Friends, my favorite part of the liturgical year is upon us! I simply love, love the time that begins with Michaelmas (September 29th) and extends through the many wonderful feasts in October, the month of All Souls in November, and then Advent and Christmas. It’s so magical.
I was raised Catholic, but since my grandparents aren’t Catholic, I didn’t have any liturgical celebrations in the home. Neither did Atticus, as he was raised Methodist. But one thing that is so important to us both is creating a home environment that is steeped in the beautiful cycle of feasts and fasts that is the liturgical year.
What this means is that I’ve had to do a lot of research, and that by and large, we’ve had to make our own traditions. Even though it sometimes seems a daunting task, and I nearly always forget at least one big feast day a year, being the keeper of traditions for my home and family is one of the most joyful aspects of fulfilling my vocation.
I don’t know where you all are coming from on this (but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!), but I for one am always, always looking for ideas on how to make the feasts of the Church year come alive in our home, which is, after all, the domestic church.
So I thought I’d share some resources and ideas I’ve found lately, plus some ideas for the feasts coming up soon. Also I’m going to create a separate page where I hope to add posts with ideas and resources for celebrating the liturgical year. I would love, love to hear any traditions that you lovely readers have to share!
Now on to the good stuff!
Michaelmas (Feast of St. Michael, September 29th)
September 29th is actually the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the archangels. Though the feast is most commonly associated with Michael, and thus called Michaelmas.
Depending on culture, there are a ton of things associated with St. Michael’s feast.
In Celtic nations (including Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England) a bread called St. Michael’s Bannock is very common, as is roasted goose and apples. In Scotland, carrots play a large role in the celebration.
In Italy, gnocchi pasta is popular on Michaelmas.
Many people also make angel food cake, or angel hair pasta with white sauce.
One of the most adorable ideas for kids that I’ve seen is to make devil’s food cake, then get plastic cocktail swords and “stab” it, a la St. Michael as he’s often depicted defeating satan. I am so doing that when Maggie is older!
Check out Catholic Cuisine for more ideas and some recipes. Also, the book The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould is a great resource.
On the other-than-food front, you can pray the St. Michael prayer, and the Angelus. There’s also the Michaelmas daisy, also known as the purple aster. Pretty, huh?
St. Therese of Lisieux (October 1)
St. Therese, often called the “Little Flower” is one of most popular saints of the last 100 years. Her “little way” of holiness is often imitated, and she was made a doctor of the Church because of the profundity of her insights.
She is associated with roses, so one of the best ways to celebrate her feast day is with roses, or if you prefer, rose colored food!
Catholic Cuisine has a cute recipe for “rose punch” in honor of St. Therese.
I think this year we’ll try to get some roses (I love having fresh flowers around), but in future years it would be fun to make papier mache roses in honor of the “little flower”.
We’re also going to have French food! “Beef Burgundy” which is the lazy woman’s version of Boeuf Bourguignon. Someday I will make Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, but not this year.
St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th)
I am not even going to explain a little bit about who St. Francis is, because, seriously. Everyone knows about St. Francis. Even Protestants love him.
My favorite idea for St. Francis’ feast is to make Italian food from the Umbrian region, where Assisi is located. Catholic Cuisine has a recipe for chicken that looks delicious.
Also, any Italian food (even pizza) could work as a St. Francis celebration.
Many parishes have a blessing of animals, where you can take your pet(s) and there is a little ceremony of blessing done in the church parking lot. We keep meaning to take Sirius, but haven’t yet. One of these years we’ll do it!
Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7th)
The whole of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, but her actual feast day is the 7th.
Of course, the best thing to do on this feast is to pray the rosary and learn more about this devotion which is one of the oldest in the Church. For those of you crafty-minded folks, you could even try your hand at making a rosary.
I can’t wait until we have a whole mess of kids and/or we can get together in a big group with all of our friends who have a mess of kids because what I really want to do is make a cupcake rosary. Yes, that is as awesome as you think it is.
The other idea which I love, is to make “victory vessels” to remember the origins of this feast, which is the Battle of Lepanto. The victory vessels are twice baked potatoes turned into ships with toothpick sails. Genius!
The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould
Shower of Roses (awesome, awesome blog)
That should cover the first two weeks of October’s feasts. Look for another post on the second half, including the feast of St. Teresa of Avila and All Hallows Eve.