February 19-25: Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of the Chair of St. Peter + St. Walburga + St. Polycarp
Order by February 21 in order to get MISSION:CHRISTIAN Lent 2017 journals in time for Ash Wednesday.
Paddy is here!
Get Paddy and the Wolves: A Story of St. Patrick as a Young Boy
TOP 6 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
Get ready for Lent . . . because yes, reality check, Ash Wednesday is really and truly less than two weeks away. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with our updated Lent planner: Fasting, Giving, Praying: 25+ Ideas for What Kids & Teens Can Do for Lent. It includes lots of ideas for what kids can do to pray, fast, and give during Lent . . . plus, we review why we fast and give alms, as well as the Church’s guidelines for fasting and abstaining. There’s also a downloadable kids’ Lent planner. See? How could you go wrong? It’s going to be a great Lent!
Get ready to go big for God . . . and his creation. Youth minister and stay-at-home dad Ryan Langr is feeling extra ambitious this year, so he’s throwing down the fasting gauntlet with five big things you can give up for Lent that will not only benefit your soul, but God’s creation as well. He’s so crunchy!
Play with Sts. Blaise and Brigid. Yes, their feast days were at the beginning of the month, but you don’t need a feast day to play with the saints—not when Christine Hendersen has such great, kid-friendly saint stories to share in her new Playing with the Saints column. Play “St. Blaise and the Wild Animals,” then make Irish soda bread with St. Brigid. Save a slice for us!
To the Batmobile! Have your older kids dragged you to the LEGO Batman movie yet? Jen Schlameuss-Perry didn’t need to be dragged . . . she just went, and lucky you, she wrote up some questions to help kids think about the themes of the movie in the light of their faith. Holy catechetical capers, Batman! (Literally.)
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge. Not sure whether Batman would live up to that, but Christians are called to, according to this Sunday’s Scriptures. Jen Schlameuss-Perry helps you preview the Mass readings with your kids in this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.
Celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Wednesday, Feb. 22). In its excellent article on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Our Sunday Visitor points out that the feast day is about much more than apostolic succession, or the importance of the pope: “This day is not just about apostolic succession in respect to the pope and the bishops. Among the laity, it symbolizes an unspoken confidence that the Church of Jesus does not change from age to age; that the truths of the Gospel still form the basis of our faith; that these eternal truths are reflected in every Catholic parish and in every Mass.” Jessica over at Shower of Roses has seven ways to celebrate the day/
Do you look forward to this newsletter? Do you find it useful? Say “thanks” with a small donation . . . it just takes a moment.
ALL THE COOL CATHOLICS ARE CHECKING OUT . . .
Lenten Meditations by acclaimed Catholic folk artist Jim Janknegt, who says of hi self-published project: “Over the last sixteen years I painted forty paintings based on Jesus’ parables. I have put the paintings into a book of Lenten devotions: one for each day of Lent, along with the scripture the paintings is based on, and a brief meditation and prayer written by myself.”
Children’s Stations of the Cross prayer book, audio CD, and coloring book, from Holy Heroes; the prayer book is written in kid-friendly language, but has reflections that will be meaningful for the whole family.
FRIENDS YOUR KIDS SHOULD HANG OUT WITH THIS WEEK
St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei (Sunday), one of our newest saints (canonized in 2000) and one of five Chinese Catholics beheaded on Feb. 19, 1862. She was known for her piety, and called upon by her parish priest and also by her bishop to teach the faith to others.
Servant of God Francis X. Ford (Monday), the first seminarian to join the Maryknoll Missionary Society, Ford was sent to China, where he served the
people with love and respect for more than twenty years. When the Communists took power, they arrested him and publicly tortured him; he died in prison, a martyr. “We can often please [Christ] better when we are out in the highways and byways of China, off ering to needy souls the hospitality of our Christian love.”
St. Robert Southwell (Tuesday), the Jesuit priest who secretly ministered to oppressed Catholics in Elizabethan England for six years before being caught. He was famous for his religious poetry, and wrote some of his best poems while imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years.
Hans and Sophie Scholl (Wednesday), a brother and sister who lived in
Nazi Germany; together with some friends, they formed a secret group known as “The White Rose” to wage a spiritual war against the Nazi regime. The Catholic Herald describes Sophie Scholl’s martyrdom: “At her trial Sophie Scholl explained, ‘Somebody had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others.’ Her last words were, ‘How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?’ She was aged 21. Today hundreds of German schools are called after her and she and her brother have been jointly voted the fourth greatest Germans of all time.”
St. Polycarp (Thursday), a student of St. John the Evangelist, who made him a bishop. His letter to the Philippians is one of the oldest Christian writings outside the New Testament. At the age of 86, he was burned at the stake. Christianity Today says of his death: “It is not clear exactly why he was suddenly, at age 86, subject to arrest, but when he heard Roman officials were intent on arresting him, he decided to wait for them at home. Panic-stricken friends pleaded with him to flee, so to calm them, he finally agreed to withdraw to a small estate outside of town. But while in prayer there, he received some sort of vision. Whatever he saw or heard, we don’t know. He simply reported to his friends that he now understood, ‘I must be burned alive.'”
St. Walburga (Saturday), who with her brothers accompanied her uncle, St.
Boniface, on his missionary trip to convert Germany to Christianity. She wrote an account of the trip. Later, she became superior of the double monastery at Stuttgart, where she was known as a gifted healer and widely admired for her sweetness and wisdom. She is also remembered for an incident in which the ship she was on was in danger of capsizing due to a storm; she prayed, and the waters calmed.
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- President’s Day (Feb 20)
- Ash Wednesday (Mar 1)
- St. Patrick’s Day (Mar 17)
“I ask you, my Lord, to feed me with your sweet grace, strengthen me with your pure love, surround me with your boundless mercy, and embrace me with your pure truth.”
—St. Margaret Ebner (Friday)
FEATURED BOOK: ON SALE NOW
Is the process of giving birth a medical problem to be solved, a hurdle to be overcome on the way to motherhood . . . or is it something more? Could it be, as Susan Windley-Daoust proposes, that giving birth is a gift from God, laden with signs that speak to women about their identity, their calling, and their destiny?
If so, then learning to read those embodied signs during pregnancy and labor could transform the way women experience childbirth. These signs reveal that God is not only powerfully present in the whole birthing process, but desires to actively work with women to bring forth new life.
When I gave birth to my sixth child, there was a moment at the end when I thought that I had lost all strength, that my baby would die and it would be my fault. (Fortunately, everything turned out fine!) It wasn’t until I read The Gift of Birth that I learned how excruciating self-doubt is a sign of the Holy Spirit at work in the birthing process. Susan’s book helped heal a very painful memory. The wisdom in this book is a great blessing to all mothers, whether expecting or experienced.
—Karee Santos, co-author of The Four Keys to Everlasting Love: How Your Catholic Marriage Can Bring You Joy for a Lifetime
Pregnancy and motherhood are such deeply spiritual times, but so often we are too consumed by our “to do” lists and worries and preparations to take time apart to let the experience resonate deep within our souls. The Gift of Birth by Susan Windley-Daoust is the perfect companion for both expectant and veteran mothers.
—Mary DeTurris Poust, author of Everyday Divine: A Catholic Guide to Active Spirituality