December 4-9: Second Week of Advent
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception + St. Nicholas + St. Ambrose + St. Juan Diego
DO ADVENT FOR REAL WITH KIDS’ ADVENT JOURNALS
Get daily missions and live web links to each day’s saint and Scripture when you download MISSION:CHRISTIAN Advent + Christmastide. At the download page, you can purchase the PDF for $6 or download it for free.
Download The Children’s Little Advent Book for daily reflections and coloring pages specifically for children ages 4-7.
MEMO TO SANTA: ORDERING DEADLINES
Here are our shipping deadlines: For free shipping, order no later than December 14. For priority mail shipping, order no later than December 19. For the hardcover Illuminated Rosary set, order by December 6.
TOP 7 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
Celebrate the Immaculate Conception. Thursday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and it’s a holy day of obligation, so figure out your meal plans in advance (aka crock pot vs. takeout) and take your kids to Mass. On the way, explain the Immaculate Conception, otherwise known as the Third Most Confusing Catholic Doctrine Ever. Don’t worry—we’ve got an explainer for you (including a little-kid version), plus ideas for how to celebrate the day.
Celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas. The Feast of St. Nicholas is Tuesday, which gives you just enough time to find those foil-wrapped chocolate coins to drop in the kids’ shoes the night before, and maybe scrounge up a good storybook on the true story of St. Nicholas. Or head over to our feature on the Feast of St. Nicholas, which includes five ways to celebrate.
Or just read about the adventures of St. Nicholas in Meet St. Nicholas!, one of our Saints for Kids features. Once you’re there, you can download a free coloring page of the saint, courtesy of MISSION:CHRISTIAN.
Go caroling with your kids, even though you can’t sing. Seriously, if you haven’t been caroling, this is the year to give it a try. Peanut Butter & Grace showrunner Jerry Windley-Daoust shares his family’s experience, which mashed up caroling and a few works of mercy. Plus, he offers a few tips for getting together your own caroling party. See? No excuses!
Tell your kids that Jesus loves them, because it’s the one thing that matters, as Becky Arganbright found out when her autistic son tried serving Mass all by himself. Her story about the way a friendly (and patient!) priest reached out to her son is worth sharing around.
Let your baby play by the cobra’s den. On second thought, scratch that, because the peaceable kingdom Isaiah envisions in this Sunday’s readings hasn’t come to pass quite yet. Instead, break open the readings at home with Jen Schlameuss-Perry.
Make your list and check it twice. Are your kids writing their letters to Santa? Encourage them to write a letter to baby Jesus, too, having them respond to the prompt, “What do you want me to do for you?”
With 7 days to go, we’re at 30 percent of our fundraising goal for Paddy and the Wolves, a new storybook and coloring book about St. Patrick as a young boy. Backing Paddy is pretty painless, since it basically amounts to pre-ordering the book at a slight premium. Get Paddy in plenty of time for St. Patrick’s Day by contributing at IndieGoGo.
ALL THE COOL CATHOLICS ARE CHECKING OUT . . .
That They May All Be One, the inspirational talk by Catholic singer-songwriter Matt Maher. In it, he shares his journey to faith, and his deep conviction that what the Church needs now are humble witnesses, especially those who are willing to reach out in friendship to people of other faiths. The talk includes a question-and-answer with Scott Hahn, and is available through Lighthouse Catholic Media. Ages 13+.
Once Upon a Time Saints books by Ethel Pochocki (Bethlehem Books), a collection of stories about the lives of the saints that, unlike most stories of the saints, is less interested in biographical and historical detail than in bringing these holy men and women to life for children. Although the stories are based on the actual lives of the saints, they are presented more in the style of a fairy tale, usually beginning, “Once upon a time . . .”. And the stories don’t always have conventionally happy endings (a number of these people were martyred, after all), Pochocki places their stories firmly in the light of heaven. Telling these stories as fairy tales frees Pochocki to interpolate imagined details and humorous asides. About Joan Delanoue, she says: “Once upon a time, there lived a little girl named Joan Delanoue who was a terrible grouch. If there ever would be a Saint for Skinflints and Penny Pinchers, she would be it. … If she absolutely had to buy firewood or put a penny in the Church collection, she would sob and squeeze her eyes and big tears would roll down and drop off her nose.” Each story is accompanied by a beautiful full-page black-and-white illustration. Ages 7-12.
FRIENDS YOUR KIDS SHOULD HANG OUT WITH THIS WEEK
St. Nicholas (Tuesday), the saint everyone thinks they know, but probably don’t. The bishop of Myra was one tough cookie, hanging out with sailors and soldiers, getting imprisoned for his faith at least twice—once during the Roman persecution, and again later by the Council of Nicea for slapping the heretic Arius across the face for, well, being heretical. Then there’s the time he grabbed the sword out of the executioner’s hands in order to save the lives of three innocent men, whom he marched back to the shocked governor’s palace to demand their exoneration. When said governor begged forgiveness, the hot-headed Nicholas initially refused to forgive him, but later relented. Ho, ho, ho, indeed!
St. Ambrose (Wednesday), the Roman governor whose election as bishop makes the U.S. election process look sane by comparison. Another no-nonsense bishop, Ambrose not only composed many new liturgical hymns, but also refused to allow the emperor to attend Mass after the emperor massacred thousands of innocent people. Another time, he holed up in a basilica from Palm Sunday until Easter with a crowd of Catholics to prevent the empress from taking it over for the Arians. “To occupy their time, Ambrose taught them hymns composed by himself, which they sang under his direction, divided into choirs singing alternate stanzas,” according to EWTN. No more complaining about the length of those Holy Week services, kids!
St. Juan Diego (Friday), the humble Mexican Indian to whom the Virgin of
Guadalupe appeared on this date in 1531. She spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native language, saying, “Juanito, my son, where are you going?” His feast day falls three days before the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Feast of St. Nicholas (Tue Dec 6)
- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Thu Dec 8)
- Guadate Sunday (Dec 11)
- Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12)
- Feast of St. Lucy (Dec 13)
- Start of Los Posadas and Christmas Novena (Dec 16)
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“I know that everything I have was given to me by God, and on your advice, I am now ready to return all to Him.”
—Servant of God Bernard of Quintavalle (Dec 10)
STUFF SOME CATHOLIC STUFF INTO THOSE STOCKINGS
Molly McBride and the Purple Habit (softcover, $10.99)
Meet Molly McBride! Molly loves her new purple habit — it’s just like the ones her friends, the Children of Mary Sisters, wear. She loves it so much, in fact, that she doesn’t want to take it off…not even for her sister’s big day! Join Molly and her wolf-pet Francis as they learn all about nuns, habits, and giving your heart to Jesus.
You wanted the Illuminated Rosary in an affordable hardcover, and we listened . . . now you can purchase a hardcover set for just $80. That’s $20 per book, each of which runs about 130 pages and includes more than 60 works of sacred art. Get it exclusively from Gracewatch Media.
Flowers for Jesus: A Story of Thérèse of Lisieux as a Young Girl (softcover, $10.99)
Little Thérèse Martin could be a very stubborn young girl. All too often, if someone wanted her to say “yes,” she wanted to say “no”! But then, as she is preparing for her First Communion, Thérèse discovers a way to turn her everyday trials and tribulations into something beautiful for Jesus. Join Thérèse (and her family) as she learns to “gather roses from amid thorns.” With vibrant watercolors and storytelling, Flowers for Jesus introduces kids to St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s spirituality of “the Little Way.”
The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Thérèse of Liseux (softcover, hardcover, or Spanish)
Becky Arganbright has adapted St. Thérèse’s lesson of the little flowers into a delightful parable for children. The young Thérèse learns that even though she might be little, with God’s help, her littleness can be a way of doing great things for the Kingdom of God.
Little Lessons from St. Francis of Assisi: A Prayer for Peace (softcover, $10.99)
“Make me an instrument of your peace.” The Peace Prayer of St. Francis, beloved by people of all faiths around the world, beautifully captures the spirit of “the poor little man” from Assisi, as well as the aspirations of our time: for hope, for reconciliation, for peace. Join award-winning artist Jeanine Crowe as she meditates on this powerful prayer in words and watercolors.