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 surprise you:
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 with enmity.
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
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
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 insincerity.
There should be a Crucifix in every room of the house
(not the silly “Children’s Crucifixes” of pop culture that do not
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
A Crucifix should be placed over the inside entrance
door of your home.
Pray with your children every night before bed
— 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 learn these prayers in
English and Latin, contact us:
and we will send you a free CD.
Always bless each of your children at bedtime:
it is your right as a father, and your duty as a Catholic. One such
prayer is the following:
May the blessing
of Almighty God be with you (name the child):
The Father ✝ (Making the Sign of the Cross over them)
And the Son ✝ (a second time Making the Sign of the Cross over
And the Holy Ghost ✝ (a third time Making the Sign of the Cross
May the peace of Jesus Christ be in your mind ✝ (trace the Sign
of the Cross with your thumb over their forehead)
And the love and praise of God the Father be on your lips ✝
(trace the Sign of the Cross with your thumb over their lips)
And may the joy of the Holy Ghost be in your heart ✝ (trace
the Sign of the Cross with your thumb over their hearts)
May you always walk in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Francis and Saint Clare (or
whichever Saints are dear to you)
And all God’s Holy Angels, Saints, and Martyrs
Now and all the days of your life
Forever and ever.
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 inane 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 (uttering, “I die with Thee, O Christ on Calvary!”
as Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen exhorted us).
Your house should be blessed by a priest
(there are specific prayers for a house, each room, and even your
car!) There is a formulary for this that a priest should have (and
a Traditional priest will have one), or lacking one, his
blessing in his own words.
There should be a font of Holy Water attached to
the wall on the right of the front door to the house, and beside
the door of every bedroom. You can replenish
it at any Catholic Church which always has a container for dispensing
Holy Water into small vessels. You should use it each time you enter
the house or bedroom and leave it, signing yourself in the Name
of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and if you wish,
followed by: “Asperges me Domine” (From
the Antiphon: Asperges me, Domine,
hyssopo et mundabor, Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor. Miserere
mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.” (Thou
wilt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be cleansed; Thou
wilt wash me, and I shall be washed whiter than snow. Pity me, O
God, according to Thy great mercy.”)
Whenever you pass a Crucifix in the house, you should
bow your head and utter the short prayer,
“Gloria tibi, Domine” (Glory
to You, Lord!”), and if it is easily in reach you should kiss it.
Are you ever in such a hurry that you cannot spare God literally
Whenever you leave the house
to go to work or shopping or for any length of time, you should
sign yourself in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy
Ghost, saying: “Deo fidens proficio”
(“Trusting to God I go forward”).
You should have a small container of Consecrated
Salt. Holy Water and Consecrated Salt
protect your house from the evil one.
A Rosary for each family member
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.
You should have a copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints,
and every family member should be encouraged to read one of the
lives of the Saints each week. They are typically brief and very
inspiring. You can get used copies for under a dollar at
as of this writing. You can also download it as a free PDF file
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 Simple Mary
A More Elaborate Mary
You should have a Holy Bible (the Catholic Douay-Rheims
version only) and it should be both in Latin and English.
In addition to celebrating birthdays, Catholics should
always also celebrate the day of their Baptism.
A careful record should be kept with the names, dates,
priests and bishops who conferred the Sacraments on your family
members: 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 much more to celebrate in a Catholic
home than a secular home.
You can keep a library of Catholic videos.
Among these we would suggest:
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 mini-series)
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 Neri)
Padre Pio — Miracle Man
The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
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.
See the following links for more resources, especially if you wish
to create a home altar (no you will not be celebrating Mass there,
nor keeping the Holy Eucharist in a Tabernacle, although it can
be used by a Catholic priest in necessity.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
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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