This week on Register Radio, Jeanette De Melo talks to Father Roger Landry about what “The Pope of the Family,” St. John Paul II, has to offer the pre-synod discussion on pastoral care of families. And because this is Father’s Day weekend, Dan Burke talks to author Randy Hain about his new book “Journey to Heaven: A Roadmap for Catholic Men.”

Pastoral Care of Families with Father Roger Landry

Father Roger J. Landry is pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River, Massachusetts. Fr. Landry writes for many Catholic publications, including a weekly column for The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River. He was an on-site commentator for EWTN’s coverage of the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis, appears often on various Catholic radio programs, and is national chaplain for Catholic Voices USA.

Fr. Landry shared John Paul II’s background in working with young people and teaching them about family life and the importance of it.

Why are John Paul II’s teachings absent in the discussion and preparation for the synod on the family this October? Fr. Landry says that “when we look at John Paul II’s corpus, of all that he’s given us about marriage and family, it does require some serious study, and what I’ve observed over the course of the time of my priesthood…there are certain segments of the world [where there] haven’t been others who could do the work for them [the priests and bishops] and help them assimilate this incredible treasure [of John Paul II’s work] more easily so that they could pass it on.” 

Fr. Landry has spent many years not only studying John Paul II’s work, but also teaching his brother priests about it. There are parts of the world, like Latin America, he explains, where theology of the body took many years to be translated and where it still hasn’t penetrated many of the marriage prep programs or formation of families.

“I also think that in some places, it’s been misunderstood,” he said. The United States led the world in assimilating John Paul II’s teachings, particularly in the theology of the body. However, some major of the proponents of theology of the body have taught it “in a way that has confused people in other parts of the world who are only getting it through what we call the secondary sources.” 

For example, Fr. Landry said, if theology of the body is treated primarily as a theology of human sexuality and especially as a kind of Puritanism, it is not only being hampered and not taught in its completion, but it’s also not of interest to them in the same way because they don’t have the same hang-up that Americans may have.

The theology of the body is a remedy for the sickness found in today’s families. “What we see [in the theology of the body] is the great plan of salvation history for us involves growing in the image and likeness of God who is love and calls us to love one another in the same self-sacrificial way that Jesus gave himself to us first,” Landry said.

There are a lot of wounded people out there, Fr. Landry said, and many of those wounds come from failing to live God’s teachings about love and sexuality and family and marriage. “Broken families create difficult families to heal,” Fr. Landry pointed out, and if we’re going to be in the field hospital that Pope Francis has referenced, we need to realize that there’s a war going on and that the devil is trying to destroy families today just like he tried to destroy the bond between Adam and Eve, the first family.

“We need to take the medicine of Christ’s teachings about love and sexuality and marriage and family out to a world with these wounds, because that’s the balm that we very much need to dispense,” Fr. Landry said.

Listen to this week’s episode to hear more about how Fr. Landry hopes these teachings will be integrated into the upcoming synod.

Of further interest:

 - Father Landry’s article at the Register, “John Paul II: The Pope of Fair Love,” which touches on the vastness of John Paul II’s teaching

 - Father Landry’s current article at the Register, “St. John Paul II and the Synods on the Family,” which covers many of the topics included in this interview

A Roadmap for Catholic Men with Randy Hain

Randy Hain is a devoted Catholic husband, father, business leader, consultant, and an award-winning author. He is a popular national speaker, fluent in men's issues, authentic business relationships, and the integration of work, life, and faith. He is the co-founder and senior editor of the fast-growing Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine and co-founder of the Atlanta Catholic Business Conference.  Randy has most recently authored Journey to Heaven: A Roadmap for Catholic Men.

Hain was inspired to write Journey to Heaven by his own journey as a Catholic man and his interactions with other Catholic men in his speaking and writing. “I just felt it was time to put a book out that was practical. I study our faith all the time…but I don’t ever pretend to be a theologian. I want to write about my perspectives as a layman, as a husband and a father and just as a Catholic man. That’s what this book is about: the practical ways that all of us can live out our faith and grow in our faith,” Hain said.

Hain wanted to write about not only his struggles and challenges, but also what the Church teaches in regard to those. He tapped into other voices by including interviews of key people on each topic area of the book. 

“Men have really been drawn to the call to courage [found in the book] in a very positive way,” Hain said. “It’s an invitation to step up to our vocation.”

Hain’s been especially surprised by the response of women to the book. It’s helpful to them to understand the men in their lives. “I’ve had women really get excited about what the book offers them,” Hain said.

“Every good book begins with prayer,” Hain said, “and I often begin my books and blog posts with prayer.” He tries to remain open to God’s will and listen to what God wants from him in his writing.

You can hear more about the book and what Randy covered in this week’s episode.

Listen to this week’s show online or on your mp3 player.