Up until this year, our family has not been proactive in learning about new saints. This year, in preparation for All Saints, we are encouraging our kids to research a saint, their story, feast day, prayers, etc. Then they will share about their saint with the family. In addition, we will be choosing a patron saint for the family at the beginning of the liturgical year. Slowly we are building an arsenal of saints to intercede for us!
write it down and plan ahead
For the individual saints, we will print out a family litany of our new saint friends. You can access a free digital download here: Family Litany of Saints worksheet.
After you have selected and researched the various saints, you might want to consider scheduling novenas with your "new friends" in advance. The website Pray More Novenas has an extensive list of upcoming novenas that you could add to your liturgical calendar.
October features both saints and angels who model virtuous love and charity. St. Thérèse of Lisieux (October 1) described her life as the "little way of spiritual childhood." Even though she is also known as The Little Flower with childlike faith, she knew that what mattered most "is not great deeds, but great love." A strong stubborness and big love fueled her unwavering devotion to God.
On October 2 we recognized our Guardian Angels. Each person on earth has a guardian angel who watches over him and helps him to attain his salvation (JGM, Matthew 18:10). St. Bernard encourages us to "be alert in your every action as one should be who is accompanied by angels in all your ways." And to "love God's angels with a most affectionate love; for they will be our heavenly co-heirs some day."
CRAFT: Inspired by the childlike faith of St. Thérèse, add to your peg doll nativity set by painting baby Jesus and build his manger. Emmaus Road Pegs offers monthly DIY sets to match our curriculum!
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.
BL. JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN
"A model of faith and virtue..."
Our first month's activity are to paint pegs dolls of Mary, Joseph, and a donkey. We chose to begin with Mary and Joseph because...well, who else represents the virtue of faith better than these two? It's also been said that donkeys are loyal, faithful animals... As an added bonus, we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven on August 15.
Pope Francis gave a beautiful homily on the the Assumption of Mary in 2017, in which he said, 'Mary “is the model of faith and virtue,” and in contemplating her assumption into heaven, we give her thanks “because she always precedes us on the pilgrimage of life and of faith.” Mary trusted God's word in her life because of her strong faith foundation, which gave way to the virtues of humility and courage.' (Read a full article about his homily at National Catholic Register, here.)
Humility is like a void that leaves room for God.
TIP: If you're looking for an adult resource for pursuing the virtues, you should check out Sara Estabrook at To Jesus, Sincerely. Sara has developed a great curriculum and group challenge on Facebook to keep the momentum going each month. As you learn and grow in virtue, your life will be an example to those around you.
St. Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.
POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "By faith man freely commits his entire self to God. For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will." (1814). St. Joseph's life clearly reflects this commitment to God and a man of faith.
ACTIVITY: For your peg dolls, paint Mary, Joseph, and the donkey. Set them out to remind you of their great examples of faith.
The 2018-2019 Year of Virtue calendar will be announced later this month! A limited number of pre-sale calendars will be available. If you would like to be notified of the pre-sale, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter here.
My prayer is that this year will be one of genuine transformation for our family, your families, and individuals. I think most of us could benefit from building awareness and application of the virtues. A Phoenix friend of mine and I are developing a casual, monthly curriculum for our kids. It is out of this new curriculum, the ideas for the calendar have grown. Through studying the lives of the saints, following the liturgical calendar at home, making hands-on crafts, and lots of prayer we will begin our pursuit of virtue.
A big thank you for those who completed the liturgical calendar questionnaire (congratulations to our calendar winner!). We've taken all of your feedback into consideration. This year the Sacred Art Calendar has a new, improved look. We've simplified the design by working with one outstanding artist (to be announced soon!). It's larger, at 12x18", to allow for relevant monthly information about the lives of the saints, liturgical activities, craft ideas, prayers, and space to write your own notes!
Y e a r o f V i r t u e
We are excited to introduce our new blog series in conjunction with the upcoming Year of Faith calendar! Rather than wait until the start of the liturgical year, we will begin our online activities in August to follow the academic calendar. Our hope is that through these simple crafts, suggested activities, and powerful prayers, your family will grow in virtue together.
Over the next 6 months we will be painting 2-3 different pegs per month which will each represent a virtue or liturgical season for that particular month. These hands-on activities can be great fodder for conversation (kids ask great questions!) as we examine the lives of the people we hold and paint. We can see the virtues lived out through their actions.
DIY Peg Dolls Kits
Emmaus Road Pegs DIY kits correspond with the monthly activities suggested in the 2018-2019 liturgical calendar.
We are also pleased to announce that Kristina from Emmaus Road Pegs has developed special DIY peg doll kits to correspond with the 2018-2019 Year of Virtue calendar. Each set includes 2-3 blank pegs, paint, brushes, sealer, and instructions. Kits will be available to purchase individually or as a monthly subscription. (TIP: By the end of the year you will have the cutest hand-painted nativity scene around!)
When you purchase the liturgical calendar, you will receive a discount code to use at Emmaus Road Pegs! Additional details will be outlined when we launch the Year of Virtue calendar.
The 2018-2019 Year of Virtue calendar will be announced in August! A limited number of pre-sale calendars will be available. If you would like to be notified of the pre-sale, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter here.
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
ST. THOMAS MERTON