Creating a Domestic Church: A Catholic Mother’s Guide

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A holy Catholic home should be an extension of the church, a domestic church. In this post, I’m sharing a few tips on creating a domestic church without extra stress.

bible open with a rose colored rosary on top

I personally struggled with establishing a good routine and setting up my domestic church. Once, I made a plan and got organized, I found creating a domestic church wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be.

Have you also felt like it was a challenge to set up a basic spiritual life and creating a domestic church was overly complicated? Well, you know what? It really isn’t.

Creating a Basic Spiritual Life

This morning after I completed my homestead chores, while I sat for a coffee break and to get caught up on social media, I found this lovely post shared by Finer Femininity.

It’s a wonderful thought to compare our vocations as mothers to that of cloistered nuns. It has been a recent mission of mine to create a more structured and focused life for myself and my family.

In this post about creating a Mother’s Rule,  I have been working towards that goal. And part of it is about focusing on my spiritual life by following “a Rule of Life” – just as the religious communities do, but tailored to our lives as mothers.

The fun part about it all is it’s unique to each one of us.

What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa. I imagine this in comparison to various religious orders and communities; some choose those of the Benedictines or Carmelites and others choose a simpler rule found in various communities.

Some prefer solitude and some prefer to do works of mercy and charity.

rosary in shape of a heart displayed on wooden table

How I Completed My Rule

To be honest, after reading through the book and putting together my rule, I struggled a little bit with creating a basic schedule. My problem is that I tend to get a little over zealous at times. I created a very tight and structured schedule that didn’t allow much room for flexibility.

Well, this was just plain nuts. I am a mom of two toddlers and a baby. On top of that, we have several animals around the homestead and a small home business. What was I thinking?

It has taken a few edits until I have found my groove and a routine that works for all of us. I think it’s important to note that this routine or schedule can take some time to build and create something that fits smoothly within your rule and your goals in life.

My first goal was ensuring that I had enough time for God first.

I wanted quiet prayer time…a huge struggle for us mamas. That whole getting up early and before everyone else worked for about a minute.

But one of my children decided that they wanted to become an extra early riser and she was competing with mama in who can get up the earliest. So I gave that up really quick.

I’ll spare you all of the exact details because it should be personal to each one of us and it varies depending on our goals and spiritual progress.

This is also where I’ll recommend having a spiritual director – so incredibly beneficial to guide us in our spiritual progress.

painting of the ""Young Adoration" by Cornelia Elizabeth Gallas
“Young Adoration” by Cornelia Elizabeth Gallas

 

Family Prayer Time

Next, I needed to make sure that there is daily prayer time with my family. Also important for me to add in to my daily schedule was our family rosary because when there wasn’t a designated time for it, we would forget. We aren’t perfect and definitely need that reminder.

Regular reception of the Sacraments- Confession, Holy Communion and Mass attendance together as a family are also very important for a good Catholic home.

“A family is a domestic community. The zeal of all must be aroused for the well-being of each and in such a way that God may be glorified to a maximum degree in this nest where the great rule is understood to be not the code of the worldly spirit but the peaceable demands of the Gospel.” – Christ in the Home, 188

After prayer, my family duties are my next priorities. Ensuring that my family has healthy and nourishing meals planned out, a clean and organized home, clean clothing and a happy home life are all included in my rule and daily routines.

Adding in My Daily Duties

Confession: I used to allow myself to get caught up in social media. Ahem. My housework would definitely suffer because of those distractions.

I definitely enjoy following a schedule because it keeps me on track and focused on my true priorities.

“Sometimes she must leave God at the altar, and find Him in her housekeeping.” – St Frances of Rome

Blessed Mother statue displayed on a desk

Setting up a Domestic Church

A very wise priest has said that the home should leave no question to anyone that you’re a Catholic. This is after all, to be an extension of the church.

My spiritual director recently talked to me about the importance of order in the home. That being said, the home should be free of clutter and chaos.

And bonus, clutter-free homes are easier to clean! Who doesn’t love that? I do regular declutter sessions. When I think that I’ve finished, I declutter again.

Related: A Catholic Alternative to Konmari

Family rules in our domestic church

When our homes are cluttered, they become distracting and our main goal here is to create a calm environment; one of peace, one which helps us to focus and recollect on our main purpose in this life – that of serving God.

Our little domestic church is filled with sacramentals and images that remind us of our duties as Catholics.

Last winter, we had our home blessed and enthroned to the Sacred Heart because Jesus is the King of our home and we wanted to give Him proper honor.

Beautiful images of the Sacred Hearts are hung in the main family area of our home.

The entrance to our home holds a holy water font for our family (one of my favorites) to bless ourselves whenever we come and go. V

arious images and sacramentals fill our home to remind us of our heavenly friends.

And contrary to what some might think, Catholics don’t pray to statues. They provide reminders of our Creator. We worship God alone.

setting up a home altar in the domestic church

As an extension of the parish church, our domestic church is filled with celebrating and decorating for the liturgical seasons. Advent and the start of the liturgical calendar, the home is decorated as such.

We reserve the Christmas decorations until right before Christmas day because as Catholics, we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. During Advent, we set up an Advent Wreath, Jesse Tree, O Antiphon prayers to keep our attention focused on the season of Advent.

Each season is focused on the liturgy. If you haven’t already done so, you can read all my post about setting up a Liturgical Binder here.

Setting Up a Home Altar

This can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like to make it. Ours is very simple right now because, toddlers. They are learning what they’re allowed to touch, but they are still very curious and sacramental aren’t play things. Anyway, this should be the main focus of the home and where your family gathers for prayer together.

Some suggestions would be:

  • a crucifix
  • framed images
  • statues
  • blessed candles
  • prayer cards
  • prayer books
  • the family bible
  • and so on

The ideal for Catholics is to center our homes around God and not around useless distractions, such as the TV.

We allow for occasional appropriate family movies, but it isn’t our main focus because my toddlers become obsessed with them really quick.

“The family that prays together, stays together.” – Fr. Peyton

large crucifix on a rosary and prayer book

Avoid the Burnout

Sundays and Holy Days are important for us to take time to relax – God created a day for us to rest for a reason.

As Catholic homemakers, it is our duty to ensure that we are creating a happy home life, that we are creating a welcoming environment for our family and that we are setting the example for the rest of our family.

In creating the domestic church, doesn’t mean that we neglect ourselves in the process. It’s so important for our health and well-being. Who will take care of the home when we become ill? 

Keep things simple and organized to avoid any stress.

We work hard and we need the time to recharge and relax, regularly. Even if it’s a few moments of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening when dad comes home from work. (wink, wink)

Mary garden in the outdoor garden

So these are a few things that work for us. What things do you do to create a Domestic Church? I’d love to hear all about them, share in the comments section.

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. I want to set up an altar at my hous and this was very encouraging. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones!

  2. This post has been such an inspiration to me! I have completely transformed my home into a domestic church! And no matter how many times I read this article, I find more encouragement! You are truly wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. 🙂 Feel free to message me some pictures…I’d love to see your domestic church! Blessed Holy Week to you!

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