Liturgical living can often seem overwhelming. Your social-media feeds might be filled with images of homeschoolers doing all the things for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, or random feast days throughout the year. It can make a tired homeschooling mom want to throw up her hands and say, “Why even try?” I totally understand that, but liturgical living does not need to be an all or nothing proposition.
I recently had the opportunity to read The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney (you might know her from CatholicAllYear.com). Yes, Kendra is a person who does all the things, and truly, by the end of reading this book, I was tired. But one thing that I love about her ideas and writing style is that she emphasized that there is no obligation to do it all. As Tierney states, “You can be a good Catholic and do these things to celebrate the liturgical year. You can also be a good Catholic and do other things or not things at all to celebrate the liturgical year.”
Start small. Pick a feast day and choose one of her ideas to celebrate it. The beauty of the Church’s liturgical year will probably make more of an impression if your family does something concrete to acknowledge the various seasons and feasts. At the very least, it will liven up religion lessons with your children.
The Catholic All Year Compendium is set up according to the liturgical year which makes it easy to follow. It starts with the first week of Advent and goes to the Feast of Christ the King which concludes the year. But you don’t need to wait until Advent to start using this book. In fact, Ordinary Time might be the perfect time to start some of the activities because there is far less pressure in summer than there is in Advent or Lent. Celebrations can be a surprise and therefore more exciting! As I write this, St. Kateri’s feast day is right around the corner (July 14th). She is a saint my daughter knows about and enjoys learning about, so I plan to make the maple syrup candy that Tierney suggests for that day. Coming up on July 16th, the feast of Our Lady of Carmel, I plan to have caramel sundaes (not all the suggestions are about food to eat; my family just happens to enjoy dessert!).
There are so many wonderful ideas in this book. I appreciate that Tierney offers some historical perspective on where different Catholic traditions come from. Even if you never take any of Tierney’s suggestions, simply reading The Catholic All Year Compendium will help you gain a deepened understanding of the liturgical year. I suggest having this book in a place where you can have easy access to it so that you can look for upcoming feasts and incorporate simple ways to acknowledge the days (as I said, starting small is key to not being overwhelmed).
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