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growing up catholic

17 things you'll only know if you grew in a super Catholic household


GROWING UP CATHOLIC didn’t come without its challenges, but growing up super Catholic was a different story altogether.

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It went far beyond simply making your Communion and receiving your Confirmation, it was a daily way of life, complete with rituals and traditions you were obliged to observe.

If your collection of childhood books came complete with a children’s bible, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

And here are just a few more…

1. Your mother was on first-name basis with the Parish Priest.

You, however, were not, and don’t you forget it.

2. You had a small Holy Water font mounted in your front hall.

And you rarely made it out of the house without having its contents flicked at you by your overly enthusiastic mother.

3. You were given a set of Rosary Beads on your Communion Day which you kept in an egg-shaped box in your bedside locker.

In the days following your Confirmation, you added a dove-shaped pin to the box, and watched them both grow dust until you eventually moved out.

4. Confirmation names were given serious consideration in your house.

While friends from less devout families toyed with the idea of adding glamorous names to their moniker, you were reminded on a daily basis that you were taking after a saint.

And that was the end of it.

5. There was always at least one Catholic newsletter kicking around the house.

It was either dispensed after Sunday mass, picked up in the Parish Centre or donated by an equally devout neighbour.

And you spent many a childhood breakfast flicking through the pages while your siblings read the back of the cereal box.

6. You knew that the term ‘good mass’ meant ‘long mass’.

You favoured the evening masses because it seemed like the priest was just as keen as you to head back to the couch before the Glenroe Blues set in, but your parents were morning merchants.

Why? Because you always got a ‘good’ mass before noon.

7. Your family had ‘ties’ to the church.

Whether your father sang in the choir, your mother was a Minister of Eucharist or your siblings were alter servers, your family weren’t content to just pull up a pew and feign enthusiasm every Sunday.

Oh no, you lads had to actively take part.

8. The crib was always more important than the Christmas tree.

While you and your siblings relished decorating the Christmas tree every year, your mother gave pride of place to The Nativity.

Figurines were polished, fresh straw was shipped in and the table it rested on was shined within an inch of its life.

9. Holy Christmas cards were always given pride of place in your home.

While you were only dying to rearrange the cards on the mantlepiece so the cuter ones could take pride of place, you knew doing so was more than your life was worth.

Oh, and you were always the kid who handed out cards with the stable scene on the front.

10. The term ‘Month’s Mind’ was bandied about 24/7.

If a parent couldn’t be located, it was likely they were attending someone’s ‘Month’s Mind.’

You asked little more about it because you were just grateful you hadn’t been dragged along.

bless self

11. There hung at least one Jesus portrait in your home.

Generally, you’d find it above the kitchen door or overlooking the staircase.

It was also one of the only photographs in your home that rarely gathered dust.

12. You vaguely worried about particular friends.

While you hated being dragged to mass and made observe traditions, you couldn’t help but wonder about your so-called Catholic friends who weren’t being made do the same.

What would become of them?

13. Prayers from your childhood are still etched in your brain

“And if I die before I wake…”


14. You feel vaguely guilty about eating meat on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday.

You might be living miles from your family home, but you know a chill runs down your mother’s spine the moment that forkful passes your lips.


15. You’ve experienced mass in a variety of foreign languages.

And that is because two weeks in the sun didn’t guarantee you a free Sunday pass, as far as your parents were concerned.


16. You first car played host to at least one religious memento.

And this was, of course, gifted to you by a concerned mother, auntie or granny.


17. Talk of humanist weddings are met with narrowed eyes in your household.

“And where would she be going with her humanist ceremony? Wouldn’t she be better suited getting married in the church she was christened and confirmed in?”


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