For many of us, the school bell is ringing this week. Oh summer, we already miss you. Then again, the Texas heat will make it summertime well into October, I’m sure. To kick off the school year right, here are a few things every Catholic family can do. It doesn’t matter whether your children are in public, private or homeschool, these five things are sure to make your first week back spectacular.
1. Go to confession as a family. It seems like we usually reserve this sacrament for big times of the year, like Advent and Easter. However I’ve always considered the school year an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s appropriate to begin your school year with a heart ready for what God has in store for you and your family.
2. Give your child a prayer card, perhaps one that serves as their baptismal or patron saint. Because my children are all named after saints and/or blesseds, it makes it a bit easier. Maybe your child has a special affinity for one or you have one in mind that might be a great inspiration.
Athlete in the family? Bl. Pier Giorgio.
A wonderful student? St. Dominic Savio.
A heart for God at a young age? St. Maria Goretti.
There are SO many saints, you just can’t go wrong. Your children can use the laminated prayer card as a bookmark, affix it to the inside of their locker or place it in their backpack.
3. Attend daily Mass, pray a rosary or participate in a novena as a family. Admittedly with a little one still in tow, this can sometimes be tough. I’ll just take a few Tylenol before we head out the door and make it happen. If you can’t make it to daily Mass, consider praying a decade of the rosary with your family or participating in a novena with a group of families. We did a novena this year with a small group from our school and it was fantastic. St. Philomena, pray for us!
4. Encourage your children to write themselves a letter on the first week of school. Have them jot down their feelings about their teacher, what things/classes they’re most looking forward to and why, the activity they can’t wait to conquer or a friend they can’t wait to see. Open it up on the last day and I’m betting you’re going to see some phenomenal growth – spiritually, academically and socially.
5. Pray a blessing over your children and annoint them with Holy Water. We have a book we refer to often in our home, “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers,” published by the USCCB. There are literally hundreds of prayers in it about every phase of life. There are two, focused on the beginning of a school year/semester, that we love. According to copyright laws, I can’t reproduce them here. You can either purchase the book or make up your own. Either way, the blessing coupled with the Holy Water will mean just as much to you and your children.