1. The King of the Catholic Home
It has been said that the Catholic home should be seen as “The Domestic Church”. With this being said, the Father is the head, the Mother is the beloved spouse, and the children are brought up learning to love and serve the Blessed Trinity. The true head of the Catholic home is Christ, just as the Head of the Church is the Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness. Christ should be known and recognized in each Catholic home as King; the family’s week should be centered around the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and prayer is a must.
2. Proper Prayers
Parents should encourage their children to pray to the Lord Our God, The Blessed Virgin, and the Saints in their own words as well as the traditional prayers of the Church.
- Prayers of the Rosary: Sign of the Cross, Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Fatima Prayer
- The Nicene Creed
- Blessing before and after meals
- Prayer to Guardian Angel
- Act of Contrition
- Act of Faith
- Act of Hope
- Act of Charity
- Hail, Holy Queen
- St. Michael prayer
The Eternal Rest Prayer
The parents are encouraged to also teach these prayers to their children in Latin as well.
“The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs” — Pope Pius XII
3. Holy Water
Prayer can be encouraged through the most minor of things, such as placing Holy Water fonts in bedrooms and ones main door. All Catholics should know the use and purpose of Holy Water, St. Teresa of Avila says:
“…There is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the cross, but return; so holy water must have great value.”
Parents too should bless their own children with Holy Water, by signing them on their foreheads. Lastly, each child should have a Blessed (by a priest) Crucifix in their bedrooms above their beds. The child should be taught to kneel when rising and going to bed and say their prayers with their parents.
4. The Focal Point of the Home
As soon as Catholics move into a new home, they should ask a priest to bless it. All families should consider with great deal consecrating their homes to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Why? It is a simple way of letting Christ know that He is King. The center of any home let alone a Catholic one should NEVER be a television! The focal point of a Catholic home should be the family altar. This would be a place in which the family can gather to offer their prayers to God and ask the Saints to pray for them. Family Rosaries, prayers for special graces, family novenas, and Lectio Divina should be said in front of the home altar.
5. Home Altar: Orientation & Necessary Items
Family altars, should ideally be placed on the Eastern wall, in the same orientation of church buildings; however, it is not necessary. The altar can be simple or elaborate, but beautiful nonetheless. Basic items that should be placed on the altar include:
- Statue of Our Lady
- Holy Water
- icons (statues of Our Lord, Virgin, and/or Saints)
- Blessed Salt
- Charcoal incense burner
- Blessed Candles, vigil candles, and Baptismal candles
- 1962 Roman Missal
6. Home Altar: Recommended Literature
One should also consider: Breviary, the Douay Rheims Bible (only approved translation) Little Office of Our Lady, Holy Cards, flowers, the names/pictures of dead family members, palm branches, sacramental certificated (Baptism, 1st Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony). It would also be wise to keep a small library of books that will cultivate our Catholic faith: traditional Catechisms (Baltimore catechism, etc), “Lives of the Saints”, “Summa Theologica”, the writings of Sts Therese the Little Flower, St. John of the Cross, St. Louis de Montfort, etc.
7. The Liturgical Season at Home
Families should change the home altar as the liturgical seasons change as well. During Passiontide (last two weeks of Lent), icons and statues should be covered with a purple cloth and there should be no flowers on the altar. In May, one might want to Crown Mary with Roses, keep a vigil candle going for as long as possibe, and bring Her various votive offerings, etc. Some families even clothe statues of the Virgin according to the liturgical season, for example, dressing Her in a white veil for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, or black on Good Friday.
Parents should make the liturgical year come alive for their children. This will help them pay more attention to the Mass and sermons, etc. During family devotions, it would be wise to dim lights, burn incense, light candles, play sacred music. Catholic spirituality whether it is Eastern, or Latin is about engaging the senses.
Let us be inspired by the words of a great Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila:
“In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.”
Queen of families, pray for us.
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