Friday, May 28, 2010

Handbook for Catholic Moms Question: How Do You Live Catholic Culture at Your House?

The final chapter of The Handbook for Catholic Moms is full of great ideas for promoting a Catholic culture in one's home.

This is actually a very timely discussion among my friends.  I'm on an e-group for Catholic moms, and one new Catholic asked how we as moms live out a Catholic culture in our homes.  There were quite a few good answers of doing Mass readings, praying with children, and others ideas to promote a family culture that is Catholic and joyful.

For some reason, the first thing that I remember when I heard the question about making a Catholic culture in the family is praying the Hail Mary when an ambulance passes--I know many families do this.  Some people might consider that "Catholic lite" or only culturally Catholic instead of truly Catholic, but really, helping kids to pray for others and think of people they don't know is helpful.  Once we were in a big city and the kids were non-stop praying Hail Marys, until my husband and I told our children that most of the sirens were police directing traffic, and it was okay to say one Hail Mary for all the intentions and wait until we were back in our small community to resume the practice.

More seriously, the one practice I think is most successful in our family is "the little blessing," something we have done in our family for years.

Many years ago, my husband attended a retreat at a Virginia monastery where the monk leading the retreat suggested parents bless one another and their children with  the sign of the cross each day or night, with the words, "The Lord bless you and keep you."  The monk pointed out that there are times in life when spouses may be angry with each other, or teen children may pull away from physical signs of affection, but the sign of the cross helps bond families with the sign of the Savior.

I can think of many nights when I have been frustrated with one of my children (or my husband!), and they with me, but we still give the little blessing.  The very act of tracing the sign of the cross on the forehead seems to soften the frustration and remind us we do love each other, for both the giver and the receiver.

And now our children bless us, as well.  Often one of the children will bless us three times, saying, "Three for the Trinity."  It has become a sacred time for our family, and it only takes a moment.

I vividly remember the first time my husband told me about "the little blessing," when we were dating, never realizing that all these years later we would still have the "little blessing" for one another and our children, every single night.  Our family spiritual life has changed and grown (and sometimes shrunk) over the years, and devotions have come and gone--I can think of many that have been helpful as times goes by--but "the little blessing" has been a constant.

What are the ways your family lives a Catholic culture?


  1. We keep the liturgical seasons - like Christmas decorations don't come out until the third Sunday of Advent and then they stay up through Epiphany. We also use Catholic prayers with our kids: Guardian Angel, St. Michael, Grace, Hail Mary, etc. Lastly, and probably my favorite, we've taught our 2 yr old to kiss images of Jesus and Mary. So if you ever see a litle girl kissing the statue of Mary in your yard - don't worry, it's just my daughter!

  2. We do pray for ambulances of fire trucks as they pass, an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory Be. We also add the three prayers before the blessing of meals. We also read a short exerpt from the Bible after every meal while at the table and talk about it. We are slowly but surely getting through the Gospels.
    We also invite our children to pray the Rosery with us but do not force them. Christ be with you all!!

  3. How about lighting prayer candles, doing Holy Hours with the kids. reading about a paticular saint on their feast, doing the daily reading or doing a Bible Study with the kids like Bread of Life which focuses only on the Sunday reading. Catholic Icing has plenty of craft projects for the Liturgical Calendar. Holy heroes has a free Lent and Advent adventure on-line. We try and say Novena's coming up to special feast that are simple for the kids; for example Corpus Christi this Sunday. O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and all Thanksgiving be Every Moment Thine. Simple yet important to for the kids to recognize and know

  4. I also really, really enjoy the Catholic Icing blog; the link is Lacy, the author, compiles tons of great ideas from all kinds of sources for living the liturgical year.

  5. gosh. where to start? lol!

    well, we have our prayer wall- a hallway wall where the family (and guests) are encouraged to draw and write on the wall! we write prayers, have pics of seminarians and people we are praying for, and i put up whatever is prominent in the liturgical calendar at that time.
    right now, i am reluctant to take down a prayer banner from the month of may. we recently became consecrated to our Holy Mother and the prayer banner helped us to say our prayers for the consecration.
    i will post a link to my blog and that will inspire me to finish up that blog page! loL!