I found a great list of ideas for families to share and live their Catholic Faith.   It is invaluable to equip and help parents foster faith in the home.  The more religious education programs help parents foster faith in the home the more successful our class time with students will be.  ~ William

Feast on feasts – And 36 other ways to make faith a bigger part of your daily life

By Maria Wiering
Do you go to Mass on Sunday, but feel like Monday — and Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest — are detached from what you experience at church? For many Catholics, it’s a challenge to unite faith and the normal tasks of daily life. There’s something about a meeting at the office, or washing dishes, or shopping for groceries that seems very ordinary and outside of God’s interest in our lives.

Yet, St. Ignatius of Loyola preached that it is possible to find God in all things. With this in mind, it doesn’t hurt to add a few things in your day that are specifically about reminding yourself that what you have on Sunday should be part of every day.

Feast on feasts
Celebrate feast days like you would birthdays — good food with your family (and maybe dessert!). Feast days, such as those celebrating the Annunciation (March 25) and St. John the Baptist (June 24), honor special people or events in the life of Christ and the church, and they draw Catholics into its historical and mystical life. They’re also useful tools for teaching your children about the saints. Ask them who their favorite saints are, mark those saints’ feasts on the calendar, and do something special for dinner.  Find a calendar of feast days at www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/bydate.aspx.

omlette.jpgTalk about the readings at Sunday brunch
You heard the readings at Sunday Mass, but did you really listen to them? After Mass, discuss them with your family or friends — and a leisurely Sunday brunch is the perfect time to do it. Share what stood out to you, and see what others remember. Ask yourself — and aloud — what lessons you can apply to your week, or what the readings told you about God.

Say your bedtime prayers
Your mom likely told you to do this, but if you’ve fallen out of the habit, it’s time to start again. Set aside some time each night to thank God for the day, pray for people you know (or don’t know), and ask for God’s help in matters important to you. Nothing is too big — or too small — for prayer.

saints.jpgLearn about each day’s saint
Did you know that the church specifically remembers a different saint every day? These days are called feast days. Learning whose feast the church is celebrating each day gives you a chance to learn about a heroic Catholic, and it will challenge you to try to live up to their example.

Follow the liturgical seasons
Like spring, summer, fall and winter, the church has liturgical seasons to guide our lives of faith. Just as we point out the first robin or note the falling leaves, look for signs at Mass that you can remember throughout the week — the Easter candle, the Advent wreath, the lack of holy water in fonts during Lent. Ask yourself what they mean — and ask your family members what these signs mean to them.

Greet the day
clock.jpgWhen I was young, my mother would stand with us in the kitchen before we left for school and we would recite Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This simple prayer not only offered the beginning of the day to God, it also gave us the right perspective as we headed our different ways.

Pray the rosary
Do you have a 15-minute daily commute? Then you have time to pray the rosary. Starting — or ending — your work day with prayer helps you transition to or from whatever awaits you. The rosary also builds a relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Jesus gave to his church as a mother. With the rosary, you’re asking Mary to pray for your needs — and who better to pray for you than Jesus’ mother?

crucifix.jpgHang your crucifixes
Did you receive, like, 50 crucifixes as gifts between the time you had your first Communion and the present day? Instead of leaving them in the box, hang them up — even if they’re hand-painted yellow from your kids’ vacation Bible school. A crucifix is a visual reminder of the sacrifice Christ made for you out of love.

Attend a funeral
Of course you attend the funerals of friends and family who’ve died, but what about that neighbor down the street, or your co-worker’s mother? Attending funerals is not only an act of Catholic community, it’s a spiritual work of mercy (burying the dead) that draws graces from God.

Have your home blessed
Invite your priest to your home for a home blessing. He’ll say prayers and sprinkle holy water in each of the rooms. The prayers bless the people who live in the house as much as the house itself, so schedule it for a night when everyone can be home.

shoes.jpgMake a pilgrimage
Whether it’s to Rome or the nearby Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., making the effort to visit a holy site brings with it spiritual as much as physical preparation. If you’ve been putting off such a trip, book tickets or fill the gas tank today.

Recite the Angelus
The Angelus is a prayer that recalls Mary’s “yes” to God and commemorates the Incarnation. It’s typically recited at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. If you’re in Rome, you’ll see a crowd outside of the pope’s apartment at noon on Sunday, when he opens his window to publically pray the Angelus.

Bless your door
Is that Epiphany chalk your parish handed out in January stuck in a drawer somewhere? Dig it out and use it to bless your door. (The priest already blessed the chalk.)  You’d write the initials of the traditional names for the magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) inside the year, so this year it would look like
20 + C + M + B + 10. CMB could also mean the Latin invocation Christus mansionem benedicat, or “May Christ bless this dwelling.”
pen.jpg
Thank your priest
Maybe you made a special effort to pray for your priest or thank him after Mass during the Year for Priests, which ended in June. Continue the practice by sending him a card on his birthday or e-mailing him to tell him what part of the homily stuck with you during the week.

Pray before car rides
car_keys.jpgBefore turning your ignition, stop to ask God for protection while on the road. Families may consider praying the following, which invokes the help of one’s guardian angel: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom God’s love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

notebook.jpgAttend religious ed.
Many parishes offer weekly or monthly adult religious education courses that provide a way to brush up on the basics or go deeper on a certain topic. Check out this fall’s offerings and sign up with a friend. Consider it continuing education to deepen your faith.

Give something up
When they hear “fasting,” most Catholics think Lent, and rightfully so. However, the church encourages fasting during other times of the year as well. Consider fasting from coffee, or dinner, or eating out, and offer your sacrifice up for a particular prayer intention.

Mail a holy card
Writing a letter to a friend? Add a prayer card of your favorite saint or a saint who shares your friend’s name. The gesture will remind them that you’re praying for them.

Read a book
The Bible isn’t the only reading that can draw you closer to God. Ten minutes spent each day with some sort of spiritual reading builds faith, too. Check out something written by a saint, like St. Augustine’s “Confessions” or St. Therese of Lisieux.

bible.jpgOpen your Bible
Catholics sometimes get a bad rap for not knowing Scripture like their Protestant friends, but you don’t have to contribute to the stereotype. Start with five minutes a day, and see where it leads. Reading Scripture daily could turn into “lexio divina,” which is a meditative reflection on Bible verses and words.

Attend a daily Mass
With busy schedules, sometimes it’s challenging just to get to Sunday Mass on time, much less carve out time for a weekday Mass. Yet, a weekday Mass is a good way to center your day on what is truly important and spend structured time in prayer. If your home parish’s Masses don’t jibe with your schedule, check times at parishes close to your work.

Look at art
Many Catholics have a picture or two of Jesus in their home, and if they don’t, their parish certainly does. However, these images can become so familiar that you stop really seeing them. Take some time to look intently at a religious painting or sculpture, asking yourself why the artist may have depicted Christ or a saint or an event the way he or she did.

Eat together
It’s no coincidence that the Eucharist is in the form of a meal, and that the church gathers weekly to celebrate it together. Strive to unite your family daily to eat and use the time to discuss the day. The meal prayer also offers a time for additional intentions and prayers of thanksgiving. Consider asking each family member to name something they’re grateful for and something they’d like to pray for.

Pray for the pope’s intentions
Did you know that Pope Benedict XVI offers monthly prayer intentions? Visit www.ewtn.com/faith/popePrayer.htm to see them listed by month, and join him in prayer for the needs of the church and world.

Pray for the pope
And while you’re at it, pray for the pope. He’s praying for you.

Volunteer for a cause
gloves.jpgGive your talents to your church and community through volunteering weekly or monthly for an organization that sparks your passion. And think outside of the box — soup kitchens may be able to use your marketing expertise or your plumbing abilities as much as your help with a ladle. Regularly invite family members or friends to join you.

Talk about God
Mentioning God’s name outside of church or with someone you don’t know really well can be uncomfortable for many people. This may be because faith seems so intimate and you don’t want to offend someone who believes differently.  Pray for courage and wisdom to know when and how someone needs to know you’re praying for them or to see if they’d like to accompany you to church.

Memorize a psalm
It’s not only a good way to exercise your memory, but it can also be great comfort in times of need, like when the phone rings in the middle of the night. The well-known verses of Psalm 23 are a great start: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. . . .”

Visit an empty church
If you find yourself running early for a meeting, check out the neighborhood’s Catholic church. Spending just a few minutes in such a quiet, open space before the Eucharist in the tabernacle could rejuvenate both the mind and soul.

List your prayers
Keep a list of those for whom you should pray, and at the end of the day, actually use the list. A Post-It note stuck inside of your planner works as good as a prayer journal.

plant.jpgPlant a garden
Farmers and gardeners often say their work draws them closer to God because they marvel at the way nature works. If you’ve never grown something before, start small, and make it a family project.

Be grateful
You may ask God for assistance in times of need, but remember to thank him for the good things, too. Take a few minutes of quiet while driving home or going for a walk to reflect on the good parts of the day, and recognize God’s hand in them.

candle.jpgLight a candle
Need a reminder to pray for someone who’s traveling, in surgery, or having a baby? Light a candle and leave it on your kitchen table (or office desk) as you go about your work. When you notice it, say a small prayer.

Try adoration
Many parishes in the archdiocese offer perpetual or scheduled adoration or quiet prayer before the exposed Eucharist. It’s common for Catholics to sign up for an hour-long “holy hour,” where they commit to pray regularly before the Eucharist during a scheduled time. Adoration is often held in a small chapel, and those adoring use that to say the rosary, read Scripture and religious books, journal, and contemplate the Eucharist. If an hour of silence seems like too long, make a habit to stop in for 15 minutes once a week.

baby_jesus.jpgLeave out your Nativity set
You don’t have to pack up your Nativity set a week after Christmas. Leave it out as a reminder that the Incarnation is a gift to be cherished all year — not just in December.

Make a confession
Has it been a while since you’ve made a good confession? Summon up your resolve and swing by your parish when your priest is hearing confessions. If you don’t remember what to do, tell him. And take heart in knowing the priest is there to convey Christ’s mercy and love.

calendar.jpgSchedule that retreat
Have you been intending to get away for a weekend but never can find time to do it? Free time rarely just shows up, so you’ll have to carve it out. Take a look at your calendar and call a local retreat center today. Let your friends and family know you’ll be unavailable that weekend, and then stick to the date. You won’t regret it.

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