Domestic Church Ink Slingers Kasey Lent Liturgical Year

My Liturgical Suitcase: The Penitential Psalms

My Liturgical Suitcase
I never felt a weight associated with the liturgical seasons until I had children.

From the moment I held my eldest son, I knew I had the grave responsibility to raise him as a good Catholic in a world that, at times, can be a very hostile and cruel place.

Selfishly, I also wanted memories.

I wanted the cookie baking, card making, St. Nicholas shoes filling, Easter basket earning memories of a home that was built on the shoulders of a Catholic tradition.

The issue was that I wanted traditions that I hadn’t been raised with myself and I was floundering in the Pinterest perfect social media posts of bloggers and friends who had already found their secret sauce.

I was also a hormonal new mom looking for purpose and I was drinking deep from a well of insecurity.

So naturally, I tried everything.

I handpainted Jesse Tree ornaments.
I baked traditional Easter cookies that my baby couldn’t even eat yet.  
I spent hours looking for an Advent wreath that would fit on our tiny apartment table.
I agonized over the Masses I missed because of sleep deprivation and nursing troubles.

And ultimately, I felt like a failure. There wasn’t a way to do everything and be everything in the throes of early motherhood.

And then a streak of real life happened.

It started with a nasty bout of flu during the Triduum.

A pregnancy that made it difficult to enter our church because of the incense.

And recently, two Christmas seasons that were spent with very ill grandparents.

This past year, my sons and I flew across the country to be caregivers for my mother-in-law who had fallen ill during chemotherapy.

No tree.
No gifts from us.
And a church that felt foreign.

I cannot say this was ground zero. I will not lament over an important duty. It was the only right decision.

But it did break me.

It disconnected me from the constant stream of expectations I had built up for myself.

It gave me a suitcase with actual limits and asked: “What are you bringing with you?”

After essentials, there was room for three things: my Bible, my missal, and a cross to hang over the door.

As Christmas approached we were no longer hanging hand painted ornaments on a lighted tree branch. We weren’t singing Christmas carols or baking cookies. But we were returning to scripture every day. We were together and I could breathe into a season of hope in a time when I felt very alone.

For Lent, I have decided to simplify my season routine again and to focus on reading scripture with my children. My husband introduced me to the seven penitential psalms and I thought their history was worth sharing.

These particular psalms are grouped together not only because of their expressions of sorrow for sin but also because of their association with the seven deadly sins. They have often been interpreted as a type of spiritual ladder in which the reader embraces a separate virtue as he or she reads each psalm. Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly assigned them as such:

Psalm 6: Fear of Punishment
Psalm 32: Sorrow for Sin and the Desire for Confession
Psalm 38: Hope of Grace
Psalm 51: A Love of Purity and Mercy
Psalm 102: A Longing for Heaven
Psalm 130: Confidence in Divine Mercy
Psalm 143: Joy  

However, the grouping of these psalms extends much further back than Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s. St. Augustine of Hippo mentions them as early as the 5th century and is said to have had copies of them posted near his deathbed. Up until 1972, minor orders and those that received tonsure were assigned these psalms as part of a daily prayer practice.

Personally, I am planning to focus on one each Sunday of Lent, with hopes that I will reflect and re-read them during the weeks leading up to Easter. We are also holding on to our family fasting traditions, but I will be taking this time to reassess my general approach to liturgical living and to define the limits of my proverbial “suitcase.”

What am I bringing with me?

With Lent here, I have given myself more permission to look up from my daily “to-do” list. It’s been a hidden gift. I have had time to truly reflect on the talents of my friends.

Each of the Catholic ladies in my life has a beautiful and unique suitcase of their own- different shapes, depths, colors, and filled with different essentials. I have crafty friends that build Lenten roads that span the entirety of their house, friends that dig into their prayer life with saintly devotion, friends that attend morning Mass every week, friends that bake traditional breads, and friends that host every single person that is without a home regardless of their budget or chair count.

Truly, I am blessed with their example.  

Whatever you fill your suitcase with, I am honored to be traveling with you towards the same horizon. May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent.

Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Rita

2016 Advent Photo Challenge


Advent begins in less than 1 week! At Catholic Sistas we love helping you prepare for and reflect on the liturgical seasons. Some people began preparing for Advent 6 weeks ago with the Christmas Shopping Challenge that we released last year, and others have taken time to review The Official 2016 Catholic Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway, and enter the giveaway.

Another way we love preparing for and reflecting on the liturgical seasons is through our Advent and Lent Photo Challenges. As a visual person, I love the opportunity to explore, express and share my Advent season reflections and preparation for Christmas. And so I’m excited to again co-lead the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Each Photo Challenge allows us to share in images and words how the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts, minds and souls in seeing God daily. Some of the words in the Photo Challenge word-of-the-day are relatively easy, and some of them are pretty darn hard. But that’s just like our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s easy to visualize God in our lives, and other times we must deeply reflect and consider how God is present in our lives. But that’s part of what makes a Photo Challenge a great opportunity for reflection in Advent and Lent.

And so I invite all our readers to join my fellow photo-happy friends, BRITTANYADRIENNEROSEMARYCINDY and KRISTIN (and find me HERE) in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Please know you don’t have to be part of the social media world to participate in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge! While it’s definitely fun to share your photos and reflections with others, if the Advent Photo Challenge provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas, than that’s what counts.

To help you in your challenge, below you’ll find the whats, hows and hashtag info for joining the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge. I’m excited to get started on this photo challenge with y’all next week and to see how the Holy Spirit moves us all to reflect on the season of Advent and share our Catholic faith. Happy clicking (or touching your phone screen)!

How the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge Works

• Each day has a word associated with it. Snap a photo or find an old photo related to that word. The photo does not have to be faith-themed, as the goal of our photo challenges is for us to see God in our everyday lives.

• Use the hashtag #CSAdvent and any other appropriate hashtags (#wreath, #candle, #Catholic, etc) when you post your Photo Challenge photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Challenge. (CSAdvent = Catholic Sistas Advent)

• While our main platforms for the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we are present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK, @Catholic_Sistas on TWITTER and +CatholicSistas on GOOGLE+. And if you’re blogging about your Advent Photo Challenge, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• Download the 2016 CSAdvent Graphic for quick reference. Note that the dates of the weekends are a different color to help visually break up the days. Be sure to share the graphic with others and invite them to join the challenge too!




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Ten Liturgical Activities for Advent

This article would actually apply for any Catholic family, not just home educators as it deals with liturgical activities for Advent.  

Today in the United States of America we celebrate Thanksgiving.  As I thought and thought about what I could possibly write about without boring you (and really, who is online on Thanksgiving?), I thought the one thing I am most thankful for is being Roman Catholic. With that came to mind the thought that we are beginning a brand new Liturgical Year!  This time of year is SO BUSY and our lives seem to go on overdrive.  It is rather exhausting at times and reminds me of when we used to do “vacations” to theme parks- wake up, go, go, go, crazy, repeat!

A couple of years ago we decided to END the craziness in our lives during Advent and refocus on the birth of Christ. For starters, we don’t decorate for Christmas until the 24th.  It is rather convenient that my family lives in Florida and my husband’s lives in Virginia, so we do not need to leave the house for anything on the 24th and love it!  One of the things I did was create activities which were meaningful for my small children.  I think at the time they were 12, 6, 5, 3, and 1 when I made this.  This little kit is free and available to anyone with this link. I hope it will bring peace and calm to your Advent! Please make sure that you share this Catholic Sistas link if you want to share the files with others (versus sharing the files directly with them).  Thank you.

LOGO Advent

Here is what is included in this printable liturgical kit:

1. REFLECT: A form letter to Baby Jesus, listing things the child will be thankful for and what they plan on working on during Advent:


2. WORKS OF MERCY. This page is a Christkindl activity, they get to do random acts of kindness (anonymously) for someone else in the family:


3.  ENJOYMENT: Some fun coloring pages. One of the Holy Family and one to learn about the Advent Wreath.



4. CRAFT & SHARE the FAITH: Here is a craft activity to share the faith by making big Advent candles that get “lit” when they weeks continue.


5. PRAYER. Make an Advent Prayer chain to pray for a different person or thing each day of Advent.


6. CALENDAR: Learn about the Advent season by creating your own calendar.


7.  VOCABULARY: Have the children learn some Advent vocabulary words.


8.  PUZZLES. Help the Holy Family get to Bethlehem.


9. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS:  When “caught being good”, your child adds more “hay” into the manger for Baby Jesus.


10. MATH PUZZLES.  In addition to vocabulary, why not add some Math into the activities?  Here the children make “puzzles” out of the pictures of the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and the Holy Family then glue them down on the right order or sequence to remake the picture.



To access the entire file, please click on this link:

Advent – Liturgical Activities for Catholic Children

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ADVENTuresome Family Fun

Advent – Latin ad venio, “to come” — is the liturgical season anticipating the Adventus Domini, the “coming of the Lord” – Christmas!
Shorter, colder days and brightly packaged goodies are beginning to make their appearance. In this society of ‘instant’, we have the world at our fingertips…this world, that is. Things of the Eternal, however, are worthy of a longer wait and they invite our undivided attention. The season of Advent is such a time – a time of waiting and a time of longing. Contrary to our secular world, the Kingdom of God keeps time in its own way. In the Church, Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year…

so Happy New Year!

As Catholic Christians we are called to remember that the Word became Flesh, dwelling among us and the season of Advent is the precursor of this event. Many do not realize that Advent is a season of penance and of hoping for our Savior to come. It is a time of preparation, of prayer, and of meditation. As we bake cookies, create crafts, decorate, and ponder gift-giving, we are reminded of the importance of the Reason for this Season.

One of the ways at our disposal to ‘track’ the Advent season is to display an Advent wreath in our homes. This material reminder helps to warm our spirits as we anticipate the greatest gift ever given to the human race – Jesus, son of the Father, became human and therefore our Brother! As we light one candle per week, we can learn about Jesus – Who He was, is, and will always be for us! While we count down the days we can seek to imitate Him in his Gift of giving and love for all mankind.

Advent consists of four Sundays, each marked by the lighting of one candle on an Advent wreath. The penitent color, purple, is the liturgical color of this season – the same liturgical color used during Lent. The optional exception to this is the third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday – when rose/pink may be used to signify the resurgence of hope that we are feeling as Christmas approaches. As in Lent, we are also reminded to remember the poor, our prayer life, and sacrifice.

Marian and pro-life themes also come to mind during the Advent Season in a very special way. As a mother, Mary spiritually joins us in awaiting a much anticipated birth – even during difficult circumstances. She becomes our model of holy waiting for the culmination of her ‘yes’ to God through His birth. Her example of grace and purity help us model our lives after hers. During the season of Advent the special Feast of the Immaculate Conception occurs on December 8th and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas is observed on December 12.

Here is a project for you and your family to enjoy together as you count down the days, as we await the coming of Jesus!


  • 1 – 10″ paper plate (you can also use the 8-1/2″ size)
  • 4 – empty toilet paper rolls
  • 1 – sheet purple construction paper
  • 1 – sheet pink construction paper
  • 3 – sheets holiday green construction paper
  • 2 – sheets lighter green paper (construction or copy paper will suffice)
  • 4 – glitter pipe cleaners
  • 4 – mini muffin papers
  • 4 – tea lights (if necessary, these can be replaced as needed)


  • hot glue gun and glue
  • green poster paint
  • paint brush
  • ruler
  • pen or pencil
  • stapler
  • purple markers
  • glitter glue
  • red and/or green beads


    • Trace children’s (and parents’ if desired) hands on both shades of green paper and cut out. You will
      wind up with approximately 20 – 25 paper hand tracings. These will become the boughs of your wreath.
    • Cut 1 pink  and 3 purple pieces of paper measuring 4-1/8″ x 5-3/4″. These will cover your ‘candles’.
    • Paint the back of your paper plate with green paint  and allow to dry.
    • Cut a circle the size of a small to medium glass out of the center of the paper plate. This gives your wreath its shape.
    • Decorate the hands (boughs) with glitter glue, if desired.
    • Decorate purple and pink candle covers with magic marker or glitter glue if desired.
    • Staple green hands (boughs) onto the paper plate, in a circular pattern, making sure to cover the preceding staples until entire wreath is covered.
    • Glue purple and pink paper to empty toilet paper rolls.
    • Using hot glue, attach mini muffin papers into ends of toilet paper roll candles.
  • Using hot glue, attach ‘candles’ to wreath toward center of wreath.
  • While glue is still hot, encircle bottom of
    candle with glitter pipecleaner.
  • Do the same at the top of the candle to mask the joint of glue between the construction paper and muffin paper.
    • Insert tea lights into muffin papers at top of candle.
    • Using hot glue, attach green and red beads around ‘boughs’ of wreath for desired effect.

In the tradition of Advent, you can now light the appropriate number of candles for all of your family meals.

The personal aspect of this craft tailors it to your family and helps the little ones remember that this is a time of longing for Christ – born as a babe on Christmas to become the Savior of the World! In the pride and ownership that they take in this project, you will be provided many opportunities for mealtime conversations, steering your family into the proper frame of mind for this penitent season that culminates in Christmas joy!

Happy Advent!

I’d like to thank my little helpers for their assistance during this production: Lucas – 22 months, Rachel – 2, Sarah – 3, Simon – 3, Corbin – 5, Abby – 5, and Evan 7…Nana loves you!