For the past seven years, I have come up with a list of things that I want to do in the New Year. Some will be accomplished. Others are achievable. Some may have to wait another time.
As Catholics, we have things that we can do to help do more than “check off” this on our list. Surely, we may want to take part in something that can change us. Here are just a few things to consider.
Catechism in a Year
Fr. Mike Schmitz may be the No. 1 podcaster in the nation with the bible in a year. He is not done yet. He will also do Catechism in a Year beginning on January 1st, 2023. Like brushing up on the bible from beginning to end, we also must dive deeper into the catechism (something Catholic public servants need).
Based on the pillars of prayer, asceticism, and fraternity, Exodus 90 helps men to grow closer to God and to cultivate loving relationships around them and better faith life.
A campaign is set to begin on January 9th and end on April 9th (Easter). An excellent way to kick off the first third of the year, for sure.
Like Exodus 90 for men, Fiat 90 is the counterpart for women. Women 15 and older will have weekly meetings and daily communications.
This can be done during any 90 days leading up to any major feast day in the church.
First Friday and Saturday devotions
90% of the time they happen back-to-back.
The First Fridays of the month are devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Learn about the devotion here.
As for the first Saturdays, they are devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Learn about it here. Note: five consecutive Saturdays is a good goal to aim for.
Fasting/Abstaining from Meat
Some think fasting pertains to food. It does. There’s also a deeper meaning to it. Fasting can also be done with social media, world pleasures, spending on unnecessary items (unless it is a necessity like hygienics or paying bills), and technology.
Also, consider abstaining from meat on Fridays all year round. This was a common practice for many Catholics before 1962.
Incorporate a Prayer Routine
Maybe we are not praying enough. Consider subscribing to Magnificat, Hallow, or other ways to pray in the morning, evening, and night. Take time to read the reflection of the day. The Hallow app can also help with improving prayer routines and exploring different challenges.
Be More Active
Easier said than done, right? Not so much. If we’re Catholic, we must put our faith into action. We do this by performing works of mercy, contributing whatever we can give to help Catholic organizations and even pro-life centers, praying and sidewalk counseling outside of abortion facilities, and the list goes on. It is one thing to say, “I am Catholic”. It is how our actions will speak about our faith.
Missionaries for organizations like FOCUS, The Culture Project, and even Christ in the City are sacrificing 9-5 jobs to evangelize day in and day out. They rely on contributions from people like me. Surely, one can give at least $30 per month to help a missionary in need. That helps him or her start bible studies, reach more Catholic students on campus, give a presentation on human dignity, or even talk to someone open to joining or rejoining the church.
Go on Retreat
Now and again we will need a spiritual recharge. Check out a retreat center in the diocese. Subscribe to their email list. Learn about upcoming retreats even if it’s a day-long retreat.
Take part in a pilgrimage
Visit the shrine of one of the Marian apparitions. Take part in a diocesan event. Walk the El Camino de Santiago. Visit a shrine dedicated to a saint.
Make a Holy Hour
Like fuel to a car, we need the Eucharist now more than ever. One way a Catholic is get refuel is by making a Holy Hour frequently. Build up the discipline to go an hour a week. If needed break it down to 15 minutes for four days. Then, combine two 15 minutes a day a week. Finally, a full hour of adoration is built.
My best day to go is Friday as it symbolizes the women and beloved apostle standing at the foot of the cross during Jesus’s crucifixion.
Go to Confession
God’s mercy is awaiting us. All we must do is seek him just as he seeks us. We can seek his mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Consider going to confession twice a month (the First Saturday or Friday of the month and another day of the same month). Go before Mass. It will help before receiving communion.
I hope this list helps one improve on their faith journey in the New Year.
Make 2023 a fruitful and faithful year.