Welcome to our fourth newsletter!
Teaching Young Children a Key Catholic Prayer and a Profound Mystery at the Very Root of the Church’s Living Faith
During the Circle Time at the first ECFL Class of each new Session, I always begin by leading a Name Chant, welcoming each of the children by name to the group. Then I teach an eternal truth, a profound mystery and a deeply Catholic Prayer to children under five years of age, in less than 4 minutes! You can do this too. In fact, if you are a parent or a grandparent, I recommend that you do!

To do this, I use 3 props: a standing holy water font, a bottle of Holy Water and a Crucifix. I give the children a short explanation of each of these sacramentals (Parents are with their children in the Circle) and tell them that we always begin our prayer with a special sign—the Sign of the Cross. 

I teach them this prayer, honoring the Blessed Trinity, step-by-step.  After me, they touch their forehead, their tummy, one shoulder, the other shoulder and put their hands together for the Amen. And just like that, they have it mastered! It will take a lifetime to sound the depths of this Blessing of ourselves, this Mystery of One God in Three Divine Persons at the very root of the Church’s living faith as revealed by Jesus and expressed in the Creed.
But there they are, two years old and already deeply steeped in our Catholic Faith! I show them that we are forming a cross (Jesus is on the Cross) on our body. We are claiming ourselves for God. We are thinking of Jesus. We are being present to Him and we are receiving His strength in this little but very, very big prayer.

Children love rituals, they love to dip their fingers in the Holy water font and bless themselves. We repeat the Sign of the Cross (with Holy Water) at every Circle Time. Just as when I had my own toddlers and preschoolers at home and when I cared for my grandchildren, it was the little ones who reminded me as we passed by the Holy water font at the foot of the stairs. 
They always loved and always remembered to dip their fingers in the Holy Water and bless themselves. What could be a better sign and better practice?

If you already have these three sacramentals in your home, be sure to teach your children this awesome prayer. If you do not yet have a crucifix, a Holy water font and some Holy water, now is a splendid time to get them. Now is a perfect time to bless your children, bless yourselves and to teach your children to bless themselves—and they will, every single time they pass by the Holy water font! A Great Blessing!
"O most Holy Trinity, You who have created me for Your glory, grant that I may give You all the glory of which I am capable" 
Divine Intimacy # 226
Hear parents share how ECFL helps them explore simple ways to live our faith at home each day.

Click here to learn more about ECFL.
A Successful Pilot!
Early Catholic Family Life for Grandparents
“I have been given the gift of faith, fanned into flame by my own grandma. What an opportunity I have to pay that forward to my own grandchildren.”
This quote is from a grandmother who attended our pilot for a new offering from Early Catholic Family Life – ECFL for Grandparents. The new program grew out of conversations with Ann Marie Vega at the Catholic School Center of Excellence, and Crystal Crocker, Director of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Office of Evangelization.
At Ann Marie’s suggestion, Crystal approached us with a simple question – could the ECFL format, which has been used successfully to help parents create a Catholic culture in their homes, also be used to help grandparents assist their children in bringing our rich Catholic faith to their grandchildren? The answer is “yes.”

We agreed to create a pilot for the new program – ECFL for Grandparents, and offer it at our home parish, St. Peters in Richfield. (Thank you Father Dvorak for letting us use the space.)

Crystal and the Office of Evangelization helped us to get the word out. The flyer that was created for promotional purposes describes the new program: 
The program was presented in February and March. There were six grandmas in attendance, three grandpas, and eight of the most precious grandchildren in the world. The class met for six lessons and followed the ECFL format. Some of the Parent Discussion topics:
  • Growing in Faith
  • Being a Catholic Grandparent
  • Grandparents on a Mission!
  • Faith in the Power of Prayer

Please Note! The same Early Childhood materials that are used in the “ECFL for Parents” program are also used in the ECFL for Grandparents program. So if your parish has implemented ECFL, you already have what you need for the children’s portion of ECFL for Grandparents.

The program proved to be a hit with those who attended, as evidenced by these additional quotes from Grandparents:
  • “(The program) …. gave practical suggestions about sharing the beauty of the Faith and my own journey. Prompted me to be intentional about doing so.”
  • "It made me go deeper, and to expand the ways I connect with God. I especially enjoyed the adult time conversation.”
  • “My grandkids LOVED it. They both enjoyed it and they were able to tell their parents what they did – reaffirming the value of time invested in this program.”

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about ECFL for Grandparents. We would love to share with you how to get it going in your Diocese or Parish. 
ECFL is dedicated to helping parents with small children to create a home that has a Catholic culture
a home with Jesus at the center.