We Catholics like to celebrate with food! This is why it is important to eat together as a family and to enjoy the delicious food gifted to us by God and prepared by the hands of our mother or father. Mealtimes should be a time of great celebration and we should make an extra special effort to celebrate Sundays and Catholic feast days. You may even want to consider celebrating important dates such as your anniversary, showing your children that your marriage is something that is important to you and that you delight in remembering that special day. Why not bake a cake together for the occasion?
And remember, no mobile phones or tablets at the dinner table! Encourage an environment free of technology, where everyone takes a turn to talk about the highs and lows of their day. Let the dinner table be a forum for openness and honesty among all the family; a sacrosanct place where the family basks in the joys and rallies in the sorrows of each family member.
Prayer can take many forms and prayer within the family unit is no different. It is important that people pray as a family as best they can. Praying the Rosary as a family is a beautiful way to express our faith and this is something that should be encouraged in every Catholic home. You may want to make it more interesting for younger children by introducing images or pictures to go with the mysteries. And if one of the kids kicks off, stop for a break, but remember to try and pick it up again another time. And start small, especially with younger kids. A few short prayers or a decade of the Rosary will likely suffice to begin with.
It’s also very important to pray as a family before and after meals. There are a number of simple prayers suitable for this but even a simple ‘thank you Jesus’ will do!
And remember, it is important that children see their parents pray, so be prepared to set an example to your kids and make sure you take them to Holy Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation. Be an example to them by regular attendance at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consider becoming more active in the life of your Parish. Children will respond positively to your active participation in the life of the Church and will see how important it is to you.
Be willing to talk about your faith and don't be embarrassed if one of the kids asks you something you don't know. This is a great opportunity to learn as a family! Learning can be a form of prayer too! So don't be afraid to pick up the Bible or the Catechism or to even search Google for an answer. Let your children see just how interested you are to learn too.
And above all, let them see just how much you love Jesus by your prayer!
3. Be Merry
As Catholic people immersed in the love of Jesus Christ and with the sure and certain hope of eternal life, shouldn’t we be immensely happy?? Our family life should be full of fun and games. We should be unafraid to dance and to waste time with our children. Just because God is at the very centre of our lives doesn’t mean life has to be one big serious drag. The fact that God is at the centre of our lives is the very reason we should be deliriously happy from the moment we wake in the morning until our head hits the pillow again the following night. If those of us who are members of the Church established by Jesus Christ and who regularly gather in his presence at Holy Mass cannot be happy, then there is no hope for any of us! No hope! So let us rejoice, let us be happy. Let’s show our children that being Catholic is great fun! And remember, don’t complain or gossip about people and don’t be too quick to criticise others. Such an attitude creates a negative environment for children and leads to increased cynicism and scepticism; something they themselves will only be too happy to take on board!