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Advice for the new Catholic family

In just two short weeks there will be many new Catholic faces in the pews. Thousands of candidates and catechumens are completing their preparation to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. While their preparation has covered the basics, learning about the faith is the work of a lifetime. Many of these converts are not entering alone. They have families who may or may not be familiar with what a Catholic family looks like. What is a Catholic family supposed to do? Of course (We hope!!) their preparation has covered the big points about marriage and children. But what are those little things that should make a Catholic family different?

The series I did several years ago on Keeping your Kids Catholic (It is linked in the sidebar) goes into a lot of details. However, I would love to know what simple advice you would give to a new convert about creating a Catholic family. How do you establish a Catholic identity within your home?

My advice is that you first establish you are a Catholic family by attending Mass every Sunday--rain, shine, and soccer games notwithstanding. This puts Christ at the center of your family life. All activities revolve around Him and are subservient to Him.

Secondly, pray together. Begin with grace before every meal--even those meals you eat at a restaurant. It doesn't have to be conspicuous or loud. It just needs to be a few seconds of bowed heads and everyone saying "Bless us, O Lord,…" Any words that thank God for the blessing of this meal are appropriate, but I would recommend learning the classic Catholic grace:

"Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen."

It immediately puts you in solidarity with other Catholics. Also, a family can never pray the Rosary together enough. Don't worry if this seems impossible at first. Begin with a single Hail Mary together. Then eventually increase to a decade of the Rosary. With a little persistence, your family can pray the Rosary together. I promise you will not be disappointed in the results.

Incorporate the liturgical calendar into your family life. Put a Catholic calendar up in your home and keep track of both the major and minor feasts and celebrations. There is so much more to the liturgical year than just the holy days of obligation. The various feasts and memorials are wonderful tools for learning about the Communion of Saints.

Finally, give your home a Catholic look by including religious items such as a crucifix, religious picture or statue of a saint in your home decor.

So, dear readers, what advice would you offer a newly minted Catholic family?


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