CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
Well, Mamas, it’s becoming clear that this coronavirus crisis is not, in fact, the world’s cruelest and most elaborate April Fool’s joke. Yes, your kids really are home all day. Yes, you really do run a homeschool now. No, there is no hand sanitizer or milk left at the grocery. No, you really can’t blow off steam by getting out of the house. Like, at all.
Lucky for you, our Milwaukee Catholic Mamas Facebook group is a veritable brain trust of great ideas and nifty resources for surviving an apocalyptic quarantine situation while keeping your family’s sanity — and souls — intact. So reheat your coffee and grab a pen (you should have one somewhere — you run a homeschool now, after all), because we’re bringing you a roundup of some of the best suggestions and brightest ideas shared in the group for making it through this difficult time.
The good news: you don’t have to do your makeup in the car on the way to church anymore. The bad news: it can be even harder to make your kids pay attention to Mass when they’re viewing it from the comfort of their own living room. But the Catholic Mama blogosphere is here to help make your Sunday mornings a lot more prayerful. The following websites include activities, coloring sheets, videos and Scripture reflections for kids of all ages.
- Catholicicing.com has an amazing catalogue of free resources for liturgical living all year round. Click on the “COVID-19” tab to find spiritual communion printables, Mass resources and “boredom busters.”
- Catholicmom.com offers soul-enriching content on Catholic motherhood from a variety of contributors. The following link has some great coloring sheets specific to each Sunday’s Gospel reading: http://catholicmom.com/kids/catholic-gospel-coloring-worksheets-sunday-mass.
- Mycatholickids.com has made their library of missalette videos available for free during the coronavirus crisis. Their “Mass Muscles” videos help children prepare for each Sunday, and their “Diving Into the Mass” series explains specific rites of the Mass in an engaging way (moms might learn a few things, too).
- Thecatholickid.com has beautiful, free, printable coloring pages, including one featuring St. Corona accompanied by a prayer to combat the pandemic.
If you have young kids who complete coloring pages during Mass each week, consider saving their artwork and making a keepsake book for them to remember their Sundays in isolation.
Spirituality for moms
Don’t forget about your own spiritual needs during this time, just because you’re running ragged trying to nurture everyone else’s. Take a look at this great video from Fr. Eric Nielsen of the St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center at the University of Wisconsin. In his short and refreshing address, Fr. Nielsen explains how God has known since the beginning of time that we will live in this moment and be tested by this trial, and has equipped us with the grace necessary to persevere. Basically, he says everything you want — and need — to hear — and word on the street is he’s working on a follow-up video, too.
Fr. Don Brick, OCD, the rector of the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians at Holy Hill has been making daily “heart-to-heart” videos (with the help of his trusty dog Jack) featuring spiritual reflections. If you have five minutes to nourish your soul — and miss seeing the beautiful grounds of Holy Hill — visit the Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christian’s official Facebook page to view the videos.
The Catholic Mom Bundle (catholicmombundle.com) is available to download for $25 and includes a host of printable and digital resources — everything from workbooks, Adoration journal pages, homeschooling help, family dinner games and much more.
Engage your kids in works of mercy
You can’t volunteer at a soup kitchen right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Several moms in the Milwaukee Catholic Mamas Facebook group have shared news reports detailing the proposal of Irish priest Fr. Philip Kemmy, who suggests families spiritually adopt patients who are dying alone of the coronavirus. The website pelicanprojectministry.org has more information on how to spiritually adopt healthcare workers and those who are suffering from isolation because of this crisis.
Direct some of your kids’ pent-up energy into creating cards or artwork for isolated nursing home residents. Several organizations in the area, including the Jackson Police Department in Washington County and the St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus on 92nd Street, have coordinated efforts to get these well wishes to nursing home residents who could use a reminder that they are not forgotten during this time.
Visit an outdoor shrine
The playgrounds might be closed, but if you keep to the necessary social distancing protocols, a short road trip to one of Milwaukee’s Marian shrines might lift everyone’s spirits. Several of our moms have been to the Marian Shrine at 141 N. 68th St. for a prayerful break.