The Bread PDF
This week in The Bread:
- The Third Week of Advent is jam-packed with everything from the Feast of St. Lucy to Las Posadas and the beginning of the O Antiphons. Check out our special article about what to do this week…and how to find some quiet amid the busyness (see link below).
- It’s Pope Francis’s birthday this week, not to mention the feast days of Hildegaard of Bingen and St. John of the Cross.
- The Force Awakens releases this week; if you’re going to see it with your kids, check out Jen Schlameuss-Perry’s take on how to connect the movie to faith issues. It’s her debut in a new geek media series called Bigger on the Inside (catch the reference?).
- Guest writer Amy Brooks shares the miracle she experienced when she went to pray at a Planned Parenthood with her three-year-old in tow, and a sign reading: “We want to adopt.”
- What do your kids learn from watching you pray? Becky Arganbright shares her experience.
- Heidi Indahl reflects on how she managed to find moments of joy, even after the loss of a child.
- Play the Stump the Parents! game; this week is a “wildcard” week as we let the kids ask the questions most on their minds.
- Earn points with the Get Your Grace On game; you’ll find a handy scorecard on page 2 of the PDF version.
- And as always, we have a sneak peek of the Sunday Scriptures, reflection questions, and a place to record your family’s prayer intentions for the week.
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THE WORD THIS SUNDAY
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent
» Feast of St. Lucy
The LORD, your God, is in your midst, / a mighty savior; / he will rejoice over you with gladness, / and renew you in his love, / he will sing joyfully because of you, / as one sings at festivals.
— Zephaniah 3:14-18
Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
“I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.”
The reading from the Prophet Zephaniah tells us that God will rejoice over us and “sing joyfully because of you as one sings at festivals.” What an image! That God is so happy about us being renewed that he sings about us!
THE CHURCH THIS WEEK
MONDAY December 14
St. John of the Cross
The Carmelite monk, poet, mystic, and reformer, and one of the most important spiritual writers in the Church.
TUESDAY December 15
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier (1819-1876)
The founder of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, many of whom tended to the wounded in the U.S. Civil War.
WEDNESDAY December 16
» Beginning of the Christmas Novena*
» Beginning of Las Posadas
THURSDAY December 17
St. Hildegard of Bingen
The talented abbess, poet, composer, and mystic who saw human beings as living sparks of God’s love.
» Birthday of Pope Francis
FRIDAY December 18
St. Flannan (7th century)
The Irish monk and bishop who prayed to become ugly.
SATURDAY December 19
Blessed Pope Urban V
The humble monk and man of the people who, as pope, lived simply and pressed for reform.
THE WEEKS AHEAD
2 weeks until the Jubilee of Families and the Feast of the Holy Family (Dec 27)
THE GRACE THIS WEEK
Try out a handful of these ideas this week . . . and if you want to “play for points,” record your points in the Get Your Grace On game in the PDF version of The Bread. You can add up your points at the end of the week, and give your kids an appropriate prize. Points are roughly equivalent to minutes, so adjust your points for extra time spent on family faith formation.
Preview this Sunday’s readings
with your kids. 
Pray an Advent prayer service with your family, lighting the third candle on your Advent wreath. 
Find time for quiet prayer this week using one of the ideas at pbgrace.com. 
Begin to pray the O Antiphons or the Christmas Novena 
Celebrate Las Posadas by re-enacting the search of Mary and Joseph for lodging; see pbgrace.com for ideas.* 
See whether your kids can identify three things that are different about the environment or liturgy this Sunday. 
Celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy with candles, a party, and cuccia.* 
Celebrate Pope Francis’s birthday with a cake and by praying for the pope’s intentions for the month. 
Purchase a gift from the Catholic Relief Services gift catalog. Examples include: health exams for 12 children, $25; modified bicycle for a child with disabilities, $50; quality seed for a season, $50; 1 lamb or kid (baby goat), $80. Let your kids choose the gift at crs.org. 
If you see The Force Awakens with your older kids, talk to them about its connection to their faith using the “Bigger on the Inside” article at pbgrace.com. 
Stump the Parents! Wildcard
This week, let your kids ask any faith-related question that has been on their minds lately. Give them a day (or at least a few minutes!) to think of good questions, and encourage them to brainstorm together.
How to play: Older kids and teens skim the text to come up with questions to ask their parents. Parents score 10 points for correct answers; kids score 20 points for stumping the parents. All points get added up for the Get Your Grace On game. See “Stump the Parents” at pbgrace.com for more ideas.