Recently, I blogged about my efforts in passing on my Catholic faith to my son, Henry. I mentioned my heading to the public library to pick up a book that interested me on the subject, The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day, by Meredith Gould.
So, I picked it up. And I delved into it a bit to see if there are any helpful suggestions therein.
Overall, this is a cute book. It's quite short - no extensive tome here. And in a sense, that's good. I own a book similar to this one, and I haven't really used it much; it has items listed for just about every single day of the year, and they overwhelm me a bit. There was lots of baking and crafting involved; I'm good at those activities only in limited form, particularly the baking bit. Within minutes of beginning any baking project, I'm covered in flour, Henry is making paste from the gunk on the counter top, and swear words are threatening to burst forth at any second. Not exactly a holy moment. I'm looking for traditions that I may have already heard of but have forgotten, common things (or at least, they used to be common) to employ for major feasts.
So anyway, we start with the author's personal story in the beginning about how her faith life unfolded and the traditions her family practiced at home when she was growing up. I like this part very much, gives the book some oomph. The section I was most interested in was that which divided the liturgical seasons up (Advent, Ordinary Time, Lent and Easter) and suggested activities parent and child could do on feast days within each. I zoomed right to the Ordinary Time: Summer & Fall area, and honed in on October. It's a mixed bag, but overall I liked the ideas:
For the Feast of the Guardian Angels (Oct. 2nd), she suggests teaching your child the Guardian Angel prayer and making angel food cake. I love this.
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 7th). Start praying the rosary with your child, definitely. The author suggests making a rosary with your child, but I have to be honest and say that I see this particular project ending in disaster, at least if Henry were involved. I'd be finding beads under the rug and wedged into the baseboard trim for *years.* This section did inspire me though to place a call today to my local Catholic goods store and inquire as to whether they carried heavy duty children's rosaries. They do. I'm stopping on my way home from work today to fetch one for my dumpling.
All Hallows Eve (Oct. 31st). There are some suggestions about donating to UNICEF here, and I'm not saying this isn't a good cause, but not exactly what I was looking for.
All Saints Day (Nov. 1st). Apparently making homemade pretzels is a custom on All Saints Day somewhere in the world. Not too sure I'd try this one out.
All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd). Light a votive candle at home for the souls of the faithful departed. Love this idea. Very simple, but I hadn't thought of it before, and it's very profound. She also pitches creating a home altar, which is ambitious, but I like it.
The author also includes chapters on daily devotions and honoring the sacraments in the home.
Pretty decent. Henry is pretty well introduced to his faith, and he is an *excellent* downright angelic boy at Mass each Sunday. (Don't hate me - this is a developed gift; I had my share of racing out of the sanctuary carrying the screaming, clawing toddler many, many times). He seemes interested in the rituals of his faith and asks good questions. I get squeamish talking about death with him, and inevitably that comes into play when discussing a saint or Jesus on the cross. I'll have to get over that. Overall though, I like what Henry and I have done together and I'm looking forward to building both of our faith and prayer lives together.