March 19-25: Third Week of Lent
St. Joseph + Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord + Blessed Clement August van Galen + Blessed Oscar Romero
BOOKS FOR SPRING
Spring “officially” arrives on Monday, March 20, and we’re celebrating with spring books, including MISSION:CHRISTIAN Easter 2017, Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper, the new hardcover edition of 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids (on sale for 50% off!), and coming next week, In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, a novel for younger teens. Save 15% on your order with coupon code kenosis15 at checkout.
TOP 9 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
1. Try the new Stations of the Cross with your kids. The Stations of the Cross aren’t new, of course, but the version recently approved by the bishops conference of the Philippines is relatively new, and it’s perfect for younger children who are just beginning to learn the story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. We’ve got tips and a rundown of the stations for you to use at home.
2. Splash in some puddles. That’s what Ryan Langr and his toddler daughter, Philomena, did, and it led Ryan to reflect on how Lent draws us to moments of intimacy with God.
3. Get a drink of water. Thirst and how to quench it is the big theme of this Sunday’s readings; preview those Scriptures before Mass with your kids. Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry has you covered in Breaking Open the Word at Home.
5. Play with St. Wulfram! Christine Hendersen offers a kid-friendly story about the saint who saved kids from being sacrificed to pagan gods . . . and she’s got an appropriate game to go with it.
6. Celebrate St. Joseph’s Day with a short children’s story and coloring page from Maria and Mike LaVoy, plus a short video about his life, and links to St. Joseph prayers.
7. Scrutinize the Scrutinies. If your parish has adults preparing to be received into the Church at Easter, your kids may hear the Scrutinies this weekend. The Scrutinies are a ritual in which the Elect make a commitment to “serious examination of their lives and true repentance” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults #142). Ask your kids what that commitment would mean in their lives. See “The Scrutinies” at creighton.edu for more information.
8. Mark the Feast of the Annunciation on Satureday, March 25, by reading or listening to a reflection on the Annunciation at AmericanCatholic.org, then head back over to Peanut Butter & Grace for a slideshow of art depicting the Annunciation, accompanied by the words of the prayers for that decade of the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary. You can try praying the Annunciation with your kids while watching the slideshow…or just sit back and talk to them about the different ways artists have envisioned this event through the centuries. If your kids were going to make a painting of the Annunciation, what would it look like?
9. Wear LOTS OF SOCKS in solidarity with people with Down Syndrome on World Down Syndrome Day (Tuesday, March 21). Down Syndrome International asks people to wear lots of socks or other unusual clothing to spark discussions about Down Syndrome, and to support the rights of people with the condition to participate in society. Learn more at worlddownsyndromeday.org.
ALL THE COOL KIDS . . .
. . . are talking about The Case for Christ, in theaters April 7. It’s the story of a journalist who is compelled to investigate the fundamental basis of Christianity after his wife becomes a believer. Based on a true story. Check out the trailer.
. . . are binge-watching The Kindness Diaries; or at least our 11-year-old cool kid is. The premise of this “reality” TV show has former stockbroker Leon Logothetis traveling the world on an old yellow motorcycle, relying entirely on the kindness of strangers for food, gas, and a place to sleep. During each episode, he surprises one of his generous hosts with a life-changing gift: a cow, an apartment, money to make a music video. It’s a little cheesy, and one suspects the experience would have been a bit different without a cameraman or two in tow, but the show offers a positive alternative to other “reality” TV programming. It’s streaming on Netflix.
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR KIDS USE REAL KNIVES TO PLAY NINJAS:
“Please, no bloodshed, guys.” That’s what the U.S. Catholic bishops are advising Congress as it debates a replacement for the Affordable Care Act; in a statement, they quoted the late Cardinal Francis George to call for a health care system “in which everyone should be cared for and no one should be deliberately killed.” You can read their full statement here.
SAINTS FOR YOUR KIDS TO KNOW & LOVE
St. Joseph (Monday), the carpenter and descendant of King David to whom God spoke in four different dreams; each time, he did what God commanded, marrying Mary and moving his family as needed for their well-being. With Mary, he searched for Jesus for three days when the child went missing. Mostly, though, he is honored for raising Jesus as his own son, teaching him his trade and the Jewish religion. You can find out much more about St. Joseph at his Saints for Kids page.
Blessed Clement August van Galen (Wednesday), the German cardinal who spoke out against the Nazis’ attacks on the Church, as well as their claim to be a superior race. He labeled as murder the Nazi euthanasia program that killed 100,000 people with physical and mental disabilities, saying: “The right to life . . . and to freedom is an indispensable part of any moral social order.” Adults will find his story interesting, especially his “conversion” from ardent German nationalist to enemy of the state. At the height of his opposition to the Nazi regime, Galen delivered a series of highly critical sermons that exposed the Nazi euthanasia program: “Thousands of copies of the sermons were circulated throughout Germany,” according to an extensive article in Wikipedia. “The resulting local protests in Germany broke the secrecy that had surrounded the euthanasia program known as Aktion T4. The local Nazi Gauleiter was furious and demanded Galen’s immediate arrest. Joseph Goebbels and party pragmatists preferred to wait until the end of hostilities to avoid undermining German morale in a heavily Catholic area.”
Blessed Oscar Romero (Friday), the El Salvadoran archbishop who openly defied the military regime’s oppression of the poor and was assassinated while he said Mass. He said: “A Church that does not unite itself to the poor . . . is not truly the Church of Jesus Christ.” The Romero Trust has created a gorgeous four-minute animated video that summarizes his life and mission.
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Vernal equinox (Mar 20)
- Laetare Sunday (Mar 26)
- Easter (Apr 16)
“Instead of the One, True, Eternal God, men have created . . . their own gods to adore: Nature, the State, the Nation, or the Race.”
—Blessed Clement August van Galen
GET MORE PEANUT BUTTER! GET MORE GRACE!
We’re talking about taking kids to funerals and adopting orphans from Eastern Europe over on our Facebook group, Peanut Butter & Grace Parents. Join us! It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.
BOOKS FOR SPRING
Easter ordering deadline: April 7
MISSION:CHRISTIAN Easter 2017. Did you know that the Easter season lasts longer than Lent? Help your kids celebrate Easter to the fullest with this colorful daily journal. It’s full of missions for every day, plus prayer prompts, saint stories, fun facts, and much more. Order early; quantities are limited.
The Illuminated Rosary complete set. “I can lead the rosary now!” That’s what we hear kids saying when they have one of the Illuminated Rosary books in their laps. The words of the prayers are printed on every page, opposite a sacred artwork depicting the mystery of the rosary being said. Kids love these books, but so do adults and grandparents! Available in hardcover (allow extra time for shipping) or softcover sets.
Molly McBride set. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. Get books one and two for one low price while supplies last.
And coming next week, In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, a novel about an orphan named Waljan and the secrets he discovers behind a mysterious, unassailable wall. The novel is an allegory of faith, and comes with an accompanying catechetical study guide.