Creating and Maintaining
a Traditional Catholic
Traditions, Customs, and Practices
If you wish to create and maintain
a genuinely Catholic home, we offer a few
suggestions. The first two may
There should be no profanity in
the house — and this applies
as much to women as to men! None, absolutely none of the ugly, shameful
words you hear as much on television as you do on the streets. St.
John Chrysostom called the Catholic home “a church in miniature.”
Would you speak that way in Church?
The husband and wife should never
argue in front of the children!
This is, as it were, the first “schism” that your children will
encounter. It is as traumatic to the children as it has been in
the Church. Disagreement should be polite. Arguments seldom are.
They are often venomous, vindictive, self-righteous, and for all
purposes verge on malice and hatred! This is the devil’s wedge in
the family: disunity, animus, malice. Take your arguments elsewhere
and far from the children! Remember that Christ’s relationship to
His Church is spoken of as that between the Groom and the Bride
(the Father and the Mother). “Husbands, love
your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up
for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) How did He do that? He died for
the Church. You must die to yourself for your wife and your wife
should die to herself for her husband — out of love for each other
and for the sake of the children.
Nothing is more frightening
to a child than to witness a loud, ugly, accusative, and vindictive
argument between husband and wife, wife and husband!
In an unarticulated way they ask, “Is this how God is? Is this how
Mary is?” — and then the terrible response to the ugly argument
in every child: I am frightened!” Hold your tongue! Reign in the
passion of anger! The storm will pass: spare your children the clap
of thunder! To whom can they run without being brought into the
division? Will you divide your children among yourselves — set daughter
against father, son against mother when they seek shelter from the
storm? If you are unwilling (you are never “unable”) to do this,
then abandon any idea creating a genuinely Catholic home. The Cornerstone
is Christ, and Christ is God, and God is Love. Love cannot co-exist
You, as a father, will have the
most important role in setting the example for your children,
especially your sons. If your sons see that Dad is a manly Catholic,
unafraid and unashamed to express his Catholic Faith in the home
and even, when called for, in public discourse, they in turn will
be very likely to follow your example. People — even children —
are not converted through intellectual arguments … but by
they see another doing something remarkable and good — and are deeply
impressed. They want to be like them!
This is especially true
of what children observe in your behavior when they know that you
do not see them watching you.
We cannot stress the importance of this. A child unexpectedly opening
his father’s bedroom or office door at home and finding father in
prayer on his knees will say more to the child than years of lectures
on the importance of praying. A mother found lying in bed or sitting
in a chair praying the Rosary when she thought the children were
out a play will strike them more forcefully by the example she sets
than by her words encouraging them to pray the Rosary.
In you, the father, they will first
encounter Christ … or not. In your wife they will see Mary … or
not. They will understand
the Fatherhood of God (which He has participated to you) and the
Motherhood of Mary (which is the exemplar for perfect motherhood)
through each of you. Please read a short story submitted to us at
Say grace before every meal — in
the house or at a restaurant:
if you are ashamed to acknowledge God … they will be, too. If you
have that strength, they will acquire it, too.
When you pray, make the Sign of
the Cross slowly and reverently
— the quick (lest, forbid, anyone see it!) half-hearted,
rote, and careless motion of your hands say much about what is truly
in your heart: if you teach them reverence by example … they will
become reverent. If you show them that it is no cause for shame
to make the Sign of the Cross in public at a restaurant … they will
not be ashamed … of Christ. Children are incredibly perceptive!
They can see through any short-cut you devise and will recognize
There should be a Crucifix in every
room of the house (that
depict Christ crucified) and beautiful pictures of Mary and
statues of Saints special to you. They need not be overwhelming
in number or size; remember that you are not creating a monastery,
but a devout Catholic home.
Pray with your children every night
before bed — once again,
prayerfully, not quickly as though simply to “get it over
with”. The Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory be — and teach
them when they are old enough (which is fairly young) to say them
in Latin also. If you need to hear and learn these prayers in English
and Latin, see:
Always bless each of your children
at bedtime: it is your
right as a father, and your duty as a Catholic. Trace the Sign of
the Cross over each child’s forehead, lips, and heart, while invoking
God’s blessing over them:
the blessing of Almighty God be with you
(name the child): the Father
✝, and the Son
✝, and the Holy Ghost.✝”
Go to Mass as a family every Sunday
(a Tridentine Latin Mass whenever possible —
this is very important given the lack of reverence and the pointless
homilies prevalent in nearly all Novus Ordo Churches and
offer yourselves and your children up to God in union with the Sacrifice
of Jesus Christ at every Mass (as Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
exhorts us say “I die with Thee, O Christ on Calvary!”).
Your house should be blessed by
a priest (there are specific
prayers for a house, each room, and even your car!) There is a formula
for this which a priest should have (and a Traditional priest
will have one), or lacking one, his blessing in his own words.
You should have a small container
Holy Water and Consecrated
Salt protect your house from the evil one.
Pray the Rosary together as a family.
Set apart a time of the day or night for this. After Rosary, each
family member should mention a special intention and the family
should respond, “Amen”. It is a time to unite your family in prayer
under the protective veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Go to Confession as a family.
None of us are free from sin, especially venial sins, and so the
need for weekly or at least monthly Confession is for all.
If you are fortunate enough to own
your own home and have an area in the yard available, create
a Mary Shrine. It need not be a large area, but sufficient for
a statue of the Blessed Mother, a Crucifix, and perhaps some small
statues of Angels and Saints. Remember that it will be place for
prayer and reflection and made beautiful in your own way that is
befitting the Mother of God. You can have a bench there or simply
bring a chair. Pictured below is a more elaborate one, but the simplest
statue and smallest Crucifix in the most humble arrangement is as
pleasing to God and our Holy Mother Mary as the grandest one possible.
It should be blessed by a priest.
A More Elaborate
You should have a Holy Bible (the
Catholic Douay-Rheims version only) and it should be both in Latin
In addition to celebrating birthdays,
Catholics should also celebrate the day of their Baptism.
A careful record should be kept
with the names, dates, and the priests and bishops who conferred
the Sacraments on your family members:
including Baptism, First Penance, First Holy Communion, Confirmation,
Marriage or Ordination or Profession of Vows, and Extreme Unction
(Last Rites). Also the dates of each of your Patron Saints. These
should become special days for you throughout the year. There is
so much more to celebrate in a Catholic home than a secular home.
You can keep a library of Catholic
videos. Among these we
The Bells of Saint Mary’s
Going my Way
The Song of Bernadette
The Ten Commandments
The Passion (Mel Gibson)
Miracle of Marcellino
The Scarlet and the Black
Jesus of Nazareth (the television
For Greater Glory
Thérèse (Leonardo Defilippis)
Edith Stein — the Seventh Chamber
Demetrius and the Gladiator
The Ninth Day (Volker Schlonorff)
I Prefer Heaven (Saint Philip
Padre Pio — Miracle Man
The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S.
A Man for All Seasons
It’s a Wonderful Life
Beckett (Richard Burton, 1964)
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
Quo Vadis (1951)
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Tolkien)
We hope that these few suggestions are useful to you in both keeping
your home — and your children — for Christ through His Holy Catholic
Church with its beautiful traditions.
Boston Catholic Journal
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Totally Faithful to the Sacred
Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum
Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power, and
yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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