Four months into the monotony of working from home, I find myself asking the question at least once every twenty-four hours, “What day is it again?” My confusion is probably exacerbated by the fact that my husband and I are both teachers with side hustles, so work follows us home and piles up. Add a bored toddler who is desperate for socialization to the mix and our family is juggling distracted work six days a week from the time we awaken until the moment heads hit their pillows. Our weeks are a blur of sunrises, kiddy shows, laptops, the backyard, cooking, cleanup, sunsets, and bedtimes.
While most days seem to blend, the one day that has differentiated itself during this global pandemic is Sunday. Perhaps because of utter exhaustion, we surrendered and acknowledged that we absolutely need to fully observe the Sabbath as a day of rest. It is the one day of the week on which our laptops are not opened, emails go unchecked, and our daughter’s beloved animated friends “stay home.”
Though much needed, the stark contrast from “overload” to “nothing” can be glaring and leaves us feeling a little antsy, unable to fully enter into the restfulness for which the day is intended.
Cue Katie Cassady and her new digital resource, Sunday Fun for Faith-Filled Families: Ideas, Prayers and Activities to Celebrate the Lord’s Day.
The Help We All Need
When I opened Katie’s resource and began reading, I felt an immediate sense of reprieve.
In the very beginning of the booklet, she states her hope that the activities will allow the reader to be nourished by the intentional incorporation of rest. I am guessing that as a mom of young children herself, Katie naturally recognizes the problem many of us face. Though we desire to set Sundays apart and enter into rest—a lot of the time we do not actually know how to do so, and we lack the energy and the ingenuity to figure it out. It is hard to feel “nourished” when the task that lies ahead seems depleting.
Thus, Katie has done all the hard work for us, providing us with ten distinct and familiar areas of focus from which to choose. The best part is that every “feature” is something that could be done at home and for free. To give you an idea of what you will find among the pages, the foci range from faith-filled themes like “fire” and “water” to “create” and “listen” .
The Structure + Layout
The booklet is short, well-organized, and a very easy read. A brief twenty-five pages, one could give it a quick read all at once before putting the ideas into practice. However, one could just as easily only read one section at a time, either a couple days before, or even on Sunday itself! The beauty of the layout is that the activities are easy to incorporate, whether you are a notorious planner or an infamous procrastinator. Both personality types can utilize and benefit from this resource!
In addition, the layout of each section is systematic, making it incredibly easy to gage a personal ebb-and-flow as one reads. Not only that, it allows for the flexibility of skipping ahead or flipping back to easily find the information for which one is looking. Each installment looks like this:
- A brief explanation of the focus through the lens of our Catholic Faith.
- Scripture verses that highlight the focus (which could easily be used to facilitate meditative prayer, casual conversations, or deep discussions).
- A “Sabbath in Action” section (which provides age-appropriate questions and activities categorized for both adults and children).
- A prayer highlighting the focus to blanket the household in grace.
Combining creativity with simplicity, Katie’s ideas inspire a sense of ease and can-do attitude when it comes to celebrating the Sabbath.
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Ways to Utilize It
It is obvious the resource was intentionally designed to provide both structure and flexibility. One family could pick it up and move through each section chronologically in the order in which they appear.
Another person may prefer to jump around a bit depending on the plans they already have for that day. For example, an individual who plans to wander the shelves of the local used bookstore may decide to flip to the section of the resource entitled “Read.”
Still another may combine two or three of the focuses. A family that always meets with extended family for Sunday dinner may utilize the ideas found under “Connect,” “Feed,” and “Unplug.”
One could even choose their focus based on the themes found in the Mass readings. If the Gospel for the day is the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, a family could jump to the section entitled, “Grow” and spend the day reflecting on all things green, or looking through family photo albums to see the ways in which everyone has changed over time.
Not Just for Now
The possibilities for utilization are truly endless! And what I believe to be the best part, is that this booklet would be of benefit for longer than just 10 weeks. It can be used over and over again, inside the home and outside the home, during a global pandemic and after it goes away. The ideas are concrete, but also naturally inspire because of their foundation on reflection. Thus a reader may find themselves celebrating the same theme in different ways for years and years.
I envision my own family always utilizing the “Feed” focus, in feeding ourselves, in celebrating friends, in taking care of pets or feeding the ducks in the pond; and I see my daughter naturally growing in a spiritual understanding of what it means to be fed through all our simple Sunday fun.
Though the title indicates the resource was written with families in mind, I truly believe that this is a resource that Catholics in all stages of life could benefit from. I even found the sections that were designed more with the kiddos in mind to be insightful for my own spiritual life —and I have a degree in Theology!
Katie’s resource is straight-forward, uncomplicated, and refreshingly manageable. It’s sheer simplicity allows for utility, and because of that I am sure it will leave an impact on any individual or family who puts her ideas into practice and intentionally invests in a restful Sabbath in their home.
Will you be using this resource? Let me know which section you’re most excited about!
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