Hallowtide is comprised of three days: All Hallows Eve, Feast of All Saints and Commemoration of All Souls. While many are busy getting their costumes, candy and face masks ready (thanks, COVID), our family celebrates in a much different way.
Our decision to celebrate Halloween is mostly because Halloween is a “holy mockery of the devil” and as St. Thomas More said, “the proud spirit cannot endure to be mocked.”
All Saints Day
Since All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, we go to Mass! Afterwards, I will dress up my children in their favorite Saints Costumes, mostly all handmade and we will enjoy left over cookies and pray the Litany of the Saints.
Our All Saints Day party décor is thanks to some beautiful Saint Trading Cards from Catholic Paper Goods which I clipped to a string for our banner!
The cards are instant downloadable, high resolution PDF files set up with 2 folding cards on each page. They feature full color saint illustrations on the front and birth/death dates, locations, symbols, patronages and quotes and/or biographical information about each saint on the back. An added bonus is getting PDFs of coloring pages for all the saints in each set! Plus, now through November 3, all trading card and flash card sets are 25% off. Visit: catholicpapergoods.com
"All you Holy men and women (and babies!), pray for us!"
One qualm I have with those who say that Catholics “worship” or “idolize” saints is that they don’t realize that we love the saints as if they were our family members and we ask for their help from time to time. You don’t “worship” your sweet Uncle Joe who passed away a few years ago, you just love and miss him and hope that he is in Heaven watching over you and your family members.
All Souls Day
We will drive to a local cemetery and pray the Holy Rosary for the souls in the cemetery, along with our family members and friends who have passed away. Since my children are still very young and the littlest one is a flight risk, we will stay in the car.
The History of Halloween
Halloween comes from the phrase “All Hallows Eve.” Hallows means Holy or Saints and “All Hallows Eve” or “Hallowe’en” is really just the night before a very important Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church: All Saints Day!
In 609 AD, Pope Boniface IV established All Saints Day on May 13th and then in the mid-eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved All Saints Day to November 1st. All Saints Day is a day which is dedicated to the saints of the Roman Catholic Church, which includes everyone in heaven.
The day after All Saints Day is All Souls Day. All Souls Day is dedicated to those souls who have died and not yet gone to heaven and is annually observed on November 2nd. Let us remember Our Lady of Fátima told the three children that “there were many souls in purgatory that had no one to pray for them.”
To me, not being able to reach heaven after my life on Earth is finished is scarier than any Haunted House in the entire world.
How We Don’t Celebrate Halloween:
While I will not let my children watch Hocus Pocus, ever, I am wondering if the film has lost its touch for me. Even though the spells the witches say are not real, several times during the movie, I felt myself praying the Hail Mary.
I also found too many parallels to society today to “just enjoy the movie.” For instance, when the children find their parents at the Halloween party and try to warn them about the witches return, the witches “put a spell” on all the partygoers.
Or how the Sanderson sisters main objective is to be young and live forever. Too often, are people focused on looking more youthful and altering their bodies instead of accepting the natural process of aging. While we are at it, there is an Irish proverb which states, “getting older is a privilege denied to many.”
Lastly, the overall desire of the witches to “suck the lives out of children” is fresh as child trafficking, child pornography, while always a dire problem, has been in the news (not the fake news 😉) quite a bit this year.
Who makes the ground “Hallowed” or Holy? Catholic Priests, by the power of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, when they bury the dead.
Whether or not Hocus Pocus will be on my future agenda for the Fall season is up for debate. Is the film one of your nostalgic Fall favorites? Please, share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading and May the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always.
This year, even though I am still nursing our almost one-year old daughter and technically could talk myself into thinking that I don't have to make a Lenten promise, I have. This year, so far so good. I have not faltered yet.
You're probably thinking "big deal, Ash Wednesday was just last week." But for me, I would have already broken my promise probably a day or two into Lent.
This year I am trying hard.
It isn't easy and in fact, I am tempted constantly.
I gave up chips, popcorn and sweets. Go big or go home, right?
I love salty snacks and white cheddar popcorn is my favorite. I eat a cup each day and really, really look forward to it. So, I figured giving up chips, popcorn and all sweets would be difficult but if I give them all up then maybe it would be easier.
Everything has gone great until I was checking out at the market this weekend.
“Get away, Satan!" (MT 4:10) I yelled!
LOL, just kidding. (Wouldn't it have been great if I did?)
Instead I said yes, please and took the bags, paid for my other groceries and left.
My husband said that I should have just not taken them, but he does not have said addiction to white cheddar popcorn and doesn't realize that the bags do not expire until September, 2020, which will give me PLENTY of time to consume them.
Speaking of my wonderful, handsome husband. He gave up all sweets this year, as his sweet addiction is like my salty snack addiction.
At my husband’s place of employment on the first Friday of Lent, a co-worker brought in FOUR boxes of donuts. And not just any donuts, my husband’s FAVORITE donuts.
My husband refused his temptation and I still have to ask him if he yelled “Get away, Satan!" at anyone or at least thought to.
Jesus gives us new chances and new beginnings. He loves us. He doesn't want us to give up something to draw us away from Him. He wants us to be united with Him.
Reading the Gospel from yesterday, the first Sunday of Lent, when Jesus is led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil (MT 4:1-11) made me realize that my temptations may seem trivial. But to Jesus, they are important and will help make me Holy.
What Lenten promise did you make? How are you sticking to them? Share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Sometimes I get sidetracked. Thinking of the menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and if we should have a 12th Night Party; getting our home ready to be decorated; celebrating the many feast days of December; and shopping for loved ones. It can be challenging to remain in the season of Advent when our day-to-day to-do lists are already overflowing and adding all of the "get ready of Christmas" tasks can make things even more stressful and time consuming. For some of us, Christmas shopping can get in the way of truly enjoying the calm that the Advent season should bring us as we wait to celebrate Jesus Christ being born.
(Warning: family members and/or friends, do not read this list! Especially, you, husband!)
(In Saint John Paul II's handwriting!)
In the days and weeks leading up to St. Nicholas Day, I make sure that our festivities will be simple enough to continue to remain in spirit of Advent yet fun and educational enough that it will (hopefully) leave a lasting impression on our son. Here are some ways to celebrate the original Santa Claus: Saint Nicholas!
1. Book about St. Nicholas
We LOVE this book about Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert. While we usually borrow it from the library, our son loves it so much that I bought it as one of his Christmas presents for this year! Click here to get your copy!
My son can smell chocolate a mile away! I have to hide his chocolate coins really well in our house. Trader Joe's has yummy chocolate coins but if you're in a pinch, you can grab some from Amazon as well. We leave his chocolate coins and other treats like candy canes, oranges and trail mix in his shoes the night before! While we do tell him that mommy and daddy fill his shoes with the treats, he knows that it is because it is St. Nicholas day!
This year, I found this amazing and FREE printable on Instagram. Shower of Roses to make your chocolate coins more festive! Click here to get your free printable and make sure you check her out on Instagram, too!
This is the most important part of our yearly tradition! We try extra hard to get to daily Mass on the Feast of Saint Nicholas. If for some reason we can't make it, I read the daily readings to our son (who usually runs around or plays while I do so) and make sure to spend some extra time in reflective prayer during the day.
4. St. Nick Cookies!
My son and I will take any excuse to bake a delicious dessert! While I am not the best baker, my son and I love to bake together and our entire family loves to eat what we bake! I got this awesome Saint Nicholas cookie cutter online (okay, it's Santa!) We use this recipe for ‘Super Soft Sugar Cookies’ by Six Sisters’ Stuff. Easy to follow and delicious!
5. Coloring Pages
St. Nicholas Center's website offers some awesome and free pictures to download and print. They are many to choose from! The website has a plethora of information, stories, activities and other fun and educational tools for the entire family to enjoy. If you don't have time to get to the library to read an actual book about Saint Nicholas, the center put together this great story of "Who is Saint Nicholas."
Fun and Fast Facts About St. Nicholas:
-Saint Nicholas was born during the third century in a small village called Patara which is now a city in southern Turkey.
-Nicholas was the only son of two wealthy, Christian parents but they passed away when he was young.
-Nicholas learned much of his pious, generous ways from his devout parents and after they passed away, he gave away his inherited fortune in gifts to orphan children and others in need.
-His uncle, a Bishop, raised him after his parents passed and continued to guide Nicholas on a Christian path.
-By the time he was 19, Nicholas was ordained a priest and then eventually became Bishop of Myra.
-Due to his young age when he became Bishop, Saint Nicholas was called the “Boy Bishop.”
-Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, children, students and more!
-There are many legends attributed to this great Saint. To read more, please visit the Saint Nicholas Center’s website, here.
CatholicMomRI is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you click though to Amazon from a link on this blog and make a purchase, we will receive a commission from Amazon.
How are you celebrating Saint Nicholas’s Feast Day? Please share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Now that I have two children, it is more difficult for me to get out of the house and shop for food.
I regularly remind myself how absolutely blessed my family is to be able to have the resources of clean, healthy and delicious food and that so many go hungry each day. Which is why organizations like St. Vincent de Paul Society (and countless others), which aid families in meeting basic needs, are so very important and need our support to continue to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Also, Saint Gianna Molla said: "One earns paradise with one's daily task.”
Despite knowing my blessings and Saint Gianna’s advice, food shopping still continues to be something I don’t look forward to.
It wasn’t always like this. I used to enjoy food shopping with my son. We would go weekly, usually during the weekday while it was not that busy. We’d take our time, he would count the apples as he dropped them into the bag, get excited about picking out his favorite yogurt flavor (ah, to be a child again!) and when I was pregnant, I would show him the fruit or vegetable size that his baby sister was that particular week.
Now that said baby sister is here, food shopping has become much more difficult. Gone are the days where we can leisurely stroll through the market. Now while he drops an unknown number of apples in the bag, I am rocking baby sister in the baby carrier while frantically trying not to drop the shopping list for the twelfth time.
While as with other chapters in life, I know this is temporary and these precious, while frantic, moments are fleeting. One day there will be no little people with me food shopping and I will look back on these days and miss them. Hopefully, our children will look back on these days and remember the everyday moments with as much love and admiration as we do.
I have five tips to help make food shopping less stressful. While most of these tips seem like no-brainers, when combined, they really make the weekly task less of a burden, especially the fact that I have recently discovered I can make money while food shopping!
1. Eat before you go.
No, seriously. Eat something at home. Do not go food shopping hungry. More importantly, do not let your children go food shopping hungry. Everyone eats ahead of time.
2. Menu and shopping list.
We eat one of three things for breakfast every day, so breakfast is easy. For lunch we usually have leftovers from the night before or turkey/cheese rollups or tuna on Fridays. For dinner, we have three nights out of seven where we eat meat and then the rest of the nights are meatless, with one night where we order take-out. After planning the menu, I write down exactly everything that I will need and I try to make my grocery list in order of the market. I start at produce and end at the frozen foods. So, group produce together, deli, meat, middle aisles, dairy, etc.…
3. Coupon if you must but Fetch rewards is MUCH better!
I like to make money while spending money. I love using Fetch rewards. I just upload my receipt and it gives me money on items that I’ve earned. Sometimes, I get money just for uploading my receipt. It’s free and it is easy to use. It's a free app that turns grocery receipts into rewards. Just scan any grocery receipt, and earn points towards awesome rewards. You'll earn at least 1% on all listed brands and products, and gain access to exclusive offers that earn you even more points. Just scan your grocery receipt, and get rewarded.
Use my referral code, VCYAK, during signup to get extra points just for signing up!
Download Fetch Rewards free here: https://bit.ly/2zwOdBK
4. Bag frozen with perishable.
I try to bag or ask the person helping to bag the perishable items with the frozen items. While we live relatively close to the market, things have happened (like my car getting stuck on the side of the road due to a faulty coil) and you don’t want your food to go bad.
5. Make putting food away a game.
Since my son was a much smaller boy, I have made putting the food away a game. I will give him some non-breakable items to put away and then tell him to see how fast he can do it. Usually it is just things like pasta, bread, boxes and cans, but he enjoys it. Any time I can give my children extra positive reinforcement for following directions and while ACTUALLY helping me is a win-win in my book!
Do you have any tips you can share? Please share with us on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always.
Today, "am I doing enough?" hit me like a ton of bricks when I was contemplating Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12, 14. My focus kept centering on the last verse: "it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost." (MT 18:14) Now, the question "Am I doing enough" becomes more serious. Are my actions, words and deeds enough? Am I a positive witness for Christ? Am I leading my children on a path to holiness? Or am I leading them to be lost?
For example, when I am driving in the car with my children and I say something uncharitable about someone who cuts me off on the road or if I decide to forgo a prayer before a meal at a restaurant because we don't want to stand out or look "odd," or if I decide to partake in some "harmless" gossip in front of my children, or if I decide to miss Mass here or there because there are other "more pressing" matters to take care of.
Before you shrug your shoulders and reassure yourself that these things and similar instances are not a big deal, stop. Heed the warning of the children of Our Lady of Fatima. Hell is real.
At the request of the Bishop of Leiria, Lucia described the vision this way:
The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace."
Enough and then more is what will shield our children from the onslaught of the evil one who prowls around the world seeking souls; the souls of our children. The father of lives does not rest and we shouldn't either.
I take and offer Pope Francis's advice to "be calmly vigilant against falling into spiritual mediocrity which corrupts us from within."
I promise and hope you will also do what is enough and then more. To attend Mass each week and days of Holy Obligation at minimum. To pray each day both alone and with family, children and my husband. To treat others with dignity and respect. To respond to those in need with time, talent and treasures. To shatter false gods and idols. To obey the law that God has commanded. To do the very best that I can and when I make a mistake to pick myself up, receive the Sacrament of Confession and try again.
Our children will never be lost if we continue to show them the way to Jesus in our words, deeds and actions. I pray, for you and for me, that when our children are grown and their hands no longer hold ours, He will open His hands and they will reach out and hold on tightly.
When it comes to our Faith, what do you do "more" for your children? Share with us on Facebook.
As always, thank you for reading. May the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you and may God bless you!
I simply say in my head “Good morning, God. Thank you for another day. I love you.”
This “good morning” reflection to God takes only a few seconds.
When I first started to get into the routine of saying good morning to God, I would name the alarm on my phone with “Good morning, God” as a reminder to do so. It only took about a week until it became routine.
Now, I say the reflection the moment I wake up and usually before my eyes even open.
This short and sweet good morning reflection is especially helpful on mornings where I don’t have time for my regular morning prayer and daily Mass reading. Whether our children haven’t slept well the night before, we’ve slept through the alarm or when we’re running late for whatever reason, I am never too late to send a quick message of thanksgiving and praise to God, which helps me build a positive foundation for the day.
I hope you will try it out. Spend a few seconds with God in the morning, it can change your life.
Do you have any morning prayer routines? Share with us on our Facebook page:
God bless you!
I actually love being pregnant. Even through all of the symptoms that I had and currently have. I am enjoying each and every moment of this pregnancy. The good, the difficult and the painful.
So, for these last days as a family of three (with a blessing in my womb) we are savoring each, precious moment and remembering that the fruits of the Spirit are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22)
Please keep us all in your prayers and you can be assured that you will be in ours as well. Please do like and share our Facebook page. Facebook.com/CatholicMomRI God bless you!
Personally, I try to abstain from eating meat on Fridays all year, even when I am pregnant or nursing. Sometimes I am unable to, but I especially try to abstain from meat during Lent on the penitential days.
While you can certainly abstain from meat if you’d like to and you have discussed and gotten approval from your doctor, you should not fast, at all, period. Pregnancy and nursing are hard enough on a woman’s body and the Catholic Church recognizes that. We should listen to Her.
Just because we are completely, 100% excused from fasting or abstaining from meat does not mean that we can’t have a meaningful Lent. Since I am very pregnant (third trimester), will most likely give birth and nurse our daughter before Lent is over, I am sharing some ideas for myself to make Lent more meaningful:
- Don’t flavor your food. (E.g. Eat the cheeseburger but omit the barbecue sauce.)
- Skip dessert on penitential days and enjoy fruit instead (Much better for health, too!)
- Eat one more vegetable per day (Bonus if it is one you don’t like, mine would be Brussel sprouts.)
- Abstain from social media or at least reduce the time you spend on social media.
- Pray the Rosary each day. (Consider the Running Rosary program to combine it with exercise.)
- Donate your favorite treat food to a local food bank. (Mine would be salt and vinegar chips!)
- Watch less television and/or movies each day. (I'm saying farewell (for now!) to HGTV!)
- Give up drive-through treats/coffee/tea/etc.. for the entire period of Lent and at the end donate that money to local crisis pregnancy center (E.g. Mother of Life Center in Providence, RI)
- Pray for those who are homeless, in crisis pregnancy, those called to religious vocation, etc…
- Read the Gospel each day and practice Lectio Divina, a slow, contemplative praying of Scripture. For more information on Lectino Divina, click here
Do you have any other ideas on how to have a meaningful Lent while pregnant and/or nursing? Share with us on Facebook. Please don’t forget to like and share our Facebook page: Facebook.com/CatholicMomRI
God bless you!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.