February 5-11: Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Paul Miki and Companions + St. Josephine Bakhita + St. Scholastica + Our Lady of Lourdes
“Sorry to be late.”
—Cardinal Josef Mendax, apologizing for being late to his meeting with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Jan. 29, and channeling our sentiments about the timing of this newsletter
Paddy is here!
Get Paddy and the Wolves: A Story of St. Patrick as a Young Boy
TOP 9 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
Download our St. Josephine Bakhita coloring sheet, read the story of her daring attempt to escape slavery, and then watch a movie about her life. You can get started at this month’s Saints for Kids feature.
Celebrate National Marriage Week (Feb 7-14) by reflecting on the saints who have helped you in your marriage. That’s what Amy over at Prayer-Wine-Chocolate did; read her post, Ten Years of Marriage and the Saints Who Helped Get Us Here for inspiration. You can find more ways to strengthen your marriage at For Your Marriage, an enormous website full of marriage resources sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops. Be sure to talk about your wedding and courtship at the dinner table while your kids are around!
Pray for African-American Catholics, in gratitude for all the gifts they bring to the Church and for any ongoing struggles they might face; it’s what the Church is calling us to do for the National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family.
Learn about the Amistad Movement and how to stop human trafficking by watching the U.S. Catholic bishop’s five-minute video on human trafficking and what the Church is doing to fight it. It’s part of the Second International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (Feb. 8). The video contains a frank discussion of human trafficking and an interview with a victim; preview before showing to your kids, but it should be appropriate for older children and teens.
Pray with your preschooler or toddler. How the heck do you get wriggly, squirmy kids under age 5 to pray with you? “I’m no expert,” says Angie over at Yellow Pelican — right before she launches into 11 excellent, “expert” suggestions. If you’re new to doing prayer with littles, this is a great place to start, but even if you’re a seasoned veteran, there are probably a few gems in here for you.
Make a children’s prayer area. “I created our own little prayer area for the kids where they could have a little quiet devotion time whenever they wanted. It’s amazing seeing them set up the table just right and then kneeling in very serious prayer.” Rosie over at A Blog for My Mom has put up an amazingly detailed post about how to set up a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd-style prayer table for your kids — complete with lots of pictures. If you needed inspiration to create a prayer space for your kids, this will do the trick!
Be a light in the darkness. That’s what this weekend’s Mass readings ask us to do; you can preview them with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.
Get sick. Scratch that—if you’re like most families at this point in the winter, you’ve already been sick, and cared for sick kids…which is the perfect reason to observe the World Day of the Sick, an observance begun by Pope John Paul II to coincide with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Catholic Health Association sponsors many resources for observing the day, including a two-minute video and prayers you can say with your family.
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ALL THE COOL CATHOLICS ARE CHECKING OUT . . .
Tiny Thomists, a brand-new (and free!) family faith formation e-mail newsletter from T.J. Burdick. “Tiny Thomists is a life saver for families with young children who love their Catholic faith, but are always on the go,” he says. Some of the features of the newsletter include a “Simplified Summa” sentence from the Summa Theologica to memorize; a Lectio Divina bible verse to reflect on; a saint story; a “saintly situation” to read together; a kid-friendly retelling of the Gospel; coloring pages, family games, and more. You can sign up over at the Dominican Institute.
FRIENDS YOUR KIDS SHOULD HANG OUT WITH THIS WEEK
St. St. Paul Miki and Companions (Monday); Paul Miki was a Japanese
Jesuit novice whose preaching had helped spread the Christian faith in Japan. When Japanese leaders outlawed Christianity, he was one of
twenty-six Christians crucified. Preaching from the cross, he said: “My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the emperor and all who have sought my death.”
St. Josephine Bakhita (Wednesday), the Sudanese woman who was
kidnapped and sold into slavery at age nine; she eventually won her freedom with the help of the Canossian Sisters. She joined the order and spent the rest of her years serving a new master—God. Her feast day corresponds with the Second International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, and she is the patron saint of victims of human trafficking, so it’s a two-for-one deal to celebrate her feast day.
St. Scholastica (Friday), the twin sister of St. Benedict, who was the founder of western monasticism; she was head of a convent not far from her brother’s monastery. Once while visiting with her brother, she prayed for a storm so he would not be able to leave and they could talk longer. She got her wish. “What have you done?” Benedict cried, to which his sister replied: “I asked you, but you were unwilling to listen to me; I asked my Lord, and he listened to me.” Saintly sibling squabbling!
Our Lady of Lourdes (Saturday), the title given to Mary when she appeared to 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous beginning on this date in 1858. When Bernadette asked the “beautiful lady” to identify herself, she said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Superbowl Sunday (Feb 5)
- St. Valentine’s Day (Feb 14)
- World Marriage Day (Feb 14)
- President’s Day (Feb 20)
“If you want someone to love
you, you must be the first to
love; and if you have nothing
to give, give yourself.”
—St. Rosalie Rendu, whose feast is Feb. 7
The books in The Illuminated Rosary series illuminate the mysteries of the rosary in sixty works of sacred art—one for each bead—to help readers pray the rosary more meditatively.
It’s perfect to give to kids to help them pray along with the family rosary; there’s even a string of “beads” at the bottom of each page to help them keep track, and the words of each prayer to help elementary readers lead the rosary. Adults love The Illuminated Rosary, too: it’s a great way to slow down your rosary, and imaginatively enter each mystery.