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Be Merciful, O Lord • MISSION:CHRISTIAN Parents

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March 5 – 11: First Week of Lent

St. Perpetua and St. Felicity + St. John of God + Saint Frances of Rome + Forty Martyrs of Sebastea



Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper, of course.

Molly McBride, the five-year-old aspiring Purple Nun, is back, and she’s got a whole new wardrobe worry: Catholic school uniforms. No purple habits allowed in Molly’s kindergarten, even though a purple nun’s habit would be WAY more Catholic than any old plaid jumper.

But Molly and her new friend Dominic plan to appeal their case to Father Matt. Surely Fr. Matt will back them up!

Or will he only teach them something about how God sees beyond our clothes into our hearts, to the place where our true identity lies? Either way, Molly’s a winner!

Get Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper from Amazon.com or Gracewatch Media, where we’re also running a special deal: Get Molly McBride and the Purple Habit AND Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper for one low price. You can’t get more Catholic than that!

Preview Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper here or click on any image to start a slideshow:



1. Give up nagging your kids. Still looking for something to give up for Lent? How about replacing that nagging habit with the 4 C’s? You get to practice spiritual discipline, and the whole family gets to enjoy a little more peace.

2. Imitate St. Katherine Drexel (her feast day is this Friday) by participating in the Collection for Black and Indian Missions on Sunday, March 4.

3. Sign up for Letters of Love, A Lenten Family Meditation. “Letters of Love is a Lenten meditation for families that combines prayer, fasting, and almsgiving with Scripture, wisdom from the Saints, and family writing activities. When you sign up to join the Letters of Love Lenten Meditation, you’ll get a Sunday email with the focus for the week. The activities, prayers, and prompts are easily adaptable to all age and ability levels. And best of all, by the end of Lent, you’ll have a permanent record of your family’s spiritual Lenten journey.” You can click over to Not So Formulaic for details, plus a lovely essay on the prompt for this neat idea…and oh yeah, the sign up form!

4. Play with St. Frances of Rome. It’s the feast day of St. Frances of Rome this coming week; you’ll remember her as the young woman who wanted to enter religious life but became a wife and homemaker instead, and made that vocation holy. Christine Hendersen has a short story about her for your kids, plus a Lenten activity in the latest Playing with the Saints.

5. Tell the story of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. It’s also the feast day of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity this coming week (see below); you’ll find a super-short story about them from Maria LaVoy in our latest Saints for Kids installment . . . plus Mike LaVoy has created two gorgeously detailed coloring pages that you can download in the Living Sparks of God coloring book.

6. Get your own Cor Jesu service going. Want extra credit this Lent? Consider starting a regular Cor Jesu (Heart of Jesus) service at your parish. blend of adoration, contemporary (contemplative) worship music, and the opportunity for Confession, Cor Jesu has proved popular with teens and young adults. Leandra Hubka describes what a Cor Jesu service is like, and what was involved in getting it going at her parish.

7. Question temptation. Sunday’s Gospels are all about temptation, and while we usually think of it as a stumbling block on the path to God, Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry suggests that if we ask the right questions, it could actually bring us closer to God. Preview the Sunday Scriptures in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

8. Make Dalma with Spinach on Friday. Black eyed peas, pumpkin, potatoes, turmeric, cumin, tomatoes, and chilies are among the ingredients in this meatless dish from India; it’s suggested for Lent this year by Catholic Relief Services.*

9. Play the Paddy and the Wolves board game. It’s free to download now through St. Patrick’s Day! The game plays like Candyland, except it features the art of Jen Norton and the prayers Paddy says on his way through the woods.

10. Get an X-plan together for your older kids and teens. One of the most popular posts on our Facebook page this week has been about setting up an x-plan for older kids and teens. Bert Fulks was inspired to set it up with his kids after talking to incarcerated juveniles; the simple plan basically allows kids a way to escape risky situations without losing face with their peers. You can get the details at his blog.


Late for Lent? No problem. Catch up on all things Lenten at Peanut Butter & Grace, or head over to the USCCB Lent resources page.

*We’ve received a few inquiries about whether CRS is a legitimately Catholic charity, given accusations floating around the Internet. The U.S. Catholic bishops continue to support and promote the work of CRS, and issued a statement to that effect several years ago. Our policy here at Peanut Butter & Grace is to help Catholic parents, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of faith or politics, to focus on raising their kids in the faith. Accordingly, we follow the guidance of the USCCB and the Vatican in such matters.



“Nothing can erase a person’s true identity.” This past week, the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, as well as the Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement thanking the Trump administration for repealing the Justice Department’s guidance on transgender students’ use of bathrooms in public schools. The statement in part read:

Pope Francis has taught that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated” (Amoris Laetitia, no. 56). The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of all young students and parents.



St. Kieran of Saighir (Sunday), one of the first native bishops of Ireland. According to legend, his first followers were animals, who helped him build the monastery at Saighir.

St. Perpetua, a wealthy young wife and mother and St. Felicity, her servant (Tuesday); they were both arrested for being Christian, and both resisted appeals to save their lives by denying their faith; they faced death cheerfully, confident in God’s promise. Much of the story of their arrest and imprisonment was written down by Perpetua; another writer finished the story, describing their deaths. “The Passion of St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and their Companions is one of the oldest and most notable early Christian texts,” says Wikipedia; it also makes gripping reading for mature kids and teens.

Saint Frances of Rome (Thursday), the wealthy Roman wife and mother who spent the early years of her life raising children and managing a large household. Later, as Rome was besieged by plague and war, she devoted all her time to helping those in need. She saw an archangel almost all the time, supporting her mission, and set up a hospital in her house to serve victims of the Black Death.

Forty Martyrs of Sebastea (Friday), forty soldiers of the emperor Licinius who refused his order to give up their faith. They were ordered to strip naked and made to stand in the middle of a frozen pond overnight. The next day, their frozen bodies were burned. Christians secretly took the ashes, though, and devotion to the forty men quickly spread.

Harriet Tubman (Friday), the African American slave and devout Christian
who experienced mystical visions from God from an early age. Guided by these visions, she escaped to freedom, then secretly returned to the slave states thirteen times to guide hundreds of others to freedom. An American hero, the religious elements of her story are often downplayed.

Johnny Appleseed (Saturday), whose real name was John Chapman (1774-1845). He traveled throughout the frontier preaching the Gospel and planting apple tree nurseries. Like Tubman, his deep religious faith has been obscured in





“If you only knew the reward which waits for those who persevere in the faith to
the end, you would give up your temporal dignity in exchange for it.”

—St. Eulogius of Cordoba


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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.

Paddy in the Woods board game. This is the printable board game that plays like Candyland, but featuring Patrick and the prayers he says during his adventures in the woods. It’s free to download now through March 18.


Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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