Top 10 Catholic family traditions


As a father of 3 small children (as well as husband to my lovely wife!), I am trying to find some good traditions or routines for our family to practice. I converted to Catholicism as an adult, and wasn’t brought up with many spiritual traditions except saying grace at meal time and going to church on Sundays.

Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, devotions, Bible study, catechism study, church history study, pilgrimages, charity work, fasting, private prayer, involvement in the parish - all of these are great spiritual traditions to do, but how would you organize them into a family’s schedule? I’m sure I’m leaving out other ideas as well.

Bottom-line: what would you recommend for a “Top Ten List of Catholic Family Traditions (with recommended frequency), not including the sacraments, sunday school, and weekly Mass (those are a given!).



A yearly visit to a shrine, maybe. Tim


I think it’s more than just “working it in” - the practice of our Faith needs to be more than just working it in as events in a time line, but actually part of everything we do. For example, when a conversation comes up about something that happened in school or at work, considering how Christ was present in whatever happened, and what you feel you are meant to learn from the situation as a Catholic Christian. Just casual conversation with your children, nothing so heavy or theological, just make Christ part of your family, instead of an event that needs scheduling.

I think you are off to a fantastic start by even considering it in the first place! Good job! :thumbsup:



I always liked saying prayers right before bed, we’d say thanks for things that happened during the day, prayed for our relatives and friends who were sick, who had recently passed away, or who were going through another life change, and we’d say the Act of Contrition, Our Father, or another prayer.


You may find this wierd, but in my family (has been going on for the last 4 generations) a youngster is not allowed to have coffee until they get their 1st communion.

My daughter just got her’s and got to enjoy her 1st cup this year! :smiley:


There is no way to fit all that in with 3 small children. My suggestion is to find something that fulfills you and stick with it.


It was just a suggestion, this tradition has stuck in my family for several generations.


My husband is also an adult convert. Here are things that we have either started or ammended during his journey.

Nightly prayers–we’ve always done these, now they include the Te Deum and similar prayers. (We are using a nice old fashioned prayer book and learning new ones, finding favorites as we go along)

Saint Lives–I started reading about Saints to the kids before hubby converted. He always listens in now. This is a daily thing.

Morning prayers–again something we’ve done for years. Used to be from the Anglican Book of Common Prayers, now is the daily mass readings. This summer we’ve started saying a daily rosary in the mornings since we have more time.

One thing we’d like to work in is an examination of conscience. When we tried it right before bed we were all too tired (and my kids are probably older than yours). Right now we only fit it in before confession. We are going to try something at dinner time and see how that works.

As others have said, there is more to being Catholic than specific prayers and forms, but some of that second nature stuff builds on the more conscience acts–like making a sign of the cross after meal prayers.


Grace before meals is probably the easiest to “fit in” to a daily schedule.

After supper I recite the rosary in the living room. My two year old goes about his business playing, but at least he hears me. He also likes inspecting the beads.


My children are all grown but one tradition in our family that they talk about is our stations for lent.
We would take the station and put them through out the house. The children would carry candles from station to station as each of the children took turns leading the prayers. I tended to put the tomb in the basement. This practice seemed to make an impression on them.


Thank you all for your ideas and suggestions - they’re great! Keep 'em coming if you have more…


The easiest things are grace at meals, and prayers at bedtime (for young children).

I can kick myself that I didn’t impose more traditions when my family was younger (kids are all college or beyond).

2 more ideas:

Go out for lunch / ice cream / whatever after Sunday Mass.

Have an advent wreath with semi-formal ceremony leading up to Christmas. A way to take the focus off of “stuff” and focus on the event itself.


We made Sunday a “feast” day by always having our best meal of the week on Sunday afternoon, and by only having dessert on Sundays unless there was a special occasion during the week.


–Impromptu and formal prayers, at least at bedtime and before every meal (including fries through McD’s drive-thru). Thank and praise God frequently – for nice weather, rainbows, flowers, goodness seen in people, laughter, hugs, etc…
–Parent making the sign of the cross on children’s foreheads while tucking them in.
–Advent wreath & family prayers/scripture from the first Sunday of Advent
–A “happy birthday Jesus” cake on Christmas eve – sing “Silent Night” by the Nativity and then “Happy Birthday” – and eat cake! Leave some for St. Nicholas!
–A Nativity at Christmastime – until Epiphany
–A crucifix in the living room or dining area
–A picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
–A family Seder meal during Lent (or attend your parish Seder if it has one)
–Stations of the Cross
–Plenty of age-appropriate religious books (prayers, saints, bible stories, etc.)
–Spiritual and corporal works of mercy (children can participate – they can earn money to buy non-perishable foods for the parish food pantry for the needy, or color Christmas cards or other pictures for nursing home residents, for example).



I grew up in a Catholic family, here are some of our traditions…

Nightly prayers in front of the Sacred Heart painting

Catholic statues and Crucifixes in the home

Making a bigger deal of faith related events, first communion, confirmation, etc, than secular rights of passage (birthdays, graduations)

Visiting Catholic Shrines, etc, when traveling, just like we’d make time for other stops on our trips

Placing flowers from the yard in front our our statue of the Blessed Virgin

Attending Mass together, this was NOT an option, it was mandatory


:frowning: Sounds like Lent!!! I wouldn’t be able to do that year-round. We have dessert after just about every meal here :smiley:


Participate in the First Friday and First Saturday devotions as a family, or as many people in the family as possible (maybe Dad has to work and can’t make it to Mass, etc.)

We have what we call “The Big Three” in our family, which is Mass, Rosary, and Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We try to get as many of those 3 in every day as possible.

Nine days before our birthdays, we start a novena for that person. For our kids, we usually do a novena to the Infant Jesus or to their patron (name) Saints. For us adults, we get to choose which novena we want to do :slight_smile: We also do this for baptism anniversaries and Patron Saint Feast Days.

Every Tuesday you can pray 3 Hail Mary’s to St. Therese and ask her to send you a Tuesday Surprise. My biggest one was a 40% reduction of a hospital bill. I also got $20 in the mail and $100 off our monthly rent one Tuesday. But usually it’s something smaller like the kids behaving exceptionally well at Mass (or being able to go to Mass when it didn’t look like you’d be able to), or finding just the right birthday gift for someone, or getting a card in the mail from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s always fun to sit down at the end of the day and discuss what your Tuesday Surprise was!

I have a Spiritual Journal for each child and I write things in there such as when my 2 year old started “praying” the Rosary in the car with us, or when he took a holy card I was using as a bookmark, kissed it, and handed it back to me all of his own accord. Or when my 1 month old baby would automatically look up at the Stations of the Cross on our wall and smile every time. Just sweet little things like that. As they get older, I can record their 1st Holy Communions, etc.

Also as they get older, I want to give them a little present on the baptism anniversaries and make special cupcakes or something like that.


Well when I was growing up, the big tradition in our family was bedtime prayers. That being said, my girlfriend and I always make sure we spend some time in prayer together whenever we see each other or talk on the phone (usually at least a decade of the Rosary). She also told me of a tradition in her family where starting a week before Christmas her Mother would set up the nativity scene but with out the Holy Family in it. Mary and Joseph would be placed in a different part of the house and each day would move a room closer to the Nativity Scene finally getting there on Christmas Eve and Jesus being placed in afterwards.

If my girlfriend and I are blessed enough to get married and have a family, we already know that saying the Rosary will be a family tradition for us.



Wow! A decade of the Rosary over the phone? Watch out, you guys may be called to the religious life :slight_smile:


Please don’t tell her that. For much of her life she has been told she would make a good Nun, and though she doesn’t feel called to the life, she keeps worrying that she is.

I have pointed out to her that we may not be called to The Religious Life, but we are called to a religious life, hopefully together. Marriage is implicit in God’s first commandment to man (be fruitful and multiply).

Oh well, we have only been together for two months, but honestly, I have never felt so blessed in any of my relationships in the past.


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