Toys or No Toys at Mass?

We all know those parents at Mass. They can dip into their magic parenting bag and seemingly satisfy their child's every whim and desire. My wife and I used to aspire to this, but we never seemed to have enough toys for our wild-eyed children.  Just a FEW toys, right? And the NOISE! Even toys without all the electronic sirens and whistles still make noise. Toys were always falling off the pew, then rolling a few pews forward or back, then the other churchgoers -- apparently eager for a distraction -- would fall over themselves (kindly) returning the toy to us. So, after we had removed all the toys that made noise, rolled, clunked, and weren't choking hazards, what did we have left? Large cotton balls? Stuffed animals? Not much.  Eventually, we saw that adding more and more toys wasn't helping, so we decided to go in the opposite direction.   Here are my and my wife's  TOP THREE  toys for Mass: #1. The Rosary   The Rosary is Number One and it&# Read More January 31, 2017

Simply Parenting: Quick Tips on Fewer Toys

Sometimes we, as parents, just overdo it.   There are a number of ways we can step off the hamster wheel of accumulation to help our kids. Some of this might take some adjustment time, but gradually, I promise, you'll feel the stress sloughing off your shoulders. Today, we'll look at how f ewer toys will benefit your kids .                          Living simply is the Catholic ideal. The saints, like Francis and Teresa of Calcutta, show us this. More than that, Christ, Himself, encourages us to simplify. But HOW? One simple way is reduce the number of toys. We, adults, could learn from this, as well -- am I right? But, right now, let's focus on all the toys, toys, TOYS! I'm talking about taking the Amish approach to toys, but the Catholic approach.  First off, here are some great reasons why fewer toys actually help our kids , in addition to saving money and reducing clutter: (find more at  Becoming Minimalist ) (1) Kids learn to be more creative Read More January 30, 2017

Pope Francis' Personal Devotion: Our Lady, Undoer of Knots

In Against Heresies , St. Irenaeus of Lyons observed that “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Virgin Mary set free through faith.”  The artist Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner painted “Mary Undoer of Knots” sometime around the year 1700.  Mary is depicted standing on the crescent moon, which symbolizes her Immaculate Conception, as well as a knotted serpent. The painting has been venerated since the eighteenth century in the Church of St. Peter am Perlach , Augsburg, Germany. Devotion to “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots” has been growing in popularity in the rest of the world ever since a student brought a postcard of the painting back with him to Argentina in the 1980s. That student was Jesuit priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has since become Pope Francis I. Here's a Catholic Herald article  on the pope's special devotion to Our Lady. So, what are these knots? Read More January 25, 2017

TOP 5 Catholic Apps

Check out these TOP Catholic apps for the iPhone and Adroid! This is a section of The Catholic ManBook that we published for the 2017  Men of the Immaculata  Catholic Men's Conference. The ManBook will serve as the program for the conference, as well as practical guide to authentic, Christ-like masculinity. The book is now available here as a free eBook when you subscribe to the blog. Among the many helpful parts of the ManBook is this list of Catholic apps for your iPhone, Android, etc. Please comment below if there is a particular Catholic app that you think deserves inclusion on the list! 1. Laudate [FREE]    If you have room for just one Catholic app, this is the one. It has most everything: Daily Readings, Saint of the Day, Liturgy of the Hours, Order of the Mass, Rosary and Chaplets, Examination of Conscience for Confession, and all your other Catholic Prayers. It’s almost as good as this book! Basically all the other apps in this list are contained within th Read More January 14, 2017

How to Reach Catholic Level: Expert ... Pray the Day (with Infographics)

Is your New Year's Resolution to reach Catholic Level: EXPERT? Here's how.  Pray without ceasing.  1) All Day: Prayer before meals 2) Morning: The Holy Rosary 3) Noon: The Daily Examen 4) 3pm: The Chaplet of Divine Mercy  5) Bonus: The Liturgy of the Hours (also called The Divine Office) 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray without ceasing". But how?  A man's gotta eat, right?  Well, grace before meals is definitely a good start. If you're not already doing this, DO IT. Don't eat any more unblessed food this New Year. Also, if you're a father, you need to be leading your family in the blessing before the meal. Invite contributions from your wife and kids, too. My little girl, Lucy, usually has about five intentions to add to our blessing before dinner. She even asks that we pray for her imaginary friend.  If the basic Catholic meal blessing (see below) feels a little rote or tired, try adding a short litany at the end in addit Read More January 08, 2017