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Advent starts this Sunday, December 1, and unfortunately it always seems to be a season that is rushed through on the push towards Christmas. With presents to be bought, cards to mail out, decorations to be hung, and Christmas parties to attend, the season goes by in a blink, and the quiet anticipation of Advent is completely ignored. I know for me, the addition of my sons’ birthdays during this time of year (December 14 and January 6) has added to the craziness. And this year in particular, with a move to a different state looming in mid-January, there is added stress. For all of these reasons, I am trying to make this Advent, and hopefully future ones, a more fruitful time of year. Here are a few things you can add to your Advent season (But please remember that you do not have to do all of these. Do what you can and what works for your family.):

*Starting December 1, read one chapter of Luke’s gospel every day.  There are 24 chapters in his gospel, so by Christmas Eve you will have an entire account of the life of Christ, including his birth narrative. 

*Try to make it to confession during the season.  Hopefully your church, or one nearby, will be offering more time the usual for confession during Advent (it is considered a penitential season after all), or perhaps they have a confession service where priests from around the diocese come and hear confessions.

*See if any local churches are doing a Lessons & Carols service.  This is a beautiful way to prepare for the coming of our Lord.

*The Advent Wreath. The circle of evergreens and four candles: three purple to represent the penitential nature of the season, and one pink to celebrate the joy in anticipation of the birth of Christ. One by one, each candle is lit in the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, until on the fourth Sunday, all are lit. Each week, different prayers are said to go along with the lighting of the candle.

*The Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is taken right from Isaiah 11:1, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” The tree is hung with ornaments that represent people and events from the Old Testament (and a few from the New Testament as well), leading up to the birth of Jesus. They are meant to show Jesus’ roots and are based on the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew’s gospel.

*An Advent playlist: Create a playlist of music with songs and hymns devoted specifically to the Advent season, including: Ave Maria; Come Thou Long Expected Jesus; Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came; and The King Shall Come.

*Here are a few interesting podcasts that are worth the listen if you have the time:

Christ in the Stars, Part I, The Lanky Guys

Christ in the Stars, Part II, The Lanky Guys

The Liturgical Calendar (3/3), The Art of Simple (*Note: This is a Catholic and an Anglican talking about ways to celebrate the Advent and Christmas seasons)

*Books: For my sons, in general I keep a basket of books in our living room, most of which are based on the season or month of the year. For December, the basket will be filled with books on Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Lucy, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This Advent, I am going to try and read Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Pope John Paul II; A Season of Little Sacraments: Christmas Commotion, Advent Grace by Susan H. Swetnam; The Word Made Flesh: The Meaning of the Christmas Season by Pope John Paul II; and The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas by William J. Bennett. Yes, I am trying to read four books during the busiest time of year. But, fortunately, none are more than 150 pages long, so this is completely doable.

So, there you have it. Hopefully this little list helps you have a more joyful and more fulfilling Advent Season!

In case you missed it…(Volume 19.01)

If you missed Mass yesterday, or you are like me and busy wrangling kids during Mass that you miss a lot of what is said, here are a few links to help fill in the gaps. Note: this is not a substitution for actually going to Mass. Always make an effort to get there and worship with your community.

For discussion on the Mass readings: Fig Leaves are Big Leaves, The Lanky Guys


Fr. Richard Heilman, St. Mary Pine Bluff, Cross Plains, WI

Deacon Peter Tonon, St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC


Sunday Connection, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Loyola Press

November 2: All Souls Day

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Today is All Souls Day, where we remember the Church Suffering, those who have died and are in Purgatory, waiting to be united with our Lord.

All Souls Day was first celebrated during the tenth century, and eventually put on the Roman calendar in the 13th century.  Though praying for the dead is mentioned in 2 Maccabees, it was also mentioned by Tertullian in the second century.

Ideas for Liturgical Living:

*Bake Soul Cakes.

*Visit a cemetery. Stop by a few individual headstones and lay a rose, and/or pray the Eternal Rest Prayer.

*Read Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory, by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg.

*For discussion on the Mass readings for the Day: Solemnity of All Souls, The Lanky Guys

November 1: All Saints Day

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Today is All Saints Day, a day where we celebrate the Church Triumphant – all those who are in heaven with God, both formally recognized Saints by the church, and those unrecognized.

All Saints Day was first established as a universal feast in the fourth century as the Feast of All Martyrs.  It was extended to celebrate All Saints in the eighth century and made a holy day of obligation in the ninth century.  Since this feast falls on a Friday this year, you are not required to abstain from meat or make an alternate sacrifice as is the usual practice for Fridays. Since it is a holy day of obligation, make sure you attend Mass today.

Ideas for Liturgical Living:

*Recite the Litany for All Saints and include the patron saints of your family.

*A cute video explaining All Saints Day to your kids.

*For discussion on the Mass readings for today: Solemnity of All Saints


Hi, I’m Katie and welcome to This Catholic Home!

A couple months ago, my sister emailed me an outline that was mostly geared towards families who homeschool.  It was for Advent 2018, and it included suggestions for families to live the season more liturgically and get the entire family involved.  I loved it, and told her to email me the outline should this author do another one this year. 

A few weeks later, I received a copy of the cookbook, Cooking with the Saints, which again, helped you celebrate saints’ feast days throughout the year with various recipes.  Then it hit me.  Between all the Catholic blogs I read, books I own, podcasts I listen to, and cookbooks and recipes I use…wouldn’t be great if this was all in one place, along with the Mass readings for the day, and which mysteries of the rosary we are supposed to pray that day?

That is how all of this got started.  I hope this helps you and your family inject a bit more liturgical living into your life every day.

God bless!