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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Preparing for All Saints Day Part 1

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All Saints Day is on a Wednesday this year,  but many families, homeschool groups, and churches have celebrations this upcoming weekend.

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is simply the night before the great feast of All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.

Despite what some Christians seem to think, it's okay to celebrate! as long as you understand exactly what it is that you are celebrating! There is really no historical connection between the setting of this feast to November 1 (naturally placing the Eve to October 31), and the Pagan Celebration of Samhain other than Pope Gregory III moved the feast to the same time of year when Samhain is celebrated.

According to Father William Saunders:

The designation of Nov. 1 as the Feast of All Saints occurred over time. Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated an oratory in the original St. Peter's Basilica in honor of all the saints on Nov. 1 (at least according to some accounts), and this date then became the official date for the celebration of the Feast of All Saints in Rome.

Sicard of Cremona (d. 1215) recorded that Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) finally suppressed May 13 and mandated Nov.1 as the date to celebrate the Feast of All Saints. in all, we find the Church establishing a liturgical feast day in honor of the saints independent of any pagan influence.

You can read all about that at the Catholic Education Resource Center. 

But I like to look at it another way. The change of seasons and the harvest are gifts from God, even if the ancient Celts didn't quite see it that way. As the scriptures say, "Test everything. Hold on to the good," and Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Goodnight Moom ala Steven King- by Calvin circa 2004

Mary Reed Newland in her book "The Year and Our Children" put it this way:

The Feast of All Saints is one of the greatest of all feasts because it celebrates what could have been impossible. The cross is a tree that bears fruit. This is the feast of its harvest. The celebrations of the mysteries in the life of Our Lord are glorious and there is no detracting from them. But he was God. This day we celebrate the perfecting or human nature by grace pouring form the side of Christ on the cross, through His Church and His sacraments, remaking men after their despoiling in the Garden.

Aside from all the lofty things to be said about the saints and to the saints on this day, we want our children to understand in the marrow of their bones what the principal idea is: "We are so glad for you. Now pray, so we'll be there too!" And they must add to this and to every feast and endless: "Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making it possible."

For the Catholic family, I believe preparing children for All Saints Day really is a year-long activity. Our liturgical calendar is full of feast days all year round and it is important to remember and acknowledge these events as they happen throughout the liturgical year. Parents should take the time and the opportunity for just a few minutes each day to educate our children about the holy men and women who have become saints.

In my own family I have found that the kids will gravitate to one saint pretty early on and then when it's time to pick a saint for confirmation, they will have one already picked out.

For Calvin, it was Father Damian of Molokai. 

May 2016, izzy art 003

Sam chose St. Tarcisius for his bravery.  Gabe chose St. John the Cure D'Ars, and Noah picked Polycarp.  Izzy always loved the quiet bravery of Saint Veronica and now it looks as if Rosie might be gravitating towards St. Perpetua.

A few years ago, I was inspired by Cottage Blessing's Spoon saints and so we tried to make a spoon saint for each saint that we talked about in depth during the year.



A few years ago I found these cute little saints from the Waltzing Matilda blog. I showed them to Rosie and she took off with them!

Here are some of her saints!
Saint Luke with winged ox by Rosie.

Mother Theresa peg saint

We have over 50 now!

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I have several tools that help me keep on top of the liturgical year. Of course, I use the links from Universalis on my blog, as well as Saint of the Day from American Catholic.

I also use this lovely Catholic Woman's Planner and have a calendar from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception up on my wall. With these tools, I can see and plan for the liturgical year, all of the feasts and commemorations, almost effortlessly.

Most days we read something about the saint for the day and we ask that saint to, "Pray for Us" after our prayer before meals.

During the year, I like to read more about the saints to the children.  I particularly like, 57 Stories of Saints by the Daughters of St. Paul, the Picture Book of Saints by Father Lovasik.

Father Phillip Tells a Ghost Story has become a holiday tradition! This really does a nice job of incorporating the other connection with ghosts and the dead with their proper place in Catholic life with prayers for the dead and purgatory.

As the children get older and want to participate in Halloween parties with their friends, I'm okay with that, as long as they choose a costume that is not demonic or inappropriate. I feel that they have a strong foundation in the saints and I have relaxed a little with them making their own costumes as teens. For little kids though, I insist on following up with dressing as the saints because they need that strong foundation in learning about the saints that have gone before them.

Tomorrow, I'll focus on some of the costumes we have done in the past.
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