14 Catholic leaders suggest New Year’s resolutions for Catholics in 2024

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Catholic leaders New Year's resolutions

As a new year begins, Catholic leaders, speakers and authors are recommending resolutions for Catholics to consider in 2024.

Many of their suggestions overlapped, and each prioritized the same thing: Drawing closer to God.

The Catholics that spoke with Our Sunday Visitor include: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza; comedian Jen Fulwiler; Father Leo E. Patalinghug, IVDei; former model Leah Darrow; Sister Orianne Pietra René, FSP; Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield, Massachusetts; Father Josh Johnson; Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly; host Katie McGrady; speaker and author Meg Hunter-Kilmer; speaker Crystalina Evert; and husband-and-wife team Jackie and Bobby Angel.

While a new survey from Forbes Health/OnePoll found that Americans’ most popular goal for 2024 is improved fitness, these leaders suggested digging deeper.

“Workout, get a fitness plan, eat healthier, clean your house out, whatever it is you need to do,” Evert said. “But maybe ask [yourself], what is that one thing or what is it that is keeping you from becoming the man or woman that God created you to be?”

Here are 29 resolutions to consider for the new year:

New York’s Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan Smiles outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in this file photo from March 17, 2023. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York

Cardinal Dolan offered three “first of the year ‘first’ resolutions.”

1. “First thing every day: The Sign of the Cross and a morning offering, as simple as, ‘Thanks, Lord, for the gift of a new day. Help me be closer to you by the time it ends!'”

2. “First day of each week: Sunday Mass!”

3. “First Friday of every month: the Sacraments of Penance, Mass and Holy Communion!”

Immaculée Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor who shares her story of faith and forgiveness in her 2006 book “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust,” shared four resolutions.

4. “To make the time for families [and/or] friends to be together and to read the Word of God together in a fun way as an activity, and to comment on it (read the Bible or the Mass daily readings and discuss).”

5. “Make an effort to pray the Rosary every day. If you can, the whole Rosary. Truly it’s a matter of understanding the importance of it and loving it. We spend so much time wasting time on mundane things like social media and watching TV. This is a way to get close to Our Lord and change our lives.”

6. “Make a friend of a certain saint and get to know him or her and try to imitate their virtues.”

7. “Make a decision to do something kind to someone or do more works of mercy. Donate to a foundation you like and care for somebody who is not necessarily your best friend. Reach out to somebody rejected or older and lonely.”

Jen Fulwiler, a standup comic, bestselling author and mother of six, is pictured in an undated publicity photo. Fulwiler told OSV News that her brand of Catholic observational comedy is the fruit of “an enormous amount of work” and deep faith. (OSV News photo/Tigerman Management)

Jen Fulwiler

Jen Fulwiler, a standup comic, author and mother of six who has a new comedy special coming in 2024, shared her recommendation.

8. “I think a great resolution for Catholics would be to dress to the nines when they go to Mass, even if they go to a casual parish. The process of putting on your best clothes gets you in a whole different mindset, and might even inspire your fellow parishioners.”

Celebrity chef Father Leo Patalinghug displays a Lenten seafood pasta meal he prepared in his Baltimore kitchen Feb. 24. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

Father Leo E. Patalinghug, IVDei

Father Patalinghug, the creator and founder of PlatingGrace.com, author, speaker and multimedia host, suggested:

9. “Don’t make ‘annual resolutions’ that are hard to keep, but weekly and monthly goals. It’s less daunting when you don’t put pressure to follow something for a whole year, but see how we’re called to live every day to the fullest.”

10. “Make it a monthly priority to go to confession, at least a monthly adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.”

11. “Find a corporal work of mercy that [you] haven’t done yet and make a goal next year to get involved.”

12. “Learn a new recipe each month and share it with family and friends.”

Leah Darrow

Leah Darrow, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model” who now serves as a mindset coach, entrepreneur and mother of six, is working with the Hallow Catholic prayer app to release a course in the new year. She recommended starting small.

13. “For 2024, choose one goal, not an array of 10. Then, build a routine centered on this lone objective asking Christ for clarity and perseverance in it. If you embrace simplicity and maintain focus, you will undoubtedly achieve your aim.”

Sister Orianne Pietra René, FSP

Sister Orianne Pietra René with the Daughters of St. Paul frequently shares reflections on Instagram. She recommended two resolutions for 2024: a daily morning offering and a weekly time of lectio divina (“divine” or “spiritual” reading).

14. “Start developing the habit of uniting your day to the cross of Christ by working up to praying a Morning Offering each day.”

“This year, how can we grow in the ability to see each moment of our life, the joyful and the sorrowful, in the light of eternity?” she commented. “Learn to unite each moment of your day to Christ on the cross, where he makes all redemptive.”

15. “Intentionally begin to pray lectio divina once a week. Not sure where to begin? Pray with the readings for the Sunday Mass. You can find what reading is coming up that Sunday on the USCCB website.”

“We long to be able to hear and recognize God’s voice in our personal prayer,” she described.
“We don’t always realize that we can foster this familiarity and recognition by spending time with his words to us in sacred Scripture.”

Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield, Mass., delivers his homily during Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral Feb. 17, 2021. (CNS photo/Mary Jeanne Tash via Diocese of Springfield)

Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield, Mass.

Bishop Byrne offered his own resolution for 2024.

16. “My New Year’s resolution is to talk less and listen more. I think this is what Pope Francis is asking of us as a church, but I also know this is what God is asking of me in friendship with him.”

Father Josh Johnson

Father Johnson, the director of vocations and pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and School in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gave two recommendations.

17. Make simple acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

“It’s always good to be simple,” he said. “I think sometimes we overdo it as Catholics and we aim too high and then we fail very quickly.”

He gave the examples of praying as soon as you wake up, whether by saying the Rosary, reading Scripture, listening to a Catholic prayer app, or turning on a praise-and-worship song or Gregorian chant. He also pointed to “fasting” from the snooze button and going to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter or supporting a missionary financially.

18. “Reach out to a friend to be your accountability partner.”

“Another reason why many times we fail with our New Year’s resolutions or our Lent and Advent penances is because we try to do it by ourselves,” he said.

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly delivers his annual report at the opening business session of the Knights of Columbus 141st Supreme Convention in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 1, 2023. During the convention, the Knights launched a new initiative called Cor, which aims to strengthen Catholic men’s faith through formation, prayer and fraternity. (OSV News photo/Tamino Petelinšek, Knights of Columbus)

Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly

At the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Kelly offered his resolution.

19. “Fast from negativity — from welcoming it and from spreading it. Seek a way each day to say or do something that builds unity and charity, in Christ.”

Katie McGrady

Katie McGrady, host of The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM, shared two pieces of advice.

20. “Find a wholesome hobby. Do something in your free time that isn’t just mindless scrolling on your phone. Crochet. Knit. Cross stitch. Build legos. Learn the piano. Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Restore yourself by doing something restful and fun.”

21. “Say ‘yes’ more. We so often live a very ‘no no, not that’ life when it comes to things, experiences, sacrifices. But what if this year we said yes more? To the things that could stretch us, inspire us, challenge us and help us become holy.”

Meg Hunter-Kilmer

Catholic author and speaker Meg Hunter-Kilmer, who recently wrote “A Year in the Word Catholic Bible Journal” published by OSV, offered two recommendations.

22. Resolve to read the whole Bible.

23. “I recommend committing to 15 minutes a day of silent prayer. No books, no Rosary, no Bible, nothing — just you and God. It’s really hard to be still for that long at first, but with time it becomes a real lifeline. And while 15 minutes may seem like more time than you have to spare, consider this: it’s 1% of your day. God’s certainly worth that.”

Crystalina Evert

Crystalina Evert, co-founder of Chastity Project and the founder of Women Made New Ministries, presented several recommendations.

24. Ask: “What is that one thing or what is it that is keeping you from becoming the man or woman that God created you to be? What is it in your life that is keeping you from stepping into that?”

25. “Listen to that small, still voice.”

“Everybody knows right from wrong, and everybody knows that they should or shouldn’t be doing something, and if we could train our spiritual ears to just listen to that small, still voice, everybody’s life would completely, 180 change,” she said.

26. Go to confession and Eucharistic adoration once a month.

27. Women who want to start over in the new year can access a free Women Made New! online learning series with EWTN.

Bobby and Jackie Angel

Catholic speakers and authors Bobby and Jackie Angel each shared a recommendation.

28. Jackie: “Pick up a spiritual book (‘The Reed of God,’ ‘The Interior Castle,’ St. Thérèse’s autobiography, etc.) and just try to read 5 to 10 pages a day.”

29. Bobby: “Don’t pick 13 things, just ONE thing you could reasonably commit to and stick with. I always try to get back into the Liturgy of the Hours during these seasonal shifts (Advent, Lent, New Year’s, etc.), but I fail when I try to take on all the hours at once. Just starting with Morning Prayer or Night Prayer, and letting it be a slow and meditative exercise (rather than a check-the-box mentality) always leads to a more fruitful time with the Lord.”

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.