This weekend is a big week for the saints -- those named and not named -- and the souls of the dearly departed.
On Saturday, we celebrate the feast day of many Catholic saints, most of whom are not named specifically. When you attend Mass this weekend, remember that you are in the presence of the Communion of Saints. Every time Mass is celebrated on this earth we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with those who went before us and are in the presence of God. It is an awesome thing to think about, and more so if you allow yourself the imagery.
Sunday is All Souls Day, when we remember and pray for those who went before us but are not in the presence of Our God, the poor souls in purgatory.
There are many opportunities for teaching this weekend, and while I can't sit too long at the computer and include everything I'd like to, I will send you in the right general direction, if you are hunting for ideas. If nothing else, just talk to your children about these great feast days. I guarantee they will remember what you told them. I think it gives us mere mortals great comfort to know that when we are gone, those left on earth remember us, pray for us, and offer the Mass for us. It's also important for children in our culture to understand that Halloween is All Hallows' Eve -- the vigil of All Saints Day. It gives a beautiful purpose to our celebration this evening. Here is some good information on tonight's celebration. And here is a great column on the entire three-feast-day celebration, with some suggested activities at the bottom.
For All Saints Day
A great summary, some ideas and some recipes.
There are some great coloring pages on the internet for your littles. My first choice is Charlotte's place, of course. Her coloring pages -- found in her sidebar -- are far superior to any others (and while you are over there -- check out her mantel. It's really lovely. And if you want more coloring pages after stopping at Charlotte's place, try here.
You'll find ideas and more printables at Catholic Mom and at Women for Faith and Family.
Print some of these Saints Fun Facts for the older children to enjoy.
Start your own collection of wooden saints. I bought little wooden dolls to dress and paint and decorate the mantel for All Saint's day. They are still in the box. I am working toward next year now, and hopefully they'll get finished. Instead I'll line up all of our vigil candles with saint depicted on them (my favorites are from this company). For ideas on making your own go here, here, or here. So cute! Or use Alice's idea on wooden spoons.
There are some awesome books out there on Catholic saints. But for the imagery, I prefer Saints: Lives and Illuminations, and the The Loyola Treasury of Saints: From the Time of Jesus to the Present Day, which I just bought for "Jill's books."
Attend Mass with your family and remind the children that all the saints are present -- maybe they can "see" them, too.
Pray The Litany of Saints -- this is an awesome reminder of those great human beings who lived for God and now look upon His face.
For All Souls Day
A summary of the Feast Day can be found here, and here, as well as some suggestions for activities and recipes.
Attend Mass together and pray for the poor souls in purgatory.
Visit a cemetery, preferably one where you have a loved one buried.
There are two feast days next week, of St. Martin de Porres and St. Charles Borromeo, on which I would like to find some material. If I do, and it's child friendly, I'll post it.