Family Honor fulfills a promise

COLUMBIA — Nearly 20 years ago, a handful of parents wanted to help other parents who were struggling to raise healthy, happy and holy children, and formed Family Honor, Inc., to accomplish that goal. Today the demand for programs has exceeded manpower and funding, so Family Honor is trying to find creative ways to grow.

Family Honor sponsored a luncheon on May 4 called “Fulfilling the Promise.” Parents from parishes in the Midlands were able to hear personal testimony on how the organization positively impacted the speakers’ lives.

“I knew that Family Honor’s mission of training chastity presenters, developing family-centered materials on virtue formation, and providing program opportunities for parents and children to communicate on important life issues, especially chastity, was critical in the culture we were living in,” said Brenda Cerkez, executive director.

Today Family Honor has affiliate teams in five states, and men and women from nine states have come through the college-credit training course. They have also created new CD-ROMs that will be used by crisis pregnancy centers, religious education teachers, youth directors and others to help both adults and children better understand the precious gift of sexuality given to all by God.

Cerkez hopes to make family life better for others.

“If we had had the opportunity that Family Honor provides, my mom and I could have communicated so much better and it would have made my life a lot easier, especially growing up in a single-parent family,” she said.

Teen presenters are an important part of every Family Honor team, she said, because they help make the programs exciting and relevant. Hilary Bauer, a former teen presenter who now has a family of her own, spoke at the luncheon.

“When I was unsure of myself, thought I was all alone, and wondered why I got stuck with the glasses, freckles and braces rather than look like the models I saw in the magazines, Family Honor gave me perspective,” she said. “I was of infinite value to God.”

Karen Rogers, an adult presenter, and her husband, Dan, shared their insights.

“Dan and I were both cradle Catholics, but unfortunately accepted the cafeteria-style approach to our faith, particularly in the area of sexuality,” Karen told the group. “When we found Family Honor and the truth was revealed to us about God’s plan for our sexuality, we went through a recommitment to our faith and to our marriage vows. We finally understood what it meant to be truly open to life.”

Rogers said that the couple could not have children of their own but discovered that being open to life took on a new meaning through adoption. Dan said he believed in the difference parents make as the most important teachers in the lives of their children.

“As off-track as the world is with its messages of ‘free love,’ the alternative we are offering through Family Honor — ‘real love’ — is so much more powerful, uplifting and promising. We want to help our children to know in the very depth of their being that they have been uniquely called to love as God loves: freely, fully, faithfully, fruitfully and forever. It is always first and foremost a message of hope,” he said.