These simple ideas can help your children deepen their spiritual lives after formal classes are over.
Summer is around the corner. As the pace of everything accelerates during the months of May and early June to accommodate end-of-year concerts, sport games and class parties, another chapter is closing for the season. For many Catholic children and teens, faith formation classes are also wrapping up and books are put away until September. As we all look forward to time off, let’s keep the faith alive during those lazy, hot days of summer. Here are 5 ways to keep the ball rolling.
1Attend VBS or other church camp sponsored by a local parish.
Kids like to have fun and learn … with other kids. Different parishes often offer very different types of camps, so compare the options and pick the best one (or two!) for your kids.
2Do the daily readings together.
Mornings work best at our house, before the day gets packed with activity and kids going in different directions. We used to read together after breakfast, but I think reading out loud at breakfast might be a better way to go. Everyone is already sitting together anyway, right? If only young children are at home, a morning Bible story can be a good substitute. Creating the habit and expectation of starting the day drinking in God’s Word is what is important.
3Attend an extra Mass (or more) each week.
It’s summer vacation, right? There’s plenty of extra time, right? Fitting in an extra weekday mass is a great way to help keep the week grounded in Christ. It’s also a great opportunity to see different churches, or experience a different rite.
4Mark feast days and holy days of obligation.
August 15 marks the Assumption of Mary, a holy day of obligation. June includes Pentecost on June 9, and several solemnities, including the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on June 23, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on the 28th, and others. A list of Solemnities and Days of Obligation can be found on the Relevant Radio website. A calendar that includes Feast Days may be found here. If the number of options seems overwhelming, choose a couple of days to focus on and highlight them by serving a treat, doing a craft or a special activity together as a family, reading about the meaning of the day (or story of the saint) and talking about it.
5Make regular time for prayer.
Pray together in the morning (tacking morning prayer onto the morning reading is an easy way to do this). Even if it is just a short prayer with breakfast (and other meals), it is still a turning to God at the beginning of the day. Meals punctuate our day, and using them as cues to thank God for His blessings (including the food) help keep the day oriented towards God. Make nighttime prayers before bed take on a greater sense of importance by not rushing through them. Try a family Rosary, time together in Adoration, or choose a saint to learn about — and include a prayer for that saint’s intercession. Take a moment to say a quick prayer for car accidents or breakdowns, or other obvious needs that you see when out and about with the kids. The point is to make prayer a normal, comfortable, important part of the day.