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"4 ways to make the faith alive for your family" by AnneMarie Miller (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] As temperatures rise and schools close down for the summer, life can change dramatically. We move from the routines and schedules of the school year to the excitement of summer, and it can be easy to lose the prayer routines and rituals of the past several months. Even though my children are too young to attend school, the festivities of summer can make it easy to let prayer slip by the wayside. While many parishes host wonderful Vacation Bible School (or similar) programs, these events typically last just a week or two. Not only that, but they often focus on the children, and not on families. While it's good to present faith opportunities to our children, it is extremely important to bring our families closer to God. Here are some simple ways we can do this:

1. Incorporate prayer throughout the day

Prayer does not have to be restricted to mealtimes and the evening; there are numerous ways to bring prayer into your day. For example, you can say a quick prayer as a family in the morning before everyone heads off to his or her activities for the day. You can pray the Angelus together. You can read a short passage from Scripture during lunch or dinner. You can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. Particularly if you have older kids, you can learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together.

2. Create a prayerful environment in your home

Does your home reflect your faith? Are prayer materials easily accessible in your home? If not, this summer could be a great opportunity to make the Faith more physically present in your home. We don't need anything elaborate, but even just placing simple pieces of sacred art around the home or in a "prayer corner" is a fantastic way to center your day and family life on God. We can also place Bibles and Rosaries in a convenient location, to help encourage prayer. The Little Oratory by David Clayton and Leila Lawler has some wonderful ideas on ways to incorporate the Faith into your home.

3. Visit Jesus in Adoration

When was the last time you visited the Adoration Chapel? When was the last time you went to Adoration as a family? If it's been a while, this summer would be a wonderful time to visit Jesus together. If you are worried about your kids being too noisy and rambunctious during this time of prayer, try to find a local children's Adoration hour. These types of hours are specifically geared towards young children, and involve vocal prayer, songs, and guided times of silence. If your diocese does not offer these types of events, then start one yourself! The Community of St. John has some wonderful resources to help you do this.

4. Go on a pilgrimage together

Pilgrimages have a long and rich history in the Catholic Church. For many centuries, men and women have prayerfully traveled to holy sites across the world. Although we often think of pilgrimages involving long, often international, journeys, we can certainly make pilgrimages no matter what our budget or travel restrictions may be. The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgyby the Congregation for Divine Worship, states that, among other things, "a pilgrim goes to a shrine to encounter God, to be in His presence, and to offer Him adoration in worship, and to open his heart to Him." Even a journey to a shrine the next town over can be a deeply prayerful, transformative experience! Look around your local area to discover what kinds of Catholic sites are available to visit. There are many good pilgrimage locations throughout the world, some of which are noted at 100 Catholic Pilgrimage Sites and Catholic Shrines, Pilgrimage Sites, and Places of Interest in the USA. We belong to a vibrant Church, and it's important to cultivate a growing spiritual life for ourselves and our families. There are numerous ways we can go about this; the four ways listed here are just the tip of the iceberg!

What other ways can we make the Faith alive for our families this summer?

Copyright 2018 AnneMarie Miller