This is from the introduction to the (forthcoming) Catholic All Year Compendium, that I wrote for the pitch I submitted to the publisher, back in 2015:
“Sometimes all you really need is a little enthusiasm and the willingness to give things a try. The easiest way is to start when your children are young enough to be dazzled by even your less successful endeavors. Case in point: I stood in my kitchen one Friday afternoon, looking at a slightly runny red gelatin heart, decorated with orange segments and pretzel sticks, sitting somewhat off-center on a cake plate. It was supposed to look like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but it had looked better in my head—less oozy. My four-year-old daughter, however, took one look at it and gasped in wonder at its beauty. She called the other kids in to see it. They agreed that it was awesome but could use some whipped cream.
So that’s what we did. We put some whipped cream on it. Over dinner, we talked about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and her visions. We talked about the burning love that Jesus has for each one of us and the pain that he suffers because of the sin and the ingratitude of mankind. Then we ate the weepy heart. And now my kids can’t imagine a feast of the Sacred Heart without one. That’s what living the liturgical year looks like in our home.”
I’ve read through it SO MANY times through the writing and editing process and I finally went back and found my photo of that jello heart.
I still shake my head, NOPE, looking at it. 😝 But the kids are looking forward to having another one next Friday. There’s really no accounting for them.
And . . . <looks around nervously, knocks on wood
desk, slowly types> . . . I – think – I’m – done – writing – the – book?
Crazy. It has been nearly three years that I’ve been writing this book. Which is just preposterous. It’s hardly the great American novel or anything. But it does feel like an accomplishment, and a few other things were going on during the process: I was pregnant with baby number eight, packed up to move, accidentally had a baby at home, sold the old house, moved, entered the exciting world of construction supervising and do-it-yourself remodeling and feeding a family of ten from a makeshift kitchen in the garage, found out I was pregnant again, got super morning sickness, got better, fell off a ladder while painting and broke my tailbone, had a kid hospitalized after a freak accident, somehow got the first draft written, it was 600 pages. Had another baby, continued fixing up the house, cut the book down by a couple hundred pages, redid hundreds of quotes and footnotes, went through copy edits, then content/fact-check/heresy-checks, added a few new feasts, and updated others with new stuff we’ve been doing, and just submitted it (with 113 feast days covered in 360 pages), I think for the last time!
They’re telling me it will be out Fall 2018. 😍
So . . . speaking of June, the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let’s look at a few of the feast days this month. Including the TWO MEAT FRIDAYS!
June 3 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ a.k.a. Corpus Christi (Sunday, solemnity, holy day of obligation)
TO DO: read John 6:52–59; make a Eucharistic procession (plenary indulgence); recite the Act of Spiritual Communion, recite the “Tantum Ergo”; begin the practice of making the sign of the cross whenever passing a Catholic church; make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament
June 8: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (solemnity)
TO DO: publicly recite the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (plenary indulgence);
TO EAT: It’s a Meat Friday! And you can make your very own red Jell-O heart. Just think, three years from now you could almost have written a book about it, too!
June 9:The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (memorial)
TO DO: recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto)
TO EAT: Leftover jello?
June 13: St. Anthony of Padua, priest and Doctor (memorial), patron of lost items, lost people, lost souls, the elderly, and mail
TO DO: Start collecting stuff the kids leave around the house in a secret St. Anthony box, when they ask if you’ve seen it, tell them to ask St. Anthony. Give it back to them on the morning of his feast day, with a note that they should be more careful to not lose their things.
TO EAT: St. Anthony died of ergotism, as a result of long term eating of tainted rye. Since ergotism has been eradicated in the western world, I think we’re safe to have a toasted pastrami and provolone on rye.
June 22: SS. John Fisher, bishop, and Thomas More, martyrs (optional memorial), patrons of lawyers and stepparents
TO DO: Refuse to apostatize.
TO EAT: Add some St. John Fisher foil fish packets and St. Thomas s’Mores to your Nativity Eve bonfire.
June 24: The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (solemnity)—patron of builders, tailors, printers, baptism, and against seizures
TO DO: read Luke 1:57–80; have a vigil bonfire
June 26: St. Josemaría Escrivá, priest (optional memorial), patron of Opus Dei, diabetics, job seekers, and the sanctification of ordinary work
TO DO: consider ways to grow holier in daily life
June 29: SS. Peter and Paul, apostles (solemnity)
TO DO: Pray the “Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, intercede for us” prayer; use an article blessed by the pope or a bishop (plenary indulgence); go camping, fishing, or have a picnic
TO EAT: It’s another MEAT FRIDAY! For dessert, graham cracker tent s’mores for St. Paul, a tent-maker, and Swedish fish candies for St. Peter, a fisherman.
And, now, for this week’s giveaway!
Rebecca Górzyńska and I are both members of a group of Catholic women artists, and I just LOVE her work. She sent this awesome St. Joan of Arc print to our conference last year.
Check out her Etsy shop, Dephina Rose Art!
And she also creates really unique and fun and SUPER CATHOLIC coloring pages.
The Saints Bundle includes St. Joan of Arc, and St. Apollonia, to whom Anita has had a devotion ever since she got her front tooth knocked clean out last summer. (It seems to have worked!)
The Marian Bundle
features Mary under ten different titles. So great for easy feast day activities for kids. And they’re detailed enough to be really appealing to older kids, and even adults!
I get to give a set away (winner’s choice) here on the blog. (Stay tuned to the Catholic All Year Facebook Page and my Instagram account for giveaways there sometime during the week.)
To enter the giveaway, tell me what feast day you’re looking forward to this month, and why.
And say a prayer for Rebecca, who is about 25 weeks along . . . with TRIPLETS! 👶👶👶