I love observing kids with their grandparents, probably because I have little to no experience with those relationships. My grandparents—all four of them—were deceased before my parents even married. My own children had little time with their grandparents. My oldest remembers three of the four, though the longest-living grandparent passed away more than four years ago. My youngest has a few memories of only two grandparents. Even while they were alive, being elderly and living in another city, my children’s grandparents were not able to do the many things I observe others doing: attending their grandchildren’s milestone events, sporting events or performances, or attending church with them.
Despite not personally experiencing the faith of my extended family, I can be grateful for it. And I am. Whether through vessels weak or strong, devout or complacent, their faith was passed to me on both sides of my family.
I hope to leave my children, and my children’s children—whether I’m blessed to see them or not—a legacy of faith that unites them not just to their nuclear family or their extended family but to a family of faith. One that is identified less by their bloodline and more by their relationship with Christ Jesus.
It is a legacy steeped in sacraments and scripture. One that is shaped by the life of the Church—its feasts, fasts, and liturgical seasons; and the union of all believers, living and deceased, united by our belief and our share in the body and blood of Christ. It may look like crucifixes hung on the walls, Blessed Mother statues in the yard, rosary beads in pockets and purses, and ashes on foreheads. But also, the indelible mark of baptism, the grace of a good confession, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
I hope to leave behind an intact thread of faith that means that someday I will greet those family members that went before and those yet to come as not only ancestors or descendants, but as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Copyright 2022, Carolyn Astfalk
Carolyn Astfalk is the author of several contemporary Catholic romances, or, as she likes to call them, Theology of the Body fiction. She is a Catholic Teen Books member, Catholic Mom contributor, and president of the Catholic Writers Guild. Carolyn resides in the sweetest place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.
Our Novena Prayers for the Holy Souls In Purgatory
*May be prayed in a cemetery or from home
We’ll be using this gem I discovered in the Pieta Prayer booklet. While it is intended for praying at cemeteries (staying in your car counts), it can be done from home or at church. I have done it for years, and try to attend Mass each day as well! I love walking around the cemetery, prayerfully reading each name while I recite the following Novena Prayers:
- Five Apostle’s Creeds;
- One Hail, Holy Queen;
- One each of the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer), Hail Mary and Glory be; &
- Conclude with Requiem Prayer:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, and may they rest in peace. Amen.