How can I help my children understand the church’s tradition of honoring saints on All Saints’ Day?
There is so much beauty in our church’s tradition to honor saints that every year we will be able to teach our kids a little bit more. Below is a sprinkling of ideas for this year.
You can count on the church to remind you what is good for your soul; after all this is her mission and she is our Mother.
All Saints’ Day, one of six holydays of obligation in the United States, is celebrated annually on Nov. 1.
It is the church’s way of reminding us of our final destination in paradise — if we are faithful to the teachings of Christ and his church.
It is also a reminder that we are not alone in our daily struggles; we are united with the saints in heaven, with those in purgatory and with all the faithful on earth.
Halloween is supposed to be the anticipation of the celebration of All Saints’ Day. There is a lot of interesting information about All Saints’ Day, including an explanation of where Halloween got its name, and even ideas for a saintly Halloween party at http://goo.gl/AgdeHu. Check out the links at the bottom of that page.
The day after All Saints’ Day is All Souls’ Day, a day to remember and pray for our loved ones who have died.
All the saints are part of our family; we are sons and daughters of the same heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Through baptism we have all been adopted into the same family.
Let’s treat the saints like the family members they are; we should: talk to them, visit them, make them birthday cards, display their pictures. Tell your kids stories of when the saints were young; talk about that great family reunion at the heavenly wedding banquet of the lamb.
Learn about our extended family and pass on their stories to our kids. We might say to them: “Oh yeah, that’s like St. Monica, she kept praying for her son,” or “Oh, that’s like St. Ignatius who was injured in battle and found God in a special way while laying in bed and the only book he had to read was a book about the lives of the saints,” or “Oh yeah, that reminds me of the time St. Padre Pio said, ‘Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.’” Knowing our family history is indispensable in passing on family values.
In the end, we want to be numbered among the saints; therefore, we need to work, prioritize and strive to live by their holy example. It should not be a hobby; sanctity should be our life.
The church has long celebrated the lives of the martyrs and saints. Here are the beginning lines of the traditional Litany of the Saints with a link to the rest:
“Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Response: pray for us
Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, All you holy Angels and Archangels… See more at: http://goo.gl/bCsTb0.
Say a prayer of intercession to all the saints:
“Dear Father, you have given the saints in heaven eternal happiness and they now live in the fullness of your glory. Because of their holy love for you, they also care about me and my family, my friends, my church, and my neighbors.
Thank you for the gift of their friendship and the witness of their holy lives. I ask our patron saints and every saint who have become especially dear to me to intercede for us. I ask them to help us journey safely on the narrow path that leads to heaven. O Lord, give us their protection. Grant us their assistance in overcoming temptation and gaining the fullness of life with you. Amen.”
(Henry, his wife, Dr. Patricia Cabral, and their five children belong to St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee. Reyes wears many hats as a business owner, doctoral student and candidate in the deacon formation program for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but he says his most important hat is building his domestic church as a stay-at-home dad and homeschooling his three oldest children.)