Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is a Holy day of Obligation. Yes, even though it’s a Monday. Go ahead, run to Mass. We can do this when you get back.
Okay, back? Obligation fulfilled?
Your reward is this free printable:
Celebrating the liturgical year in our home is something that it took quite a while for me to figure out. I wrote all about it in this post:
I hope you’ll click over if you haven’t read it yet, or in a while, because that’s where you’ll find the complete rundown of how and why we do it, and how I used to be freaked out by the whole thing, but now it’s no biggie.
The key for me, ended up being learning to focus on things we were doing anyway. I fit the saint into our day, rather than tailoring our day to the saint. So, if you do a lot of art projects in your house, a saint-themed art project would be perfect. But in MY house, if Kiwi Crate or Saint Mail doesn’t put it in a box and send it here, there are no art projects. Same goes for field trips. Our homeschool group plans one per month, and we do those, but otherwise, our days are pretty full at home with school . . . and naps.
So our celebration of the liturgical year in our home focuses on food, books, and little family activities.
For today’s feast, the Immaculate Conception, for example, I like to make all-white food. The menu has varied over the years, but this year I’m planning:
Ta dah! I was going to make dinner anyway, but now it’s all infused with meaning and such.
We’ll use the good dishes, and set the table with various little Virgin Mary statues, collected on our travels. After dinner, each kid gets to hold a little Virgin Mary aloft, and we do a little family procession around the house, singing “Ave Maria.”
For our story, we’re going to read our Advent book of the day, which will be The Christmas Story, new to us this year:
If we are really on top of things, we’ll manage a family rosary as well.
But that’s pretty much it.
For major feast days such as today’s, I take the lead, and we celebrate them each year, usually the same way, because I am a creature of habit. Each month, I plan for us to celebrate any of the Three Special Days that happen to fall during that month, as well as most solemnities.
For other feasts, I let my big kids take the lead. Our deal is, if any kid presents a short saint report on the saint’s life at dinner, we get dessert. We learn a little something, we have a little something, everyone wins. No advance planning.
I’ve found that centering our liturgical living on things we were going to do anyway, like eating dinner, has made it something that I can manage to keep up over many years and many seasons of life. No matter what else is going on, we still have to eat dinner. We can usually manage to have a dinner that “goes” with the saint, whether we are home or away.
Mostly we are home, which is why I’ve enjoyed owning Haley and Daniel Stewart’s awesome guide to liturgical living. You know Haley from her lovely blog, Carrots for Michaelmas and her adorable podcast, Fountains of Carrots. Their first book, Feast!, was just what I was looking for, a resource for simple but fun home-cooked meals that help tell a story to my family when I serve them. The first book has over twenty great recipes, but I keep coming back to the Black Beans and Rice and the Shepherd’s Pie. The book also has lovely reflections on living the Christian year in your home.