Name Dat Baby!

By Dawn Cusimano

We have a new baby on the way, and I’ve been spending a good bit of time contemplating names for this littlest one. With thousands to choose from, I think I may need the whole nine months to narrow it down to the final two (one for a boy, one for a girl).

For a more traditional name, I know I can turn to my good friends, the Catholic saints, for inspiration. Just like our relatives here on earth, we can honor them by naming our children after them.

Sometimes, in prayer, I feel particularly close to one saint or another, and the choice seems easy. Other times, I ask God to point out an unfamiliar saint for our family to learn more about and ask for intercession. There are other times still when I love a more modern name. If we go that route, we can always pray that, with God’s grace, our baby will be the first saint with that name. Isn’t that beautiful?

The clock is ticking, so ready or not baby will get a name soon enough!

All you angels and saints in heaven, pray for us.

How I Steal Quiet Moments for Myself

By Gaby Smith

Quiet? That’s unheard of in my home. As a single parent, I’m on the go constantly. I’m the mom, dad, nurse, cook, chauffeur, stylist, hair dresser, the list goes on and on.

In the past I’ve always wondered how I can take some quiet moments to myself. Once 9 p.m hit, I was asleep and exhausted from the day’s activities. I wanted to sleep all the time. Finding quiet time seemed impossible.

Then, one day after spiritual direction, I was inspired to make time. If you have the power to make time, I commend you.

Because of you, I have found that to be my new super power. I make time by waking up very early. Sometimes I wake up about an hour and a half before my child wakes up. I dedicate this time to grabbing my morning cup of joe, praying and catching up on social media.

Praying at 5 a.m. is the best part of my day, because the world is so quiet. I grab my devotional with my coffee cup in the other hand and sit in silence with Jesus.

He’s the first person I talk to in the morning. He’s also my favorite person to talk to in the morning. Jesus wakes up at 5 a.m., too. Try it.

Be courageous, set your alarm and wake up with our Lord. He’s sitting across from you with a cup of coffee too.

What are your morning rituals?

A Solid Foundation

By Ty Salvant

On my confirmation retreat, the priest told us that there were other retreat opportunities in the church as a college student and an engaged couple. The seed was planted.

Fast forward seven years, and our priest gave us the marriage prep options: a day, a weekend or six weekly meetings. I immediately remembered wanting to attend the retreat.

It didn’t take much convincing before Derrick and I were off on a new adventure. Honestly, we had no idea what to expect as we didn’t have friends or family that had been on an Engaged Encounter (EE) retreat.

Derrick and I both came from divorce backgrounds, and we knew that we didn’t want that as an option for us. Initially, we agreed on everything from the possibility of adoption to one deal breaker. But on our EE weekend, we realized that we had placed a condition on our marriage.

We learned that we were called to truly love unconditionally. After lots of prayer, we agreed that we were willing to accept the challenge to mirror God’s love for each other and love each other unconditionally, even if it meant we could be hurt.

Reflecting on the vision we had for our family, we knew this is one ideal we wanted to turn into a value. Not only for our sake, but for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

With God’s grace, we have been able to live up to our marital commitments, and our children observe us living out a life-giving Catholic marriage. One of the many gifts we give our children is one of a solid foundation.

What is it Like to be a Mom in a Catholic Family in New Orleans? In One Word: Fulfilling

By Stacy LaMorte

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life with three active t(w)eens. Dancing, sports, clubs, and three different schools makes it challenging, not to mention the fact that my husband and I have lives as well.

However, taking the time to be together to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday is not an “if,” it is a “when.”

Our children know that the Sabbath is a priority in our household. So, when we schedule our weekend, we decide, together, whether a Vigil or Sunday morning Mass is going to work best for our family.

Lord knows we have enough Masses in this city that one of them is sure to fit the bill! This is not to say that we don’t have the occasional unhappy camper because we are not going to the Mass that someone wanted to go to!

For the most part, though, we celebrate together at 10 a.m. Mass with our regular “church family.” (Are we the only people who regularly sit in the same pew and consider the people around us as “family”?)

I love that our kids know that God comes first in our lives, and we show that through not only words, but through our actions.

They know that prayer is a priority when we bless our food before we eat, pray as a family before we go to sleep (our dog Polo even likes to have his paw held during bedtime prayers!) or when we ask God for guidance, protection and enlightenment as we go about our day.

It is truly fulfilling when I see one of the kids take time to practice his or her faith through an act of kindness or a quick prayer. It lets me know that our commitment to God is rubbing off on them and that they may just choose to be practicing Catholics when we don’t all live under one roof anymore.

Until then, I will enjoy the fulfillment of sitting with my family together at Mass and bask in the joy of being a Catholic mom.

Flying with Kids

By Casey Sprehe

We fly often with children. It’s an awesome blessing from God that the “enemy’ can easily steal the joy of it if we aren’t prepared. Here’s a few of our tips if you are in the same boat plane!

1. Pray! We pray for everyone’s safety, obedience and joy. We pray for everyone involved in the process that we can be a blessing to them. Beginning with the check-in desk agent all the way to final baggage claim agent.

2. 5-year-olds and older carry their own backpack and luggage.

3. Bring a stroller that is multi-purpose. First, it serves as a space for the baby, then a luggage caddy and, lastly, as a backup when someone needs a break from walking.

4. Multiply however many snacks I need for the duration … times three. Delays are inevitable, and airport food pricing is a scam.

5. Diapers. See above criteria. My last rookie mistake cost us $7 for two diapers and a handful of wipes.

6. Baby carrier. Once we get to security, we take the baby out of the stroller and strap her to me. I’m hands-free to help with bags and then able to get both of us checked on the side with a simple wand.

7. Kid bags: each equipped with a jacket, a book, a few activities and toys from the Dollar Store and snacks. The activities/toys are wrapped separately like Christmas presents with a lot of tape. It takes them a while to open them. It’s a new toy. Pieces lost or broken on the airplane don’t matter. They served their dollar purpose.

8. A movie for the inevitable delay. The plane delay, the ride delay, the weather delay as we sit on the tarmac for an extra hour, or the extra hour in a holding pattern because of the weather.

9. Apologize in advance. With a smile on my face, I look at those seated around me and say, “I hope this will be a great flight, and I apologize in advance if things get a little nutty in our area.”

10. Kevin and I smile a lot. We see a lot of people in a short amount of time comparatively when we fly. We try our hardest to be a winsome argument to show that we are a family enjoying life and not just barely getting by. We want to bring joy to others and have them wonder what’s different? It’s the perfect precursor to an evangelistic moment.

Morning Routine

By Greg Zambrano

During the morning hours, while you are preparing to go to work and school, there is plenty of time to pray. If you prepare well enough, you could even attend Mass before school or work.

The way I have set a schedule that makes it possible to pray before school starts is Christ-centered.

First you must have the kids be prepared the night before. They must have dinner by 7 p.m. to make time to shower, place their backpacks by the front door (zippers closed and homework finished inside) and have school uniforms laid out. All this must be done by 8 p.m. in order to have enough hours of sleep.

Wake up is at 6 a.m., and each of us individually prays the morning offering prayer. Everyone gets dressed and ready, and we are in church for Mass at 6:30 a.m.. On the drive to church, we listen to an audio of the readings for that day. It makes a huge difference. It is more meaningful to the kids when they hear the readings before Mass, and they get a chance to ask questions.

Mass is usually over by 7:05 a.m., and, afterwards, we step into the adoration chapel until 7:15 a.m. Those approximate 45 minutes before breakfast gets you nourished by the Eucharist from receiving and consuming Jesus’s body and blood. Being in His presence during adoration is another gift from the Lord.

We are blessed to have the kids go to a parochial school, therefore I just walk them next door from the church to the school. The kids enjoy a wonderful breakfast and have plenty of time to chat and play with their friends before school starts.

An incentive for going to Mass and adoration for kids is breakfast and playtime with friends. An incentive for the parents is that they are in the constant presence of God, building a relationship for a lifetime with the All Mighty Lord.

I Did Not Want to Write This

By Charla Spalluto Misse

Some people long to have a voice … I don’t.

Some people are comfortable being judged … I’m not.

So why did I want to write a blog? … I didn’t!

When I was asked to contribute to the Clarion, before I could decline, I felt a sharp tug emphasizing that I was being ASKED to contribute … asked.

I often pray that, when I am asked, I will have the strength to give my fiat as Mary did. I needed some time to pray on it.

Over the next few days, I had many doubts, always concluding, however, that the Holy Spirit was asking this of me. The night before our first planning meeting, my mind was racing. I couldn’t sleep. I was truly terrified by the possibility of writing, of exposing myself to you.

Finally, I meditated on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, His suffering so that I might live … Then, it became clear, and my heart calmed: if only ONE soul were strengthened by my words, it would be worth any hardship I might face. Indeed, I am blessed to have this opportunity.

So why do I want to write a blog? For Him … and for you.

Whenever I write, I promise to pray that I will choose the right words at the right time.

Why We Choose to Raise Our Children in the Catholic Church

By Ana Borden

There is one constant I turn to in my life in our ever changing, chaotic and imperfect world; it is my Roman Catholic faith. This foundation provides me with inner peace and happiness so much so that I consider it the most precious gift bestowed to me.

My faith is a progression fueled by life’s experiences, listening and acting on the living word and inner reflectiveness. This ongoing journey is a lively and blessed adventure with moments of great highs and lows.

Despite any deviation, we know that God’s love and grace for his children will never fault. And, this is why my husband and I choose to raise our children in the Catholic Church.

Because faith is  . . .  

  • internal peace.
  • hope following a tragedy.
  • not fearing death knowing there is eternal life.
  • forgiving, sometimes over and over again.
  • action
  • having conviction when others question you.
  • finding strength to conquer temptation during moments of weakness.
  • leading not leaving.      

Why have you chosen to raise your child in the Catholic faith?