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…

Teens, All Saints and Halloween

In many areas of the United States, whether you trick or treat or go to Halloween parties, Halloween is mostly over for the year. Cities and towns move their Trick or Treat to the weekend before October 31 during designated hours. I guess a few places still have their celebrations on the actual night, which is right in the middle of the week this year. 

As my children got into their teen years, they became more interested in dressing up as characters instead of saints. I was okay with that as long as it was silly and fun, but not dark and demonic.

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The family dressed as characters from Wreck It Ralph!

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Halloween 2017
Where's Waldo? Dad and Audrey 

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Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Rosie the riveted.
Rosie the Riveter. 

I also kept them out of Haunted House displays, by refusing to pay for it. That was easy. 

But making the transition from All Saints Day Parties and celebrating Halloween is really more about instilling in our kids the importance of the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. 

I've blogged before that in my domestic church, we have a few important feast days that we celebrate as a family. Of course, there are all of our patron saints' feast days, but also other ones throughout the year that are meaningful to our family. Over the past few years, I have made it a point to celebrate all of the apostle's feast days since they were the closest men to Christ. And of course, there is always a day, season or reason to venerate the Blessed Mother. 

All Saints Day is a way to celebrate all of the other saints that we didn't do in our domestic church and all of the saints that aren't necessarily marquee saints but have beautiful stories nonetheless. For example, a friend of mine just told me about Sister Blandina, the nun who helped to calm and possibly convert Billy the Kid! What a great story SHE has, but it's not one that you usually read about in the book of saints. 

But the other point I emphasize to my kids it that the day celebrates those silent saints in our own lives that will never have a cause opened for them and will never be canonized by the church. They are saints in God's eyes nonetheless. I think maybe my mother might be one such saint. She lived a good life, was a wonderful mom and had a strong prayer life. She wasn't perfect of course, but I think she suffered enough at the end of her life that maybe that was her purgatory. Maybe my grandparents, who took us in and raised us in their home are saints now too? Or the man who drove all of us Catholic kids to band class at the public school when we were little. Who knows how many people in our everyday lives achieve sainthood by doing little things every day with great love. 

If anything, this is a great time of year to hit home the lesson that WE are aspiring to be saints too and that it is possible! So as kids transition from dressing up as saints, to other Halloween characters, they can also transition from being served (getting candy, having mom get their costumes) to serving (helping at parties, taking little siblings and friends trick or treating, and making costumes for themselves and others!

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Uncle Noah protecting his niece and little sister as they trick or treat. 

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