If you have decorated your home for Easter, Christmas, or another holiday, you are already on the way to liturgical living in your home. Read on for suggestions to move beyond Easter bunnies and Christmas trees, to make your home and family celebrations reflect our culture of faith even more.
There really are many ways your family can bring liturgical celebrations home. You even could create new family traditions to celebrate your favorite patron saints, make up your own dishes to celebrate a feast day, decide on your own practices of penance during Lent. What I share here are ideas that work for us. They are simple, so don’t worry. This here is certainly not a sparkly Pinterest post.
(This is exactly how our table looks right now. The roses were from St. Therese’s feast day. The books are what we read each morning. The candle behind Jesus is battery powered. Yes, the crucifix is hanging at an angle. What can I say? I warned you this was imperfect.)
We started simple with a prayer table. And when life gets crazy, the prayer table is our backbone and the only thing that changes to reflect a special day and season. Currently, the prayer table in our house is still simple (not even covered with a cloth! I’ve been meaning to finish sewing one…but life. And the toddler is always pulling things down…so we’ve left it uncovered) and the focus of any liturgical happening.
Take this week as an example: there were several great feasts, which are easy and accessible for families. The Archangels on September 29, St. Therese the Little Flower on October 1, the Guardian Angels on October 2, and St. Francis of Assisi on October 4. Celebrating just one of these with children is a delight. Celebrating all of them
can become is overwhelming, if you’re thinking of doing crafts and special food for each one! Instead, we choose a few different feasts to celebrate with food and crafts, and the rest we celebrate by changing our prayer table with fresh flowers, saint statues, and colors to match the season or day. This week, we added statues of St. Gabriel and St. Therese, asked for intercession, and had cupcakes. The same batch for both feasts, because I’m lazy, overwhelmed, and there were a lot of cupcakes.
There are some great resources for learning more about the liturgical year and living it in your home. First, the Holy Heroes website is a great resource for kids to learn about their faith and liturgical seasons. You can watch videos about the Sunday Gospel readings, sign up for Advent and Lent Adventures, and shop the store for gifts and teaching tools. We have enjoyed learning with Holy Heroes for years. Some years, watching the videos about Advent were the only liturgical living we did, since I was newly postpartum or we had a rather active baby–and circumstances such as those make decorating difficult!
Another AWESOME book you can read to help your own understanding and put into practice new traditions is “The Little Oratory”. It was just released this year, and is so beautiful. There are even lovely prints in the back you can remove and frame and hang in your home! (And…as I type this, I have yet to hang my prints. They’ve been sitting on my counter for weeks…supposedly staring me in the face as a reminder to frame and hang them…but as this is a true story of my imperfect domestic life, I’m letting you know and see the proof.)
(I moved them to the prayer table for the picture. They are still not hung up. I need to buy frames.)
A final tip I have to share with you about living the liturgical year in the home is to just read stories about one or two saints as their feast day approaches. Tomie dePaola has several delightful books about saints, all of which are worth putting on hold at the library or buying to add to your own collection. They are full of lovely illustrations and his writing excites imaginations. Definitely try at least one of his stories, maybe look ahead to Advent and choose one about the angels or Our Lady of Guadalupe, and spend a week with the story. The more familiar you become with the seasons and the stories and the feasts we celebrate, the more natural it will become to celebrate in your home. And it’s OK for your table to be a work in progress. It’s more a reflection of our inner spiritual journey that way…or so I keep telling myself. (I sure need a large dose of grace to make up for my imperfections!)