Every Christian family is sent out into the world as modern-day apostles.
While it is easy to pass off the mission of evangelization to priests and religious within the Catholic Church, in reality every family is given an apostolic mission by God.
In fact, in many ways the family is one of the most important institutions in proclaiming the Gospel, even it if isn’t in an official manner.
This is all detailed in the Second Vatican Council document Apostolicam Actuositatem. In it, marriage and the family are held up as the most basic cell of society.
Since the Creator of all things has established conjugal society as the beginning and basis of human society and, by His grace, has made it a great mystery in Christ and the Church (cf. Eph. 5:32), the apostolate of married persons and families is of unique importance for the Church and civil society.
The Church recognizes marriage and the family as an “apostolate,” an institution that is entrusted with the task of evangelization.
First and foremost this evangelization takes place within the context of the family, in the raising of children.
Christian husbands and wives are cooperators in grace and witnesses of faith for each other, their children, and all others in their household. They are the first to communicate the faith to their children and to educate them by word and example for the Christian and apostolic life. They prudently help them in the choice of their vocation and carefully promote any sacred vocation which they may discern in them.
This is the most important task of the family, but it isn’t the only one. After establishing a firm foundation with the family, it is a necessary duty of this apostolate to go out and seek opportunities to be a charitable force within society.
Among the various activities of the family apostolate may be enumerated the following: the adoption of abandoned infants, hospitality to strangers, assistance in the operation of schools, helpful advice and material assistance for adolescents, help to engaged couples in preparing themselves better for marriage, catechetical work, support of married couples and families involved in material and moral crises, help for the aged not only by providing them with the necessities of life but also by obtaining for them a fair share of the benefits of an expanding economy.
In other words, families are not able to pass the buck of evangelization to priests and religious, but are integral to the successful delivery of the Gospel message in the world.
As St. John Paul II noted, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.”
The way to restore society is, first of all, through the family.