What the month of February means to Catholics and how to honor it in your home ...
Did you know that in the Catholic Church, each of the 12 months of the year has a devotional theme?
For Catholics, February is the month devoted to The Holy Family, and it is an ideal time to strengthen our own family and its connection to Jesus’s family. Continuing our monthly series on ways to showcase each month’s Catholic theme in your life, here are 12 ways you can align your family to the Holy Family this February:
1Consecrate your family to the Holy Family.
2Pray the Family Rosary together.
When you do, add a special prayer to the Holy Family, like this one.
3Strengthen and/or affirm your family's devotion to the Eucharist as the nourishment of family life.
Purpose to keep the Sabbath holy together, and not let worldly distractions or secular obligations get in the way. Remind everyone of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as you drive to church together. Pope John Paul II wrote, “In the eucharistic gift of charity the Christian family finds the foundation and soul of its communion and its mission” (Letter on the Family, No. 57).
4Place an icon or image of the Holy Family on your table.
One recommendation is the statue “A Quiet Moment” by Timothy P. Schmalz. Put a treasured picture of your own family beside it, as a way of seeking blessing and intercession for your family from the Holy Family.
5Strengthen your family bonds through shared joy.
During the month of February, plan something fun you can all do together! Maybe it’s a family outing to the aquarium, a sporting event, or a movie. Perhaps it’s baking a special dessert together and sharing the sweetness.
6Create a “Family Feast Day.”
You can base it on a devotion to a saint, or the patron saint of your wedding day and/or the day you moved into or blessed your new home. If you haven’t yet had your house blessed or consecrated, make plans to do so! After all, your home is the domestic church for your family, and a beating heart of sorrows and joys where you all dwell and grow. What better month could there be to bless it?
7Share stories of beloved family members.
Pay special attention to those who have passed. Tell family anecdotes and pass down the oral tradition. Make sure to talk about those who have lived their faith through difficulties in an exemplary manner! This gives such roots and foundational meaning to our lives and identities as children of God.
8Together, with your family, write a short prayer you can say following Grace before meals.
For example: “God bless the (Last name here) family!” while holding hands and raising them up together.
9Design a ritual of forgiveness.
You may have one already and don’t realize that’s what it is! Perhaps to make peace with another member of the family you make a pot of tea to share as a gesture of forgiveness or play a special song that signifies to other family members: “I love you and I want to start new.” One nice idea: put a special cookie, or crackers and cheese or fruit on a plate, with an icon of the Holy Family as a centerpiece. Call the hurt or angry person(s) over for a chat, a hug, a shared apology, and a snack together from the “Holy Family plate.”
10Together with the other members of your family, name your home.
It can be named after a saint, or take its inspiration from a place in the Bible; it can have something to do with the name of the street you live on, an attribute you strive for, or your last name. But naming your home something gives an epic quality to your life that creates a sense of bonding among family members that cannot be taken for granted.
11Have a holy water font at the door.
Bless yourselves and each other as you leave and return.
12Bless each other at bedtime and mention each family member's name in prayer before falling asleep.
Think of that classic television series, The Waltons, which closed each episode with that beautiful ritual!
As we end each day, let us recall these words of Pope St. John Paul II: “The family, more than any other human reality, is the place in which the person is loved for himself and in which he learns to live the sincere gift of self.” God bless your family.