Welcome to our January Newsletter!
Keep Sunday in Right Order
Simple, Fun and Joyful
Worship: Sunday is the best day of the week! 
Start Sunday out in Right Order by attending Mass. Make Mass the most important and the center of Sunday. Keep the Lord’s Day holy. Be confident, be patient that your young children will learn over time to manage the full hour in Church—with your gentle assistance. Have a great breakfast when you return home.

Celebrate with Family and friends: Make Sunday in your family a day of special fun for everyone.
  • Plan a family adventure to a park, a visit to Grandma and Grandpa or a window visit to an elderly neighbor. Young children never tire of simple adventures.
  • Outdoors, build a snowman or snow horse, go sledding, try ice skating or watch the ice skaters, explore the frozen creek, buy a child-sized shovel and clear the sidewalk for a neighbor. Play in the snow, make tracks of different kinds. For your winter walk, fill spray bottles with colored water (using food coloring) to spray designs on the blanket of white. Make a snow fort or hill of snow and dig a tunnel under the hill. Take lots of photos.
  • Indoors, have a cocoa-tea party, with some freshly baked cookies or special treat, serve on fancy plates. Invite a neighbor or friend. Lead some fun games or songs, word games, rhyming words, play I spy, Duck, Duck, Grey Duck, Drop the Hanky, Hide the Thimble or Hide-and-Seek. Put together a puzzle, race toy cars down a ramp, bath a dolly, build a block tower—laugh and play together.

Rest: Naptime for kids is rest time for parents. Resist the urge to use your down-time to “get something done”. Sit for a welcome rest, read something interesting, have a talk with your spouse or a good friend. 

Prayer: Spend part of your quiet moments casting a simple glance toward God. Give God glory. Make it a frequent habit to express your gratitude for your children and your blessings from the past week. Implore God’s help for the week ahead. You will find that prayer always nourishes and replenishes your body, your mind and your heart.
Our next Online Training will be February 27 & March 13
This May Explain

The door to God, the door to any Grace
Is very little, very ordinary.
Those must remember who would gain this place
This rule that does not vary:
All truth, all love are by humiliation guarded, as One has
testified before.
This may explain why the serf finds salvation,
And kings and scholars pass the Little door.
by Jessica Powers
Our lives are very little, very ordinary. It is in the very little and very ordinary that God is pleased to dwell. Holiness does not require the extra-ordinary or the elevated. In fact, according to Jessica Powers’ poem, those who gain All truth do it by means of humility while “kings and scholars pass the Little door”.

Raising infants, toddlers and preschool children places parents squarely in front of “the door to God, the door to any Grace” because opportunities for simple, humble acts of love are never lacking. 

Suppose we parents performed every act of caring with the greatest love we are capable of? Wouldn’t that place us in the perfect company of Our Blessed Mother? Wouldn’t that make us followers of St. Therese’s Little Way?

St. Therese loved God in all the ordinary actions of common life, performing them with great faithfulness…she took everything as coming from God. Her advice: “to abandon yourself to God and to think of yourself as little as possible. We have only to try to perform all the little acts of daily life with the greatest possible love, to recognize humbly but without sadness, our thousand imperfections which are always resurfacing and to ask God with confidence to transform them into love”. (Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity by Pierre Descouvemont, 121, 118)

Parents take heart! Your bundles of energy and joy are your direct path to holiness. It does not even matter if you are filled with a thousand imperfections which are always resurfacing! Simply ask God with confidence to transform your every act into love. As St. Teresa of Jesus tells us. “God and I can do anything!” 
Hear parents share how Early Catholic Family Life is a comfortable place
to begin a family's
faith journey.
Sunday in a Catholic Home – It’s Beautiful!
Lesson 6 in ECFL’s first set of Parent Discussion lessons teaches parents how to make Sunday truly beautiful and unique – very different from the rest of the week.

It’s my favorite lesson because despite its simplicity it has so much potential for profoundly enhancing family life. It is based on St. Pope John Paul’s 1998 Apostolic Letter “Dies Domini” or “The Day of Our Lord.” You can find the full document by Googling “Dies Domini” and following the link to the Vatican website.
In Dies Domini, the Pope invites parents to lead their families in what he describes as the 3 most important aspects of a Catholic Sunday: Rest, Celebration, and Worship. Not unexpectedly, Pope John Paul examines all three very thoroughly in Dies Domini, and we discuss all three in ECFL lesson 6. However, in this article, I will concentrate on Celebration.

Celebrating on Sunday is perhaps not what we think of first when we consider Church teaching around our 3rd Commandment.

The Pope describes what we mean by Celebration and also what we do not mean, as follows:
The festive character of the Sunday Eucharist expresses the joy that Christ communicates to his Church through the gift of the Spirit. Joy is precisely one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

“……, if we wish to rediscover the full meaning of Sunday, we must rediscover this aspect of the life of faith. Certainly, Christian joy must mark the whole of life, and not just one day of the week. But in virtue of its significance as the day of the Risen Lord, celebrating God’s work of creation and “new creation”, Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the day most suitable for learning how to rejoice and to rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy. This joy should never be confused with shallow feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, which inebriate the senses and emotions for a brief moment, but then leave the heart unfulfilled and perhaps even embittered. In the Christian view, joy is much more enduring and consoling; as the saints attest, it can hold firm even in the dark night of suffering. It is, in a certain sense, a “virtue” to be nurtured.
St. Pope John Paul II, Dies Domini 5 July 1998, pp 56, 57
In ECFL Lesson 6, participating parents are asked to share their answers to this Question: How does our culture work against this cornerstone of Catholic family life? - against the concept of Celebration as outlined by the Holy Father? Parents answers often describe their dissatisfaction with Sunday – overemphasis on sports, the pull of phones and other technology, the lure of the malls, etc.. In ECFL lesson 6, parents are encouraged to initiate in their families and for their preschoolers, family habits and traditions that instill in family members, while they are still able to be shaped by family life, the understanding that in this family, Sundays are different, they are spent together with family, and they are filled with joy. They need to answer this question: How can I bring joy to my family this Sunday?

Parents also often reflect on the fact that the key to successfully creating a joy-filled Sunday is what happens on Saturday. This is because parents must be deliberate – they must plan. How are we “clearing the decks” on Saturday so that we can have the kind of Sunday we want? What plans can we make today, Saturday, that will assure that when Sunday comes we have in place a plan to jump joyfully with both feet into a day of Rest, Celebration and Worship?
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.