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Traditions -- The Catholic Home

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  • mwittlans@aol.com
    Check to see if this title is already in your library s catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2005
      Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is,
      put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
      away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

      Title: The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast
      Days, and Every Day
      Author: Meredith Gould
      Publisher: Doubleday
      Date Published: Feb. 2004
      ISBN: 0385509928
      Price: Hardcover $16.95
      Comments: Catholic traditions based on the liturgical calendar

      From amazon.com:
      Editorial Reviews

      From Publishers Weekly
      Who better than a nice Jewish girl to tell Catholics how to celebrate their
      faith at home? Jews have always been known for a sensibly domestic-centered
      observance of their religion, and Gould, a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism,
      speaks from a unique dual perspective. Having lived in a Jewish home, she knows
      about lighting Sabbath candles, but also remembers when Catholics kept holy
      water and statues in their houses. In her own home, which she affectionately
      describes as "the Hermitage" and "Julian of Norwich goes suburban," she has
      revived traditions that fell by the wayside after changes wrought by Vatican II,
      and also established a multitude of new ones. Readers seeking to reinforce
      Catholic identity on the home front will find plenty of ideas, among them a how-to
      for celebrating Christmas when it actually arrives, instead of weeks before,
      and making Halloween holy by embracing it as the eve of All Saints Day. Gould's
      writing is light and airy, even irreverent at times, but her ideas are
      well-grounded and refreshing. She wisely reinforces her suggestions with excerpts
      from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and uses the church's sacraments and
      elaborate calendar of feast days and liturgical seasons as the skeleton of her
      book, trotting out bits of history and legend for added interest. Gould's
      engaging enthusiasm will doubtless have readers asking, "Who knew Catholicism
      could be so much fun?"
      Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All
      rights reserved.


      “The Catholic Home is clear, practical, and inviting; it will make every
      Catholic’s job easier visualizing how to bring the faith home.” —Frederica
      Matthewes-Green, NPR commentator and author of Facing East and At the Corner of East
      and Now


      ?The Catholic Home is clear, practical, and inviting; it will make every
      Catholic?s job easier visualizing how to bring the faith home.? ?Frederica
      Matthewes-Green, NPR commentator and author of Facing East and At the Corner of East
      and Now

      From the Inside Flap
      A practical, inspiring guide to Catholic observances and celebrations for the

      For centuries, the Catholic Church has offered an abundance of splendid
      traditions that extend religious and spiritual practice into daily life. Now,
      Meredith Gould reintroduces these customs and rituals to modern Roman Catholics.

      Using the liturgical calendar, The Catholic Home provides familiar and new
      ways to celebrate each season and its special days. Gould reviews major holy
      days, select saints’ days, familiar prayers, and suggests meaningful ways to
      prepare as a family for such sacraments as Baptism, Confirmation, First Eucharist,
      and Matrimony.

      This book includes a concise history of each ritual and clarifies the meaning
      behind it by highlighting celebrations of Catholic holidays from different
      parts of the globe. Your family will learn to make Advent wreaths, Jesse trees,
      St. Lucy’s crowns, King’s cakes, All Souls altars, traditional foods, and
      participate in family devotions.

      Throughout The Catholic Home, Gould’s down-to-earth practicality and sense of
      humor give the activities she describes modern relevance no matter how
      ancient their origins. Excerpts from the official Catechism of the Catholic Church
      are included to illuminate Church doctrine on matters of faith and ritual. This
      indispensable guide will appeal to Catholics young and old and inspire
      beloved family traditions to be handed down from one generation to the next.

      From the Back Cover

      “The Catholic Home is clear, practical, and inviting; it will make every
      Catholic’s job easier visualizing how to bring the faith home.” —Frederica
      Matthewes-Green, NPR commentator and author of Facing East and At the Corner of East
      and Now

      About the Author

      Meredith Gould, Ph.D., is the author of four books, including Deliberate Acts
      of Kindness: Service as a Spiritual Practice. A convert to Catholicism, she
      brings a fresh appreciation of age-old customs and provides a framework for
      understanding the symbols and celebrations of her chosen faith. Dr. Gould lives
      in Princeton, New Jersey, and welcomes reader comments on her website,

      Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
      Chapter One

      The Value of Tradition

      In addition to being shaped by its historical and cultural context, every
      religion has a set of informal practices that have emerged. These customs support
      liturgy, sometimes softening it to become more spiritually accessible. They
      provide yet another vehicle for expressing faith. Call your religion a "faith
      tradition" instead and notice how rituals become infused with meaning that, in
      turn, reinforces your identity as a Catholic follower of Jesus the Christ.

      Since its beginning, the Church has recognized, sometimes with great dismay,
      the customs of people it has embraced and, put more bluntly, conquered. Around
      the thirteenth century, the Catholic Church took more formal notice of
      sacramentals--signs, symbols, and activities that serve to enhance faith and
      identity. These include actions (e.g., making the sign of the Cross, praying the
      Rosary, novenas, nonliturgical blessings) and objects (e.g., Advent wreaths, holy
      water, medals, rosary beads).

      Unlike the sacraments instituted by Christ, the Church determines the use of
      sacramentals, promoting some and demoting others at different points in
      history. Perhaps you're old enough to remember when St. Christopher was
      unceremoniously removed from car dashboards. A goofy example? Not to anyone who
      experienced and mourned his demise as patron saint of travelers! This example
      illustrates the Church's major concern about sacramentals and, by extension, folk
      customs: how to prevent mystery from slipping into magic. At what point does
      superstition eclipse substance? Since this is a book about celebrating ages-old
      customs, you'll want to give this issue serious consideration. To evaluate the
      value of any particular custom, ask yourself:

      * Does this custom bring me into a deeper personal relationship with God the
      Creator, Christ the Redeemer, and Holy Spirit, the Divine Counselor?

      * Does this observance reflect, strengthen, and sustain my Christian values
      and beliefs?

      * Does this practice help me express my Christian faith and enhance my
      participation in the Body of Christ?

      And keep this in mind: Don't reject a custom because it seems too enjoyable
      to be pious! Fun is absolutely compatible with faith. If you need biblical
      proof, search scripture for references to celebration, feasting, and joy. (Hint:
      Where did Jesus perform his first public miracle? See John 2:1-11.)

      Your Catholic Home

      Were you raised Catholic? If so, what do you remember about your childhood
      home? How about your grandparents' home?

      If you came of age before 1965, you can probably rattle off a list of items
      that distinguished your home as being a Catholic one. There was probably a
      crucifix over every bed wrapped, depending on the time of year, in either fresh or
      dusty palm fronds. Rosary beads hung from a bedpost or were coiled on a
      bedside table. The family Bible was displayed and, depending on your family's
      devotional fervor, opened to the day's gospel reading. The Blessed Virgin Mother
      appeared on the family altar (if you had one) as well as the front lawn. Maybe
      you had a statue of the Infant of Prague (with outfits!) as well as one of Mary
      in your kitchen. Your whole family prayed the Rosary. Everyone said grace
      before meals and made the sign of the Cross--in front of company, no less. And
      that's just what you remember off the top of your head.

      Chances are that if you were born after 1965 you'd be hard-pressed to
      identify many distinctively Catholic objects or activities in either your childhood
      home or the one you're creating today. The preceding inventory, parts of which
      probably read like a movie prop list, may trigger feelings of curiosity,
      nostalgia, or loss. What will it take to make your home the "domestic Church" it
      was historically intended to be? Take a tour of your home, asking:

      * Does my home reflect my Catholic Christian faith?

      * Have I created a place in my home and time in my life to celebrate my faith?

      * What would I have to add--or remove--so my home strengthens the presence of
      Christ in my life?

      It doesn't matter whether you have four kids or seven cats, Grandma in the
      upstairs apartment, or other single friends within walking distance. You are
      heir to a venerable structure for creating a Catholic home--the Catholic
      calendar. Commit to marking time in alignment with the life of Jesus the Christ, and
      watch your own life be transformed.

      Faith is a treasure of life, which is enriched by

      being shared.

      *CCC 949

      Getting Started

      If you're reading this book, it's because you--or a well-meaning someone--has
      decided it's time to give fuller expression to your Catholic identity. Before
      you do anything else, you'll want to get or create a master calendar. You can
      either run off a calendar that you find on one of the many Catholic websites
      noted in Appendix D or visit a bookstore that carries Catholicalia. Somewhere,
      usually near the laminated prayer cards, you'll find a liturgical calendar
      that's snazzier than whatever your parish makes available.

      Preprinted secular calendars generally note dates for big events during the
      year, but liturgical calendars also include saints' days and are color-coded
      for the season and feast days. Look for one big enough to include your personal
      notations about secular birthdays, name days, sacrament anniversaries, daily
      devotions, and other reminders. While you're at it, treat yourself to colored
      pens so you can make calendar notes in their proper liturgical colors! You'll
      need red, green, and violet.

      As you'll soon discover, the Roman (or Latin) Rite calendar is a powerful
      tool for studying--and living--Christianity. Without a doubt, Catholics celebrate
      a greater number of events in Jesus' life than do Protestant Christians.
      Along with the Eastern Church, we have special regard for Mary, the Mother of God,
      and canonized saints. As a result, we are--or can be--very busy celebrating,
      memorializing, venerating, and adoring throughout the year. Following the
      Catholic calendar closely can teach you more--and more personally--about our faith
      tradition than attending CCD. And it can enrich your whole family's sense of
      faith, family, and tradition.

      Technically, our liturgical year officially begins at Advent. It starts with
      this season for one obvious reason: Jesus is born; the Word is made flesh to
      live among us. And yet, as your own devotions deepen, you may find yourself
      "beginning" the year at different times, sometimes beginning again and again
      during the very same year. One year, it'll make perfect sense to start with
      Advent. Perhaps after experiencing a loved one's death, you may wonder why the
      liturgical year doesn't commence with Easter Sunday. If you earnestly celebrate
      your saint's feast day, you may secretly believe that the year should begin then!

      In any case, this temporal cycle follows an unbroken succession of seasons
      commemorating events and mysteries of faith organized around the birth, life,
      death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Sunday, the new Sabbath affirmed by
      the risen Lord, is the key marker for determining:

      Advent: Four weeks of preparation for the birth of Jesus the Christ

      Christmas: Season celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ

      Ordinary Time: Weeks between the Baptism of the Lord and Lent providing time
      to contemplate and live the lessons of Christmas and prepare for Lent

      Lent: Forty days of Easter preparation

      Holy Week: Starting with Palm Sunday, a week of commemorating events leading
      up to and through the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ

      Easter: Fifty days of celebrating the resurrection and ascension of Christ

      Pentecost: Celebrating the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the birth of
      the Church

      Ordinary Time: Weeks between Pentecost and Advent providing time for living
      the lessons of the preceding great feasts

      Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes
      them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not
      repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration, there
      is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.

      CCC 1104

      At the same time, the Catholic calendar is organized according to a sanctoral
      cycle of days honoring men and women who have lived extraordinary lives in
      the service of Christ. By Vatican Council II (1962-1965), the calendar was
      crammed with saints and devotional feasts, especially ones to Mary. It was
      reconfigured in 1969 to reemphasize the temporal cycle, relegating a fair number of
      saints' days to local and regional celebration. Except for saints' days
      providing seasonal markers (e.g., the Feast of St. Andrew marks the end of Ordinary
      Time), we'll focus on the temporal cycle in this book. We'll also zoom in on
      daily devotions that are not necessarily linked to the calendar, and also
      home-based ways to prepare for celebrating the sacraments.

      In sum, the Roman (Latin) Church's year of worship, beginning at Advent, is
      jam-packed with holy seasons and feast days of various types, inspiring and
      requiring various levels of observance. Some, like holy days of obligation, are
      feast days devoted to Mass attendance, rest, and contemplative renewal. Others,
      like the seasons of Advent and Lent, are times of fasting and penance.
      Virtually all have centuries-old church rituals and folk customs that infuse each
      celebration--and our hearts--with special meaning.

      Holy Days of Obligation

      These six holy days of obligation provide opportunities to restore body,
      mind, and soul. Easter isn't on this list because Sunday is already a holy day of

      Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God January 1

      Ascension forty days after Easter

      Assumption of Mary August 15

      All Saints' Day November 1

      Mary's Immaculate Conception December 8

      Christmas December 25

      The Value of Ritual

      Religious rituals--activities that help create a sense of the sacred--provide
      continuity and comfort for faith communities. God knows, there's no shortage
      of ritual for Catholics to learn and follow. The challenge is keeping ritual
      not only alive, but also vibrantly well.

      Consider Mass liturgy, for example. Non-Catholics seem somewhat stunned by
      the unwavering predictability of the Mass and its constituent rituals.
      Predictability does not, however, mean forever unchanging. Before Vatican II, the Mass
      was criticized (by outsiders and insiders) for its seemingly obscure formalism
      and way of excluding laity. These days, Mass is served in local language,
      priests face the pew-bound faithful, and both men and women are encouraged to
      participate more. Not that any of this automatically guarantees your full
      participation. No doubt, you've caught yourself zoning out at least once during years
      of church attendance.

      At church, either the material or mystical can keep you from drifting too
      far. Perhaps there's something about the building itself--the vault of the
      ceiling or the unique olfactory blend of wood polish and incense--that invites you
      to become present. You might notice how a change in vestment colors shifts your
      sense of season. Sometimes the rhythm of the lector's voice recaptures your
      attention to God's word. At other times, music transports you deeper into the
      land of worship. You might find yourself mindlessly reciting the profession of
      faith when suddenly a word, phrase, or entire section comes to life--your
      present life--in a new way. The Host is held high and you are through Him, with
      Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

      All of it--the physical structure of God's house and the rituals performed
      within it--serves to shepherd your meandering mind. But you face another
      challenge once you hear, "The mass has ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
      and each other." This is the challenge of bringing your Christian faith into
      daily life and, more specifically, creating a home that reflects your Catholic
      identity. Here's where traditions help construct and sustain meaning.

      The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the
      biblical sense of the depths of one's being, where the person decides for or
      against God.

      CCC 368

      Product Description:

      For centuries, Catholicism has offered its members a wealth of splendid
      traditions extending beyond church walls into daily life, but in recent decades,
      many of these faith activities have fallen by the wayside. Now, Meredith Gould
      rekindles the joy of these home-based rituals in THE CATHOLIC HOME. With
      insight, reverence, and irrepressible enthusiasm, she shows Catholics how to use
      these older practices—and new ones—to enrich faith identity and instill a sense
      of tradition and heritage that may be passed from one generation to the next.

      Organizing her guide according to the liturgical calendar, Gould—a convert to
      Catholicism—suggests ways to bring the particular meaning of each liturgical
      season into the home. From Advent wreaths to May crowns, from special meals to
      Bible readings, Gould presents a wide variety of activities. Focusing on much
      more than Christmas and Easter, Gould covers the entire Church year, from
      Epiphany to Pentecost; from Mary’s month (May) to select saints’ days. She also
      includes sections on how to prepare at home for the Sacraments such as
      Baptism, Confirmation, First Eucharist, and Matrimony.

      Throughout THE CATHOLIC HOME, Gould’s down-to-earth practicality and sense of
      humor give the activities she describes modern relevance no matter how
      ancient their origin. To emphasize the meaning behind each ritual, Gould gives its
      concise history, including the non-Christian origins of the most popular
      traditions, such as mistletoe and Easter eggs. Sidebars throughout this guide
      highlight variations on practices in different parts of the United States and in
      other countries, underscoring the universal spirit of the traditions she

      Valuable appendixes explain the liturgical calendar, provide essential
      Catholic prayers, teach readers how to pray the rosary, and much more. THE CATHOLIC
      HOME is an inspiring resource for all Catholics who want to enrich their daily
      lives with a stronger religious identity and revive neglected traditions that
      will deepen their faith.

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