And now for another installment of "Raising Your Kids [The Catholic Way]"! To see our previous installments, click here.
Our family celebrated a special day this week...the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!!! Not only is Mary (under that title) one of our family patron saints (along with St. Therese, St. Michael, and St. Joseph), but that is also the Marian title we settled on for Maria's patron saint day!! Her very first (ex-utero) one!!!
I grew up in a family that kept track of each other's patron saint days, and I'm happy to pass that tradition on to our children. To read more about celebrating patron saint days, I'd suggest checking out checking out how Jessica's family celebrates feastdays, and also checking out Kendra's phenomenal take on this.
And now for our family's take - what we celebrate, why we celebrate, and how we celebrate.
Walking home from Mass on her patron saint day...
I'm always amazed by people's mistaken notions about Catholics, in particular the notion that being a Catholic means that you're a bit of a buzzkill. No one celebrates as many days of the year as Catholics! We fast, yes, but we celebrate far more than we fast! (Hence why there are only 40 days of Lent, and 50 days of Easter.)
If you follow the Church year, and if you truly befriend the saints, then the possibilities for celebrating are endless. Most days of the year have a saint's feast day assigned to them, and the more you fall in love with the saints, the more you find yourself getting excited to celebrate the lives of one or the other of them.
But that's just the thing. We aren't just celebrating their lives, we're celebrating their life in Christ. Each saint in heaven is another tally mark on the side of Christ and His Church in the fight of good against evil. Each member of the Church who becomes a member of the Church triumphant is a sign of our hope for victory, too!! One of my favorite verses in the scriptures is, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The resurrection makes every death of one in the state of grace a triumph! Yes, in this life, we are deeply saddened when we lose someone we love. But then, you look at the saints who have been canonized, and they give us so much hope. They, too, were mourned by those who loved them, but now their triumph brings the whole Church joy. And we have hope that, one day, we will share the great joy of the saints!
After all, we are all the baby siblings of the saints!
to be at Mass that Mass is over and she can wiggle and babble to her heart's content!
I always kind of struggle when I hear people say, "Oh, I could never be a saint!" Inside I think, But, you do know that that's what God wants for you, right? And you do know that with His grace it can be a reality? A lot of people have it in their minds that saints are these far-off, distant creatures who are so much better than we could ever hope to be. But honestly? Some of the saints messed up royally and were - for some portion of their lives - way worse than I ever hope to be. And that's just the saints whose lives we know a lot about! The saints (other than Mary) sure as heck weren't perfect. To say you could never be a saint is boxing God in. It's ignoring the fact that some of the greatest saints in the Church were also some of the biggest sinners. The difference? The truly accepted and believed in God's mercy and love. As I've quoted here before, the saints are really just, "...ordinary people...who chose to take their baptism seriously."
We made some special treats post-Mass on her big day and she got to sample them. The smoothie was a win, but the pancakes...not so much.
That's what is so important about patron saints...a patron saint is someone who gets it. He or she has been there, done that, struggled with the effects of sin and suffering and lived to tell the tale. What's more, when your parents (or you!) choose a patron saint for yourself, you gain a close friend and advocate in heaven. On a patron saint day, we not only celebrate the saint but also the person who is under that saint's loving patronage. We celebrate filled with hope that that person, too, will one day be a saint!
Patron saint days are days of hope and joy, because they extend beyond remembering the past good deeds of a saint. On patron saint days we rejoice to know that the saints are our friends and that, by their prayers, they are doing all they can to help us on the road to heaven!!
Caramel ice cream (and other flavors!) on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is THE way to celebrate! Granted, when you're 11 months old, ice cream is a messy business.
I have a deep love for my patron saint (St. Michael the Archangel) and I hope for each of our children to feel the same way toward their patron saints. (Although, I would prefer that they SHARE their patron saints with the rest of us, too...) So how do we celebrate patron saint days in our family?
Mass is always a part of the big day (if possible). Sometimes we make a mini-pilgrimage. But always, always...we celebrate! We eat a special dessert or go out for ice cream. We may have a special dinner. Sometimes there is a present or two. But we make the day special in some way, while also keeping it simple (so that it's realistic). If nothing else, Mass and a special dessert are always a hit. :-)
Loves the taste of ice cream. Hates the cold. She offers it up like a champ ;-)
Does your family celebrate patron saint days? How do you celebrate?