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Tiffany Walsh discusses three ways she and her family are taking time this summer to explore and enrich their faith.

With summer in full swing, I am noticing a peace come about our days as a family. Perhaps it’s a renewed sense of appreciation after two summers of not having the same events and get-togethers to look forward to, or perhaps it’s because my children are both now middle school-aged or older (where did the time go?!), and our role as their parents has evolved in a new way. Entertaining an 11- and 16-year-old looks much different than our time with toddlers and early school aged children, so this has been yet another new challenge in our parenting journey.

With the children finished with school for a few months, and my husband and I in the midst of more flexible work schedules over the summer months, it got me to thinking about how we can use this time not only to enjoy precious moments together, but also how we can grow together in our faith. I have noticed that being at home more with the children has led organically to some interesting conversations, and I have seized the opportunity to introduce some new faith-filled nuggets into our summer.

Indeed, summer is the perfect time to cultivate a sense of excitement and wonder, and therefore to introduce some new devotions to the children in a way that fits with their current ages and interests. This will look different for each individual family, but these are the new ways we are incorporating faith-related matters into our family this summer.




After-church breakfast drinks and chat time

We have recently begun attending the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy together as a family. I had previously written about how taken my daughter and I were with the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but I unsure if the early timeslot at the Byzantine Rite Ukrainian Catholic Church nearest to our home would be off-putting for my very sleepy teenaged son. Well, last month we finally tested this experiment, and lo and behold, my son loves the Divine Liturgy and wakes up to attend with us without complaint! I will admit that I sweetened the deal a bit by offering that we would all go out for summery iced drinks after the liturgy and chat about what we observed and learned from our worship experience that morning.

I cannot fully convey how this small addition to our Sundays has revolutionized my experience in taking my children to church. Granted, we have more new things to talk about because we are attending an Eastern rite liturgy that is still very unfamiliar to our Latin rite selves, but the extra time in waiting for and drinking our summer juice refreshers has given us uninterrupted time to talk about our faith in an atmosphere that feels special and set aside in a way that is both poignant and fun. Rather than feeling like I am dragging my grumpy preteens/teenagers to church with me, I now have happy, curious children in tow who are eager to talk about something new that they learned or observed in church that day.




Trying out devotions that are new to us

Relating to our new interest in Eastern rite traditions, we have purchased incense and a small home incense burner, and the kids love taking turns picking out which scent we will use each Sunday after dinner. We also light votive candles during this time. This is another new way we have emphasized how Sundays are special and devoted to faith-related thoughts and deeds, and it is one that the kids have taken a happy interest in. I will ask them if they have any prayer intentions during this time, or otherwise seek out what they are interested in talking or learning about.




Turning to our friends, the saints

Each July I pray a novena leading up to the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and this year I mentioned this to my children, asking them for their intentions so that I could pray for them. St. Kateri is a special patron for us because she is my dad’s confirmation saint, and her intercession led to a huge conversion of heart within our family. I am hoping that showing my children how often I turn to the saints in intercessory prayer will encourage them to do the same in their own prayer lives. I encourage them often to seek out saints that are special to them because of their life story.


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Are there ways that you approach faith as a family that are different or new in the summertime? #catholicmom

Are there ways that you approach faith as a family that are different or new in the summertime? Certain devotions or traditions that are tied to the summer season? I would love to hear about them in the comments!


Copyright 2022 Tiffany Walsh
Images: Canva; St. Kateri Tekakwitha statue: MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons