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Features Of Catholic Family Life

Catholic family life is full of fun, love and laughter. Family altars, shines, and sacramentals are found amid the celebrations and activities. But the crowning jewel of Catholic family life is an abundance of relatives who share their beliefs! Here's a glimpse into all the wonderful things that make up family life in a Catholic home.

Many Opportunities To Celebrate In Catholic Family Life

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Nobody takes the opportunity to celebrate holidays the way Catholics do!

Every season, every month--every couple of weeks in fact--Catholics find opportunities to celebrate. The big celebrations come at Christmas and Easter. Catholics spend several days celebrating both these feasts. There are twelve days of Christmas and eight days of celebrating that accompany Easter.

The weeks leading up to Christmas and Easter are filled with activities during the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent.

For a complete guide to celebrating holidays , check out our seasons and holidays page.

Throughout the year there are many anniversaries that Catholic families celebrate--not only birthdays and wedding anniversaries but also name days, baptism days, and confirmation days. 

Name days are the feast days of one's patron saint. Each member of the family can have up to three patrons--their first name, middle name and their confirmation name.

A simple way to celebrate name days is to have a special dessert on the name day. For adults, a special cocktail from Michael Foley's book Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour is a fun way to celebrate a name day.

Name days are the feast days of one's patron saint. Each member of the family can have up to three patrons--their first name, middle name and their confirmation name. A simple way to celebrate name days is to have a special dessert on the name day. For adults, a special cocktail from Michael Foley's book Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour is a fun way to celebrate a name day.

Baptism and confirmation anniversaries are very important days to celebrate. Both days are observed by renewing baptismal vows or making a profession of faith as well as a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lighting the baptismal candle and looking at memorabilia from the day of the sacrament are fun too.

Sacramentals And Other Helps In Catholic Family Life

House blessings are one of the cornerstones of Catholic family life. It is always important to Catholics to have their home blessed by a Catholic priest. This is a blessing that the Church has granted that makes the home a holy place. It will stay holy as long as the family members keep free from serious sin.

A special yearly Epiphany blessing is a custom in traditional parishes. Another way of blessing a home is by sprinkling blessed rock salt along the perimeter of the property while praying the St. Michael Prayer. These are all powerful ways to keep evil spirits away.

A family altar, a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary complete with fresh flowers and a place to kneel, and a Mary Garden are all commonly found in Catholic homes. The walls of every room are covered in icons, pictures, and crucifixes. Incense and candles often aid in prayer. Statues of saint friends and patrons fill the shelves and dressers.

Some homes even have treasured relics of saints and particular scapulars as special helps during times of chastisement.

All these sacramentals and holy objects not only remind Catholic families of their goal which is heaven, but actually help them on their path there.

The Nourishment Of Catholic Family Life: Family Prayer

The most important prayer that families pray is the family Rosary. Fr. Peyton was the Rosary priest. He dedicated his priesthood to promoting the family Rosary. He took advantage of celebrities and entertainment media of his time to promote this idea. His motto was:

The family who prays together stays together.

Catholic families gather usually after dinner to pray the family Rosary. When examining the 15 promises of the Rosary, the truthfulness of Fr. Peyton's motto comes as no surprise. Happy families are families that pray the Rosary. Holy families are families that pray the Rosary.

There are many special novenas throughout the year that are of special interest to families. A novena is a prayer said for nine consecutive days. Some of the favorites of families are:

  • Novena for Christmas
  • Novena in honor of St. Joseph
  • Novena in honor of Our Sorrowful Mother
  • Novena to the Sacred Heart
  • Novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
  • Novena to Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Novena to St. Gerard Majella
  • Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
A wonderful collection of traditional novenas can be found in Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik's Treasury of Novenas.

A wonderful collection of traditional novenas can be found in Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik's Treasury of Novenas. Besides the Rosary and novenas, morning and evening prayers, grace before meals and after meals and the Angeles are all often prayed throughout the day.

Activities That Make Up Catholic Family Life

St. Joseph NovenaThis St. Joseph's Novena has never known to fail.

During the days, weeks and months that make up the liturgical year, Catholics take part in works of mercy, pilgrimages and processions.

They take part in altar guilds and altar societies. Liturgical crafts, singing Catholic hymns and playing Mass complete with cassocks and children's Mass sets make up the days of Catholic families.

Attending requiems and burials, supporting the missions, and visiting the elderly are the most common works of mercy in which Catholic families take part.

Processions typically take place a few times a year. During the month of May a procession is held in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In June there is a Corpus Christi procession to honor Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in October as a public act of worshiping Our Lord on the feast of Christ the King, and finally on Palm Sunday in memory of Our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. 

There are pilgrimage sites in all diocese so families can take part in a pilgrimage at least once every year. In California and Texas, the missions are popular pilgrimage sites. Some other popular pilgrimage sites in North America include:

  • The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.
  • The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Alabama
  • Our Lady of the Rockies in Montana
  • Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY (a major pilgrimage takes place here every year)
  • National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland, Oregon
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, LaCrosse, Wisconsin
  • The shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, Canada
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico.

A major pilgrimage that all traditional Catholics should take part in at least once is the Chartres pilgrimage. It is a three day walk covering 70 miles from Paris to Chartres, France. It is obviously not for small children and is made with the intention of the restoration of tradition in the Church particularly the Mass.

The Blessing Of Catholic Family Life: Relatives

The feeling of being connected to a people and a faith is the most important feature of Catholic family life.

Besides an immediate family that is often filled with brothers and sisters, but not always, there are grandparents and great grandparents that fill the lives of Catholic families. Often accompanying grandparents are aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles. These usually provide cousins, second cousins and even third cousins.

The joys that come with all these people who are related and share traditions and beliefs mean more than all the riches the world could ever hold. It is truly the best part of Catholic family life.

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