It's okay to skip all the liturgically themed crafts, recipes, and activities you see on the internet!
“What are you doing with your kids for the feast today? I totally forgot to plan anything for it,” my friend texted me.
You have got to be kidding me, I thought. I hadn’t even known it was a feast day until she told me.
“I’m not doing anything,” I wrote back. “You know, you don’t have to plan a whole big thing for every single feast day. It’s okay if you don’t do a craft or make a special recipe.”
My friend was new to liturgical living and on fire with zeal to do “all the things” that Catholics do. But I think it’s important to know that liturgically themed crafts and activities are actually a relatively new thing.
I grew up in a devoutly Catholic family, and while we celebrated the major feast days and very much lived liturgically, I don’t think I ever did a liturgical craft.
But there’s been a huge growth in recent years of a cottage industry of Catholic crafts, recipes, and liturgical living “activities.” So today, it seems like there’s a pressure and expectation to go all-out for every single liturgical occasion.
Social media is definitely not helping the situation. If you’re not organizing elaborate crafts and themed foods for every feast day, the thinking seems to go, are you even raising your kids Catholic?!
I believe this phenomenon emerged from the merging of many cultures here in the U.S. Each country has its own distinct devotions and traditions, like the Italian tradition of the St. Joseph’s Table or the Scandinavian tradition of waffles for the feast of the Annunciation.
Descendants of all these cultures came together here, and now a lot of us have decided we should do all of the traditions from all of the cultures, instead of just the ones our own ancestors did. (It probably doesn’t help that a lot of us don’t know what traditions our ancestors did, since a lot of these were lost over the years.)
It’s a good and beautiful thing that so many Catholic parents are trying to reclaim a culture of liturgical living. But it seems like there’s a pressure to create Instagram-worthy scenes instead of just, you know, praying along with the liturgy like our ancestors did.
So let me whisper a gentle truth: You don’t need to do all of the liturgically themed crafts, recipes and activities you see on the internet in order to raise Catholic kids.
Liturgical living is first and foremost about prayer, Mass, and the Divine Office. Cute activities can add to that, but they’re not essential.
My own parents raised 7 children who are all still faithful Catholics, and I’ll tell you what they did …
They lived the liturgical seasons, but they didn’t do themed crafts and snacks and what author Danielle Bean calls “liturgical cupcakes.”
They went to Mass every day. They prayed the Rosary every day. They prayed with us children every day. This is the heart of what it means to live liturgically. This is our first priority as Catholic parents.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you NOT to do themed crafts and activities and foods for each and every feast day. If that’s what you like doing, please, go for it and enjoy!
All of that stuff can be really fun and meaningful. It can be a beautiful addition to the domestic church and a good way to help kids understand our faith. I’ve certainly been known to give my kids coloring pages of saints on their feast days, and I’ve made my fair share of liturgically themed snacks, too. These things can be a sweet and lovely way to live your faith as a family!
All I’m saying is that you don’t have to do all this if it’s not your cup of tea. It’s not necessary to do these things to raise Catholic kids.
So don’t feel bad about skipping it. You can be a great Catholic mom even if you never bake liturgical cupcakes.
But if you do, I absolutely applaud your efforts. And I’d love to come over and have one with you!