As a Catholic mom of seven I learned very quickly to embrace advice as a means of learning from not only my parents and family members but learning by others lessons learned around me. I would fancy myself with self-help columns but over the years, I have found that the best advice is tried and true and lived out in the lives of the saints and those who have lived out a life that was worth- repeating.

.Embracing advice from respected individuals helps us navigate and sidestep challenging moments. So here are pieces of advice that I have taken to heart and so glad I have!

Living out our Catholic faith goes beyond Sunday Mass—it’s about infusing spirituality into daily life, fortifying family ties, and nurturing a deeper connection with God. Here’s a roadmap to success, comprising five invaluable practices for seamlessly integrating your Catholic faith into everyday living in 2024:

1. Always Eat and Pray -Together!

Mealtimes are great opportunities to connect with God and others, so don’t miss out and settle for a quick bite and even worse creating fast-food on the go right in your own home.  By infusing each meal with gratitude for not only the chef, but a real opportunity to connect with God and others. Initiating and even concluding family dinners with prayer not only fosters gratitude but also builds familial bonds, instilling the values of faith and togetherness in our loved ones. The pause of prayer, allows room for self-control and placing God and others ahead of us which serves as a powerful lesson for growing into a virtuous person.

It took a few years to really see the fruit of this one act, but day in and day out- it makes a big difference! In our house we not only pray the standard prayer of blessing, but we pray for the poor souls, the poor and those in need. We also found that family meals bring us together- oftentimes BREAKFAST, is the most popular meal of our house- that includes a hot meal before everyone heads out the door!  This year you might want to dust off the dining room table and make that a focal point of gathering instead of eating and watching screens.

Always include a prayer when eating! Over the years, I have learned how to be able to host large gatherings and learn to keep the spirit joyful, the food yummy and keep the whole event within my budget!

Lastly, I have learned from others to share faith stories- this is one of the best ways to pass the faith on and share it with your family members.

2. Elevate Sundays: The Best Day of the Week

Sundays hold a sacred significance each week. Designating this day as the most important day of the week involves intentional efforts to honor the Lord’s Day. My first piece of advice is, Attend Mass together. Let your children know what Mass you are attending this week and set yourself up for success on Sunday! Plan ahead of time not only where you are going to Mass but even what the kids are going to wear. Lastly remember to choose a time to attend Mass that works best for the whole family.

Second, reward your family with such acts as a  well-planned brunch, or sharing simple pleasures like donuts can set the tone for a day enriched with spiritual reflection and familial joy.

Focus on the “tone” of the day, the feeling of the day and make sure that no matter what “hiccup happens” you will focus on keeping the joy of Christ in your heart. THis will make the faith so much more attractive to those around you and leave a lasting impression on your children.

I learned this advice from my parents and I am so glad that I “caught” this along the way! We had so much fun no matter what, making sure that Sunday was a family, focused fun day!

3. Invest in Your Personal Prayer Life- and Cultivate Family Prayer as well

The best advice I got from my brother is, “you can’t afford not to pray.” – he is a Catholic Priest… and shared it when I was a young mom and feeling overwhelmed and burdened by the many tasks at hand.

Oftentimes in life we can get so busy with important tasks that we can forget to include the Lord in our day-to-day plans. This leaves us rigged and oftentimes disappointed when things don’t go our way.  So fill your calendar with time to pray! I love the Scripture Lam 3:22-23, “The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning— great is your faithfulness!” This scripture is a powerful reminder that the Lord is offering us new graces each day, so remember to seek the Lord and trust in Him as well.

Can you wake a few minutes earlier to pray? Or when I pass my Sacred Heart image in my home, I offer a short prayer and teach it to my chidlren as well, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy.” or “Sacred Heart, be my strength.”

4. Ditch Detrimental Habits: Learn from Christ!

Identify and discard habits that hinder our family’s spiritual growth or disrupt harmony. Whether it’s excessive screen time or negative speech, relinquishing these habits creates space for positivity and fosters an environment conducive to nurturing our faith, mirroring Christ’s teachings.

And we need the hope of Christ to be able to change-  “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8: 28 The Lord wants to help our family to encounter new graces and be transformed. I love to think back to areas the Lord has flooded our family with new graces, from the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart to times of family prayer and discussions and forgiveness.

5. Prayer Recall the word: ACTS

Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, Supplication—ACTS: this acronym forms the cornerstone of our daily family prayer ritual. Starting with praise for God’s goodness, confessing our sins, expressing gratitude, and presenting our needs and those of others fosters unity, strengthens familial bonds, and invites God’s presence into our home.

“A Family that prays together, stays together.” This is true with praying each day

We do such things as “say I am sorry for the times we hurt one-another or pause and ask the Lord to forgive our sins.” When we make prayer part of our family life, it leaves a foundation for sharing our faith in years to come!

or pray as a family such as the Rosary or even parts of this powerful prayer!

By incorporating these practices into daily life, we honor our Catholic faith and cultivate an environment where spirituality thrives, relationships flourish, and love abounds. Let 2024 be a year where our family’s faith journey becomes an integral part of our lives, enriching every moment with divine grace and profound spiritual depth.