Parties are a big part of being Catholic and living out our faith.
Artist Erica Tighe Campbell was working as an event calligrapher in Los Angeles when she noticed a gaping hole in the Catholic events market: Even though countless Catholic celebrations take place every year, the party goods for these occasions were practically nonexistent.
“I noticed the First Communion plates at parties were the same ones as when I had my first communion … in 1998,” she says.
Beautifully designed, modern products could be a way to engage young people and teach them about their faith, Campbell thought. Moreover, Catholic party goods could be a valuable service to families seeking to build faith in their homes.
“A lot of parents want to celebrate the liturgical year with their kids,” Campbell says, “but may not have time to plan a lot, or don’t know where to start.”
That’s where Campbell’s company, Be A Heart, comes in. She has created an array of stunning paper goods with a Catholic twist, such as a Fatima-themed wall garland and Sacred Heart-shaped paper plates. Just in time for All Saints Day, her shop is stocked with “All Saints”-themed cups, plates, stickers and cocktail napkins, plus her newest creation, a celebration guide for All Saints Day, which includes the following resources:
– An All Saints Day Party Invitation
– An 8×10 Print Download
– Saints Cupcake toppers
– Stickers to go on goodie bags
– Saints Garland
– 12 Holy Cards
– 12 Candle Stickers
– 33 Recipes and tent cards
– 12 All Saints Day Costume ideas
– All Saints Bingo Activity
It’s not always obvious, but parties are a big part of being Catholic and living out our faith—not only the highest holy days like Christmas and Easter but the many smaller feasts and commemorations that dot the calendar.
“Celebrating is a big part of our faith life in our homes,” says Campbell.
Honoring these feasts helps us stay in rhythm with the larger Church, even while remaining within our own homes, and thus creating the “domestic churches” that the Catechism calls us to build with our families.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday, it can be hard to make time for the days of celebrating as well as the days of penance to which the Church calls us. Yet our lives are immeasurably enriched by making space for these ancient devotions.
“Even something as small as a plate or a cup can be a small symbol of the richness of the liturgical seasons, and the rhythm of it,” Campbell says. “We may only celebrate the big ones like Advent and Lent, but within the whole year there are all these little things we can touch upon that connect us with something bigger than ourselves and help us connect with each other.”
Connection is, after all, the real goal here—connection with our family and friends around the table and, most of all, connection with God.
All Saints Day in particular offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with the saints, as we honor the countless men and women whose examples shine brightly before us along the path to Heaven.
“A lot of the feasts that we celebrate are about people,” Campbell says. “It’s almost always a human connection. It’s celebrating these people who really lived, and finding their friendship and companionship.”
Families can use Campbell’s products to build those relationships. Parents may discuss with their children the lives of the featured saints, and encourage them to listen to God’s call in their own lives. Campbell chose the following quotation from Thomas Merton to print on the napkins: “For me to be a saint means to be myself,” words that invite reflection on how to “be myself” in the way that God wants.
“For me, the central idea of All Saints Day is how do you find your individual sainthood? The saints are saints because they didn’t try to be like each other but really tried to be themselves and follow that,” Campbell said. “Being like the saints doesn’t mean we imitate every detail of their lives: Only Mother Teresa was called to be Mother Teresa. But rather we can listen to what God is calling us to do and really follow that.”
Campbell’s hope is that her creations will make it easy for people to open up their homes and hearts, as Christ calls us to do—and that in doing so, they will find Christ dwelling in their midst.
“That’s where Christ is,” she said. “He’s between us and other people, whether the homeless person across the street, or my husband across the dinner table.”
Certainly the communion of saints, and of holy people still living, are the best support we can have along the journey. Campbell’s work is a beautiful aid to anyone looking to build those connections with God and others, bringing a bit of Heaven into their own homes. You can check out Be A Heart here.