In a general audience back in February of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that “Every home is called to become a ‘domestic church’ in which family life is completely centered on the lordship of Christ.”
What it means to have a home that reflects one’s Catholic faith varies from family to family and culture to culture, but there are some sure-fire ways to let people know you’re a Catholic family from the very first moment they enter your home.
Crucifixes, holy water, and beautiful images of the Blessed Virgin Mary are givens, but for those of us who can’t seem to get it together enough to coordinate our decorating plans with our apostolic faith, there are still plenty of ways our home reflects what the Church means to us.
1. 10-month-old palms
Whether cleverly tucked behind the crucifix above your front door, or somehow still on the floor of your mini-van even though we just wrapped up Advent, dead palms are a dead giveaway that your home is a Catholic one.
They can be a great conversation starter (when expertly tied and connected in the shape of a cross), or a source of disapproving stares (for instance, when children run into the room engaged in an epic palm sword fight). Either way, if you’ve got palms lying around, you’re probably a Papist.
2. Tangled rosaries
If there’s one thing Catholic homes are good for, it’s having a rosary within arm’s reach at all times. Unfortunately, in my house, most of those rosaries are either missing the crucifix, lacking more than a few beads, or are simply tangled up worse that a set of iPhone ear buds.
It’s no wonder, what with children having an almost innate understanding of how to utilize the rosary like a whip on their siblings during family prayer.
But honestly, if there are a dozen rosaries in your home (including three broken, glow-in-the-dark ones), you’re most definitely Catholic.
3. Stacks of parish bulletins
What is our obsession with still accepting the paper bulletin from the nice volunteer outside of Mass? We get the bulletin sent to us via email and catch parish updates on Facebook and Twitter, but still have a hard time saying no to a good old fashioned paper bulletin.
Maybe it’s all the great ads for lawyers, dentists, and mortuaries you simply can’t find collected together anywhere else.
But it isn’t just our reluctance to decline bulletins that can define a Catholic household, it’s our odd hanging on to them. What if we forget Mass times for the upcoming holy day? What if we miss out on the all-you-can-eat fish fry? What time is confession again?
Bulletins stacked on the kitchen counter and spread out all over your van? You’re probably Catholic.
4. Our Lady of Guadalupe candles from the local grocery store
Most of us want to bring that special spiritual feeling into our homes, but not all of us have access to a Catholic bookstore nearby.
Thankfully, every grocery store, even in the most secular of towns, has an aisle stocked with candled images of the Blessed Virgin, a handful of beloved saints, and sometimes even Jesus himself.
If you walk into a home and see four candles blackened from perpetual burning, you know for sure you’re in the presence of Catholics.
From Our Lady of Guadalupe to San Martin Caballero to the image of the “Just Judge,” Catholics can easily build up quite a collection at the same time they’re picking up their Lunchables, gallon of milk, and Double Stuff Oreos.
5. Free calendar hanging on the wall
One of the cool things about being Catholic is you never have to purchase a wall calendar. They just keep on giving them out free every single year!
Walk into any Catholic house, and you’re bound to see the free parish calendar, featuring religious art related to a holy day celebrated that month, or just photo after photo of Pope Francis kissing babies.
And how about that wave of panic that strikes when you realize you were away for the holidays and you return only to see all the calendars have already been snatched up? How in the world are you going to know when to celebrate the feast of St. Eusebius?!
While it would be nice to make sure our home decorations reflect our Catholic faith, it can be hard to get it together enough to pull it off.
Luckily, these ways of proclaiming the good news about the Church founded by Christ are easily within reach without putting in any effort at all!
What are some other dead giveaways that your home is a Catholic one?