Father’s Day is a time to remember the special bond shared between a father and his family. It should be a day of reflection and thanks.

Father’s Day also provides families with an opportunity to grow closer together in their faith. We’ve compiled a list of gifts to honor dad and continue to grow the special bond of faith shared between a father and his family.

Faith-Building Gifts for Dad

patron saint booklet

A patron saint booklet is an excellent and personal gift for dad this Father’s Day. Consider gifting him one on the saint he chose as his confirmation name.

This Father’s Day, consider getting your father something that deepens his devotion to his faith. Religious gifts for dad are the perfect way for you to show your love for your father, as well as to provide an opportunity for the two of you to pray and reflect together.

A rosary makes for a special gift for reflection. Gifting a rosary to your dad this Father’s Day is a gesture that can help you strengthen your bond united by your faith by praying together.

The Father’s Manual Book includes prayers, thoughts and reflections for fathers and even soon-to-be dads. This guide is dedicated to encouraging heartfelt contemplation through the eyes of a father.

A token or keychain is something that Dad will see every day. They are a small, portable and simple symbol of your love for your father. He’ll think of you every time he sees it. 

Give your dad a gift with special significance this year. A Patron Saint Booklet offers short biographies and prayers dedicated to saints.

Father’s Day is the perfect time to learn more about St. Joseph, the patron saint of fathers. Show your love for your father by helping him to grow closer to St. Joseph. Consider giving your father a guide on the saint matching his confirmation name for a truly personal and unforgettable gift.

Necklaces and Pendants for Dad

Trinity Crucifix pendant

A Trinity Crucifix pendant is a subtle and touching reminder of the Father’s role in the trinity.

A Catholic necklace is a great gift idea and one that allows your father to visibly show his devotion to his faith. Pendants can be simple or elegant, from a humble depiction of the crucifix to a detailed interpretation of Jesus Christ. Your father will always think of you when he wears it.

Giving your father a necklace or pendant of Christ is a simple way to show your love and appreciation for your father, as well as acknowledge his devotion. Pendants and necklaces often make excellent confirmation gifts. If your father gave you a special pendant on your confirmation day, why not get one for him this Father’s Day?

Pendants and necklaces can also be worn year-round, and are something that can be enjoyed and appreciated well beyond Father’s Day.

Give Dad the Gift of Scripture

Bible

If you give your father a Bible this Father’s Day, spend some time together reading and reflecting. Bibles can be personalized with heartfelt messages to show your appreciation for Dad.

A personalized Catholic Bible makes for an excellent and thoughtful Father’s Day gift. Having the Bible personalized with your Father’s name and a special, loving message will add to the heartfelt value and sentimentality of your gift.

For a truly memorable Father’s Day, read a passage together for a moment of quiet reflection. Whenever your father reads from his Bible, he will not only think of you but also reflect on the special bond you share together through your Catholic faith.

Spend Time with Dad this Father’s Day

The most important gift you can give Dad this Father’s Day is to express your love, appreciation and thanks for all that he has provided for you. Attend mass together on Father’s Day, or spend a relaxing afternoon together, reflecting and praying.

Father’s Day is an opportunity for you to grow closer to your father, count your blessings and grow in your faith. Take advantage of this opportunity by connecting with Dad and strengthening your bond by spending time together.

Final Thoughts

Demonstrate your love for your father by giving him a gift that strengthens his Christian faith. Rosaries and prayer books make for excellent small, practical gift options, while pendants and necklaces offer an attractive, thoughtful gift that Dad can wear all year long. Express your love for your father through a special message in a personalized Bible.

No matter what you give your father, tell him how much he means to you. Allow Father’s Day to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the blessings your father has provided. 

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Many people are veering toward meditative prayer to seek deeper meaning and grow closer to God. Rather than relying on the old tradition of simply reciting prayers, meditating on scripture has become increasingly popular.

Christian meditation is different from the meditation many are familiar with. In Eastern religions, meditation serves to empty the mind of thoughts and worries to allow for the development of a richer spirituality.

Catholics and Christians, however, meditate on a chosen passage of the Bible. They immerse themselves fully in the story and pray for a more in-depth understanding.

Meditative prayer is also a way of setting time aside for God, much like you would for a friend or family member. After all, if we are to follow Christ, if God is our father, we need to spend time in His presence. When we do, we should try to be attentive and listen, rather than continually seek favors.

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God Bible Scripture Art Typography Design Printable Card with Flower Accents

There are many ways in which we can engage in meditative prayer. Apart from choosing a passage from the Bible or reflecting on the Lectio Divina of the week, we may also use Catholic prayer cards for meditative prayer.

Most prayer cards depict an image of Christ, a Saint or of the Virgin Mary, and each card can serve to inspire a deeper and more meaningful kind of meditative prayer. The special prayer on each of the holy cards can act as a guide or pathway through our meditation.

When using a specific prayer card, you may also ask for the person depicted on the card to help and support you. You will soon experience a joyful sense of support and guidance and come to value the time spent in meditative prayer.

Choosing a Holy Card for Meditative Prayer

Many Catholics purchase prayer cards as a source of comfort and strength. Prayer cards become a part of their daily life. I have several prayer cards in my purse, and at this point, they have dog ears and look well-worn. However, they are very precious to me, and I would hate to lose any one of them.

The selection of prayer cards seems limitless, and most people choose a prayer card with their heart. Perhaps you feel a special connection to Our Lady, or perhaps you prefer choosing a prayer card depicting your favorite saint. Most importantly, choose a prayer card you love, because it will make your meditative prayer more meaningful.

How to Use a Prayer Card for Meditative Prayer

Before you begin, you need to prepare the space. Find a quiet place at home, or maybe even out in nature. If you are planning on meditating with a group, a church or community space may be most suitable. Remove any source of distraction and light some candles. Music and dimmed lighting can also make the space a little more spiritual.

You may also decorate your space with holy statues, flowers or meaningful pictures. Adding personal items can also be an excellent way to make the space special.

Many burning candles with shallow depth of field

Ensure you have a comfortable seat and simply sit down and rest for a little while.

Before you begin, choose the way in which you are going to use your prayer card. You have the following possibilities:

  • Recite the entire prayer once and simply reflect on it by imagining yourself in conversation with the person on the card.
  • Recite the prayer, line by line, pausing after each line and allowing time for reflection.
  • Gaze at the picture and allow it to inspire your meditation.
  • Recite the prayer or repeat the words on the card several times, seeking a better understanding each time you utter the words.

Choose whatever approach comes easiest to you. It’s important to make the meditation as simple and enjoyable as possible. Trying out all the different methods will eventually show you which one suits you best.

Simple Steps for Meditative Prayer

Before you begin, place yourself in God’s unending love and ask for guidance. Also, seek support from the person depicted on the prayer card. Rest and reflect for a while and continue by using one of the above methods.

prayer hands symbol old background

Once you feel fully immersed, simply remain in the space and try to be open to guidance and, most importantly, to God’s love. Breathe slowly, relax your entire body and express gratitude for this special time. If you find yourself getting distracted, read the words on the prayer card or bring your attention back to the image.

Be open and attentive and let God’s love envelop you.

Spending time in meditative prayer can be an enormous source of strength and comfort. All you need to do is give a little of your time and your heart. When you are ready to return to your daily chores, say thanks.

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Mother and son praying together. Holding rosary in hand

Jewelry has always been an important way for people to enhance their appearance and to symbolize what is important to them. The wedding ring is one of the most common and often most significant ways Americans show this. The ring symbolizes the bond between husband and wife, but it also shows the world these two people are set apart for each other. It is both a reminder to the couple and a message to the world.

Catholic jewelry can function the same way. Jewelry can be a constant reminder of faith, a physical way to remember the promises God has given us. It can also be a way to let the world know you are set apart for God. The Catholic Church even prescribes jewelry for a Bishop to wear as a symbol of his office, including a pectoral cross and a ring on the third finger of his right hand.

A Reminder of God’s Promises

The symbols on a piece of Catholic jewelry can be a simple reminder of the promises God gives us and the ways he delivers them to us. Jewelry has a unique role in this because it sits next to your skin. Every time you turn or move, your necklace bumps against your chest or your ring presses against your finger. In the same way, your Catholic bracelet is a physical reminder of God’s promises to you.

The crucifix is easily the most common symbol for Catholic jewelry, depicting the body of our Savior hanging on the cross. It reminds each of us about the glorious sacrifice that Jesus made when he died to save us. This simple image can remind us of that promise, whether we wear it on a necklace, ring or bracelet.

Here’s a short list of some of the beautiful images you can find on Catholic jewelry:

  • The Dove – The gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church
  • The Christ Anchor – Jesus is the solid anchor that keeps us stable in a stormy world
  • The Miraculous Medal – The work God accomplished through the Virgin Mary
  • Saints Images – The stories of the saints that remind us of God’s promises and their faithfulness to them
a gold chain with a crucifix

A Devotional Tool

Jewelry can also be a way to remind us to follow the Christian disciplines that help to form our faith. The rosary is the most common piece of Catholic jewelry, and it’s designed specifically for this purpose.

A full rosary is made of five sets of ten small beads, each preceded by a large bead and a space. Each bead is a physical reminder to pray a specific prayer, whether the Our Father, the Hail Mary or the Glory Be. For each decade, the person focuses on one of the mysteries, a scene from the life of Jesus Christ. You can find smaller versions of rosaries as bracelets or even rings, often with only a single decade.

A piece of jewelry can also be a way to remind yourself of a new discipline you are beginning. Just like tying strings around your finger, Catholic rings can be a way to remember your devotion.

Use it to remind you to keep a fast, pray at certain times, read God’s word or offer up a prayer for a specific person. Disciplines are an excellent way to practice faithfulness to God and to offer up your devotion to him.

Woman praying in the church. Believers meditates in the cathedral. Spiritual time of prayer

A Conversation Starter

Jewelry isn’t just for your beauty and edification. Every piece of jewelry is meant to be seen. We wear necklaces, bracelets, rings and more for others to see them just as much as we do for ourselves. Catholic jewelry can be a great way to start a conversation about the faith.

Many pieces of Catholic jewelry have one or more images of the saints. Fewer and fewer people know anything about the faith, and they may ask about those images. You can use them as starting points to tell the story of the saint and about the power of God working through that saint.

Talk about how St. Michael, the archangel, fought Satan and protects us. Recount the story of the virgin birth and the incarnation of Christ. Explain the imagery of the sacred heart and the love that Christ has for us that drove him to die on the cross for our salvation. Each of the many symbols of the church carries meaning, and it can be an easy way to start a conversation about God’s love for us.

Catholic jewelry is about more than decoration. While the images and craftsmanship are certainly beautiful, the jewelry is an outward symbol of inner devotion. Catholics can use their jewelry in many ways, as a symbol of God’s glorious promises to us, as a reminder of a discipline, as a devotional tool or as a conversation starter.

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catholic church cathedral window

Rosary rings are a great option for those who want to be able to pray the rosary when traveling or away from home. Because of their size, Rosary rings are ideal for those on the go.

Although technically a ring, and though some styles can be worn, a rosary ring is usually not meant to be worn continuously like a piece of jewelry. Instead, it is intended to be worn on either index finger when the user is ready to pray.

Rosary rings come in many styles – and because of their size – can easily be kept in a pocket, on a key ring, worn on a necklace or placed in a purse. You can easily keep them on your person, ready to be used whenever you want to pray.

Purpose of the Rosary

The purpose of the rosary is to help remember and observe certain Mysteries in the history of salvation. It is a type of mental prayer, made easier to remember through repetition. There are twenty Mysteries that the rosary was designed to help us reflect upon.

The Joyful Mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday. The Sorrowful Mysteries are said on Tuesday and Friday. The Glorious Mysteries are usually said on Wednesday and Sunday, and the Luminous Mysteries are recited on Thursday.

By design, the Rosary was meant to create a repetitious practice to harvest contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. Also, the Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

Often, people will pray the rosary with the assistance of rosary beads. Rosary beads come in a variety of sizes and designs, and they can be crafted of numerous materials.

However popular, Rosary beads are not the only option for praying the Rosary. Another popular choice for praying the Rosary is the convenient use of a rosary ring!

Catholic rosary ring

Types of Rosary Rings

Rosary rings come in numerous styles and sizes, meant to fit the needs of all individuals. Many choose a simple metal prayer ring. This Rosary prayer ring is very familiar to most. It can be used by anyone, and is usually rather inexpensive. Because of the metal, these are not usually worn on anyone’s fingers except when they pray.

If you would prefer or can afford something nicer, you may want to consider a higher-quality prayer ring. These Rosary rings are mostly made of gold or sterling silver. Unlike typical metal Rosary rings, these rings are created with a more slender design.

The 10 bumps are more discreet, but critically, still built into the ring. Because of the more streamlined design, these Rosary rings can be worn like regular jewelry rings and are intended for daily use.

Also, there are wooden rosary rings. Like metal rosary rings, wooden rosary rings are quite inexpensive. To some, they may offer a more traditional feel. However, the design and function are the same as their metal counterparts.

Rosary rings come in many designs and sizes. The bands can often be uniquely styled. The balls come in different sizes. Usually, rosary rings are topped by a crucifix shape, but not always.

To keep everyday wear convenient, higher-quality rosary rings usually do not have a protruding top, but rather a crucifix etched into the band. Since meant for use by all individuals, Rosary rings come in many sizes, including some designed specifically for men, women and children.

How to Pray the Rosary using a Rosary Ring

The Rosary ring is meant to be used just about anywhere, whenever someone wants to pray. The first step is to select a Rosary ring that appeals to you and that you are comfortable using.

You begin by wearing the Rosary ring on the index finger of your choosing. You count the beads using your thumb to turn the ring while it sits on your index finger.

Using the Rosary ring to pray the Rosary is simple. Kiss the crucifix and make the Sign of the Cross, touching your fingers to your forehead, then to the heart, then to the left shoulder and finally to the right shoulder.

Begin praying the initial prayers of the Rosary: The Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and one Glory Be.

Next, announce the appropriate Mystery on which you’re reflecting. Once completed, then recite the Our Father prayer, touching the crucifix. Follow this with 10 Hail Marys and count using the 10 beads of your rosary ring. Remember to let your thumb comfortably turn the ring.

This is called a decade, due to the fact that it contains 10 Hail Marys. However, a decade also includes the Our Father and, usually, a Glory Be to the Father.

Repeat until you have completed all your decades, and then pray your closing prayers.

Rosary ring in palm

Rosary Rings May Be a Great Choice for You

If you want to explore a new option when praying the Rosary, a rosary ring may be the perfect choice for you. Its small size makes it simple to carry everywhere. Whenever and wherever you need to pray, you can easily take your rosary ring with you.

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At this time of year, I absolutely love to be outside in my prayer garden. I have a great little waterfall, some lovely peonies and pansies and lots of cool shade from my fruit trees. It’s a wonderful reminder of all the blessings God has given to my family and me, and it helps to ground me when I’m feeling stressed or simply disconnected from the world around me.

Are you considering a prayer garden? Do you already have a nice outdoor space that could use something more meaningful and spiritual? Even just a patch of grass can be a lot more with some simple touches.

St. Francis Catholic Statue

By choosing one or two saint statues for your sacred space, you can change the context and bring your faith and God’s love to light. However, the marketplace is packed with great options, and it can be tricky to choose the right one. Here’s how to sort through the myriad of choices.

Start with a Familiar Face

Remember, your space is yours. Even if you only recognize a saint because you saw him in church every Sunday, that’s enough reason to choose that statue. Anything or anyone that helps you feel connected to the Church is a good place to start.

Mary is an excellent choice for any indoor or outdoor space. Her soft face and comforting presence is a welcome sight in any home or garden.

I personally have a lovely granite and blue grotto with a small Mary statue in it that looks gorgeous under the trees. She and I have some beautiful, quiet moments together, and the kids have really taken to her as well because, well, she’s family.

Catholic yard statuary

Just Feel It

In addition to Mary, I also have a Saint Francis statue because I love animals and so do my children. His story was one of the first that truly inspired me. His conversion, dedicated to living as simply and humbly as possible and honoring nature, always struck a very deep chord with me. He’s a reminder that all of God’s creations are worthy of our love and care, and I often offer up my prayers to him.

Catholic statues serve a purpose; they connect us with a higher, invisible force. By surrounding ourselves with certain images and representations of our faith, we help it grow stronger.

So, if you have a particular angel or saint that calls to you, reach for his or her likeness when shopping for statues. You will be much happier to have it in your house and feel better about praying to it every day.

St. Francis Catholic Statue

Heighten Something You Cherish

What is something you celebrate in your home? Is it quiet meditation? Storytelling? Art? Whatever it is, you can almost always find a saint or two to represent it.

Saint Cecilia has a special place in our hallway because of her guardianship over singers. My little girl sings all day and holds St. Cecilia very near and dear to her heart. As a mom, this saint gives me a chance to talk to my daughter about how her love of music can see her through, but only if she honors her practice, stays diligent, focused and doesn’t let distractions get in her way.

She’s a little young for a talk about virginity right now, but St. Cecilia stayed a virgin even through marriage, because she held such a deep devotion to her faith. I feel the lesson there is that it’s important to honor the path that God has chosen for us and not disregard his plans. When it’s time for my little darling to date, then I can build on a pre-existing relationship even more and guide her away from bad choices.

Honor a Memory

After my father died, I purchased a Saint Christopher necklace to honor his memory. Dad always traveled – he went all over Asia and through most of South America. He believed meeting new people and having new experiences were an important part of being a devout Catholic.

St. Christopher’s constant watch over travelers helps me feel closer to my departed father, and I’m currently shopping for a small statue to keep in my room.

When we look to the same sources of inspiration that those around us use, it can deepen our bonds with them, even when they’re gone. My dad would be thrilled to know that I touch the Saint Christopher medallion that hangs from my neck anytime I miss him. It reminds me that he’s never too far away, and I always need to be open to new people and new experiences.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you have an outdoor space like a little garden or altar you enjoy, or if you simply want to see the faces of more saints and angels in your home, one or two statues can be a lovely addition and a great focal point for you and your family.

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patron saint of sports saint sebastian's important message for athletes

I’d imagine every Roman Catholic has a different favorite Saint to call upon whenever faced with a particularly difficult challenge or when a particular Saint can help them through a crisis. The vivid stories of all the Saints, most of whom bravely defended their faith in the face of adversity, serve to inspire and strengthen us all.

painting of saint sebastian shot with arrows tied to a tree

Remember, however, that praying for a Saint’s support is not only good practice during times of need, but is also there at any time to support and strengthen you.

Luckily, practically all our endeavors have been placed under the guardianship of a Saint. We pray to Saint Anthony when we’ve lost something, implore Saint Jude when all else has failed and call upon Saint Francis to bless our animals and pets. The intercession of Saints serves to strengthen our faith and add weight to our prayers.

Most Catholics have a special relationship with a small number of Saints, and whenever we need help, we pray to one of these, hoping to receive support. The Saint becomes our representative before God – rightly so – because after all, these Saints have all displayed a greater love and commitment to God than most men and women.

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The Most Popular Patron Saints and Angels

The Catholic Church has a long tradition of choosing patron Saints. Today, a simple internet search will quickly produce a list of hundreds of patron Saints, all of whom have a special area of expertise.

Patron Saints are often selected because of the life they lead. Saint Francis of Assisi loved animals and nature and is, therefore, the patron Saint of ecologists. Francis de Sales was a writer and has, consequently, become an advocate for journalists and authors. Whatever profession, art or situation, you can find a patron Saint and ask for her/his assistance.

Angels and archangels are also exceedingly popular. Thousands of people pray for the protection of Archangel Michael or the assistance of Angel Gabriel. Among the most popular patron Saints are Saint Anthony, Saint Jude, Saint Francis, Saint Sebastian, Saint Christopher, Saint Patrick, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Joseph, Saint Cecilia, Saint Valentine, Saint Therese of Lisieux, St Padre Pio and Saint Christopher. These Saints have become part of our everyday spiritual landscape and can be an enormous source of comfort and strength.

graphic - most popular patron saints list

To illustrate what a powerful role patron Saints can play in our daily activities, let’s look at the lives of two of the most popular Saints: Saint Sebastian, who is an advocate for athletes, and Saint Christopher, whose medal many of us have on our car key ring or pendant.

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Saint Sebastian – Patron Saints of Sports

Recently, Saint Sebastian has become very popular. He was even named Patron Saint of last year’s Olympic games in Rio. Athletes and sports people have sought inspiration and intercession from Saint Sebastian, and we have to take a look at his life story to understand why Saint Sebastian has become the patron Saint of athletes.

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Saint Sebastian’s Life Story

Saint Sebastian is believed to have come from France and was educated in Milan. In 283 AD, he joined the army, serving the Roman emperor Diocletian. Diocletian was particularly brutal in his treatment of Christians, arresting and executing them in large numbers. Many believe that Sebastian joined the army and became an undercover preacher so he could minister to the Christians in the army and those in custody.

Because he was a highly capable soldier, he moved up the ranks quickly and became a Praetorian Guard for the Emperor, Diocletian. Secretly, Sebastian spent much of his time preaching to soldiers and prisoners, and he soon became known as a powerful healer. Throughout his life in the army, he also converted many soldiers to Christianity.

However, after several years, he was caught and sentenced to death by Diocletian. Soldiers brought him to a field and tied him to a tree. He was used as an archery target and hit by countless arrows. The soldiers eventually left, believing he was dead.

saint sebastian's journeys quote

A woman, known as Irene of Rome, bravely recovered Sebastian. Her husband had been martyred by the same emperor and consequently, she wanted to help Sebastian. Within weeks, she nursed him back to full health.

Having regained all his strength and realizing what had happened, Sebastian decided to publicly denounce Diocletian. He knew a place where the emperor would pass, waited for him and publically admonished him for his treatment of Christians.

Surprised to see Sebastian alive, Diocletian quickly had him arrested and once again sentenced to death. This time, he ordered soldiers to beat him to death with clubs. Sebastian died, and his body was thrown into the local sewer.

In a vision, Sebastian asked a woman to recover his body. She obliged, and Sebastian was buried in the catacombs of Rome. Later, his remains were dispersed, and many relics from his remains are on display in churches throughout Europe.

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Prayer to Saint Sebastian

Because of Sebastian’s strength and tenacity, many athletes pray for his intercession. The following prayer is the most well-known prayer to Saint Sebastian.

Dear Commander at the Roman Emperors court,

You chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread

The faith in the King of Kings – for which you were condemned to die.

Your body, however, proved athletically strong, and the executing arrows extremely weak.

So, another means to kill you was chosen, and you gave your life to the Lord.

May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint clearly has been. Amen

Many athletes recite this prayer before competition and may also carry a Saint Sebastian medal.

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What We Can Learn from Saint Sebastian

When we reflect on the life of Saint Sebastian, there are several qualities we can aspire to attain:

aged painting of saint sebastian tied to a post
  • Work Ethic: Saint Sebastian was deeply dedicated to his work in the army, as well as to his service to Christ. His quick rise to higher ranks illustrates a strong work ethic, even in the face of great adversity. His dedication to Christ was even more pronounced. By joining the army to spread the word of God and support Christians in the army and in prison, he put his own life in danger.
  • Courage: Saint Sebastian displayed enormous courage, not just during his time as an undercover soldier, but especially after the first execution attempt. He risked his life to serve Christ and preach the gospel.
  • Endurance: Saint Sebastian bravely endured and survived the first execution attempt. This can be particularly inspiring for athletes who feel like giving up during an endurance test or competition.

It seems fitting that Saint Sebastian is the patron Saint of sports.

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Catholic Athletes

As Catholics with a public profile, athletes have a responsibility to live out their faith. Catholic athletes like Bonnie Blair (a speed skater) are involved in organizations such as the Catholic Relief Services. Some other notable Catholic athletes are:

  • Jordan Speith (Golf)
  • Brett Favre (Football)
  • Timothy Goebel (Figure Skater)
  • Joe DiMaggio (Baseball)
  • Kobe Bryant (Basketball)
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Saint Christopher – Patron Saint of Travelers and Motorists

Even though Saint Christopher was never canonized by the Catholic Church, he is one of the most popular Saints. The story of how he carried Christ across a ferocious river is well known, and many people pray for his protection before traveling.

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Saint Christopher’s Life Story

Finding Saint Christopher in history books is difficult. The name “Christopher” means “Christ-bearer” and is associated with the Egyptian Saint, Menas. Christopher may also have been a martyr by the name of Reprobus, who died in 251 AD. However, many legends and popular stories speak about the Saint Christopher we know and love today.

In these stories, he is described as a man of exceedingly tall stature. One day, he decided to serve the greatest king on earth and went to offer his services to the local ruler. who gladly accepted Christopher’s offer. When Christopher saw the king making the sign of the cross at the mention of the devil, he deemed the devil to be more powerful than the king and decided to serve the devil instead. He joined a band of thieves, the leader of which called himself the devil.

Believing he was now serving the most powerful king, Christopher was surprised to see the devil avoiding the sign of the cross and once again realized there was someone even mightier.

st christopher with baby painting patron saint of travellers

Wishing to find out about Christ, Christopher went to a local hermit to seek advice. The hermit educated him about Christ’s life and teachings and told Christopher to fast and pray.

But because Christopher was so tall and strong, he vehemently objected to fasting and asked if there was another way to serve the Lord. Following deep reflection, Christopher offered to help travelers across a nearby river, reassured by the hermit that doing so would please Christ.

The river was extremely dangerous, and many people had lost their lives trying to get to the other side. One day, a small child approached Christopher and asked to be taken across. Mid-stream, the waters suddenly rose, and the child became exceedingly heavy. Exerting himself completely, Christopher finally managed to bring the child to safety.

When Christopher inquired as to why he was so heavy, the child told him that he was Christ and that Christopher had indeed carried the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished from Christopher’s sight.

According to legends, Christopher left and started to evangelize people and eventually arrived in Lycia, Asia Minor. After several attempts to execute him, Christopher was eventually captured and beheaded.

Christopher only became popularized in the 7th century, when several churches were named after him. Even though he was never officially beatified, Saint Christopher is one of the most cherished Saints in the Catholic tradition.

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Prayer to Saint Christopher

Many people pray to Saint Christopher before setting off on a journey.

Saint Christopher “Motorist’s Prayer:

Grant me O Lord a steady hand and watchful eye.

That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.

Thou gravest life, I pray no act of mine

May take away or mar that gift of Thine.

Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear me company,

From the evils of fire and all calamity.

Teach me to use my car for others need;

Nor miss through love of undue speed

The beauty of the world; that thus I may

With joy and courtesy go on my way.

St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers,

Protect me and lead me safely to my destiny.

st christopher silver medal charm on bracelet
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What We Can Learn from Saint Christopher

Saint Christopher continues to inspire us with his strength and courage, and perhaps we can try to replicate some of his many qualities:

  • Humility: Throughout his life, Saint Christopher wanted to serve the greatest king, despite his own strength and power. He humbled himself to imitate Christ’s humility
  • Desire to Serve Others: Saint Christopher served and protected whomever he brought across the river. After carrying Christ, he went on to serve Christ by evangelizing thousands of people.
  • Endurance: Saint Christopher endured adversity throughout his life and remained dedicated to serving Christ.
  • Desire to Protect Others: Today, we pray to St. Christopher for protection, knowing of his desire to protect the people he carried across the river.

Saint Christopher displayed such strength and determination that it is apt for us to ask for his intercession whenever we travel. Despite the power of the river and the weight of Christ, Saint Christopher endured and brought each person across the river safely.

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Saints Inspire and Strengthen Us

Being a good Christian can be difficult, particularly when we are going through difficult times. Sometimes, we struggle to believe and often feel alone.

woman praying in pew at catholic cathedral

During such times, reflecting on the Saints and asking for their intercession can be an enormous source of strength as well as inspiration. The special prayers to Saints can comfort and encourage us throughout our lives.

Perhaps Saints are positioned between Christ and us, because they were fully human but managed to dedicate their lives entirely to Christ. In that sense, they are human just like us, while also possessing strength and grace far greater than our own could ever be. Consequently, they inspire, guide and protect us.

athletic hiker walking toward three crosses divider

Patron Saints – A Source of Everyday Comfort

Patron Saints are undoubtedly a great source of comfort. Whatever activity we engage in, we can ask for the support of the relevant patron Saint. Saint Sebastian has undoubtedly inspired thousands of athletes, and Saint Christopher continues to offer protection on our journeys. It is immensely comforting to know there is a patron Saint for all occasions and activities.

Patron Saints can play a role in our everyday lives and in our most ordinary activities. By praying for their intercession and reflecting on their inspirational strengths we can perhaps grow in faith, love and courage.

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Creatures of Habit

Over the years of teaching, I have learned that students hate change. Once students get into their groove and figure out their classes, they really don’t want to change. I moved the desks around a couple of times one semester and each time I thought I was going have a revolt on my hands. Students are just reflecting who we all are though, because we are all creatures of habit. We get settled into our routines and don’t really stray too far from that routine.

At our church, we go to the 8:30 mass and we see the same people, every Sunday. There is a comfort to it. You get to know your fellow parishioners and feel comfort with having a familiarity about your day. For a lot of us, it also means that we probably grew up with one priest. That priest was at the parish when you were baptized and possibly even married you. Years of seeing the same face for years and years was a comfort to us and they even became a part of the family.

Shifting Priests makes for Strong Parishes

However, as Bob Dylan famously said, “The Times They Are A Changing’” While each diocese is different, most Bishops move priests around to different parishes every 6 years or so, as decreed by the USCCB, and sometimes more like 2-12 years. In the Sioux Falls diocese, it is about every 7 years or so that priests get moved around. Of course, if there is a death or some other circumstance, priests can be moved based upon the needs of the communities.

The main reason for moving priests so often is to make sure parishes stay fresh and healthy. It keeps the focus on Jesus Christ instead of the priest. If a parish was to have a priest for 20 years, the personality of the priest would be driving the parish, not the sacraments.

At our parish, Father Stevens informed us this past Sunday that he is being transferred to a different parish after being with us for the past 7 years. For me, he is the first priest that I’ve known really well that I am losing. Both being a convert and our nomadic lifestyle when we were first married meant that I didn’t really know my previous priests too well and so didn’t think about it as much. This time is different. Megan and I are very active in our parish and have gotten to know Fr. Stevens well over the past few years. We’ve even spent the last couple of years helping plan St. Therese’s 100th anniversary.

I’m going to miss Father Stevens, but know that wherever he ends up, his deep devotion to God and his wonderful homilies will inspire those who have the chance to hear them and work with him.

How to Learn to Like the New Guy

One of the problems with change is that we are quick to judge something that is different. Even if it is better, we won’t like it. That favorite chair of yours that really should have been replaced years ago “feels” better than the new one you got. It really doesn’t, but it seems that way because it’s new and not what we are used to.

I know this is what a lot of us are going to feel come July when we get a new priest. He won’t be like Father Stevens and for that, we will judge him. How are his homilies? No way can they be as compelling. What will be his focus? Will he be too lenient or too strict? Will he drive parishioners away or bring them in? These are all questions that we are going to face when we meet our new priest.

So what do we do? Deuteronomy 31:8 gives us some idea: “Yahweh himself will lead you; he will be with you; he will not fail you or desert you. Have no fear, do not be alarmed.”

I think a good way to handle a change in a priest is to do so with a clean slate.

  1. Pray –  Don’t worry about what your new priest will be like and put trust in God’s hands that He is with you.
  2. Avoid comparing your new priest with your old one. Each of us is different and have a difference in the way we see things.
  3. Reach out – there is no better time than when the priest is new to the area to have him over for dinner. Or meet for coffee. He has a lot of new people he needs to get familiar with, so why not help it out a bit?

Get Out of your Comfort Zone

One of the reasons why I do like to change things up in my classroom is to jostle students out of their comfort zone a little bit. I want to challenge them and get them to not be complacent – and not just where they sit, but also how they think. If you are going through a change in your parish, don’t fret about it, but take it as an opportunity to grow your faith. Get a little uncomfortable and push yourself. You never know, it could be a great thing.

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Saint Faustina Catholic Medal

Catholics throughout history have used medals as a reminder of the faith and the lives of the saints. The images of the saints remind us about the details of their lives, and they give us a way to remember to imitate the holiness of the great ones who have gone before us. Each time someone places one of these medallions around their neck, it’s a physical reminder to be faithful.

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Priest celebrate a mass at the church

There is a great deal of history and symbolism behind all the different vessels and vestments we use in the practice of our faith. From the cassock to the ciborium and the crosier to the burse, we have a lot of items and terms that are foreign to modern ears.

We have so much history and tradition, the amount of lore associated with Catholic traditions can seem overwhelming.

However, while at times it may seem intimidating, remember that the basic tenets of the Catholic faith remain the same.

As Catholics, we learn and grow by increasing our understanding of the underlying histories and meanings behind the holy traditions of the Church such as the history of the pyx as the sacred vessel for the Eucharist.

The Pyx

A pyx (or pyxis) is a small container that priests or Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers use to carry the consecrated host to people who cannot, for whatever reason, attend Mass that day. Most often, they bring the Eucharist to those who are sick or homebound.

The containers are usually shaped like a cylinder. The lid, often with a sacred symbol or image on the top, may have a hinge and clasp or simply lie flat on the top. Most pyxes are made from gold, brass, silver or pewter to honor the sacred host that it contains.

Inside of Pyx

The use of metal in construction is also important in cleaning the vessel. Using non-porous metal means that crumbs and particles of the Blessed Sacrament will not be embedded or lost. Taken a step farther, some pyxes are constructed with a bump in the bottom to make retrieving the individual hosts without crushing or breaking easier.

Engraved Pyx

When a Eucharistic Minister places the consecrated host into a pyx, he will put the pyx in a small pouch, called a burse. The pouch is usually made out of leather or fabric, and it can be drawn closed. Often, the minister will fix the burse around his neck when he carries the pyx.

The Word, “Pyx”

The name “Pyx” comes from Greek and Latin words. The Greek root word is πυξις, pronounced puxis, and the Latin is a transliteration of the Greek word pyxis.

When the church was first formed, the term was commonly used for any kind of box. If you wanted to carry around your gold coins to go to the market, you might put them in a pyxis.

In the United Kingdom, they still use the word “pyx” in this way. They have a ceremony, called the trial of the pyx, where newly minted coins are tested to see if they fit the metallurgical standards set by the government. This tradition has remained the same since the 13th century.

Eventually, the word “pyx” came to refer to only sacred vessels. This shines a light on the naming conventions for almost all our liturgical items.

The name for nearly every piece of liturgical clothing or communion vessel was once a common term for everyday items. When the culture began to change, and people stopped using those words, the church kept them until they became terms that refer only to sacred items.

The Sacred Pyx

In the Middle Ages, the pyx was the most common term used for the cup which held the Eucharist. In the Customal of Cluny, a document from the eleventh century, it speaks of a deacon taking a golden pyx out of a large dove that hangs permanently above the altar. It would be like the tabernacles that churches use to hold the blessed Eucharist today.

Golden bird statue

In some places, the word pyx referred to a special kind of container in a specific shape, a dove. This custom developed especially in late antiquity. The example above comes from France.

They would use this pyx to hold the Blessed Sacrament between celebrations of the Eucharist. This pyx would then be suspended above the altar for all to see.

The dove, as you may know, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and it is a common image on pyxes in the Catholic Church, as well. The dove helps to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit in the mass, and it connects the work of the Holy Spirit to what the priest does in consecrating the bread and the wine. Eventually, the pyx became known as only the cylindrical objects we use to carry the host.

Eastern Christians

Garden dedication area

Eastern Christians, however, use the word to refer to their tabernacles which contain the consecrated host between celebrations of the Eucharist. This pyx is especially used during the season of Lent for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

This Eucharistic liturgy uses already consecrated bread and wine to celebrate it on weekdays during Lent. This liturgy tones down the joyful character of the Sunday liturgy in keeping with the somber and repentant themes of Lent.

The Catholic Church has many wonderful traditions that help to give meaning and history to our practices. It also makes everything a bit more confusing for the new Christian.

We use Latin terms and refer to items that no one outside the church would know. It’s important for each of us to familiarize ourselves with these traditions, so we can answer questions and pass on our faith to the next generation.

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We used to pray the rosary as a family when I was a child, and though I may have found it tedious at times, I cherish these memories. Often, my siblings and I would get the giggles in between Hail Marys. However, a beautiful calm spread throughout the house whenever we prayed together.

Praying together sowed the seeds for my spiritual journey, and children, even in today’s high-tech world, still harbor a deep sense of spirituality and mystery. As parents, it is up to us to awaken this inherent spirituality as, one day, it will become a great source of strength to our children.

As a mom, I found it important to take the time to select the appropriate set of rosary beads for my kids. The beads you choose will become a beloved heirloom and provide them with memories they will treasure.

Mary Mother of God

Mary mother of god

Before you start looking at the rosary beads for children, it’s important to remember to make the rosary somewhat child-friendly. Kids probably respond best to stories, and therefore, you may like to start off by telling them lots of stories about Mary and her son, Jesus. By introducing both as real people, your children will make a personal connection, and, undoubtedly, they will want to hear more.

There are lots of lovely children's Bibles and books, crafts and coloring activities available and, by using such resources, you’ll help your kids to build a relationship with Mary and Jesus. Once you feel they understand, you may introduce the rosary and talk about finding special rosary prayer beads.

Rosary Beads for Kids

The type of rosary beads you buy for your children will very much depend on your child’s age and gender. Nowadays, you can find special rosary beads for kids of all ages. Let’s look at some of your best options:

Small Baby Fabric Rosary Beads

If you’d like to introduce your baby to the rosary, you may like to opt for a fabric, cuddly-toy, one-decade rosary. This rosary features a rather large, stuffed fabric ring with ten fabric beads and a soft rubber cross attached.

These beads are soft and snuggly, and your baby can easily hold onto the beads. This is a wonderful way of introducing the rosary early and you can, on occasion, add a prayer or a story about Mary and Jesus.

Teething Rosary Beads

Most little ones will at some point need a teething ring, so why not get teething rosary beads. They are made from colorful silicone, knotted safely and perfect to chew on!

Colorful, Chunky Wooden Rosary

Personally, I love the simplicity of a wooden rosary and the colorful, chunky beads. The children’s variety usually comes in strong primary colors, often with a different color for each decade. These beads also have a beautiful, wooden crucifix and make the perfect beads for boys or girls.

Blue rosary beads

Other Types of Rosary Beads

Rosary beads are available in all colors and shapes. It's beneficial to allow your child to pick her/his favorite, because there are plenty of choices, and this is truly a personal decision. Girls usually love jewelry, and jewel-based rosaries are very popular. There are also rosaries with sports themes like football and basketball for young athletes.

Personalized and Themed Rosary Beads

Personalized rosary beads, featuring your child’s name, make for a very special, meaningful gift. By the same token, if your child has an affinity to a particular Saint, it’s lovely to present her/him with rosary beads dedicated to her/his favorite Saint. I've also seen stunningly beautiful Guardian Angel rosary beads.

Yellow and black rosary beads

Make Your Own Rosary Beads

My first choice would always be to make rosary beads with your child, because it will make them so special and unique. From buying beautiful beads to choosing a crucifix, and perhaps various medals, right through to investing the time to make the rosary beads, makes it an unforgettable and meaningful process for you and your child.

While you are making the rosary beads with your kids, you might consider telling stories about Mary and Jesus and your own experiences as a child growing up Catholic. You can turn the experience into a spiritual journey.

Your child will enjoy the crafting and be immensely proud of the rosary beads. No doubt, self-made rosary beads will be greatly treasured.

Engage Your Child and Make It Meaningful

The most important thing about buying rosary beads for your child is to make it a spiritual, personal process, one your child can understand and cherish. By doing so, you instill a love and affection for the rosary that is sure to be a great source of strength to your child throughout his or her lifetime.

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