Home Practice Across Faiths

  • Edicola of Padre Pio and the Virgin adorn the entry of many houses in the old town of San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy..
  • Religious and familial decorations in a family home near Jinja Karoli, Uganda. The king is in the blue picture at top.
  • A family home in Cizhong, China comprised of intermarried Buddhists and Catholics.
  • Pope Francis finds a prominent place in the home of a Catholic parishioner in Bergen, Norway.
  • A family's shrine in Kerala, India occupies the central room of the house. Family members gather in the evening to pray aloud and silently together.
Age Level
Learning about home practice not only teaches students about domestic expressions of faith, but also encourages them to consider how the home environment reflects familial and societal values. This lesson starts with Christianity, and uses the resources from Catholics & Cultures as a base, but is intended to segue to the home practice of other faiths and secular homes.

Learning Context

Students should be introduced to the general concept that the home environment is a reflection of a family’s values. Discussion is a good way to encourage them to see this intuitively. They can start by drawing pictures of a room in their home, pointing out elements that speak to things that matter to their families (a cross above a door, an old photo of great grandma, an Irish flag, etc.). This exercise leads to the many ways in which religion expresses itself in the home.

Project Possibilities

A project on home practice can go in a number of directions. It is an opportunity for students to learn, tangibly, what the households of non-Christian faiths might typically contain, and reflect on what it means in the context of that faith. For example, a Jewish home may have a Mezuzah on a door: students can find an image of a Mezuzah, and deduce it’s religious and theological significance. Online research is an easy way to find information, but a more ideal method of research would be through interviewing peers about what special items are in their homes.

Questions for Discussion

  • Are all of a family’s values necessarily visible in the home? What are some things that are important to your family, but are not visible in your home?
  • Can you think of reasons why in some countries, faith is very visible in the home but not in public? (resource: Denmark)
  • Are there decorations or practices that you have in your home that only come out during certain times of year (e.g., at holidays)?
  • [in a world religions context] Why do you think some Catholic homes have many images of Jesus, Mary, and other holy people, while Muslim homes do not?