Liturgical Living for Busy Families in May
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
When I first began trying to incorporate liturgical living into our family life, I felt somewhat overwhelmed. With over two thousand years of rich history, the Catholic Church has a LOT of wonderful traditions and saints that we can learn about and try to incorporate into our own domestic churches, and I found it hard to pick and choose. On top of that, I was still working full time outside the home and was maxed out mentally, physically, and emotionally. As I researched upcoming feast days in my (very limited) spare time, I saw all these beautiful and elaborate crafts and themed baked goods, complete with smiling, happy children with their mothers smiling beatifically over their shoulders on Instagram and Pinterest and think exasperatedly, “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS.”
Over time, however, I learned that liturgical living doesn’t have to be hard, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it all. At its core, liturgical living is simply cultivating a growing awareness of and appreciation for God and the richness of our faith in our daily lives. For me, some days that meant simply seeing a feast day on the calendar and saying to the children, “Apparently it’s Saint ____’s feast day! Let’s ask him/her to pray for us today!” And then we would go on about our days. Other days, when I had more time, I was able to do some of the more involved activities that I so longed to be able to do. Neither of these approaches is better than the other, and both will help you and your family to avail yourself of the many gifts God longs to offer us through His Church and the Communion of Saints.
That said, I’ve decided to put together a one-stop shop of ideas and links to (mostly) FREE liturgical living resources for the month of May. I’ve chosen a few of the better-known saints for the month, but there are many more! I hope you find these ideas as helpful and fulfilling as my family has.
I will preface the rest of this post by noting that most of my liturgical living ideas are not unique or new. They’re mostly ideas I have gathered across the wilderness that is the Internet from various and sundry of our Catholic sisters who are far more creatively inclined than I. I’ve listed just a few of my favorites that I regularly check in with for ideas below:
· Kendra Tierney from Catholic All Year
· Lacy from Catholic Icing
· Genie Shaw from Barefoot Abbey
· Jenna Hines of Call Her Happy
· Nancy of Catholic Sprouts
· Saint Stories for Kids Podcast from Shining Light Dolls
Liturgical Living Resources for May
May 1 – Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to act as a reminder to the faithful of the inherent dignity of work. St. Joseph was a carpenter by trade, so an easy way to celebrate the day with your children is to build something out of Legos, Lincoln logs, Popsicle sticks, or, depending on their age, have them try their hand at hammering nails into some scrap wood. For dinner, serve Italian food complete with croutons, grated Parmesan, or breadcrumbs to look like sawdust. Bonus points if it’s a meal you can eat with your hands!
May 10 – Mother’s Day
During May, the Church especially honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, our spiritual mother. On Mother’s Day, give your mother a call by praying the rosary as a family.
It’s also a great day to do a May Crowning, which is as simple as putting a crown on top of a statue of Mary. You can make it more elaborate by turning it into a family procession, singing Hail, Holy Queen, Immaculate Mary, or Ave Maria, and laying flowers at Mary’s feet. If you don’t have a Mary statue, Katherine Bogner of Look to Him & Be Radiant uploaded a free printable Marian Shrine, complete with roses! Nancy of Catholic Sprouts also has a free Mary Garden printable here.
May 13 – Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima commemorates the first of a series of monthly Marian apparitions experienced by three Portuguese children, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto, which culminated with the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917. You can learn more by listening to Episode 18 of the Saints Stories for Kids Podcast by Shining Light Dolls.
Lacy also has a fun Miracle of the Sun Spinner craft on her blog Catholic Icing. If you don’t have the materials handy to make Lacy’s craft and don’t mind spending a small amount of money, Jenna Hines of Call Her Happy has an Our Lady of Fatima coloring page included in her "Lazy Liturgical" digital “growing bundle” option on Etsy for $25. The bundle is a one-time purchase chock full of coloring sheets and other printables, and she adds new ones at no additional cost every month!
May 18-20 - Minor Rogation Days
Rogation Days are days of optional, additional penance. The Major Rogation Day falls on St. Mark’s feast day on April 25, and the three minor Rogation days fall on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding the Solemnity of the Ascension. Traditionally, these days were offered in thanksgiving and in hope to God in connection with the spring planting. Because these days fall in the Easter season, they are typically observed as days of abstinence from meat rather than full fasting days. While not required, observing this ancient practice in your own home is a wonderful way to offer a small sacrifice for the Church.
May 21 – Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord
The Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord commemorates Jesus’s ascension into heaven following his resurrection. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, so get to mass (or, if your diocese remains closed due to the pandemic, live-stream a mass and make an act of spiritual communion). The Ascension falls 10 days before Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples in the upper room in tongues of fire. As such, the Solemnity of the Ascension is a great day to begin the Novena to the Holy Spirit. I also found a really cute and easy craft from Kim of Life Over C’s here, but again, if you don’t have the supplies, Jenna Hines has a coloring page in her Lazy Liturgical Growing Bundle that you can download.
May 30 – Feast of St. Joan of Arc
On the Feast of St. Joan of Arc, we remember the pious and brave 17-year old peasant girl who, clad in armor and carrying a banner, led the French army to victory over England. You can learn more about her by listening to Episode 21 of the Saint Stories for Kids Podcast from Shining Light Dolls.
A fun and easy craft for the day is to make your own replica of Joan of Arc’s battle standard! Her banner is described as a white field sown with lilies and fringed with silk, depicting the names of Jesus and Mary and our Lord holding the world with two angels on either side.
In her book The Catholic All Year Compendium, Kendra Tierney suggests making Croque Madames for dinner, which translates to “crispy ladies” – a fitting meal to commemorate the girl who was eventually burned at the stake!
May 31 – Pentecost
As discussed above, Pentecost Sunday comes 10 days after the Ascension and memorializes the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire and a strong rushing wind on the disciples. It is a solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation, so get to Mass (or live-stream!). The liturgical color for the day is red, so wear anything red in honor of the occasion. The Come Holy Spirit Prayer is a particularly appropriate prayer for the day, and, because children are always fascinated with fire, making s'mores over an open flame is a fun way to celebrate the day. Jenna also has a fire-free coloring page in the Lazy Liturgical bundle.
Do you have a favorite saint, craft, or other liturgical living idea for the month of May that I missed that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!