catholic stuff i love: the liturgical year

August 14, 2017

Today I want to talk about something that drew me to the Catholic Church: the liturgical year. It’s been on my mind lately because I have just begun using the gorgeous Blessed Is She planner, and I’m re-inspired to celebrate the church year at home. In my downtime you’ll find me Googling “catholic liturgical year” and “living liturgically” and “celebrating the liturgical year at home” and filling up my Pinterest board. #nerd

Photo from the Blessed Is She website

The liturgical year is not an expressly Catholic thing. From what I can tell, it is also celebrated by Orthodox, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and to a lesser extent Methodists (although I attend a modern Methodist church that is not liturgical in the least). However, Catholics celebrate many more feast days, especially for saints.

I am assuming that most people reading this are familiar with what the church year is, but basically it is the cycle of celebrations and observances that determines the Scriptures read, prayers said, and how we live. Here is a simple image that shows the cycle with the basic overview:

I became interested in the Church Year a long time ago. I knew about it from my own reading and church classes I took in college, along with some vague memories of celebrating parts of it when we attended more liturgical churches in my childhood. I think my interest turned to action when my children started getting old enough to remember traditions that we set in our home. I was also influenced by my Catholic best friend who would speak to me of feast days, and solemnities, and ways that they observed the seasons. It was appealing to me that it was a thing they did with the entire church, not just on their own.

My personality type is an ISFJ, and we are VERY big on traditions and routines. As I get older and more settled into myself, I realized that I should embrace this. Although the church we attend is about as un-liturgical as you can get, I decided to start celebrating church holidays at home anyway. In fact, I made that a new year’s resolution in 2016.

Now that I am attending weekly mass, I can say that I find it overwhelmingly meaningful to celebrate the church year with the whole body of Christ. To be reading and meditating on the same Scripture, to be remembering the same events – it feels like such a relief. I feel at home.

Photo by Every Sacred Sunday – a new mass journal I’m pumped about

Starting now, my goal is to refine our traditions for Advent, Christmastide, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. I also plan to take it month by month and try to plan for additional small celebrations at home (or with friends if possible) for the main feast days/observances, and any saints that are important to me or our family. First, I will have to accumulate some resources (like children’s books about saints, props like peg dolls and liturgical colored linens) – I hope to have some basics by the end of the year. Then next year I can begin incorporating these into our routine and share what we do here.

A note: this is an area in which some people go crazy in a Pinterest-perfect way. And if you stay home, have the time, and it brings you joy, that’s awesome! I personally do not have the time and even though I enjoy this stuff to an extent, I have to rein it in because I would burn out. I never intend to celebrate every feast day (because there are a million), and I want to keep it simple and meaningful.

I would love to hear if/how you celebrate the liturgical year!

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Posted in: faith, catholic

bridging the gap

August 8, 2017

Last Friday was the feast day of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of the parish church I’ve been attending. They held a special mass followed by a free spaghetti dinner, so I took the opportunity to invite my husband and my parents to attend. As I suspected, they were lured by the free food and came! The night ended up being a bit rough for me (my 3-year-old son Liam did not behave AT ALL and I spent most of mass in the cry room), but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. To my surprise, the next day my husband David told me that he would be okay with our family attending Catholic church together from then on, even…
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Posted in: faith, catholic, faith

when your vocation is a cross

August 3, 2017

“It’s a good thing you weren’t born Catholic,” my husband said. “You would have become a nun.” We were in the car together, without kids, a rare occurrence. It was shortly after his first detox from alcohol relapse back in October (but not the one that would stick). We hadn’t been speaking very much over the past six months, and certainly not about anything deep. Being in the car reduced the awkwardness. I thought about what he said. Finally, I replied, “You know, you’re right. I think I’d enjoy being a nun.” This was maybe not the best thing to admit to one’s husband, that one would enjoy a lifetime of celibacy foregoing marriage and family. He certainly pretended to…
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Posted in: faith, catholic, personal, recovery


July 31, 2017

I’m in a period of waiting. Does anyone like waiting? Transitions? I would honestly like to know. I much prefer to have decisions made, plans in effect, routines functioning, etc. Primarily, I am waiting to enter the Catholic Church. Did you see that coming? Maybe, if you get my newsletter or follow me on Instagram. But the Catholic Church surprised me. After almost a decade watching one of my best friends live out her authentic relationship with Jesus as a Catholic, I finally started asking more questions about it over a year ago. I realized that I had a multitude of misconceptions about it, and discovered a fullness of faith that I hadn’t dreamed possible. I had a really hard…
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Posted in: faith, catholic, faith, personal, recovery

i have a newsletter!

August 9, 2016

Guess what? I’m back to putting words out into the world! Although I can’t keep up with blogging these days, and I’m not very good at doing it sporadically because I put too much pressure on myself, I’ve figured out the perfect medium for me right now: I started a monthly email newsletter! The first one went out at the end of July, and a new one will go out monthly. I’m loving it because it’s more personal, more flexible, and it’s still a great way for me to share with you what I’m reading, things I love and want to share, fun links, updates from my life, and any other thoughts I’m having. I’ve received such encouraging feedback already,…
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Posted in: blog

five ways i’m learning to love summer

June 7, 2016

Hey hey! I’m stopping in today because I wanted to share some things that have been on my mind about summer. It’s in full swing here, despite the near-constant rain that is prohibiting us from frequenting the neighborhood pool so far. But then again, the rain is keeping the temps around 90 instead of 100 degrees so…silver lining? I’m not one to pick a favorite season, because I really do like different things about each one. When I was a kid I loved summer. The heat didn’t phase me and of course I loved the break. I went to camp, swam, and hung out with my friends and brothers constantly. But I’ve noticed as I age summer goes down and…
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Posted in: personal, thoughts, tips