Husband & Wife Articles

Father for the Church

An evangelist for families in the City of Brotherly Love

There are a lot of lookalikes in the Lombardi family, with two sets of twins among the six children. Yet Dominic Lombardi and his wife, Mary, know that each child is a unique gift of God.

Lombardi, 53, is director of the Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. With a licentiate in theology, he is also an adjunct professor of theology at St. Joseph’s University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

He has been married for 16 years. His children are: Celine and Leah, 15; Andrew and Justin, 13; Luke, 10, and Henry, 4.

Fathers for Good corresponded with Lombardi just before Christmas.

Fathers for Good: You work helping to spread the church's message. What qualities of fatherhood are important for your job?

Lombardi: The main quality would be a confidence in and desire to speak the truth to the hearts of others. Also, a readiness to share one’s experience of God’s presence in family life, and an ability to connect it with a solid and vibrant catechesis on marriage and family. As fathers, we should seek to always exhort and encourage others. Always look for the best in others. Of course, we should always be personally on the path of conversion and reconciliation to God and others. The greatest satisfaction is to be a “via” – a way – for others on their path to God.

The Lombardi children range in age from 15 years old to 4.

FFG: How do you see the health of Catholic families in the parishes? Do we need an evangelization of family life and marriage?  

Lombardi: Families are too busy and distracted. The overwhelming impact of the culture on families through media and technology has been to create a spiritual desert in family life. They need time together. The deepest level of intimacy in family life is spiritual. The family that prays together, stays together. We need to recover prayer and the sacraments as the center of family life, which means to recover simplicity of life. Parishes need to help families focus on the essentials, to accompany families on their journey through the culture and encourage families to share their gifts.

FFG: You and your wife have six children, starting with two pairs of twins. What makes this life possible when so many spouses limit children?

Lombardi: The greatest joy in family life is the beauty, wonder, and mystery of the persons who make it up – one's spouse and children. True love is always unitive and fruitful. It continually provides opportunities to seeing and experiencing life afresh and new.

In my wife, Mary, I have experienced someone who loves me in light of my authentic fulfillment. In her, I have witnessed the power of a mother's love, which is a sacrificial love. She has eye for the detail, sensitivity to the children's needs, and their unique personalities. Her willingness to make a sacrifice, her words and actions, reveal God’s loving presence in our family

FFG: What is the most important thing you would like to hand on or instill in your children? 

Lombardi: That God is real, that Christ died and rose from the dead for them. That their lives find their meaning in God’s love which is eternal. I would like them to be open to the power of the Holy Spirit in their life’s journey. To be generous and thankful for God's gifts in their lives, and to not be self-centered, but to focus on the needs of others.