’s sharing the things that he recognizes and that’s important to him. It was one of those moments where we realized, okay, maybe we’re doing something right.

In January, my father passed away and it obviously it was a really hard time for our family. It was really unique having to explain that to a three and a half year old. The other day we drove past the cemetery and he said, “Oh, look, there’s Papa’s cemetery. Let’s go see Papa.” And it wasn’t his cemetery, wasn’t where he was buried or anything, but it just got us talking about Papa and how he’s in heaven. He started asking me questions about heaven and who else lives in heaven. And so that got us talking about the saints. And so it really has brought a lot of healing that was needed and wasn’t expected to be honest.

One of the things that my husband and I have talked about is that more than just knowing the facts about our faith, we want our kids to have a relationship with God. They aren’t going to have a relationship with God if we don’t have one, if they don’t see us praying when we’re cooking or saying a quick prayer for Papa as we drive past the cemetery. That has really changed and affected the way that we go about talking about our faith and bringing our relationship, our own personal relationship with Christ into our home and allowing our children to see that and be witnesses to that on an everyday basis.

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