Welcome back to our new monthly feature! “Faith at Home: Planning Ahead for…” is designed to help you think through the month to come. We launched this in August to many positive comments. We’re glad if it can simplify observing the liturgical year at home.
When we did the August version a few people noted that I forgot to mention the eclipse on August 21st… and they were correct! I may miss something every single time; Grow Christians is focused on progress more than perfection.
But Grow Christians is also a community, which means every time I post a Planning Ahead, I’ll also ask you what you are planning ahead to do in your own faith practice. Please share your thoughts and ideas as we grow together.
I did end up observing the eclipse after my fifteen-year-old gave me a stern lecture about how important it is that we take time to wonder at God’s Creation. I was very happy to get that lecture!
And now… it is about to be September.
Liturgical Time in September
The Season after Pentecost is the green season, and we’ll be here for quite a while. It’s also fall, and the new school routine. Heather Sleightholm writes,
Even more than the start of the New Year in January, the beginning of the school year has always had the exciting feeling of new opportunities and new adventures.
Those same feelings of excitement can also transfer to church as Sunday school starts up again, and opportunities like acolyting or singing in the church choir come up in church schedules. If you’re hoping to get faith back into your routine, be sure to check with your parish to see what’s coming up in the fall, and dovetail the excitement of ‘back to school’ with ‘back to church.’
She shares five different ideas to integrate faith at home this fall. Read more here.
Major and Lesser Feasts in September
Here’s a simple, single downloadable printable one-page PDF with September’s major and lesser feasts to help you with your planning. This month has three major feasts: Holy Cross Day, the feast of St. Matthew, and the feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Starting September 14th with Holy Cross Day, it’s a feast a week until the end of the month. Holy Cross and St. Matthew are both on Thursdays, and St. Michael and All Angels is on Friday.
Although not a major feast of the church, the feast of Hildegard on September 17 is worth noting. Read more about her here.
Here are some ways to mark the church’s major feasts with your family:
To honor Holy Cross Day on Thursday, September 14th
It has become a day for recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ’s victory over death, and a reminder of His promise, “And when I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”
Start by reading Allison Sandlin Liles’ excellent reflections on talking about the cross with children.
During Holy Week emotions are heightened for grownups and children alike, which makes it difficult to have a composed conversation about Jesus and the cross. The Feast of the Holy Cross offers us an alternative in mid-September, far away from the dramatic narrative of Holy Week. While Good Friday focuses on the Passion of Jesus and the crucifixion, Holy Cross Day celebrates the cross itself, the instrument of Jesus’ suffering and death, but also of our salvation.
This would be a good day for a meal that includes basil, since there is a tradition that basil led St. Helena to discover the Cross (even according to Bon Appétit!)
A dessert in the shape of a cross could also be a meaningful way to show that the sorrow of the cross has turned to the sweetness of salvation.
To honor St. Matthew on Thursday, September 21st
Maria Nolletti Ross writes,
I believe that Matthew should be the patron saint of transformation because he changed so suddenly and completely from tax collector to apostle!…
In honor of the transformation of St. Matthew, take in a live or recorded performance of the musical Godspell based his gospel. Or listen to the soundtrack as you transform the “salt of the earth,” and “grains of the field” into something sweet and scrumptious (recipe included):
To honor St. Michael and All Angels on Thursday, September 21st
Mary Lee Wile has provided many ideas to celebrate this feast on the site for her book Season of Angels. She writes,
The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, also known as Michaelmas, dates back to the 6th Century, making it the oldest of all angel festivals. The feast day now also honors Raphael and Gabriel as well as Michael. It is celebrated September 29 in the Western Church, while the Eastern Church celebrates on November 8. In Ireland, Michaelmas is one of the major feast days of the liturgical year.
The Bigger Picture
September is an incredibly busy time in our house. School sports are in full swing, and that means I’m in the car more than I like. I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those mothers who was constantly on the go taking kids places. Now I am one of those mothers who is constantly on the go taking kids places. Once my kids hit teenage years it became evident that they would actually grow up and leave home. I want them to remember their home and family as supportive and encouraging. And even with just one sport per child, between meets and practices… Lord, have mercy.
I’m hoping for some sabbath time this September, even though it may feel scarce. Sabbath time is a gift from God to us, a treasure worth keeping. But our culture isn’t set up to honor it, and I struggle.
Want to write for us in September? Send us a story about how your family finds – or seeks – sabbath time. What is rest for you? How do you find ways to rest in God’s presence? Or just send us your story of practicing faith at home.
How will you practice faith this September? Did I miss anything?