A Word to Guide the Liturgical Year: Check-in

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"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

In November I shared how I was going to shift my practice of choosing a word for the calendar year to having a word to guide the liturgical year. Eight months into the process, I decided to provide a check-in reflection on the process and to share how I have been documenting my word.

When I first began documenting my words in a scrapbooking format it was prompted by Ali Edwards’ One Little Word course, which I continued to take for nine years, mixing her prompts with my own ideas. As I shifted to the liturgical year, I chose not to take the course, as aside from different starting points, the month-to-month format would not line up with the way I wanted to document the rhythms of the liturgical seasons. However, the ways in which Ali had guided my documentation process over the years and the glimpses she shared into her own thinking have influenced the way that I have been documenting this year. I am also using one of her albums for the first time for this project.."A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.I have loved intentionally pondering each part of the liturgical seasons. While I am reflective in nature throughout the year, previously, I would often ponder based on academic quarters. It seemed like Advent and Lent were the two seasons that specifically drew my attention to reflection and preparation aligned to the church’s calendar. However, by structuring my album according to liturgical seasons, rather than months or quarters, I have been more in tune with the Church’s calendar.

I drew an image of the liturgical year for the start of my album and then have included sections for: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum, Easter, and back to Ordinary Time. Up until now, each segment was about 2 months or under; the remainder of the album will span from June to the end of the liturgical year in November.

"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

I journal fairly regularly as I process through different layers of life. When I go to document glimpses into my life for each liturgical season in the album, I revisit my journal entries for that segment of time and scroll through my photos. This has been a good process to prompt me to revisit my thinking. It helps me to better see God’s whispers and patterns over time. I notice which resources and moments have most deeply resonated at that phase of life.

"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

I have been beginning each section with a collage of words and images, typically from Catholic magazines, catalogs, and publishers’ promotional materials. This has helped to provide images specific to the faith and liturgical seasons, while also resonating with everyday life during those seasons. I often complete this around the time that I am finalizing the content for the previous season, so it has provided a nice rhythm of wrapping up/reflecting and then looking ahead to what the next season is, the purpose of the season, what I anticipate of that season, and what I want to invite into my life or nurture for that span of time.

"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

Rather than having a set number of pages for each segment, I have left it flexible to fit whatever seems to be needed in order to capture the most salient ideas from that part of the year. I use 3×4 lined Project Life cards to capture thoughts or to transfer some excerpts from my journals. Other times I type in my words, especially if I want to include a longer section from my journal or to pair pictures and words.

"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

With the word light and the repetition of the phrase Christ, be my light on my heart, I have been reflecting a lot on where I have progressed and next steps for growth. This often includes connections to my vocation and career. A lot of it links back to an on-going process of learning to let go of a sense of wanting to be in control in order to surrender to God’s plans, especially including his pacing. It is about growth in humility to recognize that others’ journeys will not be the same as mine — that they do not need to unfold as I anticipate they will, but rather to just entrust to God’s providence and be grateful for the beauty of how our different lives are woven together.

"A word to guide the liturgical year: check-in" by Amanda Villagómez (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez. All rights reserved.

Based on the way this experiment of shifting to align to the liturgical calendar is unfolding, I intend to continue with this, rather than reverting back to the calendar year. Towards the end of last year a priest who has been very beneficial to supporting my spiritual growth mentioned “wrap yourself in the Catholic culture.” It was a phrase that spoke to my heart, and this process has been one way to be more in tune with Catholic culture.

How do you capture or document glimpses into your growth over time or your journey with a word for the year?


Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez 

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About Author

Amanda Villagómez is a wife, mom, and teacher educator. Her five girls range in age from 1 to 16. She blogs at Focusing on the Core to reflect on the journey of attempting to align her life to what matters most in different contexts.

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