My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Keeping your sanity in Your Domestic Church

When Mr. Pete and I first reverted back to our Catholic faith with a vengeance, I wanted to live it to the FULLEST! So of course I went WAAAAYYYYY overboard. I bought every book I could get my hands on about how to live an authentic Catholic Family Lifestyle including cookbooks and books on traditions. Then every day I would look at the feast for the day and see how a "real Catholic" was supposed to celebrate. Usually it meant a trip to the grocery store for something I didn't have in the house, and it meant making a dish for dinner that I had never made before, or going to our local religious store to try and find something about the saint for that day. It was fun! It was adventure! It was exhausting!!!

So over the years I've learned to tone it down a bit to a more manageable level yet a way that our family can still incorporate the liturgical year into our lives.

It all starts with a good Catholic calendar with the dates and feasts written on it. You might want some good books on the saints too and I suggest one written for children or for adolescents so it's not too deep but gives you the information that you want.

From there I suggest looking over every month to find the feast days that are special to your family. The ones that you really want to commemorate. For us that includes our patron saints, and a few special dates like Our Lady of Sorrows, or St. Francis Feast Day so we can sprinkle our pets with holy water. Try to find saints and feasts that really have personal meaning for you or someone in your family.

Then you might want to get some books to help you decide how to celebrate. The first book I ever used for this was "The Year and Our Children" by Mary Reed Newland. It's an old book and might even be out of print again. Your celebrations don't have to be too elaborate. For St. Peter's Feast Day we eat a simple white fish dinner, remembering that Peter was a fisherman. For Marian feasts we eat white cake to celebrate Mary and remember her purity and holiness. For the feasts of the Archangels we eat devil's food and angel food cake as well as deviled eggs to remember St. Michael's victory over Satan. Fish is a good meal for that day too to remember the fish Raphael had Tobias pull from the river in the book of Tobit.

For days that I don't want to necessarily make a big deal of but still want to remember, I will read the story of the saint to the children over lunch or dinner while they eat. After a few years of this they start to remember the stories. On other days, I simply will say the name of the saint and after our grace we add, "St. Of the Day, pray for us!"

I think it's important to decorate for the feast days if you can. I have a lovely Mary statue that will adorn our table tomorrow on her feast day. I have little statues of St. Joseph and the Arch Angels as well. I have gotten all of them off of eBay at bargain prices. I have pictures of the saints too that I can put under my clear plastic table cloth so that the kids can look at them while they're eating.

What ever you do doesn't have to be fancy especially if you have small children. Just do enough to make it a little special for you, something the kids can do to learn about the saints and the Catholic Feasts, and something that helps you to turn your mind to God, who is really the author of all we do anyway!

Have a great Feast of the Assumption!

For some ideas on how to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, the Women of Faith Site had some great ideas!

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "The day before the feast, gather or buy flowers to place before a picture or statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in your home, and tell (or read) the meaning of the feast to your child or children at bedtime on August 14th. (See Mary's Flowers)

Take flowers to Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, and, after Mass, place them near the altar, shrine or statue Blessed Virgin Mary in your church. (Children enjoy doing making the 'flower offering', so it would be a good idea to have enough flowers for each child to place one.)

If your church has a Mary shrine, have each child light a candle, kneel and say a prayer or a 'Hail Mary'. Even if it does not, you can do this at your home -- the 'domestic Church'.

Get a few votive candles and holders (one for each child), set a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin on a table or shelf to make a little shrine. Place a rose or other flowers near the statue. Have each child light a votive candle. (Mother or an older child can light the baby's candle.) Kneel and say prayers together.

After Mass talk about the celebration with your child. Discuss the meaning of the feast, and why it is important to Catholics. This would be a good opportunity to talk about motherhood, death and heaven -- and to answer questions. (Take advantage of 'teaching moments'!)

Pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary with your family -- maybe just after dinner, before homework and other distractions begin. (You might also say the Rosary together, or listen to a tape, in the car).
The Glorious Mysteries are: Jesus' Resurrection from the Dead; His Ascension into Heaven; The Descent of the Holy Spirit; The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Coronation of the Virgin Mary in Heaven.

Talk to your children about motherhood (and even grandmotherhood): the many roles of a mother, the various tasks and duties and joys of a mother. Maybe you can give them some ideas about what you do each day. Talk about what Mary's daily life must have been like -- how being the Mother of Jesus made "her soul rejoice" even when life seemed the most difficult