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Archive for Radiant Faith

The 3 Pillars of Lent: Ideas for Your Family

Lent begins Wednesday! The 3 pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. While we (hopefully) practice these all year round, during Lent we pause and reflect on our relationship with God, and we intensify our devotion to these 3 pillars. Here are some fresh ideas for experiencing an intentional Lent in your domestic church. If your family is new to Lenten practices, just pick a few ideas to get started!

1. Prayer

Setting aside more time for family prayer during Lent draws us closer to one another as a family and to God. Through family prayer, we begin to recognize ourselves as a family rooted in Christ’s mission, set aside for good works.

Teaching children to pray. We can teach our children to deepen their prayer life during Lent, no matter their ages. Great tips from Catholic Digest.

Family altar. This is a post from my (neglected . . . ) homeschooling blog. I explain how we set up our family altar at Lent and the symbolism of the objects on our altar.

Stations of the Cross for Children. Love this beautiful free Stations of the Cross booklet  from Feast and Feria. They also offer ideas for creating a hands-on Stations of the Cross box. You place little objects in a box that your child can hold while your family prays the stations. My favorite book for praying the Stations with kids is Mary Joslin’s beautifully illustrated picture book. However, it’s currently $50 on Amazon! Yikes. I’ll treasure my copy. This similar (and cheaper) book by Angela Burrin looks lovely, too.

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Skeletons, Pumpkins, and Judgment, OH MY

Every year on Halloween night, one of my neighbors puts a sign in her window: “NO CANDY. We are Christians. We do not celebrate Halloween.” So far none of my kids has remarked on this sign that I can recall. In particular, they have never asked, “But aren’t we Christians? . . . Is it wrong to trick-or-treat?” I’m glad. But I admit this neighbor’s sign has left me feeling slightly guilty every year, as if I should slink away with my jacket over head.

I know that many of us Catholic parents are torn about Halloween.  Should we participate? Is Halloween intrinsically evil? What’s with the ghosts and witches? Where does all this stuff come from? Frankly, throughout my mothering, I’ve experienced very mixed feelings about Halloween. I love the harvest atmosphere of many Halloween parties and events, but the whole sub-culture around Halloween seems to become increasingly dark each year.  A few years ago I want into a Halloween costume shop to get my daughter a Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume, and I saw mechanical zombie babies with blood oozing from their eyes. Not funny or interesting; just creepy and disturbing. Young people are becoming increasingly drawn to anything related to the “undead” – zombies, vampires, etc. It’s weird.

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Back-to-School Traditions for Your Catholic Family

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Family traditions give our kids a little life jacket in the often unsteady waters of childhood. As we approach the beginning of a new school year, it’s a great time to think of ways to honor our child’s big step in starting a new grade and offer a nod to the enormous blessings and graces of education – of books, numbers, maps, bugs, play dough, or whatever else may occupy our minds this year.

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Celebrating Your Child’s “Name Day”

My Lydia celebrating her very first name day.

My Lydia celebrating her very first name day.

August is “name day month” in my home, because all of my children have patron saints whose feast days fall in the month of August: Lydia (August 3), Dominic (August 8), Claire (August 11), and Aidan (August 31). Years ago, when I began researching ways to bring Catholic culture into my home, celebrating name days was one of the first things we did together. Until then, I was completely clueless that all my children had the same name day month!

If you’re not sure of the date of your child’s name day, American Catholic has a great calendar that you can search. But, hold on. If your child’s has a name day, it means you actually went to the trouble of naming him or her after a saint. Thank you! Naming children after saints or biblical figures is like naming them after our parents or revered ancestors: it honors the saint and gives our child a link to his heritage. Even more, a patron saint has a special connection with our child; I think patron saints help us raise our children. Finally, giving our a child a saint’s name affirms our belief in the communion of saints.

So, what’s not to celebrate?!

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