Some Things to Do

by Michelle Jannakos & Leslee Abud

Maintain close ties with godparents and godchildren
Celebrate the anniversary of your baptism
Celebrate names days
Learn the story of your namesake's life
Celebrate a family patron saint day (Serbian Slava)
Celebrate the Feast Days: here are eight ways!
Minimize secular views of holidays (say "Christ is Born" instead of "Merry Xmas" or "Happy Holidays")
Make your own Lenten and Advent calendars
Have everyone participate in home blessing
Have icons in each room (with patron saint in each bedroom)
Create an icon corner for prayers Remember the Hours of prayer each day
Be consistent in prayers before and after meals
Create a prayer bulletin board for special needs, which includes names and pictures of the sick and the departed
Make a photo prayer list (pictures and names of family members to help them visualize for whom they're praying)
Observe fasting days and seasons
Use money saved from meat, candy, or other treats to give to charity
Adopt a project at Church, ongoing or special (Prosphora, cleaning, groundskeeping)
Adopt a grandparent (visit and get to know a shut-in or nursing home resident)
Sponsor a needy child
Work on a charitable project
Teach the Jesus prayer
Read the Bible together
Memorize verses from Scripture: post a verse on a 5 x 7 index card to be learned on a daily or weekly basis
Be involved in Church School lessons (review text and study materials)
Participate and learn about all the different Church services (Vespers, Matins, Presanctified, Holy Week)
Encourage participation during services: for example, listening for special words or hymns during Liturgy
Discuss and go to confession regularly
Ask forgiveness of each other Invite neighbors and friends to Church
Receive communion together
Use "traveling time" to/from Church to discuss readings, sermons, and lessons
Hold regular fun "family nights"
Talk about world events in terms of the Church's teachings
Establish family entertainment standards (TV, music)
Sing Church songs (Troparia; O Lord, Save Thy People!)

This activities list is summarized from two presentations given at the Eastern Orthodox Catechetical Conference, August 1990.

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© 1996 by the original author(s) and Orthodox Family Life.