It’s Not All About the Gifts

By Gaby Smith

“What do you want for Christmas?” I’ve heard this question every year since I can remember.

My answers went from Barbie’s Dream House to a new vacuum cleaner.

It’s funny how things change. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realized, it’s not all about the gifts (although it may be challenging to get out of this mindset).

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Cyberbullying is big issue

By Kim Roberts

Being parents to three children, my husband and I have tried to protect them from those that would harm them. We talked to them about not taking to strangers, the importance of the buddy system, trusting their instincts, good and bad touch and practicing the golden rule.

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Awaiting a child is a joyful experience

By Ty Salvant

“Joyfully waiting” has multiple meanings in our house this Advent.

While the Salvants are anxiously awaiting the birth of Jesus, we are also awaiting the birth of our sixth child around Dec. 21.

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The traditions of Advent begin with us

By Kristen Bourgeois
As Advent approaches, my husband and I were discussing what advent traditions our families had while we were growing up.
We are a young family with a 2-year-old, and we want to be more intentional this Advent season in preparing our hearts for the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord.

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I Only Allow This One Thing in Church

By Gaby Smith

When my son was a toddler, I would allow him to bring toys to Mass to keep him occupied and still. This turned into a messy and noisy ordeal. Toy planes and cars were everywhere in the pew.

What was worse, is that these were wooden pews. Let’s just say all eyes were on us from time to time (or at least that’s how I felt). Read More

My Advent Journey with Mary

By Sarah McDonald

Soon after welcoming our first child, I became more deeply connected to Mary, Mother of God, in my own prayer life. So much so, that in my daily prayers, I include, “Mary, Mother of God, pray for us,” in my own personal litany.

When I was pregnant for my second child, that connection grew even more intense for me. Read More

In Time of Need

By Greg Zambrano

During the month of the rosary in October, my family and I made a quick trip to the Disney Parks in Orlando Florida.
On the second day of the trip, we visited Disney’s MGM Studios’ new section that just opened over the summer. The main attraction: a long rollercoaster ride named “Slinky Dog.” Read More

Make a Joyful Noise! (Psalm 98:4)

By Kristy Solis

As parents, we often share stories of dismay of our children such as my child will not sleep, my child is a picky eater, or my child does not listen, etc. The list could be an extensive one.
Today, my 3-year-old daughter would not cooperate and take a nap. Instead, she was out of bed, talking excessively and playing with her toys. Read More

The Blessing of a Child in Old Age

By Leslie Bertucci

In November 2003, while my husband Johnny was at a Manresa retreat for the weekend, my four children and I decided to surprise him by clearing out the garage and the attic of all the old baby clothes and equipment.

After all, the kids were 8, 11, 14 and 17. Surely, we had no more need of these items. Read More

Why We Sit in the Front Pew

By Gaby Smith

I think one of the most terrifying moment of a parent’s life is sitting in the front row with your child at Mass.
Trying to explain to a small boy to sit still and pay attention at Mass (which can be very confusing to a child) takes skill.
I’ve come to terms that sitting in the front of the church is the best way for my son to pay attention. We’ve had moments where he was so wiggly that I felt like everyone’s eyes were on me, judging. I could cry I was so embarrassed.

In the front rows, I can point things out for him easily and explain what the parts of the Mass mean and why we do it. I’ve started to see his attention span last longer in the front pews of church. He sees the priest, the altar servers and the readers.

We’ve learned to follow along in the book, when to stand, sit and be silent.
As a parent, I’ve learned to keep this consistent for our Sunday Masses. We’ll walk up, sit in the front rows and go through the Mass. He isn’t perfect and a lot of the times he has a lot of questions about what the priest is doing during Mass (which is great!).

I’ve learned to not shoo him off and tell him to be quiet in Mass but explain to him why we do what we do.
So, put on your badge of courage and make your way to the front pew at Mass. Even if you’re with your spouse that day or alone, do it anyway and silently explain the Mass to your child or children. They will start to understand why we as Catholics love celebrating the Eucharist.

What will you leave behind?

By Charla Spalluto Misse

Oct. 22 was the Feast Day of Pope St. John Paul II. Being a saint of modern time, his prolific teachings and far-reaching efforts profoundly touched the lives of most Catholics today.
I remember his visit to New Orleans in 1987. While most youth encountered him when he spoke at the Superdome, I was blessed to perform in a Student Papal Choir when he visited the University of New Orleans (UNO).
If you were at UNO that day, surely, you remember the severity of the sun followed by a deluge of rain. And then, you remember, by the grace of God, the rain stopping just when the Pope began to speak.

The Holy Spirit’s presence was resounding on that miraculous day.
As I read the “Saint of the Day” summary on his feast day, I learned that Pope St. John Paul II’s deeply religious father played an important role in his spiritual formation after his mother’s death when he was 8 years old.
Of all the outstanding moments and defining achievements recounted of this great man’s life, that one sentence kept coming back to my mind throughout the day.

Many parents sacrifice significant time, energy and money on their children’s academic, cultural and athletic development; it is admirable and selfless – a parent’s calling.
I do this like so many others, but had recently realized that, simply, without faith, there is no hope. I had been moved to more greatly devote myself to my family’s spiritual development.
I thought to myself, if I were gone, what would I leave behind?
I can’t imagine a better legacy than to give my child unwavering faith that will carry him through life’s certain challenges. The faith that there is a reason for the rain and that Almighty God in his power and wisdom will stop the rain at the right time.