Hello Mamas, happy and blessed 2022 to all! Today, I just was to share with you our family’s plan on How to Start Living Liturgically at Home with Small Kids.
As a Catholic Mom, I want my family to observe the Liturgical Year at home more intentionally (and hopefully, faithfully, too) starting this 2022. Thank God that my dear husband is on board with what I want.
I’ve read more of the term liturgical living or living liturgically as I read more Catholic blogs in 2021 in the hope of finding resources to help me deepen my faith in God and to help me learn more about God and about my Catholic faith, as I felt being inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so.
What is Liturgical Living or Living Liturgically?
After encountering the term “liturgical living” and “living liturgically” many times, I googled them for a better understanding. I really thought that those terms are complicated to understand or have difficult meanings. But I was wrong.
I found out that liturgical living or living liturgically simply means living the liturgical year. And liturgical year simply means the Catholic Church year or Catholic Church calendar (it is not exclusively Catholic though because the term is also used in other Christian churches).
Even if you are new to the term liturgical living just like me, for sure you and your family are already living liturgically if you celebrate and observe the different seasons of the Church such as Christmas, Lent, Easter, Holy day of obligations, Saint’s day, and other feast days.
10 Tips to Start Living Liturgically at Home with Small Kids
Start living liturgically at home with small kids by integrating the liturgical calendar into the family calendar, and remember to start small and simple. Celebrate feast days according to your family’s traditions, origins, and choices, start praying before meals, and pray daily as a family. Also, listen to the daily readings and watch the homily of the day with the kids, and do the act of blessing one another with holy water before bed time. Lastly, make sure to attend Mass every Sunday and other major feast days, and receive the sacraments of communion and confession, as much and often as possible, and make a home altar if you don’t have one, yet.
1. Integrate the liturgical calendar into your family calendar.
Take a look at the liturgical calendar (there are plenty available online) and integrate the major feast days and other important celebrations by marking the dates in your family calendar to avoid missing them.
2. Start small and simple.
There are a lot of feast days and celebrations in the Church calendar almost everyday, but we don’t have to celebrate them all. If we’ll try, we’ll end up stressed and burned out.
Start by observing one or two new feast days or saints’ days and increasing the number as time goes by. I want my family to start celebrating the feast day of the Divine Mercy Sunday this year.
We will try to integrate at least one saint day to celebrate this year since we don’t have one yet. Though I know that November 1 is All Saints Day, we don’t have a concrete tradition on how to celebrate this day.
3. Choose feast days according to your family’s traditions, origins, or choices.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of feast days in the Church, but we have to choose the ones that best apply to our family’s traditions, origins, or choices.
In my family’s case, we will integrate the feast day of the Sto. Niño into our calendar on the 3rd Sunday of January because this is a huge feast day in the Philippines, though it’s not celebrated here in Spain (except in the Filipino parishes).
We also want to celebrate the feast day of San Isidro Labrador because I grew up in a rural village called San Isidro where our patron saint is San Isidro Labrador, and because he is also the Patron saint of farmers (my husband and I consider ourselves farmers and we come from families of farmers).
4. Start praying before meals.
If you haven’t yet, start saying the “grace before meals” at home and even when out in restaurants. Even if your kids don’t know yet how to make the sign of the cross, it’s good training for them.
It’s funny because every time we pray before meals, #2 always taps a hand into his chest as his way of making the sign of the cross.
5. Pray daily as a family.
Pray the rosary daily as much as possible. But if it’s not possible, make sure not to skip the evening family prayer before going to bed.
6. Listen to the readings of the day and watch the homily of the day with your kids.
I started listening to the readings of the day and watching the homily of the day by Fr. Dave Concepcion during the start of the pandemic. And it’s very funny because, after several homilies, #1 already knows Fr. Dave and the sequence that after listening to the readings of the days from Laudate, he excitedly announces: now Fr. Dave!
7. Practice the act of blessing one another (before going to bed) with holy water.
This is truly fun and exciting for kids. We just started practicing it in December last year after reading it in a blog or watching it in a youtube video. The kids love it and they get very excited when we say “it’s time to make God bless you”.
We wet our fingers with the holy water and make the sign of the cross on the forehead while saying God bless you. #1 blesses #2 and it’s just a delight to see because #2 screams of joy right after the blessing. Then I bless #1, my husband blesses me, and then I bless him, too. And most of the time, #1 makes another round of blessing me and the husband.
8. Attend Mass every Sunday and on major feast days.
Make sure to bring the kids every time you go to Mass on Sundays and other feast days, even if they just make noise most of the time.
I know it’s tempting to just leave the kids in the care of family and friends, but it’s important for them to go to Mass while they’re young, so it can be planted in their system that it’s very important to go to Mass on Sundays hoping that they will keep on practicing it even in their adulthood.
9. Receive the Sacraments as often as possible.
This is mostly for parents since small kids cannot yet receive communion and go to confession.
I am a confession to make, I haven’t been to confession for a span of 10 years or more when I was still single (when I started working abroad). I was always scared to go to confession since I was little and even up to now.
But thank God for my husband because he is really the answer to my prayer when I asked God to give me a man who will bring me closer to him. A few months after knowing him, he already brought me to Church for confession, I remember feeling very scared because it was my very first time to have a confession in Spanish (the priest only speaks Spanish). And up until now, he makes sure that we go to confession at least once every 3 months.
10. Make a home altar.
If you don’t have a home altar yet, this is the year to have one. Put a Cross, or an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the image of the Divine mercy (or all of them) in a prominent place in your home to remind you daily of God and Mary’s presence in your life and home.
You can also enthrone your home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus if you haven’t yet. We did one last December 26 and will be sharing the details, soon.
My kids love the cross and the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we put up in our living room. They always look at them and #1 asks a lot of questions about them like why Jesus is on the cross? Why the heart of Jesus has thorns and has a sword?
Living liturgically at home with small kids is definitely a bit challenging compared to when kids are bigger. But for sure it’s doable and more fun. And let’s all remember Mamas that our aim here is not perfection, but progress.
If we can’t do all the things that we are planning to do to start living liturgically at home with small kids, it’s ok. Small progress is still progress and it’s important to always look at the positive side of things. Living liturgically at home with our toddlers should be fun and not stressful.
Are you planning to start living liturgically at home, too? Or have you started long ago and have more tips? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.