“How are you today Vera?” I would ask my neighbour almost every day. “Busy, Busy, Busy!” she would always reply.
I remember the first time I visited London, I was just a sixteen year old student who could barely speak the language. I remember the grey sky and the crazy weather, the singular smell of the underground and the orderly way of driving, unlike Italy—and on the wrong side, too! But the thing that struck me the most was the busy look on people’s faces as they hurried by at a fast pace. Every single person looked busy, busy, busy!
I moved to London in 1999, and I too got caught up in this “busy, busy, busy” attitude. As soon as I started having children and living my life in the big city, I didn’t really have time to slow down or follow the seasons of nature. The most important thing was to keep going, to be active and productive.
Big cities are merciless with our time. There are no seasons, no holidays, no feasts. They run like machines, 365 days a year without stopping. Life never slows down.
Not living in a Catholic country, I soon realized, made things even worse. The city was not going to stop to celebrate Our Lady’s feast days and solemnities. There wouldn’t be any additional Catholic holidays, and the Saints would not be venerated. No time could be wasted for the practice of the Faith. Therefore, if we were going to pass on the Faith to our children and live it well ourselves, we truly needed to be in tune with her liturgical seasons. Without the support of the Church, the monster that is the big city would have crushed us and swept us up in its busy schedules.
As a young mother, I realized how blessed I had been to have grown up in a country that was, back then, a very Catholic thing I had taken for granted—and how much more important the domestic Church would be to raise and keep our children in the Faith.
Life in general can be hectic and loud, even outside the big city, and will always try to swallow us up in busyness. The Church came to interrupt all that noise and truly show herself to us as a caring mother who knows what we need when we need it. The more I discovered about her, the more I wanted to know about my Faith—and needed to know if I wanted my children to love it too.
Living in tune with the liturgical seasons brought joy, order, and peace to our family. We did not need to reinvent the wheel or come up with anything new. Everything was already there for us to enjoy. The Church’s tradition is rich with Saints, prayers, liturgies, blessings, and celebrations. We used this to shape our life, adding in our own little family traditions we were proud to continue.
Although the desire to live in tune with the life of the Church was very strong, it was easy for me to forget what feast or important date was coming next. In the midst of the busyness of family life and a country with little Faith, I personally needed something to remind me of God throughout the day. I needed somewhere practical to find a little daily encouragement in the dull moments of life, especially when I struggled in my vocation as a mother.
The Catholic Mothers Planner was a fruit of this desire, to encourage mothers like me not to lose sight of the really important things, But to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, knowing that all the other things will come too’ (Matthew 6:33). It is there to remind mothers of coming festivities or solemnities ahead of time, so they can prepare to celebrate or observe them, whether with a special liturgy, Mass, prayer, or meal. It will also help you remember the Holy Days of Obligation!
Compiling this planner, which was made with love and out of love and gratitude for what I have received so far, gave me the opportunity to find many pearls of wisdom from the Church and her Saints. Every year as I put together the next year’s planner, I pray for all the mothers who will own one, hoping that it will help them—as it has helped me—to live life to the full and to make the Faith truly theirs. Because life with Christ is never dull or grey, unlike the skies of London.
As for our family, my planner is not just mine, it has become an acquired family tradition. It has its own special place, kept open for the family to come and see what is happening next, whether that is a dentist appointment, an outing, or a special Mass. It is a place where everyone can add their little comments, reflections, or scribbles. In it some tears have fallen, some sadness has been expressed, joys have been shared, and my personal thoughts and prayers have been written down to remember.
The planner is there as a reminder that—in the busyness of our lives, inevitably filled with endless lists of things to do—our Faith should always be there. It should not just for show, but ingrained in our lives, so that every aspect of our living may speak the truth of Christ and his love.
Plan your days with the focus on God!
The ideal planner to help busy Catholics stay organized and keep the important thing at the center—their faith.
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Chiara Finaldi is a wife, mother of seven, and blogger from London, England. She grew up on the Mediterranean island of Sicily in Italy and moved to England after marrying in1999.
Founded the Catholic Mothers Apostolate in 2015. Published her first big publishing project the ‘Catholic Mothers Planner 2019’ in 2018.
She enjoys ‘wasting’ time with her husband and their 7 children and delights in the gift of an enormous extended family where music and good food is never lacking.
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