Welcome to our August Newsletter!
Paul and Yami Campion have 2 boys, Joshua, 5 and John, 3. They attend Our Lady of Peace parish in Minneapolis, where they live. They attended ECFL for three years and last year became trained as ECFL Parent Discussion leaders. 

Paul and Yami both have a background in faith formation and early childhood development. Paul is a Child Counselor in the elementary school system and Yami runs her own business as a Child Care Provider. They are interested in connecting Catholic families with young children with one another and supporting them in their faith. They look for an opportunity to offer ECFL for Spanish speaking families and to facilitating the parent discussion portion of the program in Spanish.

We asked them three questions about their family’s participation.
Campion Family
Would you recommend ECFL to other families and if so, why?

Yes, we recommend ECFL to our families! It is a beautiful way to feel supported as a family in keeping the faith alive in the home and keeping God in the center of your lives. You will notice your children grow in their faith, surprise you often, and actually inspire you to grow alongside them. For the children, the way the program is set up around learning faith through play and experiences is so important for the children to see and experience and live.
What difference did ECFL make in the way you live out your Catholic faith at home?

With the examples we learn from, both in the children's group and the parents' group, we noticed talking about God became more a daily practice, and we began to feel more ready and prepared to give examples of how He is present and leading us in our lives. It also helped us commit to daily faith activities and prayer, and it has helped us remember the importance of keeping God in the center of all we do... and not just saying these things to the children but engaging the family in activities where the family has the experience of living out this faith.
Joshua and John Campion
Tell us about your ECFL experience and what you and your children liked about attending ECFL.

More than anything, we enjoyed participating in ECFL because we know our children are there listening and experiencing God, learning through the example of others and through their own experiences. It is important for us that our children know there are other adults who will tell them about God and who can be examples for them through leading them in activities where they learn about God. Also, the children learn much through the use of symbols which we believe has a more lasting and profound effect on the children. For us parents, it was so valuable to hear the stories of other parents who also are committed to raising their children in the faith and witness how we can learn from one another and support one another on this journey. We share some of the most intimate parts about us when we share about our faith and it is natural that bonds form quickly among the adults in the group. Also we learned much about what our Catholic faith teaches us about the importance and the power of the sacraments and how living the sacraments along with the vocation of marriage and parenting, can have a lasting spiritual impression on our children.
Hear ECFL parents talk about the importance of bringing faith and prayer into the home

Click here to learn more about ECFL.
Tell me a story. Stories of all kinds command our interest. The natural curiosity of young children make them especially attentive to stories that parents and grandparents can tell them

Let me recommend to all of you parents and grandparents: Make it your personal goal to recall and gather your stories. Gather them and tell them to your children and grandchildren. There are few better ways to spend the hours you have together with children on car rides, waiting times, dinner times, campfires, snuggle times, times for comforting and bedtimes than to share with children your personal stories. These are all perfect times for stories.

You do not have to be a great storyteller!
I came from a large family. We had lots of growing-up adventures. I was the second oldest of 18 children and my older sister Patricia and I had lots of ideas. We had great nature hikes out of town to Jack Creek, where we collected dead snapping turtles so we could save the shells (for something???), we conducted neighborhood plays and carnivals, held neighborhood bat and ball games and kick the can, night games. We raised a raccoon, a duck, hatched turtles, had pet pigeons –of course, we have stories about them all. We have many especially fantastic stories about our legendary, incredible dog, Rex. (You should hear about Rex!) My next oldest brother, Michael had even more ideas, in fact, his ideas were more daring, wild and more adventuresome. We built tree houses and forts and hideouts, animal cages and cook stoves. We made one cook stove out of a Wisk can which started on fire and in great fear, we called my Dad home from work (Yikes!) to put it out, he was a volunteer firefighter, of course. We were faith-filled: every morning we walked across town to Mass and picked wild violets in the yards on the way home. We were creative, artistic and hard-working—getting up in the middle of the night to surprise our parents when they woke to find a clean kitchen, organized cupboards or a clean basement. We did many good deeds and some not so good, like stealing cherries from our neighbor’s cherry tree- it had to be okay though, because otherwise, only the birds got them.

We began by relating our “Trishie and Joanne Stories” to our younger siblings and then we told them to our own children. They were golden. We never tired of telling them and they never tired of hearing them. They asked to hear them again and again. My own grandchildren know some of them now. Our stories tell them something of ourselves, our family and something of who they are too.

My husband used to teach lessons to our children with stories. He used to start them out with “One time I knew this kid, you know…” and the kid in the “made-up story” just happened to have the same situation that was going on with the son or daughter to whom he was talking. Only, the made-up story had consequences that were silly, fantastically dire and fun. His stories made life situations easier to deal with, lighter and even funny. But they were lessons.

Now when I am listening to my youngest daughter talk about the challenges she has in her relationships, I find myself telling her the story about a time when I had a similar problem and how I failed or struggled with or resolved the difficulty. She listens. She may only learn what not to do, but it is something. And it bonds our own relationship.
Stories tell us about ourselves and the world. They tell about family. They tell the listener about the challenges of life and the unique strengths of family, now we often hear our son Jesse tell his children, “Foleys never give up!” Stories are encouraging. They give meaning. They help children learn their identity. They bond us together.

Finally, what is more important and impactful than sharing the stories of our faith? I recall my Dad crying only one time. He was at the funeral of a friend’s newborn infant. He was on his knees in front of the casket. He had many healthy children of his own. He knew the pain and difficulty of this loss for his friend. At that moment, we, his children, were able to see the depth of his love for family, the sorrow he felt for his friend and what he did in his grief--he took his grief to the feet of Jesus.

Our family said the rosary every night after supper for many years. We always knelt down on the living room floor, even the little kids. It became our tradition to say the rosary after Christmas Mass, after the Christmas meal, after cleaning up the Christmas meal. All of this before opening Christmas presents. It was a painful waiting for everyone.

One Christmas, my Dad, to keep us waiting even longer, he kept praying more ‘Hail Mary’s’ on the last decade. One by one, the older kids began to see that the decade was lasting too long, until even the little kids became aware and objected. After that, everyone paid close attention to the number of Hail Mary’s in every decade of the rosary! We still follow that Christmas tradition when we gather with my siblings and every Christmas gathering with our own children and grandchildren. In fact, they insist on it and look forward to it. But faith stories are another topic—for another newsletter.

Be sure to gather your stories and tell them. You will be eternally glad you did.
"O most Holy Trinity, You who have created me for Your glory, grant that I may give You all the glory of which I am capable" 
Divine Intimacy # 226
ECFL is dedicated to helping parents with small children to create a home that has a Catholic culture
a home with Jesus at the center.