Welcome to our October Newsletter!
Did you ever consider the value and importance of the name you gave to your child? 
No matter how you selected or decided your child’s name, once given, a child’s name stands for the depth of a child’s being; it is a badge of individuality. Names also have great spiritual value!

But do you draw down the graces available to your children through their patrons among the blessed in heaven? A particular saint, whose name your child bears is especially prepared and eager to plead and intercede for an abundance of grace on your child’s behalf. This is your child’s Patron Saint. Tap into their offer of protection, help and example.
Saints are our family in heaven! 
They stand as the highest ideals given to man, they are models
of goodness, more than heroes and heroines, they are friends, teachers and inspiration. All the saints are waiting to welcome
and guide the faithful. They are ready to reveal the source of everlasting happiness. They are mediators of God’s grace in
heaven for the living on earth.
Here are some suggestions for you, Parents (and Grandparents):
  1. Get to know your child’s Patron Saint: Feast Day, symbols of the saint, prayers, images associated with him or her and the virtues and gifts they possessed. 
  2. Start a collection of Saint images, symbols and prayers for each of your children. Because images are richer than thoughts, images are especially useful for your child’s understanding. You can also use them for your child’s special celebrations.
  3. Make a family Patron Saint and Holy Day calendar. Chart the dates of your family’s patrons. Reflect on the collective power of love contained in this new assembly or army of saints, named and circled on your calendar, standing-by, poised to intercede for the good of your family! This activity can serve as a powerful way to unite children more closely to the Communion of Saints and bring lasting supernatural aid.
  4. In daily prayer, invoke the aid and employ the help available through the blessed in heaven. Ask for protection and guidance and grace for your children. 
  5. Teach children about their Patron Saint, the beauties of their holiness, the courage of their convictions, the strength they demonstrated, the love of their hearts for God and their fellow men. Different saints have different gifts and strengths—show children how to pray for help to develop their own gifts.
  6. Celebrate your children’s Name Days. A Name Day is the Feast Day of your Patron Saint. (A Feast Day is usually the day that a saint dies, therefore it is the day of their entry into heaven.) Make Name Day a family tradition. Make it a Christian family feast, prayerful, meaningful and fun. Look for the November ECFL Newsletter for a variety of suggestions on creating meaningful and simple Name Day Celebrations.  

This article is based on “My Nameday—Come for Dessert” an essay by Helen McLoughlin
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“We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church, and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers”.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #962
A few months ago, in our e-newsletter, we highlighted a study from the University of Notre Dame by authors Bartkus and Smith, entitled “Ask Your Father and He Will Tell You”. The authors attempted to identify the “best Catholic parenting practices” by talking to parents whose children remained Catholic into adulthood, and to answer this question: Why do children from some Catholic families retain their faith as adults, when so many others do not?

In a “nutshell”, it’s about faith filled Catholic witness to your children. 

This study was a real eye opener for us at Early Catholic Family Life because the authors’ conclusions were aligned so completely with our own work, and with the ideas and goals that underlie ECFL. A link to that study is on the resource page of our website. 

More recently, I came across some notes I made awhile back while traveling on business. I was reading another book that resonates with our program, and that we recommend.The book is “Raising Faith Filled Kids” by Tom McGrath. Loyola Press. 

One quick example of this resonance - In our training of Parent Educators we always assure trainees that they are already equipped to lead the Parent Discussion, just as their faith filled parents are already well equipped to lead their children.
Here is how the author, Mr. McGrath puts it: 
“We don’t need degrees in theology to introduce
our children to the principles and practices that
can make their lives deeper, more meaningful,
and more fulfilling. If you want your children to
grow up in an atmosphere of faith, introduce faith
as a natural and regular part of your relationship
with them.” (p 9)
The Early Catholic Family Life Parent Leader curriculum contains clear instructions that help the Leader generate fruitful and deep discussion. It is not primarily about teaching the facts of Catholicism. For parents, it is about creating a home with a Catholic culture – with Jesus at the center – that is their most important task. It is about witness. And about sharing your love of our beautiful faith. 
 “By their lives and example they (saints) become our teachers and models, stars in the night skies of life by which we may sail a straight course to God”
Dr. Pius Parsch, The Church’s Year of Grace)
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.