When the Saints Come Marching In
All the earlier talk about selecting a family patron for your Heaven Window does not mean to shadow the fact that family members have their own personal patrons. Pulling the world together happens (and healing the home happens) when those who “made it,” lead us to eternal glory. Following how my patron lived for others, I experience how yet another disciple answered Jesus’ command, “Love one another as I loved you” — a real, living Communion of Saints.
Baptismal names reveal the identity of our individual Patron Saints. Most days of the Catholic calendar are set aside to commemorate Gospel personalities or historic Saints. As a matter of fact, the original Catholic “birthday” celebrates a Saint’s death, that is their entry or “birth” into heaven. This, earliest of all birthdays, marks their entry into the ageless eternity day of heaven. In the not so distant past, people were named after the Saint, whose feast day fell on or closest to their actual birthday. More over, for decades, godparents have been entrusted with the responsibility of providing their godchild with an image of their patron.
At Confirmation, we ourselves chose a sainted name establishing a life-long relationship with them and their mission. Our relationship with our personal patron is an intimate way to draw strength, protection, and inspiration. Nurturing this bond means we need to know the Saint’s bio — the unique way they followed Jesus’ commands. After researching their legacy, each person needs to procure and honor a favorite image of their personal patron in their room.
Honoring your patron’s image means its presence reminds you to converse with them and to tell them your cares, hopes, and worries. The Patron Saint wants to hear from you during good times and challenging moments. You’ll find solace in them by asking for protection from harm, inspiration in decision making, discernment in difficult choices, assistance when weary, and just by knowing they accompany you everywhere. The personal image of a patron reminds us of their constant presence and mutual friendship. Get to know them well now; you’ll be eating at God’s Table in the Kingdom with them forever.
Families benefit from celebrating the feast days of each of their member’s patrons. On that feast day place the person’s favorite image in an honored place, near the Heaven Door or on the dinner table for the entire day (see prayer card clips below). The commemoration may also include lighting a praying candle or placing flowers near the image. The evening meal may include reading a selection of their life’s story and/or praying a prayer rom the Mass of their day (opening prayer/collect).
A great way to discover what Catholics believe about Saints is to check online “Lectionary for Mass.” It contains Bible readings and Gospel selections assigned to each day of the year: Sundays, Holydays, seasons (Advent and Lent), and the feast days of most Saints.
There is a separate section of readings or “Common of Saints,” starting with Mary, the Apostles and Martyrs, all the possible types of Saints, featuring Sacred Scripture passages which inspired them. Saints are rembered under the categories of Pastors, Missionaries, Teachers (Doctors), Religious Women (Virgins), Holy Men and Women, those who work for the Underprivileged, Widows, etc. Do not neglect looking up your own patron’s feast day and reflect on the assigned readings.
A personal hand missal contains many of these options. Also check http://www.usccb.org/bible/liturgy/index.cfm for more background and biblical texts for the current of day of the year of the Church’s liturgical calendar. Or surf your patron’s name, their current feast day, Mass readings and prayers.
Restoring a living experience of the holy Communion of Saints in the family means each believer activates an authentic, personal interaction with the one whose names they carry. In traditional cultures patrons are called “spirit guides.” Living without them could be tragic. While the entire family daily honors the home patron, they also support one another by means of an annual celebration of each member’s personal Patron Saint by recalling their unique Gospel mission. These are concrete ways to live in the Communion of the Saints.
Announcing a family member’s Saint’s day, households could sing, “When the Saints come marching in,” as they prepare their “prayer card clip,” gather for supper, or place a devotional lite/flower. On All Saints’ Day (Nov 1) consider chanting the Litany of the Saints by singing out the name of each family member’s Patron Saint, responding to each name with “pray for us.”
Families may prepare a prayer card clip. Hang a paper clip from a string over the main table from the ceiling or light. Insert a holy card with the patron of the day into the clip. A prayer card image may also be placed in a holder or reusable. In more festive commemorations, the image of the patron could remain on display for an entire week. Images, cut out from seasonal greeting cards, or past religious calendars and hung in a similar fashion remind the household of the variety of faith seasons: Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, May/October, etc.
Concrete and happy reminders are needed for relationships to stay alive and dynamic. This resource calls them action prayers, enlivening meaning-filled interaction of individuals in the household with heaven.
Accompanying video https://youtu.be/DxtgSPqKrEA
Accompanying video https://youtu.be/DxtgSPqKrEA
Next Week: Heaven Door Outreach: An extra place setting and a broken cup
All video and textual content of St Casimir’s Series on the Domestic Church and Tandem Blog Articles © CzMKrysa, Buffalo, NY April-August 2020.