My wife Karen and I have been working hard on a fun new project coming out this month, and we figured now is a great time to start sharing some sneak peeks to get you excited! How To: Catholic Family is a fun new book from the incredible team at Word Among Us Press, and Karen and I have put the book together as a practical, encouraging guide for the rest of us: Catholic parents that want to impart the faith to their children but aren’t quite sure where to start. The topics in the book include leading by example, having conversations about faith, reading the Bible as a family, learning about the saints, praying together, learning what the Mass means, celebrating special/feast days and liturgical seasons (Advent, Lent), and finding community with other Catholic families. We were sure to put the emphasis on making all of this a doable task and, with a little bit of humor, we are here to let readers know that there will be plenty of fails along the way but encourage us all to not give up on trying to develop a faith-filled family life. Today we wanted to give a sneak peek into the topic of praying as a family! In the chapter titled "Lasagna in the highest!" we explore the ups and downs of trying to have prayer be at the center of our family life. From trying and failing to get a nightly family rosary going, to feeling all warm and fuzzy when our kids ask to pray as an ambulance drives by, to all the cute and adorable things kids thing the prayer says, we’re walking with you in all truth and honesty when it comes to praying with a bunch of little ones.
Karen’s dad was one of twelve kids. Supper time at his child- hood home on the farm was like a competition to see who could finish fastest and get seconds. Enjoying the meal and the company around you was not the point. So, being somewhere in the middle of the pack, he learned to eat quickly in order to get his fill. Karen’s mom was one of two kids. She grew up in a stricter household, with a more refined approach to mealtime. The first time Karen’s dad went to dinner at his soon-to-be in-law’s house, he sat down at the table and joined in the typical prayer most Catholic families squeeze in before chowing down: "Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." As soon as he said, "Amen," Dad picked up his fork and started digging in. The story goes that he looked up, halfway through his mashed potatoes, and realized they were still praying! "And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.” Prayer time often gives opportunity for laughs, especially when the kids make a mistake with the words, but it can also be an occasion of stress for us parents who are concerned with trying to get things right and fearful that failing to do so will lead to our kids leaving the faith. The good news is: it doesn’t take much to get kids to fall in love with prayer. One night, in the midst of a bedtime routine that had no time for books or two full minutes of brushing teeth, we tucked the kids in, kissed them good night, and tried to hurry out the door. James popped a question that stopped us dead in our tracks: “Aren’t we going to say our prayers?” In our parenting panic to get the kids to sleep as quickly as possible, we made the unconscious decision to skip our nightly prayer routine, and he noticed. We realized, in that moment, that we owed it to our kids and ourselves to slow down, say a prayer, and keep that time as time set aside to reach out to God, even when we feel rushed. Over the previous few years, we had impressed on our children the utmost importance of prayer, and James incorporated that into his worldview. When he saw us contradict what we had taught him, he pointed that out. That moment showed us two things: first, that our dedication to prayer was paying off for our children and, second, that having a designated time for prayer would help to keep us on track—and if it didn’t, our eight- year-old was right there, ready to remind us.
Prayer is the basis for a good relationship with Christ and His Church, and in How To: Catholic Family, we give plenty of no-nonsense tips for ways to kick off that relationship in a way that meets families where they are at, and takes them by the hand to move ever so slowly toward sanctity. For this and more great content about how to keep your family focused on the Catholic faith throughout the day-to-day rush of life, pre-order How To: Catholic Family now, and keep it here on for more great sneak peeks as we get closer to the big release!

Visit our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2019 Tommy Tighe