Surrounded with Blessing and Supporting in Prayer

With the recent ordination of Father Derek Wiechmann to the priesthood, I took a trip down memory lane. The trip took me back to 2009 when our family started helping host one of the diocesan Vocation Camps in Villard. Our oldest children were six and four at the time. On a whim and as a favor to our friend, Father Gregory Mastey, who was the Vocations Director at the time, we offered to host one of the three day camps. That led to hosting for the next five years. I’d also say that while we were merely helping feed the young men who attended the camp, along with the seminarians and priests who came to help out, our family gained a lot from the camps too. We began to relate to the seminarians who crossed our path during those years. We kept in touch with many of them, if not personally, at least prayerfully. We’d seen several seminarians come and go, but many stayed and continued the journey to priesthood. In the last four years we’ve been honored to see those vocations come to fruition in the sacrament of Holy Orders as we’ve excitedly attended their ordinations at the Cathedral.

The Heidelberger family with Father Derek Wiechmann, center, and Father Gregory Mastery, right.

While looking back through the years we’ve known (now) Father Derek, I felt my heart swell and become so grateful. Not just for Father Derek and his vocation, but for the many priests who have become part of our family circle. Some of them may have been our pastor at some point in our lives, a colleague when I’ve worked for a parish or two. Others entered our circle through an event or the Vocations Camps. Each of them as unique as the homilies they preach each week. Each of them carrying a story of significance that touched us and drew them into our lives.

Some exteriors were a little harder to tap into and the vulnerability of the man in black took longer to reach. Others are natural extroverts who wear a smile, extend a hand and we quickly found common ground on which to stand. We’ve gathered around a table with them and shared a meal in our home, smiled and waved across a crowded room at a diocesan event, prayed with them at Mass or visited them at the current parish they are serving.

One of the vocation camps the Heidelbergers helped host.

These men quickly rise to the top of our prayer list when we pray together each evening as a family. Praying for seminarians and priests has always been important to our family, but as personal connections have been made those prayers even more important. When our children were able to see priests outside of a church or Mass setting, they began learning more about them and started to find out how human they really were. They would hear about their families, ask questions of the priest, share a laugh or a joke and find out seemingly insignificant things like their favorite food or hobbies they enjoy. These turned into fond and fun memories for our kids over the years.

All of these things became reasons why priests are some of our family’s very favorite people.

We never set out to intentionally befriend these men. What we set out to do was to support and pray for seminarians and priests. What we gained is a cloud of witnesses donning black and faithfully, joyfully living out their vocation.

Another photo of campers at a summer vocations camp hosted by the Heidelbergers.

I hope you have a good example or two of a priest whom brings a smile to your face or spiritually challenges you. Continue praying for him and for all priests who need your support and prayers. Consider sending him a note of gratitude or encouragement and let him know you’re praying for him. Do you struggle with getting to know your parish priest or finding a way to connect with him? A great way to start is a smile, outstretched hand, or invitation to a meal. Sometimes it takes a few interactions or invitations, but be gently persistent. It may take him a while to have a clear calendar or perhaps he’s an introvert and encountering parishioners in their home is difficult for him. Prayerfully consider what may be the best way in which to support a priest. I’d say that letting him know you’re praying for him is a very good way to start. Those monthly Serra calendars printed in the Visitor are very useful for this. Pray for the priest of the day and, if he happens to be a priest you know, let him know that day that you are praying for him specifically.

Each of us can help foster and support vocations, whether to priesthood, religious, single or married life, one prayer at a time.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Comparison Thieves

Sometimes I get restless. When I am in that place of restlessness I become anxious and my judgment on the real or perceived becomes clouded. That quickly comes to the place of comparison, self doubt and discontentment. The real joy that my life is filled with in abundance quickly gets overshadowed. If I’m being honest, I’ll also say that if that brooding is left long enough it’s also when God and I wrestle.

As a woman of faith it can be embarrassing to admit this human side of me.

I remember well my time as a young mom with my two oldest children and feeling well within the muck of busy mom life while questioning most every mothering decision I made. During that season I saw supermom ladies at every turn who juggled so many things along with more children than myself. They did everything better than me whether it was working full time, volunteering and doing things for others, mastering their time, being more creative, more loving, but mostly and surely, more desirable to others and God because they exuded perfection.

Now that I’m on the other side with more children, more mothering years under my belt and approaching mid-life, I realize that none of that was necessarily true. I was comparing myself to others who were not at the same season of life as I was back then. I may be just a bit more quick to realize now that God puts these people in my surroundings not as comparisons, but as witnesses and role models to urge me on to my own greatness in Him. I am called to be the mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend to the people who surround me in my circle. I was not meant to be these things to a different set of people and I cannot compare to how well someone else does it. Is my fulfillment of God’s plan for me being fully lived out? How am I serving Him in serving others? This is my call. When I take my human blinders off and lose sight of God, joy is stolen away and resentment creeps in my heart.

Let’s be kind to one another. Let’s be gentle with ourselves. Challenge one another and ourselves, absolutely! Compare and guilt ourselves with real or imagined standards that lead to discontentment, banish them at the door. God called you to be you with the life He has called only you to live. Your vocation, your job, your unique gifts and abilities are there because of choices and paths you followed to hopefully pursue God’s call on your heart. Let’s amaze Him with the gift of ourselves and being who he means for us to be. Perfectly imperfect, vulnerable and daily seeking the grace he lavishes upon us.

You are enough. So am I.

Remind someone of that message today. Thank someone you know and love for the witness of Christ that they are to you and others. You never know if they may be having the same doubts and struggles comparing themselves to others and feeling inferior or less than superior.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Empty Tomb Rolls

He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.

–Matthew 28: 6

We just made it through the season of Lent which was forty days, but our next big season will stretch to fifty. Sometimes we can forget that the Easter season lasts beyond the day of Jesus’ Resurrection. This is a welcome bonus to some of us who in the past may have forgotten to prepare a certain Easter treat that became a tradition and had to witness our children’s eyes of disappointment Easter morning.

If you’d like to prepare an easy and symbolic treat for your loved ones that reminds them of the resurrection, give these a try.

While you feast on them, maybe take the time to re-read the Easter story or perhaps share a favorite Easter memory. Enjoy your time together and the Easter season!

Empty Tomb Rolls

¼ cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
¼ cup Butter, melted
1 package Crescent Rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin. Separate crescents into triangles and set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Dip marshmallows in the melted butter and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in crescent triangle and pinch dough around the marshmallow. Seal the edges as much as possible. Assemble all of the crescents. Then dip the tops in the remaining butter and the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place each crescent in a muffin cup of your pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until crescent is golden brown. Do not over bake as it will cause them to get more gooey and tend to stick hard in the pan.

Just like Jesus, you’ll notice that the marshmallows have disappeared! If you are making these with kids, be sure to have them help you so they see the marshmallows go in the rolls and later disappear.

It makes the connection to the resurrection more vivid.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Jesus, Remember Me

This simple refrain from my childhood has drifted in and out, in repetition, with pressing urgency this Lenten season.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom….”

I can still hear it sung by a full choir up in the loft of the spacious church in my hometown where I grew from infant to young woman. Attached to the song sits a vivid memory from my teen years. A memory of a Good Friday filled with somber movements, prayerfulness and stark reality. As I knelt in my pew after veneration of the Cross and bowed my head in prayer, I felt no emotion besides an empty space in my being. My head suddenly lifted, and as it did it, met a most visible witness of the Good Friday commemoration. An older man, a parishioner at my parish for all my years, slowly walked back to his pew from venerating the Cross. As he neared, I saw his bowed head. The anguish and sorrow on his face nearly consumed him as he struggled back to his pew with tears sliding down his face. A pain stabbed into me and the imprint of that moment stamped itself on my heart.

As a grown woman, that moment never ceases to prod a tender space within me. I don’t know that I ever again meditated on Jesus’ passion and death with the same immaturity of my youth. Each Good Friday, the picture comes back into focus as I walk the aisle, now with my own children, hoping to capture the sacredness. There was a lot that man showed me that day as he humbly and unintentionally shared his relationship with Jesus. Seeing with my own eyes another person’s deep faith challenged me to seek the connectivity I may have been missing with Jesus at that time in my life. It’s the same way that Lent tends to be a season of redefining my connection with Christ as I try to reexamine my dependency and need for him. I’m led shame faced to the foot of the cross where He hangs for love of me, remembering him who I ask to remember me.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…”

Jesus, draw us closer to you as we walk along this Lenten journey. Let us not lose heart in our Lenten failings, but stay steady on the course and be persistent in prayer and sacrifice. Lead us deeper into the relationship with you that draws us closer to your side. May we be like Simon of Cyrene, when pressed into service we take up the cross even if at first we don’t understand why or how to do so.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Lent Approaches — Fear Not

With merely a couple of calendar flips behind us from Christmas, it appears that Lent is upon us. Was that a sigh I heard? It’s OK, I’ve done it, too. Not that I don’t care for the penitential season, but I have had my share of Lenten grievances, rather than embraces, in the past.

It’s just that it’s SO HARD. Yes, it is. Why? Because I am human, I am less than perfect and resisting things in this fast paced, self centered, “needs” based world in which we live is hard. I’m used to having things because quite simply, they are there. They are there for me to have. But wait, is Lent really about giving up food and stuff? Not hardly. Not that it’s a bad idea to offer up some type of sacrifice or ‘giving up’ something as we were maybe taught back when we were younger, but we can also challenge ourselves in other ways.

What about doing something extra? What about embracing the sacrifice of even the smallest task (or person) God puts in front of you each day, without so much as a grumble? And what about some extra prayer and quiet time with Jesus? Or even just begin, if you haven’t already made the time, making time for daily prayer. These six weeks aren’t meant as a time of torture, misery and gloomy faces missing their sweets and Friday hamburger. They are here for us, hidden within the ordinary time to serve a purpose.

What is that purpose? Well, obviously it is time for fasting, prayer and sacrifice. It’s the days and weeks when we respond to all that Jesus did for us and they lead up to the holiest week of the Church year.

How I decide to engage in Lent, or what God calls me to this Lent may be vastly different than what he asks of you. Approaching the season with intention and purpose may be a great idea, but also leave some room for God to act and put before you other ways He wants to guide your weeks ahead.

Your season of life and your vocation may not lend itself to a Lenten retreat, daily Mass or even attending stations of the cross with your parish community. Sometimes we need to be creative when thinking of ways to engage fully in a season such as Lent rather than dismissively writing it off due to certain issues that arise for us, or counting on “just doing it next week since Lent is six weeks after all.”

At home, we’ve been known to light extra votive candles while praying a couple of stations of the cross a few evenings a week. We may add in some extra prayer time to our normal evening routine. Along with maybe opting out of a certain food item or sweets, we may each find some other offering unique to only us as we feel called to embrace for this season. I even try to keep simple reminders of the season on the dining table or another place in the living room. Instead of jumping into spring flowers, Easter bunnies and eggs, I’ve used rocks, votive candles, a crucifix and a purple fabric table runner as a decorative focus instead. Again, this is fighting the norm of all that surrounds us on a daily basis, but it also calls us to a focus on Jesus and not on the comforts of our normal everyday life.

Lent is a penitential season, so going to confession or an extra Mass during the week, spending time in Eucharistic adoration, and time spent in prayer are great steps toward deeper growth. Find a spiritual book you can easily pick up and ponder. It doesn’t need to be wordy and heavy, maybe just something that gives you a meditation and short prayer to ponder. Many of our parishes will have these types of books awaiting us near some doorway or gathering space if we look for them.

While Lent can be a time to challenge and stretch us, it’s not necessarily only beneficial if you dive into it with a “go big or go home” attitude. If that’s the way you feel you are being called to practice Lent 2017, good for you! If not, fear not. No matter how big or small the sacrifice, God will bless it and use it for good, whether for you or for another. It’s not a one day competition. It’s a six week journey that leads us to the foot of the cross and to Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice. He’ll meet you there.

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”

– Pope Francis

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.


Year End Awakening

My daughter has a framed print hanging in her room that has the line from J.R.R Tolkien on it:

“Not all who wander are lost.”

Looking in the rear view of the last year, that one resonates with me. It kind of felt like a wandering year and if I had to pinpoint one reason or event, I really couldn’t. Sure, I spent a good portion of it in the throes of my fifth child’s first year with all of the familiar milestones. It shook things up a little, but it didn’t take a whole lot of adjustment. The year was filled with many happy times and memories, while sprinkled with some bumps of inconvenience and less than comfortable “unsettlings.”

As I ambled along, complacency took over and it spilled over into my faith life. I wrestled with a place of peace that I just couldn’t quite grasp and a decision I just wasn’t quite ready to make for most of the year.

Weary and ready for changes, I kept the door open to divine help even when the answers were quiet, and I kept asking myself the same questions. Somewhere in those last months as I bustled my kids around to activities, God saw to it to bring to fruition some new relationships and words of encouragement and support my soul needed. The face of Christ was evident and a balm to soothe the weariness.

With the Advent season and new year nearly on the horizon, fresh air was about to breathe new spiritual life. I was excited to be a part of a group of women around the globe who would be sharing Advent praying and reflecting together daily through a Catholic women’s Advent journal. As I set aside time every day to read the daily scripture readings, pray, and reflect using the Advent journal, new light began to shine. The part of me that needed so desperately a rekindling of my spiritual fire began to warm again. In those quiet morning moments He showed me small corners of life that of which He longed to be a part. He refreshed in me the promise of His love and delight in me despite all the imperfections and human side of me I lay before Him.

While I knew my roaming last year was never alone, it often felt that way. My faith, albeit sometimes just mustard seed sized, told me that God was in each of those moments and circumstances. I knew that our relationship would grow despite the desert-like feeling and aimless wandering I seemed to be doing. Sometimes these days, weeks and months of searching feel as though there is no benefit along the journey, but I have to trust that God is doing a great and marvelous work. I just can’t see it yet.

Some seasons, whether liturgical or life seasons, have a way of stirring within us something deeper and more meaningful in order to redirect us. They have a way of stretching and molding us in unexpected ways. A couple of years ago our parish priest said nearly the same thing just before Lent. He asked us to be open to ways God wanted to stretch us during that Lenten season, as a parish and personally. I cannot recount the times that those words from that homily echoed in my head over those next months. I was pregnant at the time and the pregnancy stretched me not just physically, but every other way imaginable. I chuckle about it now, but at the time I gave our pastor plenty of grief about that homily because that God’s stretching thing was really, really difficult.

With what turned out to be quite possibly my best Advent ever now behind me, I look forward to embracing the new year. If I end up being led to trek off the beaten path a bit, I know I will not be lost. After all, the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years and they were God’s chosen people. All their wandering ended up in the Promised Land.  I hope mine does too.

**Note: If you are looking for a place to gather with other prayerful women and the group I referred to above, you can find more information at

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Did you receive a fruit basket for Christmas this year? I don’t know that I’ve ever received one, but it sure would be a great healthy choice as a gift idea after all of the other sweets and treats. With the new year, many of us begin anew and make commitments to better health. How about we focus on making some spiritually healthy choices for our new year as well? Have you ever thought about those 9 Fruits of the Spirit?  How working on them and aiming to live them out could make our body spiritually healthy? Let’s take a little refresher course.

What are the Fruits of the Spirit?

There are nine biblically-based fruits of the Holy Spirit as given by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

How can we work on these fruits?

On paper these may look like simple and easily attained virtues, ones that we should already be living out if we are faithful Christians. Based on my own experience, however, that which is perceived as easiest can also be my stumbling block to better spiritual health.

A suggestion I have is based on how our family chose to work on the fruits over the school year this year. We chose to focus on one virtue a month as our theme, and we are going in biblical order. On the first Sunday of each month, we introduce the new fruit and discuss what it means and how we can work on it as individuals and as a family. While we work on the virtue individually during the week, Sunday evening becomes our ‘check in’ time as a family. We ask how we’ve done that week and rate ourselves (not others in the family). Some of the kids like to name specific ways they tried harder to focus on the particular fruit, or things that came up that made it more difficult to put it into practice. We’ve found it helpful to have the weekly reminder so that we refocus and continue working together to improve.

If you have a family, perhaps you could work on these fruits together or maybe you have a dear friend whom you could be accountable with and who can help you stay focused as you both work on them. If not, choosing to work on them on your own and keeping in touch with God as you work together is a great working arrangement as well.

Just like a bountiful fruit basket overflowing with wonderful fruits, you know that there are some that you prefer more than others. I’d pick a banana over an orange, because I like it just a bit better. When working on the fruits of the spirit, I may feel like I already have joy down pretty well and it comes more easily than say patience, for example. I may choose to work on those more difficult virtues more intentionally and prayerfully earlier in the year when my determination tank is still full. You will also see that working on specific virtues may work hand in hand with others or that some fruits reap a more abundant harvest with certain people in your life than others.

Having a focus or goal and resetting your determination on the Fruits of the Spirit periodically during 2017 can prove to be a wonderful addition to a more healthy you this year. If history tells me anything, I can also say that if you set out to remedy a particular vice, God will give you plenty of opportunities to grow in that area. He’ll also be readily available to help you fill your basket to overflowing with ripe and pleasing fruits.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.


Praying Through Advent: St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Without a doubt Advent is my favorite time of year. The decorations, music, baking, twinkling lights and anticipation turn me into a little girl again each and every year. Admittedly, without proper planning Advent can also be the time in which I can most easily lose sight of the true meaning of the season. It’s hard to keep my heart and mind focused in this preparing season amid the bright lights, shopping and distractions. It’s easy to rush through the four weeks lighting the proper candle each week and race to the Christmas finish line.

But wait! Was my heart ready for the birth of the King? It hardly seemed it was.

What seemed to help me realign my intentions was creating Advent traditions with our family. Our favorite one begins each year on November 30, the feast of St. Andrew. This year will mark the seventh year when we’ll gather around the table each evening, light the candles and pray the simple prayers. Once again, I don’t doubt that it will calm and soothe my soul to pray for both the simplest and also the weightiest intentions on my list this year.

The novena prayers are prayed fifteen times daily from November 30 to Christmas. Our family was gifted with St. Andrew chaplets made by a friend several years ago. They consist of a cord of fifteen knots and a cross, looking similar to a rosary. The tradition of the novena is to pray for any particular intentions on your heart. I found out when we began this novena and were walking our own road of secondary infertility that St. Andrew is also the patron saint of those desiring to conceive. Do you know of a couple who could use your novena prayers for this intention?

Perhaps there are other intentions close to your heart this Advent. Carry them with you in these waiting weeks, light your Advent candles and pray fifteen times:

Hail and blessed be
the hour and moment
in which the Son of God
was born of the
Most Pure Virgin Mary
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.

In that hour
vouchsafe O My God,
to hear my prayers,
and grant my desires,
through the merits of
Our Savior, Jesus Christ
and His Blessed Mother. Amen.

 Do you have favorite Advent traditions to walk you through this beautiful season? Can you find one way this year to make this a new season of anticipation as you await Jesus’ birth? Consider joining my family this Advent and praying your way to the manger. May He bless these upcoming weeks for you with Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Speak Your Heart

It hit me most unexpectedly, a few months back while watching the movie ‘Risen’ with my family. You know, one of those moments where a scene grasps your heart and finds a way to reside there long after the moment is gone? It’s one of those little ways God sneaks in when you least expect it.

I wasn’t ready for it.

As I watched the movie, the man who played Jesus struck me like no other actor playing ‘Jesus’ ever had. Every scene, it was like his eyes were piercing, his gentleness and compassion so extraordinarily portrayed. I couldn’t even grasp how this actor made Jesus so different for me compared to other actors as I sat watching. The longer I watched, I soon figured it out. He was the Jesus with whom I had come to identify with my entire life. The Jesus who I’d read and learned about as a child. The Jesus whose story and parables I have heard countless times.

He was MY Jesus, my friend, mentor and confidant who played the familiar roles in my head and memories all these years. He who has shared my joys and sadness and seen me at my weakest and greatest moments.

Just as I’m coming to this revelation, a scene comes into view and I recognize that I can also identify with the soldier, Clavius, He is so recognizable because he is ME. He is there, after the resurrection, by the sea of Galilee at night and while the disciples sleep. Clavius awakens and sits next to Jesus. They look at one another and Clavius speaks, saying, “I don’t even know what to ask”. You see, there’s been this inner turmoil and questions that Clavius cannot comprehend because his human mind cannot explain them. Jesus looks to Clavius with compassion and gently says, “Speak your heart.”

No longer is it just the characters with whom I can establish a connection, but their words as well. They struck a chord and have since resonated in my heart. My eyes have brimmed with tears nearly every time this scene replays in my mind because I have come before Jesus countless times admitting the same thing. I have failed at relationships, been uncharitable, lacked humility and severed ties from actions that would speak that I am a Christian. I have failed. I’ve come up short, but he already knows this and loves me just the same.

I don’t even know what to ask.

Too often, this is me in prayer and in my relationship with Jesus. I come to him full of needs and desires, prayers for me and for others, but yet, with no words to speak. My human longing to really know Jesus and live a faith filled life with him, too easily gets lost in the hustle and bustle. My daily conversations with Jesus take a backseat to human interactions and acts of daily survival. I feel a strain in our relationship because perhaps things just aren’t going my way and I feel my heartfelt prayers will never be answered. As I walk into church and look to him to fill me, I approach with reservation not knowing where to begin again. Not knowing what to ask.

I’ve come to find that it’s okay to come humbly to Jesus, acknowledging that I don’t know what to ask, how to pray and how to quit making these same mistakes. What I’ve also learned is that Jesus turns to me and is ready to forgive, love and hear me as he leads me to speak my heart. He’s ready to listen. With intent eyes, he speaks love that is overflowing from his heart as a father to his child.

Do you struggle to find the words in your prayer or conversations with Christ? Do you find it difficult to reconnect with him after being busy and keeping distant in your relationship with him? He still knows you and calls you by name. He’s ready to listen even if you aren’t ready to speak or don’t know what to say.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Feasting Through The Church Year

Having grown up in the Catholic Church, I learned at a young age that it is such a treasure trove of tradition, full of wonderful reasons and seasons to celebrate. With so many saints and martyrs to honor and feasts on nearly every calendar day, there’s hardly a day we couldn’t be feasting on fine foods. Well, except for the season of Lent which is a penitential season, but that lends itself to 40 days of much needed prayer and penance that our body and soul also need.

Sure, most of us aren’t going to know off the top of our head what day the church celebrates Sts. Cosmas and Damian. We may also arrive at Mass on the Sunday after Easter and know that it’s Divine Mercy Sunday, but find ourselves at a loss knowing how to observe the day with our family.

Maybe you aren’t quite sure how to dive into the liturgical seasons, so perhaps choosing a certain feast would suffice.

Do you have a favorite saint or maybe a saint whose feast day has always been special to you for a reason? Start with that and go from there. How about baptismal dates? Do you know the date that you or your child were baptized? If you do, an easy way to honor that special day would be to light your baptism candle and say a short prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of your faith.

We started out with simple, but memorable ways to draw attention to days that are significant and special to our family.  We have found that they’ve left a lasting imprint on our children. When our two older kids were younger, we chose to celebrate Mary’s days (Immaculate Conception, Assumption, her birthday, etc.) by declaring them as ‘Blue Day’. Since Mary is generally associated with the color blue, on those days the kids would try to wear as much blue colored clothing as they could to remember Mary’s day. In recent years we’ve latched on to our tradition of making pretzels (from a bag mix, of course) as a family on Good Friday. Keeping with the simplicity of meals and observance of abstinence on that day, we eat the pretzels as our lunch.

 I’d have to say that the favorite days to feast in our house is for each member’s name day. We started this one young.  Those days are on our calendar and remain as special as their birthdays.  These are the days that commemorate the saint they are named after, either first or middle name if their first name does not have a saint. Depending on your name, sometimes this means you get be creative. Our firstborn, Lily, celebrates on the feast of St. Kateri of Tekakwitha, because Kateri is known as the ‘Lily of the Mohawks’. My husband who bears no saint name, has chosen to declare his name day on the feast of Pope St. John Paul, one of his favorite saints.  My saint day is based on my confirmation name, Philomena. We’ve made these days unique in many ways, but mainly in that the member whose name day it is gets to chose what type of treat we’ll all share after supper that evening. Sometimes it’s homemade cupcakes or a cake, and other times it’s a stop at an ice cream shop or treat that can be picked up at a drive thru. Whatever it is, it’s special to them and it’s their choice. Much like their birthday, that child knows that day is very special and occasionally their day may even include an outing as a family.

Don’t feel bound by what our family does. Do what’s right for you and your family and don’t be afraid to dive into the liturgical seasons. Remember, keep it simple. There’s no need for grand plans that are difficult to execute. You don’t need to start off by baking a cake from scratch and decorating it to look like a dragon on the feast of St. George (but you could if you were really ambitious!). You may start by obtaining a simple book of the saints and reading their story on their feast day with your children or grandchildren. You may find that making a particular feast special with ice cream and simple prayers is how your family learns more about their rich faith and makes a lasting memory.

Just in case you’re still wondering, you can commemorate martyrs Cosmas and Damian next year on September 26. And Divine Mercy Sunday? How about praying the Divine Mercy chaplet and afterward making Divine Mercy Sundaes topped with whipped cream and red and blue sugar sprinkles to imitate the rays coming from Jesus’ heart depicted in the Divine Mercy image.

Whatever you choose to do, Happy Feasting!

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.