A Key Ingredient for a Phenomenal Advent

Advent begins tomorrow. Are you ready?

“I can see that we as a society are hungry for community and shared experiences,” the author writes. And what do you know? Catholics have hundreds of possibilities throughout the year for just such celebrations. But we are confused. After having looked so long at the parish for how to celebrate, with the parish turning inward as well to serve within its parish walls and not its parish boundaries, and a society that is increasingly less Catholic in practice and population, the question of how to allow the liturgical year to interrupt our daily life can leave the ponderer perplexed past the Advent wreath.



The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney came out this past October, published by Ignatius Press, with enough time for me to read the 343 pages of ideas and inspiration, copy some down and implement in the Catholic New Year, Advent.

As a Catholic blogger and mother, Tierney introduces these are the ideas of what she does from which the reader can glean what he or she chooses and leave behind those of little interest. On topics for which Tierney holds a special passion (begin celebrating Christmas on December 25, use beeswax, abstain from meat on all Fridays) she makes her case convincingly. Tierney’s writing style is approachable and encouraging, written in a conversation, not commanding style. Her work readers like a blogger with experience.

She explains “It’s also, I hope, an accessible guide for beginners and experienced celebrators, for big and small families, for single folks, for teachers and catechists, for working and staying at home moms.”

The book is endorsed by Jennifer Fulwiler, author of One Beautiful Dream, and proponent of the idea of the blue flame. Certain activities are going to be life-giving for you, and others, are not. I thought of this concept as I read the many kitchen oriented ideas for feast days and consciously did not write those down on my list, because they won’t happen. Waffles for dinner, perhaps, but not Shepherds Pie. But hymns, special prayers, story sharing, decorations, and maybe, just maybe, some crafts, yes. That I can do.

I celebrate by the binder. In November I dig out the 1-inch binder titled “Thanksgiving.” Here are the tried and true recipes, the schedule of what to cook the day ahead and when to begin the bird. Decor ideas that I may or may not implement but when looked at inspire a festive mood. There is a binder for our homeschool day as well. It contains the hymn we’re learning, a prayer card, assignments, and a general schedule. I feel that, with this binder, I could thee celebrate, O Advent, O Lent, O time called Ordinary.

I began compiling the Advent and Christmas feasts and the ideas I thought we could try. I printed pages for those feasts. It can live at our dining table or near it throughout the season, or come out at school time, I do not know. I am not just excited, Tierney’s book actually makes me feel competent because the resources are so endless.

So here we go, feast days. If I fall short of the binder, Tierney says, again and again, there are seasons when it will work and seasons when it won’t, and that is okay. I’ll take her at her comforting word.

The book crowns a trio I’ve read of late. The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart reminds us to put our heart into our home and local community. Building the Benedict Option inspires Catholic gatherings to build that community. The Catholic All Year Compendium contains the recipes and ingredients to fill those gatherings with Catholic flavor. If you want to build it where you live it instead of clicking away for the community, these will be indispensable resources on your shelf.


As a gift to you, I’m making the Advent booklet I made for my family, available to you when you sign up! I promise not to spam you or bug you. I do promise to send you this and similar works that I am using myself.

Click to Download “Advent Practices”