Hello and welcome!
Nancy here–the founder of Catholic Sprouts–and I am honored that you are interested in our Catholic Family Checklist. I have been a Catholic mother for about 13 years, and in those early years, I struggled, unsure of what a Catholic Family did every day, week, month, and year. I still have a lot to learn, but I am confident that if our family strives to do these things, we will be growing closer to each other and closer to the very heart of Jesus.
Now, do we do these things perfectly? Um…no. But we try! Each day, each week, each year we start again, determined to do a tiny bit better.
To make this super usable for your family, I have created a few versions of the Checklist. You can use exactly what we use, or you can access the Canva Template and adjust it to more perfectly suit your family. Also, as a bonus, you will find a PDF of our Family Rules. This is an excellent thing to post alongside your checklist!
I worked hard to keep the Checklist brief, but I know many of these things could use a bit more explanation. Before I get to that, a little word of caution: no two families are alike. God delights in the uniqueness of our families. Therefore, take what I share here to prayer, and with God and your family members, discern what these habits will look like in your own home.
- EAT TOGETHER: Strive to sit down and have at least one meal a day with every member of the family present.
- PRAY TOGETHER: Find at least 10 minutes every day to sit and pray with your family. We do this in the evening before the kids head to bed. We have a simple prayer space set up on our lower level and each night we follow the same prayer routine:
- Begin in song
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (here is a guide if you’d like to incorporate this prayer as well https://catholicsprouts.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Divine-Mercy-Booklet.pdf )
- Read the Daily Gospel Reading and discuss
- Share personal intentions
- Ask for the intercession of our patron saints
- Recite the St. Michael Prayer
- WORK TOGETHER: It takes a lot to run a home, and each member should pitch in! Working together is also a great opportunity to learn to depend on each other and be obedient to parents. Our daily work time takes place after supper. Each of our older children has a job, and so do Mom and Dad, as we work to clean up from that day and prepare for the next.
- LAUGH TOGETHER: There is a lot of crying and shouting in our home, but there is also a lot of laughter–just like in your home, I’m sure. Bill and I deliberately add fun to our day in simple ways. For example, we clean the kitchen while singing and dancing to music and ask the kids to share the best parts of their day over supper, which usually brings some laughs.
- ENGAGE IN THE LITURGICAL SEASON TOGETHER: Our goal is to unite the hearts of our family with the heart of the Church. Therefore, when it is Lent we fast. When it is Easter we feast. When it is Advent we wait, and when it is a great solemnity…we have a big dessert! We also do this in a smaller way by reading about the “saint of the day” each day.
- RECONCILE HURTS: Feelings get hurt and grudges form in our family, just like any other. It is our goal to resolve those issues, if possible before the day is out.
- PARENTS BLESS CHILDREN: Bill says a simple blessing over each child before they head to bed. Here is what he says: “May almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you my child for time and eternity, and may this blessing remain forever with you.”
- PRIVATE PRAYER LIFE OF PARENTS: All parents must be praying for their families every single day. If you don’t have at least 10 minutes a day set aside for private prayer, form that habit first.
- ATTEND HOLY MASS: Trust me, I know how hard it is to bring toddlers to Mass, but it is super important that, as often as possible, you attend Mass as a whole family. Show them how important it is to go to Mass by wrangling those toddlers!
- FAITH DISCUSSION IN THE HOME: Your kids need to learn the Faith from you (not your parish priest, their teachers, or the youth minister. From You!!!!). But relax, teaching the Faith to your family looks like you sitting down and having a conversation with your kids. Discuss the homily from Mass. Watch a Fr. Mike Schmitz video and ask your kids what their favorite part was. Pick up a book of saint stories and read aloud to them, sharing your thoughts afterward. It is that simple–and these little discussions will make a world of difference for your kids. If your kids are still little, try coloring as you talk. This will keep their little hands busy and give you something to talk about. I love coloring these ABC’s of the Faith with my kids. Here is the free PDF: https://catholicsprouts.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Catholic-ABC-Coloring-Pages.pdf and here they are in Spanish: https://catholicsprouts.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ABC-Coloring_Pages_SPA.pdf
- SCRIPTURE READING: Proclaim God’s Holy Word out loud in your home at least once each week. An easy way to make this happen is to turn on a podcast of the Mass readings. Hit play, listen as a family, and then talk about it!
- FAMILY RECREATION: Do something fun together! We love puzzles, board games, going on hikes, swimming, and visiting friends. What does your family like to do?
- CONFESSION: Take out the trash and start over! After all, most of my sins are against my family members, so it only makes sense that, to function as a loving family, we need to celebrate the sacrament of confession regularly.
- EUCHARISTIC ADORATION: We are still working on this one! Bill and I both have personal adoration hours, but we don’t have a family hour (yet). We do stop by the adoration chapel as a family from time to time, but we are striving to visit our Eucharistic Lord more regularly.
- CELEBRATE FEAST DAYS AND BAPTISM ANNIVERSARIES: Mark the feast days of your patron saints on your calendar and celebrate! We keep it super simple. When they were little, our kids got a happy meal on their feast day. Now that they are older, we usually get ice cream. We also mark baptism anniversaries similarly.
- REVIEW FAMILY RULES: Our family rules are pretty general and might not suit everyone. Every few weeks we like to reread the rules with our kids. Since they are stated positively, each reading does a lot for our family culture. Instead of feeling oppressed by rules, we feel uplifted and proud of the family we are.
- GO ON A PILGRIMAGE: Each year our pilgrimage looks different. One year over spring break we set out for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. Another year our family vacation took us to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and we stopped by a beautiful church for Sunday Mass that had burned down and been rebuilt. This last year we took an odd Saturday to drive into Minneapolis to see the relics of St. Therese and her parents. Years ago we did a simple scavenger hunt of our cathedral (We used this from Catholic Kid https://www.thecatholickid.com/free-printable-catholic-scavenger-hunt-cnt-a1/). All of these things are pilgrimages. Even taking an afternoon to drive to a neighboring parish and look closely at each of its stained glass windows can be a beautiful pilgrimage for a family!
- CELEBRATE A DAY OF JUBILEE: We haven’t done this yet–but I am so excited to make it a yearly practice now that our kids are a bit older. This idea came from Scott Hahn and I can see how it will truly transform a family. To get all the details, here is Scott Hahn explaining it: https://youtu.be/D3hGqBdf3Ek?si=KgOdVz4rEDkUEc5E
And there you have it! I’m sure that many of these things are already happening in your family, so good job. We are all striving, each day, to do just a little bit better for our families. The more we work, the more these things will become habits, and the stronger, more holy our families will be.
You remain in my prayers as you strive for heaven as a family!
In Christ Jesus,