Book Notes and Giveaway: "How to: Catholic Family"


“We can only hope that this book is as much fun to read as it was to write,” Tommy and Karen Tighe note at the beginning of their new book, How To: Catholic Family. The book is definitely a fun read, but there’s much more to it than just fun.

The Tighes keep it real: children sneaking K’Nex swords into Mass, the cry room that felt “like viewing Mass through a tiny window from the abyss of hell,” and a story about an accidental cheeseburger on Friday (there’s a surprise ending for this one), but this isn’t just a comedy routine based on all those unpredictable (and funny!) things kids do. There’s inspiration from the saints and saints-in-progress, particularly Servant of God Dorothy Day. The book is filled with practical suggestions for living the faith, observing the liturgical seasons, and surviving Mass with a bunch of small children in the pew.

There’s a great chapter about Lent (read this first!) and another on Advent. You’ll even find some out-of-the-box ways to live the liturgical year. I was pleased to see my namesake, St. Barbara, listed in the chapter on patron saints — and, even better, the suggestion that December 4, her feast, be celebrated with a fireworks display.

The Word Among Us Press is offering SIX readers the chance to win a free copy of How to: Catholic Family! Enter by leaving a comment below, telling us what Catholic parenting question you’d ask Tommy and Karen.

This contest is open to readers anywhere in the world. Contest closes March 4, 2019, at 11:59 PM Eastern. Winners will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to reply; after that time, alternate winners will be chosen if necessary.

Visit our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
This article contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchases through these links benefit the author.


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.


  1. Do you let your kids bring anything to Mass? I struggle with this. Families around us have toys and food, etc. We have never allowed the kids to bring anything, but am wondering about it.

  2. This would be a great gift! I host a faith sharing group, have 2 young ones and am married to a non Catholic husband. I can always use all the support/resources I can get! Question: Concrete ways to instill specifically Catholic (yet still inclusive to non-Cath Christian) values with young ones 4 and under. Thank you!!

  3. Claire Jenkins on

    How do you have a toddler in church with you when all he wants to do is move around constantly? Any attempt to contain him is met with screeches. Also, what is mass time conflicts with a meal time? I have always thought food should not be in the sanctuary, so is it okay to step into the narthex to eat?

  4. How do you keep your cool in the scream room when your child is quiet and most of the other children are going nuts? We have 2 children ages 4 years old and 9 months. Our 4 year old can sit still and enjoys singing. Our son is a little unpredictable but is relatively calm. He loves to talk and make little noises. We use the scream room for him but it almost seems not worth it to go.

  5. What advice could you give about family prayer time? My oldest 2 get it, my youngest 2 are still working on it. But finding the time between homeschooling, the kids’ activities, and therapies for 2 of my children make it so hard to find time! I love the concept of saying a family rosary everyday but we can’t even establish a routine family prayer time!

  6. How do you connect with other catholic family’s when your mostly on your own in your area and everybody is to busy to drive long-distence..

  7. Do you ever recommend splitting up for mass? Part of family goes to one mass and others to another? Having all of us together in the crying room gives my oldest deep anxiety and panic attacks, but my 2 year old needs to be able to walk around and make sound from time to time.

  8. How do you make it through mass without letting yourself leave feeling extremely frustrated between kiddos behavior and feeling like the only part of mass you took part in was walking up for communion?saeah

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.