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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
By Dawn Cusimano
With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I was reminded of a precious family craft that we were blessed to learn about last year and adopt called the “Gratitude Tree.” It was quick and easy to make, and only cost us pennies and some good, old-fashioned quality time.
First, we found a few bare branches in our backyard and situated them inside a vase.
Next, we cut some colored paper to look like fall leaves and punched a hole in each one so that we could loop a piece of string through it.
We then sat together on the rug in our living room and took turns sharing the blessings that we were thankful by writing them on the “leaves.”
My husband and I even added a few extra messages expressing gratitude for things about each other to find later.
Our sweet little “tree” project graced the kitchen table where we shared our family meals and reminded us daily of God’s goodness.