Catholics love a good liturgy, and the whole year for us is about liturgy, seasons, colors, celebrations. It can be exciting. It can be overwhelming to mamas trying to make all these traditions and seasons and feast days come alive for their children. Let’s face it, getting ready for a Mass on a Wednesday morning for a solemnity can feel like a drag to the kids, and for busy moms, it can turn into one more thing to be out of the door not just on time, but with clean faces and neat hair, and hopefully matching shoes. Let’s not even talk about shoes appropriate for the weather…as my boys still won’t let go of their summer-time Crocs, and have been found wearing them as we make the walk to Mass, while there is snow on the ground.
So how does a tired mama help her kids find some meaning and connection with the liturgical year? I’ll share a secret: it doesn’t have to include the best Pinterest crafts or cupcakes. (And there was much rejoicing! I say this as a mother of 5, who though still crafty, is weary of oodles of crafts and cupcakes for every single saint’s feast day and any other notable day worth celebrating through the year. There are only so many cupcakes a girl can bake, eat, or even think about.) Be a cupcake queen if you want. Craft all the crafts if it works for you and your kiddos. Mine were getting crafted out. And even though we’re a creative craft-happy crew around here, I just can’t take that much of the cheesy stuff that ends up in the trash days later. The meaning is lost on us. Not only that, but my girls are getting older and my younger kids are boys…so crafts don’t fit us so well anymore. However, there are great ideas out on the web for bringing meaning and celebration into our homes.
One of my favorite places to look is the Many Little Blessings blog. Each month, Angie creates and posts a sweet (read: awesome) printable with ideas for that month. Some are crafty. Some involve reading Scripture. Some, like this month, include star gazing to celebrate Epiphany and to think about what it might have been like for the three kings to travel at night to find Jesus, following the star. You’ll notice she also started up a site devoted to printables, like coloring and activity pages, for Catholic kids. Go check it out at Catholic Printables Online.
I usually have grand intentions of doing all the things…and then I never do. What works most often for me is to certainly celebrate major feasts, the changing seasons of Lent and Advent, Easter and Christmas, and of course Ordinary Time (decorating the house for Christmas and Easter is always fun!), read stories of favorite saints during the month of their feast, read about blesseds and seek their intercession, and choose one or two other things each month to learn about and celebrate. Sometimes it’s as simple as a special prayer I find and we read it at mealtime or with our bedtime prayers. Other times I will bake a special treat to have with tea and juice in the afternoon, while we read a saint’s life story.
I love a good celebration of our faith, and it’s been mostly fun to celebrate with my kids. Ya know, mostly fun because sometimes the best planned crafts, Bible-readings, stories, saint’s day celebrations just don’t enthuse the kids. Sometimes kids (and us moms) are in a funk and would rather eat chocolate and nap all day instead of go to one more Mass during the Christmas season (keeping count? I think we’ll be at 4 Masses in 12 days, and I realize that’s nothing compared to families who make it to daily Mass). Still, doing little bits here and there to enrich our every day life with our faith is worth it. It’s just one way to keep our faith growing beyond that one hour of Sunday Mass.