November is the month dedicated by the Church to the Holy Souls. This is a particularly beautiful devotion which I wrote about more extensively last year, and I hope you will take a moment to read through it again.
Make the Holy Souls in Purgatory part of your daily prayer life in the month of November.
The Feast Days in November include:
November 1: All Saints Day
November 2: All Souls Day
November 3: St. Martin de Porres
November 4: St. Charles Borromeo
November 9: Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica
November 10: St. Leo the Great
November 11: St. Martin of Tours
November 13: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
November 16: St. Margaret of Scotland
November 17: St. Elizabeth of Hungary
November 21: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin
November 22: The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
November 29: First Sunday of Advent
November 30: St. Andrew
As you can see, November is a very rich month liturgically speaking, and provides many occasions to instruct your children. I can’t possibly go into all of them, but here are a few activities we try to incorporate into our November feast traditions.
Our November Feast Traditions
In our home, we have often donned Saint costumes (which were used the night before) and hosted or attended an All Saints party. My parish hosts one every year.
Prior to that, we would just gather with friends, and each child would say a little bit about “their” saint. Games would include: guess the symbol, toss the halos (ring toss), St. Peter fishes (a pole with a magnet on the end of the string to catch the fish), St. Anthony’s scavenger hunt (lost things, get it?).
For the feast of St. Martin of Tours, I enjoyed my friend Dawn’s idea of gifting the children with their winter pajamas and slippers on this day in honor of this great saint who gave his cloak to a beggar.
We also make lanterns: simple affairs of mason jars with tissue paper glued on the outside and flameless candles. While we craft, we listen to the Glories Stories CD called The Saint of the Broom. After dark we place the lanterns in the windows, and this plus a fire in the grate welcomes Daddy home, our own knight in shining armor.
It is also a nice idea to bring a few bags of unneeded clothing to donate to your local shelter or donate food to a food pantry.
If you are of Hungarian or Scottish descent, there is a real opportunity to honor both your heritage and two great saints.
For me, the big deal of November is that Advent begins. I begin the month both excited and terrified that Christmas is only a few weeks away. I am rarely well prepared or even thinking about being prepared yet, so I try to set the goal of a least having an Advent plan by the Feast of Christ the King.
This feast, established by Pope Pius XI in the early twentieth century, was a call to focus on God’s royalty over all things; individuals, families, communities and nations.
This is such a perfect entrance into the penitential season of Advent: to recognize the supremacy of Christ in every aspect of our lives and order ourselves accordingly. All the Advent season is a preparation for the coming of the King, so celebrating this feast is wholly appropriate to get the children in the mindset of welcoming the newborn king.
After Mass on that day we have a kingly feast, which is usually whatever Daddy wants, and a king cake, borrowed from Mardis Gras. We also set up a little Christ the King altar before which to say our family rosary. The altar changes every year depending on what we have around, and often one of the children will make a beautiful picture to help make the altar look more regal.
I do hope that you are able to take a bit of time from your studies this month to celebrate the feasts and honor the great saints of November.
Next month we will tackle Advent with some advice on not overdoing it and on having meaningful celebrations.