Sunday, July 23, 2017

Celebrate St. Anne's Feast Day This Week (Even if Impromptu)

The Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne is coming up on July 26 and is a super simple one to celebrate as you and your children live the liturgical year.

Catholic Culture offers prayers, recipes, background, and more, which you might find helpful if you're the planning type.  Tracy at A Slice of Smith Life shares a wonderful way to celebrate with grandparents on this day, and, in the past, I have also shared a variety of prayer, food, and resource ideas in St. Anne celebration posts.  Plus, if you're a more spontaneous type, you might enjoy hearing about the impromptu celebration that we enjoyed last year, which proves that feast day prayer, fun, and learning can be thrown together even on a hectic day!

St. Anne's Intercession, Our Lord's Grace and the Help of a Friend Made It Happen

Seriously, last year, I almost thought I would not be able to continue our family tradition of celebrating my Name Day - St. Anne's feast day.  For, as the day arrived, I found myself swimming in chaos!
Both my son and I were on meds for Lyme's disease, and our washer and dryer had been broken for days.  That meant the laundry room was piled high with dirty clothes atop sundry boxes, bins, and bags of "homeless stuff" from other parts of the house which were blockading the door where our broken machines needed to be taken out so new ones could be installed.  Having spent some time working budget wonders in the week prior, I had been able to find money to replace our old machines, and, on the day before St. Anne's fest day, I was faced with the formidable task of clearing the laundry room clutter while managing one Lyme-lethargic child and two exuberant siblings who had been helping as they could, but were also rearing to just enjoy youthful energy.

Needless to say, prayers for the intercession of St. Anne - patron of homemakers and mothers among other things - were needed and, Our Lord must have smiled on those prayers, because a wonderful friend offered to take my children on St. Anne's feast day, so I could finish up the laundry room and manage the removal of broken machines and delivery of new ones without children underfoot. 

Thanks be to God for sending me - a tired mama - a generously kind friend like that and, then, for gifting me with enough energy and focus to do what needed to be done before the delivery men arrived.  By afternoon, the laundry room was organized and the two men who sweated through removal of our old machines and installation of our new ones were sipping some iced water I offered them while I was inwardly offering prayers of thanksgiving for how smoothly things had gone and how happy I knew my children were in the care of my friend. 

I also was delighted, because the delivery and installation didn't take as long as I thought it would, so I had time to pillage our fridge for St. Anne celebration foods, and was able to call my friend to ask her if her children would like to join us for an impromptu feast day when she dropped my children back to me. 

Of course, my friend said that she would be delighted to join us, but that I didn't need to go to any trouble to prepare something special for her nor her children. She knew I had been working hard and must be tired; there was no need for me to expend any extra effort to offer them a meal.  I responded that it really would be my pleasure - not trouble - to put together an impromptu feast day meal for them to join us at.  I was quite grateful that she had taken my children for the day and, since things had gone so smoothly, was excited to continue our annual tradition and to share it with her and her children.

So it was that this happened:

I went through our fridge and cupboards to find any green and red foods that everyone might enjoy since St. Anne is typically depicted in wearing green (for rebirth or immortality) and red (for love).  In doing so, I attempted to keep things healthy with protein and produce choices, but also put out a tray of "treat" chocolate Silk and 100% juice so the children could enjoy something sweet.

I laid all the foods out on a low table outside and, also, put out our green, red, and white pillar candles (for St. Anne's typical colors and Christ's pure love shining down through the generations.)  Alongside these, I placed three books I was able to quickly grab from our shelves each have St. Anne stories and/or prayers in them.

{Disclosure:  Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}

Credit: Amazon

Of course, these books are not necessary for your own celebrations.  If you don't have them - or something like them -  you can always use a saint day excerpt from online, like the brief one at Holy Spirit Interactive.

Let the Feasting Begin

My preparations went fairly fast, and everything was set to go when my children returned with our friends and, by chance, my husband got home from work and changed into casual clothes.

So, we began with a prayer and chat about St. Anne, and, then, I read a brief excerpt about her before drawing the children's attention to our feast table and asking them what symbolism it might have.

Of course, they quickly noticed the colors - green and red - and the "light of love" with the candles.  One of the children likened the GFCF pretzel sticks either to the tree where the bird's nest St. Anne was said to have spied and prayed by or to the nest itself.

Another likened the stuffed grape vine leaves to St. Anne eventually being full with pregnancy, and someone commented that the chick peas could be like little Mary in St. Anne's belly.  (Gotta love children's imaginations.)

The children noticed the smiley I had made with onions and tomatoes on farm-fresh beans - reminding us of our Lord smiling down on us in love.

They also noticed the hearts I had out on the regular and red pepper hummus bowls - again, representative of God's love for us, as well as of St. Anne's and St. Joachim's love for Mary, and Mary's love for Jesus and for us. 

Likewise, the chocolate squares that were on the table reminded them of the sweetness of God's love.

Chat complete, it was time to dig in...

The children happily served themselves nibbles of this and that...

While I enjoyed making "St. Anne cracker bites"...

And Nina, I think it was, prepared a full plate for Daddy!

Playtime in Honor of the Patron to Homemakers

Bellies satiated, it was then time for free play. 

I had asked the delivery men to let me keep the boxes for our washer and dryer, and, let the kids loose with them.

Before long, scissors, knives, duct tape, and more were coming out.

The children's imaginations and creativity were in full swing.

And on the feast of a saint who is patron to mothers and homemakers, the children made play homes.

Doors of friendship, faith, and gratitude were wide open!

With fridge forage, books, candles, boxes, and the blessings of friendship, faith, and fabulous kiddoes, our fifth annual St. Anne celebration - although impromptu - was a success!

I pray your Memorial of Sts. Anne and Joachim is blessed and happy.  As shared on Catholic Company, please join me in praying:

Good parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
grandparents of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
When life seems barren,
help us to trust in God’s mercy.
When we are confused,
help us to find the way to God.
When we are lost in the desert,
lead us to those whom God has called us to love.
When our marriage seems lifeless,
show us the eternal youth of the Lord.
When we are selfish,
teach us to cling only to that which lasts.
When we are afraid,
help us to trust in God.
When we are ashamed,
remind us that we are God’s children.
When we sin,
lead us to do God’s will.
You who know God’s will for husband and wife,
help us to live chastely.
You who know God’s will for the family,
keep all families close to you.
You who suffered without children,
intercede for all infertile couples.
You who trusted in God’s will,
help us to respect God’s gift of fertility.
You who gave birth to the Blessed Mother,
inspire couples to be co-creators with God.
You who taught the Mother of God,
teach us to nurture children in holy instruction.
You whose hearts trusted in God,
hear our prayers for . . . (state your request).
Pray with us for the ministry of Catholic family life.
Pray with us for the ministry of Natural Family Planning.
Pray with us for all who give their time, talent, and treasure to this good work.
Hail Mary . . .  Our Father . . . Glory be . . .
God of our fathers, you gave Saints Anne and Joachim the privilege of being the parents of Mary, the mother of your incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation you have promised to your people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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