4 For the 4th

Four reasons why saint medals are a fitting gift for those in the armed services.

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As we approach the 4th of July and get ready to celebrate our country’s freedom and independence, we remember that 238 years ago these blessings were obtained through the brave sacrifices of patriots in the armed service of the new republic.

Today men and women continue to serve, protect and defend our country. Here are four reasons why religious medals that feature the insignia of a branch of the armed services, paired with the image of a related patron saint are a favorite for families with a loved one in the Military. Continue reading

When My Husband Washed My Feet

It happened several weeks after our wedding day.  My husband and I were enjoying a quiet evening in our first apartment.  I really don’t remember how it all began; I do remember that all of a sudden he was in front of me with a basin full of water, a wash rag, and a towel.  I was confused.  “I’m going to wash your feet, “he said.  That is exactly what he did.

45615 Jesus Washing Feet StatueMy husband and I have now been married ten years.  The funny thing is that I do not remember any details from that experience.  I recall it was sweet, and very idyllic.  He more than likely told me that he loved me, and that he wanted to serve me throughout our lives together.  What is even funnier about this memory is that as thoughtful as the gesture was, my husband does not remember it at all. Continue reading

Kids, Family and Holy Week

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Celebrating Holy Week as a Family - Well here we are again, at the start of Holy Week. Perhaps there was a time earlier in your life when it was possible to enter into the parish observances of this week without loading a diaper bag. When the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper did not present a conflict for a child with stacks of homework. Sometimes in the life of a family it is a challenge to be able get out of the house at all.

So what is a parent to do? As the caretakers of the domestic church, how do we live Holy Week as a parent, a spouse and a family? To answer those questions we bring you back to a wonderful article by Katie that first appeared in our blog last year. In Celebrating Holy Week as a Family, Katie offers a comprehensive list of ideas for parents, particularly parent of young children, to encounter this special time in the life of the Church. Read, Enjoy, Plan and Celebrate with your family.

Additional options for you:

Celebrating Holy Week With Little ones – Kathryn Whitaker

Ideas for Lent, Holy Week & Easter for Family & Kids Ministry – from a Pinterest page by Tammy Herbert

Save $5 on First Communion Gift Sets

For a limited time Save $5.00 on the best-selling Premium Communion Gift set that offers everything you need including the option to personalize your gift. These sets contain:

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  • A Good Shepherd Edition First Mass Book with padded cover that can be imprinted with a name, date or message
  • Either a black or white First Communion Rosary
  • Enameled First Communion Pin
  • Laminated scapular
  • Laminated bookmark
  • Either a black case for prayer-book or a white purse
  • Either a matching black or white rosary case

The Good Shepherd Edition New First Mass Book has a padded cover with embossed cross and chalice,  gold stamping and gold edges. This edition, features the authorized text for the Holy Mass, the life of Christ in pictures, daily prayers, instructions for the sacrament of penance, Communion prayers and a personal record page. It is an ideal keepsake for a child’s special day.

Nuns Rock the Chart

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Lent at Ephesus CD by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles

Okay, when ‘the chart’ is Billboard’s Classical Music Chart it may not be correct to “rock” it. It has been a delight to watch the sisters of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles top the Billboard Classical Album Chart for three weeks before slipping (if that’s what you call it) one place to #2. Their album Lent at Ephesus, followed their earlier chart topping release: Angels and Saints at Ephesus.

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Visit DeMontfort Music to view Videos on the Benedictine Sisters and their music.

For those who love the sacred music of the Catholic tradition it is no wonder that, once heard, this music is experienced as both powerful and popular. The surprise and delight from the likes of NPR and the Wall Street Journal are reminiscent of how current media finds itself startled by Pope Francis. He is living the Gospel in plain sight. After years of indulging in a steady diet of negative stories on the Church, the press seems surprised that God is not dead and that the Holy Spirit is alive in the world today. Continue reading

St. Joseph Altar Traditions

St JosephSt. Joseph’s Day which falls on March 19th in the Catholic liturgical calendar, means many things for me.  I can be assured that on this day I know that the long, Midwestern winter is nearing an end.  I also know that there is great cause for celebration.  Why?  Because St. Joseph is the best saint ever (sorry to all the other saints), and also because I am Italian.  Let me explain.  If you are Catholic and Italian, March 19th means that you will get to partake in one of the best traditions we have: The St. Joseph’s Altar!

This tradition began with a historical event that took place in the middle ages.  The island of Sicily (which is off the coast of Italy) had a severe famine due to a lack of rain.  The devout farmers knew that there was only one thing to do to end the drought – pray to their patron, St. Joseph.  The rains came soon enough and brought a bountiful harvest.  The faithful people decided to thank St. Joseph for his intercession by erecting an altar (or table) filled with the bounty of the harvest.  They invited the poor people of the community to partake in their blessing of food.  Thus the tradition of the “St. Joseph Altar” began. Continue reading

Why We Have an Ugly Christmas Tree, and Other Seemingly Crazy Traditions

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I feel the need to publicly explain something.  We have an ugly Christmas tree; a very ugly Christmas tree.  Although my neighbors may not read this blog, I still need to explain why we are the only house with no lights on the tree, no lights on the house, and no gigantic blow up snowman in the front yard.  You see, my husband and I feel that as Catholic parents it is very important to have our family traditions echo the traditions of the Church, thus hopefully bringing us closer to our dear Lord.  We decided several years ago that we were going to be a bit strange culturally, and “do” Christmas in a way that would help bring the true message of the Gospel home.  Continue reading

The #1 Nativity Set in the US

We’re #1 is a familiar chant in the realm of sports. We also see ranking in articles about wealthy individuals, celebrities, video game consoles, smart phones, the best/worst cities and so on, but really… nativity sets? We know it seems odd, but Yes!

Bagni di Lucca, ItalySo how do we know who is #1? The old fashioned way…. they told us. All kidding aside, Fontanini Nativity sets, imported from Italy are the most popular and long-lived line of nativity figurines sold in the US. Since 1908 the Fontanini Family has produced traditional nativity figures in Bagni di Lucca, Italy. To produce a quality, beautiful product welcomed by families into their homes for 105 years indicates the value and strength of the product. No wonder it is #1.

Figures are cast resin making them virtually unbreakable. Finally a nativity set you can let your children handle. Each figure is hand painted giving their finishing a human touch. Continue reading

Advent Family Traditions

candleAdvent is, hands down, one of the richest liturgical seasons to celebrate as a family.  Unfortunately it is often overshadowed by the business of our need to materially prep for Christmas.  It doesn’t help that our culture starts their Christmas celebration directly after Halloween! This makes living our counter cultural Advent celebrations a bit more difficult.   Continue reading