Family Faith

8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad

on Friday, 16 June 2017. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad

Pope Francis has called Jesus’ Beatitudes our “guide on the path of Christian life.” They reveal something about the ways God the Father relates to us, his children. Seen in this light, the Beatitudes present a unique opportunity for Christian men to become fathers after the Father’s own heart.

That’s why I wrote The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad, which looks at how the Beatitudes can shed light on a uniquely Christian vision of masculinity, in general, and fatherhood, in particular. Here’s how the eight Beatitudes can help you be the father God is calling you to be.



How Do You Pray? 5 Daily Prayers for Busy Families

on Friday, 16 June 2017. Amy Brooks Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer

How Do You Pray?  5 Daily Prayers for Busy Families

Our family life is hectic, chaotic and disorganized.  And that was before we were blessed with children.

There are certain times we do come together to pray on a consistent basis, and, well – if we can do it, then I am sure you can too!

When do we pray?

We pray consistently before meals and before bedtime.

We make a serious effort to eat dinner as a family. Lately, it has been a challenge and it doesn’t always happen, but that is not the norm. One thing we do well is family dinner time.

If having dinner together in your family is the norm, that makes praying beforehand a completely attainable goal.

We also pray before bedtime.

Part of our “tucking in” routine involves bedtime prayer. In our house it usually is just one parent at this stage, but we have done this as a family as well.

How Do You Pray? A Stay-At-Home Mom's Prayer Routine

on Wednesday, 24 May 2017. Brittany Miller Posted in How Do You Pray?, Praying with Children, Family Faith, Prayer

How Do You Pray?  A Stay-At-Home Mom's Prayer Routine

For our family, prayer is always present, but very changeable. Our routine may change due to preference, a change in liturgical season, welcoming a baby and making prayer fit with the changing ages of our children. Though our prayer routine fluctuates often, we never go a day without praying at least a little bit.

How Do You Pray?

on Tuesday, 25 April 2017. Posted in How Do You Pray?, Family Faith, Prayer

Daily Prayer Routines

How Do You Pray?

Life makes many demands on today’s families, and lives are often full and hectic. Finding the time for prayer can seem difficult - especially if you aren’t sure where to begin or how to pray as a family.

Make a Plan

John Piper, in his book Desiring God, says that a main hindrance to prayer is our lack of planning:

"If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don't just get up one summer morning and say, 'Hey, let's go today!' You won't have anything ready. You won't know where to go. Nothing has been planned."

Take the time to create a plan for your own personal prayer life.  It doesn’t have to be rigidly followed, but can serve as a grounding reminder -- a thriving, regular, consistent time of worship of and communion with God in prayer.

Tools to Help

We have developed four tools to help you get started developing your personal prayer routine...

Observing Lent? Try a Team Approach

on Tuesday, 28 February 2017. Posted in Family Faith, Seasons, Lent

Accompaniment and Lent

Observing Lent? Try a Team Approach

 

The forty days of Lent can seem like a long time, especially if one is giving up a favorite food or video game. It's helpful to have a friend to keep us going. He or she can encourage us, challenge us, and pick us up if we falter. And if that friend happens to be our spouse, so much the better!

This year, consider approaching Lent as a team. That doesn't mean you have to give up—or do—the same things as your spouse, although that's a possibility. It does mean sharing your Lenten resolution(s) and asking for each other's prayers and active support.  People often find that they're much more likely to keep their resolutions when they hold themselves accountable to another person. Knowing that someone walks with us, even if it's not exactly the same path, can be a great comfort and motivator.

If you're thinking about Lenten resolutions, consider the traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (works of charity). Here are some ideas to get started.

 

Brace Yourselves: The Christmas Jesus Juke is Coming

on Monday, 05 December 2016. Kristin Bird Posted in Christmas, Family Faith, Seasons, Advent

Have you heard of the Jesus Juke?

The Jesus Juke is a great way to tell a friend, "I wish you possessed the uber holiness I do and were instead talking about sweet baby Jesus in this conversation." It's like a tiny little "shame grenade," you throw it into an otherwise harmless conversation and then watch it splatter everyone in guilt and condemnation. (From Stuff Christians Like)

It seems like Christmas (and maybe Easter) brings out the worst of the Jesus Jukes. Combine it with intentionally controversial or inflammatory blog post headlines and memes, and it can suck the Christmas joy right out of jolly ol' Saint Nick himself.

Jesus Juke
Jesus Juke:  St. Nick just made that sad trumpet sound: "whaaaa, waaaa."

Don't get me wrong, I love to be challenged to think a little differently. And I need to be reminded of the sacredness of this season when I am bombarded with advertisements that breed anxiety and foster materialism.

However, I don't love to be told that the way I celebrate the season is wrong.  I don't love the implication that some traditions are holier and more Catholic (yours) than others (mine).

Being challenged to think and re-grounded in faith leaves me open to becoming a better person.  Being Jesus Juked over family traditions leaves me closed and defensive.

Jesus Jukes can be dropped like a bomb on my Facebook status or in an email and I can walk away.  Loving reminders and gentle promptings take the time and effort of a genuine relationship. 

Insults and controversial headlines attract attention and are often amusing.  Genuine awareness of the holiness of the season inspires humility and a willingness to admit where I've missed the boat.

Let Peace Begin With Me

I'll be the first to admit that I've made this mistake.

Advent: Unprepared to be Prepared

on Monday, 28 November 2016. Kristin Bird Posted in Family Faith, Advent, Prayer, Seasons

A Season of Preparation, Holy Waiting, and Hopeful Anticipation

First Sunday of Advent

It's the First Week of Advent, but you wouldn't know it at our house. The wreath and calendar are still packed away in the basement. I have made no plans for what additions I will make to my prayer life for the next few weeks. Apart from the fantastic seasonal nail art I helped my 7 year old with last night, I have not even discussed the season of Advent with my children.

advent nail art
Advent nail art gives a whole new meaning to wearing your faith on your sleeve!

The wreath lighting at Mass this morning made me realize that I had procrastinated too long. Advent has started, and I'm not ready.

Then came this morning's social media onslaught. My news feeds were filled with blog posts, book reviews, youtube videos, and list after list of the best ways to enter into the season...

 

Choosing a 2016 Advent Calendar

on Sunday, 27 November 2016. Fr. Larry Rice Posted in Family Faith, Seasons, Advent, Resource Reviews

Choosing a 2016 Advent Calendar

This week, the Church begins the season of Advent, the first season of a new liturgical year and the time we set aside to prepare for the coming of Christ: both his coming into the world at Christmas and his return in glory at the end of time.

One challenge facing us—and parents especially— is keeping Advent as its own season, while all around us, the world seems steeped in Christmas, which for us doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve. With all the shopping, entertaining, and advertising we have to contend with, how do we keep Advent as a time of prayerful preparation for the Lord?

Groundhog Day - A Catholic Tradition

Groundhog Day - A Catholic Tradition

on Tuesday, 02 February 2016. Kristin Bird Posted in Ordinary Time, Family Faith, Seasons

Did you know that Groundhog Day is a direct descendant of one of the most ancient feasts of the Church?  

Becoming Like a Child

on Thursday, 22 October 2015. Brittany Miller Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

Parenting Lessons in Humility

Becoming Like a Child

Of all the great teachers in my life, my most surprising teachers have been my own children. Clearly, they do not help me gain basic knowledge or life skills (I do that for them), but they have opened up for me the path to virtuous living in ways that I could have never foreseen.Caring for my children has provided me with ample schooling in the virtues of patience, kindness and love, to name a few.

However, my children first taught me to practice humility, which was the gateway to desiring to grow in virtue and holiness at all.

Resource Review: Head & Heart, Becoming Spiritual Leaders for your Family by Katie Warner.

on Tuesday, 08 September 2015. Brian Hellmann Posted in For Parents, Family Faith, Resource Reviews

Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for your Family
by Katie Warner

head heart warner

Husbands and wives. Fathers and Mothers. Breadwinners and Homemakers. As men and women, we have many ways of approaching our roles in family life. But what if we could find even deeper meaning in our God-given vocations by viewing ourselves as the spiritual head or the spiritual heart of our family?

 

7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat

on Friday, 24 July 2015. Posted in Family Faith, Prayer

7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat

Looking for a way to enrich your marriage? Sign up for our 7 Day Virtual Marriage Retreat!

How it Works:

Each day you will receive the day's retreat via email.

Plan to set aside some time for prayer each day for the seven days of the retreat.

When you get to your prayer time, open the email and read about the theme for the day, reflect on a real-life marriage scenario, and think about ways to strengthen your own marriage.

If possible, do the retreat together with your spouse!

Materials Needed:

All you need is about 15 minutes a day and access to your email!

There are questions for reflection/discussion included each day. Some retreat participants also like to have a journal available to jot down their thoughts.

Sign Up Today!



 

Retreat Schedule:

Day 1: Marriage is a Blessing and a Gift

Day 2: Marriage is the Unique Union of a Man and a Woman

Day 3: Marriage is a Communion of Love and Life

Day 4: Marriage is a Sacrament of Christ’s Love

Day 5: Marriage is the Foundation of the Family and Society

Day 6: Marriage is a Journey of Human and Spiritual Growth

Day 7: Marriage is a School of Love and Gratitude

BONUS! Day 8:  Now What?  Keep a Good Thing Going

Did You Know? 4 Things You Won't Hear at a Catholic Wedding

on Wednesday, 08 July 2015. Fr. Larry Rice Posted in Sacraments, Family Faith

Did You Know? 4 Things You Won't Hear at a Catholic Wedding

by Fr. Larry Rice

There are few events in life that are as steeped in tradition as a wedding. And the traditions surrounding weddings come to us through our families, our friends, our culture, and our religious traditions. But every religious tradition handles weddings differently, and some of the things that people expect to see and hear, are often not part of the Catholic way of celebrating weddings.

Here are four things you won't hear at a Catholic wedding:

1.  "Who Gives This Woman?"

For example, in some traditions, at the conclusion of the procession into the church, the presiding minister may ask,“Who gives this woman to be married?” And the father of the bride will be expected to respond that he, or he and his wife, do.

At Catholic weddings, it’s presumed that the bride—and the groom for that matter—give themselves to each other.

2.  "Speak Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace"

If you’ve ever seen a wedding on a television series, you’re probably familiar with the dramatic possibilities that arise when the minister asks, “If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be wed, let him speak now, or forever hold his peace.” Well, we Catholics don’t do that.

In many places, notices of upcoming weddings are published, allowing anyone with objections to come forward before the couple gets to the altar.

3.  "With This Ring, I Thee Wed"

Another touching moment in most TV weddings is the phrase, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

For us Catholics, the moment of the marriage is the exchange of consent, and the speaking of the vows. The ring is a symbol of the union that has already taken place. We bless wedding rings, and they are exchanged with the phrase,

“Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

4.  "I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife"

Another thing we don’t say at Catholic weddings is “I now pronounce you man and wife.” We believe that the couple becomes husband and wife not because the minister declares them to be such, but because they have given their consent and made their vows
to each other. The function of the priest or deacon is to preside and witness these vows, not to make the marriage happen.

Through all of the ceremony, the emphasis is on what the bride and groom do, and not on anyone else. This celebration of love and unity mirrors the love of God for his people, and should inspire all of us to be more loving, more committed people.


Fr. Rice is Vocations Director for the Paulist Fathers.

Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission

Image: iStockphoto

Resource Review: Dr. Brant Pitre's Lighthouse CDs on Marriage

on Wednesday, 08 July 2015. Steve Anderson Posted in Family Faith, Sacraments, Resource Reviews

I decided to listen to both of these talks by Dr. Brandt Pitre as I was exploring resources to help my son prepare for his upcoming wedding.

Jesus the Bridegroom:
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

In Jesus the Bridegroom, Dr. Pitre’s down to earth speaking style really helps explain the covenant relationship between God and his people and how that is reflected between a bride and a groom. The alert listener will come to understand why the Church values Holy Matrimony the way it does 

To be sure, most Christians are familiar with the apostle Paul’s teaching that Christ is the ‘Bridegroom’ and the Church is the ‘Bride’. But what does this really mean? And what would ever possess Paul to compare the death of Christ to the love of a husband for his wife? If you would have been at the Crucifixion, with Jesus hanging there dying, is that how you would have described it? How could a first-century Jew like Paul, who knew how brutal Roman crucifixions were, have ever compared the execution of Jesus to a wedding? And why does he refer to this as the “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32)?

 Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told Dr. Brant Pitre

Do I HAVE to go to Mass?

on Monday, 06 July 2015. Fr. Larry Rice Posted in Sacraments, Family Faith

Sunday Obligation

Do I HAVE to go to Mass?

It happens every year at this time. I’ll be at a wedding on a Saturday, and someone will ask, “Father, does this count for Sunday?” Or someone will say, “Father, I missed Mass last week because we were driving in from Detroit—is that a sin?” Or in the winter, an elderly person will say, “Father, I need to go to confession because I missed Mass last week, because of the snow storm.”

Our Sunday Mass obligation is something we Catholics take very seriously. In some ways, it sets us apart from other Christian denominations, where weekly church attendance is seen as the ideal, rather than as part of our minimal obligation to the faith.

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