St. Casimir Church, the home of the world's first shrine to the Domestic Church, will offer classes on easy family faith celebrations for the home. The 10-week series offers traditional, user-friendly ways to invite Jesus into the family household.
Father Czeslaw M. Krysa, rector of St. Casimir's, has a lifelong fascination with the Domestic Church. That is, the celebration of faith within the family. He has devised a series of ideas to introduce prayer and tradition into the home. As a child, his father would take him into a forest and point to birch trees and reeds and explain how they can be used to make manger scenes at Christmas.
"Everything around us has the capacity to reveal God," he said.
Lighting purple candles and reciting Scripture passages about Jesus' resurrection may be common during Lent, but the simple flicking on of a light and proclaiming, "Christ is our light," is just as much a prayer.
Father Krysa nearly laughs at the simplicity of the gesture. The three main parts to the Liturgy of the Domestic Church are action, Scripture and a thanksgiving prayer.
"Those can be intertwined or put together however the family sees appropriate," he said, although Word and action should be together. "An action prayer is composed of some kind of action, like breaking the bread, and some Jesus Word or phrase from Scripture, where the response is a simple response."
Psychologists and those who teach teaching methods have realized that people, especially younger people, learn by doing.
"The formation and passing on of faith comes through action, not just through words," Father Krysa explained, giving examples of Catholic ritual to emphasize his point.
Topics covered during the classes will include Installing Heaven Doors and Windows, The Bible is the Family's Tabernacle, and Remembering - Bonding Us with Something Bigger than Ourselves. Activities include the simple, such as sprinkling holy water and using bells, which Father Krysa categorizes as play. He defines play as an action you initiate that you can't control the end result. This is a great way to engage toddlers and children.
Father Krysa said these ideas are meant to "tease people's imagination. Everything they need for this, they already have at home."
One class will focus on the Lady of Knots. The action includes tying a shoestring into knots representing one's troubles, praying, then untying the knots as the troubles go away. It's an Argentinian tradition Pope Francis has brought back into use.
"This doesn't have to be something where you have to stick to this now and start doing it every single day and start finding and do something. No. It's particularly very playful to do during Holy Days," Father Krysa said.
"I've been studying this my whole life. We're going to be giving them ideas. We'll be giving them a handbook that's going to have a couple seasonal examples. The idea is to try and build upon some action that is interpreted by Scripture and maybe a thanksgiving prayer."
Parents and grandparents, as well as catechists are encouraged to participate. The classes will be held Wednesday evenings, Sept. 12 to Nov. 14, at St. Casimir's Social Center, 1833 Clinton St., from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per person or $30 per couple for all 10 sessions. Checks can be sent to the Office of Worship 795 Main St., Buffalo NY 14203.