Family Ideas

Here are 5 ways to encourage parents to contribute to making their child’s Faith Formation most impactful:

parent working with child







  1. Parents are first – You are the first and primary educators of the faith to your children. How are you helping them, as Pope Francis says, “meet Jesus”?  How are they growing in “grace and wisdom” (Lk. 2:52) during the years you have them under your roof? Do your children see you taking time to pray & grow in your faith? The habits and attitudes you model are the most important ones in your child’s life and make the most impact. Your words & actions speak to what your kids see as most important to you.


  1. Attitude – Your attitude can make a world of difference to your child(ren). Weekly class attendance, family discussions about what was covered in class and general attitudes on going to Mass, praying together and involvement in the parish have an effect on your child.


  1. Faithfulness – God desires to reveal Himself to us because He loves each one of us so very much. Through weekly attendance in our School of Religion Program you are witnessing your faithfulness to the promise you made at your child’s baptism: to raise them in the faith and assist them in their spiritual growth. Your goal is to help your kids get to heaven – this is the most important thing you can do as parents.


  1. Prioritize – When your child sees (even when she/he doesn’t always like it) that you put weekly faith formation as a top priority they become aware by your example how important faith is to you as parents. Your actions and choices speak volumes!


  1. The power of praying parents – Pray daily for holiness in your family and for the spiritual needs of your parish community. Put your trust completely in God, our heavenly Father, who will hear you and do what is best for you.  After praying and seeking God’s intercession for a specific intention which was answered, St. Faustina said: “Now I can see how much power intercessory prayer has before God”(Diary 202).

What tips do you have?  Please share!



Lent is the perfect catechetical season.  A catechist as well as a parent can find a plethora of ideas about how to practice and live out Lent.  I would like to share ideas in 3 categories (be aware that some ideas will overlap): Family Ideas, Classroom Ideas and Personal Ideas.  I hope the following links will help assist you as a parent or a catechist in assisting your students to grow closer to Christ this Lent.

Family Ideas:


~ Pray the Rosary and/or Divine Mercy Chaplet regularly as a family – on the way to/from school, or right after dinner.

~ Read the Bible/pray with your kids before bedtime during Lent.

~ Pray the Station of the Cross at 7pm each Friday at Ascension or at home:


~ Have a day where the TV Stays off (Maybe Fridays during Lent)
~ Fast from Cell phone use, internet, video games from after dinner until bedtime.
~ Fast from going out to eat. Give the extra money to the poor.
~ Fast from gossip or negative thoughts.
~ Fast from eating between meals.
~ Fast from dessert a few times a week.
~ Fast from being lazy (that attitude that says: someone else will do it.
~Listen to Christian Music 97.3 FM or Catholic Radio 1090AM in your car during all of Lent.


~Sign up for Holy Hero’s daily Lenten email:

~ Lenten Calendar:

~ Give money as a family to the poor: Operation Rice Bowl.

~ Spend more time with family.

~ Be positive (maybe charge .25 cents for every negative comment at home and then give the money to a charity).

~ Family Chart: 

~ Lenten Sacrifice Beans:


Classroom Ideas

~ Prayer Service:

~Puppet Show Scripts:

~ Ideas from Our Sunday Visitor:

~ Some Lenten Lesson Plans:

~ Stations of the Cross Bingo:

~ Lent Lapbooks:

~ Printable Lenten Calendar:

~ NOW Cross:

Personal Ideas:

~ 7 Great Book Recommendations:

~ Take time to pray at lunchtime instead of going out with friends or surfing the internet.
~ Read a Psalm each day during Lent.
~ At 3:00pm each day pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet or take a moment to pause in prayer remember the hour that Christ died.
~ Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms – maybe one each day of the week throughout Lent (Psalm 6, 31, 50, 101, 129 and 142).

~ Go out of your way to do one kind deed each day.

~ Do things for people each week without them knowing.

~ Be positive and reflect joy during Lent.







This summer I was preparing for the upcoming year and one thing that I really wanted to do is to provide a series of helpful presentations for parents during this Year of Faith.  I’m providing a series of talks on the second Wednesday of each month during our traditional School of Religion classes as a way to encourage and empower parents in their faith lives as their children attend class.  Last month I provided a presentation on what the Year of Faith is and how families can make it a special year.  This month was on “7 Ways To Help Your Kids Get to Heaven”.  Although I had a low turnout, I felt that those who attended enjoyed the presentation.  Below is a copy of my powerpoint if you want to see the 7 points I came up with.  I want to thank Lisa Mladinich and Marc Cardaronella for giving me some input as I was putting this presentation together.


Let us pray for parents this year that the Holy Spirit will lead, guide and strengthen them to be salt and light to their children and to those around them.


7 Ways to Help Your Kids Get To Heaven

New Program

I’m very excited about a new program our parish began in September called Family Formation.  This program originated at a parish in Ham Lake, Minnesota and is now in over 80 parishes throughout the United States.  The pastor at Church of St. Paul realized about 20 years ago the need to help parents actually be the primary educators of their children’s faith lives.  The pastor spoke of how parents were teaching their kids (by their example) that its ok to just drop their kids off at CCD and let the parish take care of their religious education and then pick them up once they were done for the week.  It was teaching kids that once I become a parent I don’t have to learn about my faith anymore.  Family Formation involves the parents in the faith formation of their children.  It is a very exciting program where kids comes once a month and learn as well as the parents (in a separate learning space) and then parents are given home lessons to complete for the remaining 3 weeks of the month.

Humble Beginnings

When I first thought about bringing Family Formation to my parish I thought I’d have humble beginnings.  I prayed a Novena to St. Joseph and asked that if it was God’s will for us to begin this program then it would happen.  I had an informational meeting where about 30 people showed up and about 20 or so seemed pretty interested in doing it so went forward and prepared to bring Family Formation to my parish.  I hoped to have about 20 kids in the program.  I had no idea that by August I would have 175 kids registered and over 100 families.  I was amazed and I actually had to close registration because my classrooms were full and I could only find so many catechists and only had so much space.

God’s Work

I am very excited and nervous at the same time about this new program.  We still have other programs going on at our parish (a traditional religious education program and an alternative summer program).  I believe that God will do great things in these families lives as they give Him permission and as they seek to actively be engaged in the faith formation of their children on a new level.


To find out more info go to







I came across a great article about celebrating Sunday Mass.  It is called “Putting on Our Sunday Best!” by Anne Koester.  She makes great points about the importance of having a proper attitude and disposition at Mass each Sunday.  Here is the Link below.

Being that it’s Father’s Day weekend I wanted to post this great video called The Dad Life.  I think it is a great video put out by a church to show that to be a Dad has responsibilities…it is a vocation with important implications on society.  Most parents will get a great laugh out of watching this but also it is a great teaching tool.  If you have a few minutes check it out. I couldn’t figure out how to embed it into my post this time so I’ve given the link above.

I also found this great video:

In Familiaris Consortio, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, the Holy Father spoke about “Men as husbands and fathers”: 

“Within the conjugal and family communion-community, the man is called upon to live his gift and role as husband and father…In his wife, he sees the fulfillment of God’s intention: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,’ and he makes his own the cry of Adam, the first husband: ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!’ ”  “Authentic conjugal love presupposes and requires that a man have a profound respect for the equal dignity of his wife: ‘You are not her master,’ writes St. Ambrose, ‘but her husband; she was not given to you to be your slave, but your wife….Reciprocate her attentiveness to you and be grateful to her for her love.’ With his wife, a man should live a ‘very special form of personal friendship.’ As for the Christian, he is called upon to develop a new attitude of love, manifesting towards his wife a charity that is both gentle and strong like that which Christ has for the Church.”

Pius XII addressed a pilgrimage of fathers, entitled Un pelerinage de peres (September 18, 1951), in which he says that

“if the mother is the heart, the father is the head of the family, and consequently its health and efficiency depend on the vigor, the virtues and the activity of the father…It is clear that your first duty in the sanctuary of the family home is to provide–with due respect and the perfection, humanly possible, of its integrity, of its unity, of the natural hierarchy which unites the members among themselves–for the preservation of the physical, intellectual, moral and religious sanctity of the family. Evidently, this obligation includes that of defending and promoting its sacred duties; in the first place that of fulfilling the obligations due to God, to constitute a Christian society in the full sense of the word; secondly to defend the rights of the family against all attacks or external influences which could attack its purity, faith, and holy stability.”

That last sentence is so important for me as a father to remember that it is my responsibility to defend against external influences which could attack the purity, faith and holy stability of my family.  Fathers need to reflect on this more.  I know I will.

Happy Father’s Day!

Most of the schools were out for the summer this past Wednesday my neck of the woods.  I thought it was a good opportunity to send some book recommendations and a few family faith ideas to parents.  Summer is a great time to help kids grow in their faith since most do not have regular school.  Making room for additional reading during the year can be a challenge.  I think summer is the perfect time for parents to encourage their children to read some great faith oriented books.  Here is the list, by grade level, that I sent to parents.  What are you suggestions?  I’d love to read about your recommendations!

Pre-School – 1st grade
The Gospel for Little Children by Maite Roche
Brother Juniper – A great storybook teaches important lessons by Diane Gibfried
The Eight Beatitudes Coloring and Activity Book by Author:Virginia Helen Richards, FSP and D. Thomas Halpin, FSP
Hail Mary by Sabrina Bus
Friday Night with the Pope – One special sabbath is remembered in this storybook
The Bible for Little Children by Maite Roche
Who Built the Ark?
by: Sally Ann Wright

2nd and 3rd Grade
Little Acts of Grace by Rosemarie Gortler and Donna Piscitelli
Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls by Caryll Houslander
The Apostles’ Creed by Vicki Pastore
The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola
Princess & the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity by Jennie Bishop (for girls)
The Squire and the Scroll: A Tale of the Rewards of a Pure Heart by Jennie Bishop (for boys)
Saint Therese and the Roses by Helen Walker Homan

4th – 6th Grade
Loyola Kids Book of Saints by Amy Welborn
The Imitation of Christ for Children by Elizabeth Ficocelli
Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat by Jeanne Perego
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare by Jane G. Meyer
My Path to Heaven: A Young Person’s Guide to the Faith by Geoffrey Bliss

7th – 8th Grade
Beorn The Proud by Robert T. Reilly
U Got 2 Believe! by Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR
Saint Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal by Alma Power-Waters
St. Philip of the Joyous Heart by Francis Connoly
St. John (Don) Bosco and St. Dominic Savio by Catherine Beebe
Vincent De Paul – Saint of Charity by Margaret Ann Hubbard
St. Elizabeth’s Three Crowns by Blanche Thompson
The Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown

Ideas for the Whole Family
˜ Play games together and watch a great movie (Letters to God, Ann of Green Gables, The Ultimate Gift, Faith Like Potatoes)
˜ Pray a Rosary while traveling to and from your vacation destination
˜ Read from the Bible as a family weekly
˜ June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pray a prayer to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus this month
˜ Reach out as a family to someone in need.
˜ Spend less time watching TV or surfing the internet and more time together as a family…outdoors, around a pool or in your front/backyard.

Do you have any ideas for the whole family to foster faith during the summer?

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