Messenger staff report
With children at home all day and evening events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s very easy to go stir-crazy. How can you continue to live out your faith with few sacraments and a different daily routine?
The Messenger sat down with David Cooley, co-director and office manager, diocesan Office of Catechesis and Evangelization to gather some suggestions.
Be conscious that you’re a role model and be careful to set an example of how you treat each other within the family.
Assess your own family situation and understand what each member needs. For most families, it’s essential to make sure everyone has a place to be alone at some point in the day. Then take the opportunity to integrate your faith into the mandated life at home and show your children what’s important to you.
“As parents, you’re the primary catechists and teachers are just support,”said Mr. Cooley. “Maybe this is a wake-up call that you need to brush up on your own catechesis so you can lead your family to grow in faith.”
Have specific times you pray as a family.
Without the typical schedule, including the morning rush, things can get off to a bad start. Cultivate your own schedule. This can include:
— Prayer before meals;
— Praying the angelus at noon;
— Praying vespers in the evening;
— Praying the rosary.
“Talk about the mysteries of the life of Christ with your children,” said Mr. Cooley. “Talk about how the Church is universal and everyone is praying the Mass and the liturgy of the hours around the world at the same time.”
Use your resources.
Did your children bring home their religion textbooks? Do a review of what they’ve learned so far this year — maybe even try making them teach it to you.
Watch some good Catholic movies, like the lives of the saints or Old Testament stories.
A simple Google search reveals thousands of Catholic online resources. Some of these include:
— CatholiCity.com — free books, CDs, booklets, Catholic commentary, streamed talks, daily Mass readings
— Formed.org — movies, programs, audio, books — everything from sacramental prep to streaming Catholic media and talk series providing apologetics
— Catholic Answers at catholic.com — an extensive database with answers about Catholic practices
Read good Catholic books you might already have in your home, like:
— The Great Adventure Catholic Bible
— The Life of Jesus: A Graphic Novel
— The Lego Catechism of the Seven Sacraments
Fight the temptation to be on screens.
“The world is already isolated enough. Use your time intentionally and make it quality,” said Mr. Cooley.
Here are some suggestions:
— Analyze media for Catholic themes. Listen to a Catholic podcast together and discuss it. Listen to secular music and talk about the Catholic themes you may find in it. “It might not be the reason they wrote the song, but you see the longing. Everyone is searching for the same thing… through (the musician’s) lyrics, what do you see in that story? It teaches children to start thinking about things in that way.”
— Create a sacred space for family prayer. “Bring some objects together from around the house and make it your prayer space,” Mr. Cooley suggested, whether it’s group prayer or a place where your children can go during the day to get away from everything and just be with Christ.
— Go outside. “Connect nature to God,” said Mr. Cooley. “Slow down and have your children take notice of what we miss in the normal fast-paced life.”
“Perhaps this is a time, when the family is forced to be away from everyone else, that families can learn to appreciate each other and being together,” he said.
These are just a few suggestions — there are countless more ways for the family to thrive amid quarantine conditions.