Being Church at Home

Since I can’t really plan anything too concrete for the upcoming school year, I am thinking about how I can support and encourage families to pray together at home.  Many families have so much more time together at home in this season (and maybe next season too?) How do we invite God into that space?

I want to create a resource for families to use to as a guide as they try to incorporate prayer in their home life. 

I want to write prayers that get to heart of what is happening in the church, the school community, and the world.  This part feels like the real work.  I want to listen to the Spirit as it moves in my heart and in our community and reflect that back in this work. 

I’m thinking of a monthly offering, with each month focusing on a different theme. Themes would be a mix of traditional Catholic devotions, enrichment of celebrations already happening at school, or something new. 

  •  Possible themes:
    • August – Introduce the school theme for the year.  I praise you because I am wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
    • September – Hispanic Heritage Celebration
    • October – Rosary or St. Francis
    • November- African American Catholicism
    • December – Advent or Immaculate Conception or Our Lady of Guadalupe
    • January- New Beginnings, maybe include prayers for reconciliation and healing
    • February – African American Heritage month (also Lent starts 2/17).
    • March – Women in the Church
    • April – Easter (4/4/21)
    • May – Mary
    • June – Summer and final reflection on the school theme

It needs to be short enough that its doesn’t overwhelm, long enough that its worthwhile. 

I want it to be helpful and life giving, not onerous or burdensome.

Questions to consider:

  • What format should this take?
  • What kind of information should be included? just prayers? history? additional resources? crafts? (definitely unsure about crafts!)
  • Should it be the same format/layout each month so that it becomes familiar? Or do I change it up so that it feels new?
  • How do I make this something that is more than just another handout that goes home and piles on? 
  • How do I share it in a way that it isn’t buried in a newsletter or cluttering an inbox? Is there a recorded component?
  • Who do I enlist to help, especially for the months when the topic is outside my personal experience?

4 thoughts on “Being Church at Home

  1. Jeanne — I recommend being sure to connect with Katie Larson here, as their parish in St. Louis has found some creative ways to build MORE participation amongst lay folks during COVID. I imagine she might have some concrete ideas that could translate for the immaculata context!!! (invite families within the school to give 2-4 minutes of video about how they are making space to reconnect meaningfully, pray at home)

    I love this all so very much. Looks doable, meaningful, a substantive offering that builds in your gifts and instincts, and invites others in!

    I believe, historically, Wednesday nights at ICS was home-work free, and meant to intentionally be a time where families could pray, play, reconnect at home. Not sure if that’s currently part of the culture, but might be something to name as what’s getting revived (innovating tradition, so to speak)

  2. Oooo, one image to rule them all. Literally, “house church.” A little fermentation: Integrate prayer with activity and learning (not prayer as an add-on). Do crafts as prayer. Music and song. Searches for symbols and images in nature, on-line. Icons and what they tell us. Make your own. Collaborate with teachers’ on-line learning projects. Story-telling. Family history and geneology exploration, stories of immigration and indigenous people, cooking and dining and blessing the food culturally treasured recipes. Restorative justice within friends and family. Prayer customs in different communities. November: the cloud of witnesses, living and dead, and what makes them saints. Parents and kids learning together as prayer.

  3. Oops, forgot a big one. Create an family altar, prayer space that changes seasonally with whatever carries meaning. Candles, sayings, symbols, photos, drawings. I do this myself at home. It’s also where I center for Zoom parish worship.

  4. I echo what Casey and Suzanne have named – this sounds like a great outline. Whole Family Catechesis in the time of COVID-19!

    One line stood out to me in what you wrote: “I want to listen to the Spirit…” as you are creating this. What does it look like to do that listening work, and translate what you hear in what you create for families? What has served you in assuming a posture of listening to the Spirit in the past that you might try again as you incarnate this vision?

    Blessings on your living into this!

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