Hello and Welcome to Thy Olive Tree's Blog!
I'm Kate, a Catholic convert, wife, momma to two little girls and creator of “My Catholic Keepsake” baby (and beyond) memory book. I converted to Catholicism in 2016 after several years of searching for the Truth. Since my conversion, I’ve taken an interest in learning how to build the “domestic church,” or the family unit. Families are the building blocks of the Church, where we learn about God, mature in our faith and develop a prayer life. Faith formation starts in the home with parents as the primary educators. No pressure, right? I’m the first to admit, I don’t have all the answers. I’m still a pretty new mom (oldest isn’t even 2 yet) and we are only just beginning to dip our toes into the “liturgical waters.” All that's to say, please don’t take this as instruction (there are so many others who write on this topic with years and years of experience)! Rather, I invite you to accompany me on this journey.
If you’ve been following Thy Olive Tree on Facebook and Instagram, you know I’m all about making Catholic memories. It saddens me to think about how many people fall away from or never even consider the Catholic Church because of misperceptions, poor faith formation and, unfortunately, negative memories associated with the practice of the faith. We’ve all heard about “Catholics and their… guilt, rules, obligations, you-fill-in-the-blank.” But, how many know about all the Catholic feast days? That there is a whole liturgical calendar just waiting to be celebrated? Or gorgeous Cathedrals beckoning to be entered? There is a beautiful balance within our faith, where we both fast AND feast. After all, Jesus suffered death so he could be resurrected. I’d like to see a “resurrection” so to speak of Catholic culture, where our faith is lived and celebrated in the day-to-day, not just for one hour on Sunday. Living out our faith means a willful effort to abide by Church teaching. These days, when so much of Church teaching is counter to what society tells us, I want my children to understand the “why” behind what we do and believe. I hope they see the Church’s profound wisdom as a gift worth celebrating. And, as Catholics, we have so many opportunities to do this! We have sacraments, feast days, solemnities, name days, baptismal anniversaries, sacred art and architecture, pilgrimages, shrines and basilicas, writings from the saints, a whole calendar tied to traditions of the liturgical year and so much more. Let’s show our friends, family, and especially our children how Catholicism is good, true, beautiful and, dare I say, even fun?
If you are concerned with the amount of time involved in doing this, rest assured, I am too. I am all about finding simple, easy ways to celebrate our faith. If you like making gourmet baked goods from scratch and decorating them with homemade fondant, (gosh I envy you!), you may not find my suggestions super exciting. I’m more of a pour-a-glass-of-chocolate-milk-and-say-a-quick-prayer kind of mom. You have to start somewhere, right?
If all this piques your interest, I hope you will join me in the exploration of this topic by celebrating the faith, building the domestic church and making positive Catholic memories, including:
- Finding simple ways to celebrate feast days
- Living out the liturgical year
- Creating faith-filled family traditions
- Making our homes a sign of our faith
- Praying as a family
- Volunteering with our children
- Going on pilgrimages (even if they are just the next city over!)
- Seeking the beauty of Catholicism
- Exposing our children to a variety of vocations
- And much more!
Will you make Catholic memories with me? I’d love to see what your family does to celebrate the faith. Start using #MakeCatholicMemories as a hashtag in your posts and I’ll highlight some of them in my Instagram stories!