Summer is officially well underway. Between vacations, pool parties, visiting family, and sporting tournaments, it is easy to lose sense of time and forget about other things. Here are our five practical ways to help keep God a priority in the home and increase faith in the home.
Frame “Grace” in the dining room
Someone once told me “even if you pray once a day, you still prayed.” Giving God thanksgiving for the meal you are about to share and a blessing over those who helped prepare it is an easy way to ensure at least one prayer a day is being offered as a family. Whether you write your own or find a nice one on the internet, buy a nice frame and hang it in the room where you primarily eat your meals. You can even go a step further and assign someone as “prayer leader” every week and take turns through the whole family.
Holy Water font in the house
Every time we enter Mass, we bless ourselves with holy water as a reminder of our baptism and bringing God’s blessing upon us as we leave to go out into the world. Put a holy water font on the inside of the door where the majority of traffic goes through and make it a point to bless yourself before going out for the day. This way you know leaving you have the blessing of God to help you through the day.
Icon of the Blessed Mother in the home
Mary remains our most powerful intercessor in heaven. She is always watching over us as our motherly figure. It might be a lot to set a time a time a day to say a family Rosary or pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but what we all have time for is for everyone to gather around the icon and offer one “Hail Mary.” We recommend around the same time everyday so through the habitual act of it, it becomes ingrained in your day like brushing your teeth!
Mass on the family calendar
Growing up, if something wasn’t on the family calendar, we wouldn’t be attending. For many of us, checking our calendar while enjoying our morning cup of coffee is how we structure our day and make a mental road map of how we want it to look. Put Mass on the calendar. Whether you put the same time every week of your preferred Mass or put the Mass that best accommodates your schedule, once it’s on the calendar, everyone will know not to make plans at that hour.
Encourage kids to invite friends
Who doesn’t love to bring their best friends with them everywhere you go? Make it a whole weekend. Have an awesome sleepover on Saturday and start the day off with Mass on Sunday. Not only will it be more enjoyable and comforting for your child, it is an opportunity to possibly evangelize to a new family.
I never thought I'd see the day where my favorite Hollywood actor and my faith cross paths. This pleasant blend was the perfect cherry on top of my Holy Week. As like most of you, I strive to do something "Catholic" every night of Holy Week. So when my friends suggested we go see "Father Stu", I was over the moon.
Mark Wahlberg depicts Father Stuart Long, who was a priest of the Diocese of Helena. "Father Stu, as he was affectionately known, pursued careers in boxing, acting, teaching, and museum management before discerning the priesthood." [CNA]
This movie takes you through the struggles of growing up in a divorced household in "small town America." Stuart struggles to find his identity in life and falls trapped into toxic masculinity traits such as over drinking, aggression, and a dash of misogynism. His amateur boxing career only last as long as it does because his mother was supportive, at first.
When a series of injuries ends his career, Stuart takes his talents to California to pursue acting and reconnects with his father, perfectly portrayed by Mel Gibson. Until his big break, Stuart picks up a job in a deli and this is where the Spirit begins to move. Carmen, a young and beautiful Hispanic Catholic woman catches the eye of Stuart who will do anything to win her over, even being baptized.
Stuart and his growth in maturity and faith takes you through the next segments of the movie, Carmen falls for our witty protagonist and at this point you wouldn't even know this movie was about a priest.
A fatal car accident in where the doctors didn't even think Stuart would survive is final push for him to enter seminary, to the amazement and astonishment of Carmen and his mother. Stuart was convinced of it.
As Stuart goes through seminary and his inclusion body myositis diagnosis, we see the slow change of heart in the mans father. The suffering of this child of his as he pursues the priesthood is the motivational key to bring the father back to Helena and rekindles a love with Stuart's mother.
As we all know the story ends with his surprise ordination and slow death. This movie depicts an astounding faith journey, perseverance, and total reliance on God's plan for you. Being able to love God and his people while God takes away your life slowly is the internal struggle not all of us will have to have but Mark brought it out onto the big screen.
It doesn't feel anything like your standard faith film at all. It truly lets you in on the difficulties people have in their walk with God and how a strong prayer life and determination can truly let the Holy Spirit enkindle in you.
This movie is perfect for anyone 18+ years and should be watched around the globe. Apart from the extreme vulgarity and illusion to sexual content, this movie is exactly what American Catholics need out in the world and society today. Hollywood evangelizing, who would have thought.