Pope Francis’s Prayer intention for the month of August is for artists, so I have a few art-focused things in store for my readers this month.
I’m starting off by introducing you to the work of one of my favorite artisans, Jessica Connolly. She is the owner of Telos Art and sells jewelry, paintings, and Catholic art. I’ve been admiring her Etsy shop for some time and I’m so excited to share her most recently released liturgical calendar. I received the calendar in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.
Being Introduced to Liturgical Living
When I was a student at St. Therese Catholic grade school, we made turkey handprints, cotton ball snowmen, and butterfly sun catchers to mark the seasons. Just as we used crafts to mark the natural seasons, we also did things to mark the liturgical year.
I remember making an Advent Wreath out of paper during the long wait for Christmas. We also set out shoes for St. Nicholas in early December as we waited in anticipation for the saint to bring treats. Around Lent, we would participate in the Stations of the Cross. One year we even had a seder meal to recreate Passover. Participating in these extra celebrations and remembrances really impacted me at a young age.
Entering into The Liturgy
When I was a student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Holy Week took on a new meaning for me. I had never been in a place that covered the crucifix and statues in preparation for Holy Week before I came to Steubenville.
Our dorm also had an adoration chapel, and I was used to popping in and out every day to visit Jesus. When Good Friday came and the tabernacle was empty, I was so heartbroken when I couldn’t visit Jesus. I started to understand for the first time how the disciples felt on that first Good Friday.
The Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil was filled with such reverence and beauty that the sacrifices of Lent turned into joy and praise. We stayed up late dancing, celebrating, and proclaiming Alleluias at the Resurrection Party. That Easter Sunday wasn’t just another Sunday, but we knew that our Saviour had Risen and it was real.
Liturgical Living In The Home
While at Franciscan I was part of a program called Ministry to Moms where college women would be paired up to help a local mom and family. As part of the exchange, I got to enjoy dinner with the family (and could do my laundry as a bonus) and help the mom I was paired with catch up on her children’s scrapbooks.
I was far from home so it was a huge blessing to be connected to a Catholic family and learn from them. I didn’t expect to be a quiet witness to their faith throughout the year. I saw how they incorporated the faith, especially at dinner time.
During Advent, Emiliana, the youngest, would color a Jesse Tree Ornament for each day and put it on the tree. The rest of the family read the reflection on some event in the Bible and sang verses from O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. They would also have special desserts on certain feast days. Since their father was a theology professor the topics of discussion would always have some element of the faith.
Wanting to Live Liturgically in My Own Life
Each of these experiences showed me the deep beauty of the Catholic Faith and the richness of remembering the story of salvation throughout the year. Since living liturgically had been attractive to me since grade school, I knew that it was important for us to integrate these things into our married life.
On the other hand, I never considered having a liturgical calendar in our home. All the ones I had seen were very unappealing, with overwhelming blobs of color. To keep track of the year, I started marking down notes about what we would do the following year. I even searched out a printable chart that had all the major feast days, but that was unmanageable.
Planning for the Liturgical Year
This year we’ve started small with liturgical living. During Advent, we said a prayer and lit a candle on our Advent wreath before dinner each night. I surprised William by putting out his shoe with treats on St. Nicholas’s feast day. We’ve also done novenas leading up to some of our favorite feast days.
Next year I hope to incorporate even more things that we can do at home as well as outside the home. I hope to celebrate our patron saint’s feast days, and I hope we can go to the Mission for the Transitus of St. Francis.
When Jessica gave me a chance to write a review her new 2018 Liturgical Calendar, I was very excited to have a new tool for making planning easier. Unlike most calendars I have seen, Jessica’s uses very light colors, so it doesn’t look out of place in a modern home. The paper is thick and textured and seems more like a something from a trendy Pinterest board than a glossy dorm-room poster.
More than looking good, though, the calendar seems like it will really improve our liturgical living. The calendar shows the Church year in the traditional circle format, with Easter and the other movable feasts in their proper places. Below the circle, it lists the feats of the most popular saints. I am looking forward to hanging this calendar on our wall, so we can always see at a glance which feasts are coming soon.
Although we love the saints, we haven’t been able to celebrate them on any normal basis. It is too hard to remember when their feast days are. Now that we have this calendar, We are looking forward to celebrating many more saints throughout the year.
When we order my calendar for next year, I will request to have the feast days customized so that this will truly become our unique guide to liturgical seasons. In the mean time, we will use this time to discern who those important saints are.
Beauty in the Home and in Our Hearts
I’m really happy to have this calendar in our “domestic church.” Remembering the lives of saints, participating in the seasons of the liturgical year and an awareness of God’s time will help us to see more with eyes of faith. Living liturgically will help us enrich our life further – in our marriage, in our faith life, and most importantly in our individual relationships with Jesus.
With each passing year, we can reflect more deeply on the mysteries of salvation, in unison with the whole Church.
I’m happy to share a special discount with my readers, use the code AUG17B for $5 off the 2018 Liturgical Calendar, Please check out the other beautiful jewelry and artwork at her Etsy shop Telos Art. Keep an eye out on her social media accounts this weekend for special discounts.
For more resources to live liturgically check out: The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home (affiliate link). Here’s a great conversation: Liturgical Living for the Uncrafty, Busy Family.