Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

10 Ways to Keep the rest of Advent, even if it hasn't gone quite right so far!

First posted on Catholicmom in 2012

I tend to have an “all or nothing” tendency. So if I blow my diet on Monday night, I’m done for the rest of the week! or if I skip a day or two in my “Read the bible in a year” efforts, I’m likely not to pick it up again until next New Year’s Day!

But a couple of years ago I realized that even if I don’t eat perfectly today, there’s always tomorrow, and if I’m using my one year bible, the year can start anytime I want it to!! I found that kind of attitude to be so much more liberating and enjoyable, and it increased my chances of being successful because I was more apt to keep trying!

I think it’s the same way with Advent. If stringing lights, buying presents and wrapping them, or baking has kept you from being as spiritually in the season as you want to be, here are some ways I think might help to salvage it!

1. Go to daily mass. Maybe not daily, but even if you get one extra mass in a week it will make you feel like you have taken a step in the right direction!

2. Get to confession. Nothing says “clean slate” better than… well a clean slate! So get to confession and make a fresh start from there!

3. Follow the daily mass readings – they truly get the heart set on the right path toward’s Christmas.

4. Pick an online Advent Calendar, breeze through the days you missed and start off with renewed commitment today! There are some nice ones here to follow. 

5. Analyze your Christmas preparations. Maybe you’ve done enough already. Remember the first Christmas was in a barren, cold cave. Maybe you have enough decorations, maybe you’ve bought enough gifts. Remember, the gifts that matter the most are ones that come from the heart, not the pocketbook!

6. There are two fun Advent feast days this week, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Lucy’s feast. Enjoy some Mexican cuisine with the family, or sweet rolls in the morning while learning about/and sharing these two important feasts!

7. I find it much easier to really dig into Advent if I don’t put up my Christmas tree too early. The week before Christmas is plenty of time. (My in-laws didn’t put theirs up until Christmas Eve!!!).

8.  Did your Christmas Novena fizzle out?  Did your resolve to pray the rosary more never come to fruition?  The O-Antiphons start next week too and I'll be posting about them with the antiphon right here. Start praying the antiphons for a deeper more spiritual entrance to Christmas.

9.  Advent music!  There is some!  Here's a play list courtesy of Carrots for Michaelmas.

10. Still not feeling it? Maybe doing for some less fortunate folks will help. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army, or participate in the local food bank, or perhaps give gifts for the giving tree at church. Sometimes doing that type of work can take our eyes and hearts off of all the “stuff” and refocuses them on Jesus Christ, who is always present in “the least of these.”

advent table