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Count the Stars If You Can | Second Week of Lent | THE BREAD for February 21-27

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The Bread PDF


What’s happening in the Church next week, and how can your family participate?

  • During the second week of Lent, we’re remembering the feast days of St. Polycarp, the Chair of St. Peter, and St. Bertilla Boscardin (see coloring sheet, page 3 of the PDF version). Plus a saint known as the first Mexican cowboy!
  • Check out “The Spiritual Meaning of Childbirth” from the foreword of The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth, the soon-to-be released book from Gracewatch Media. In the article sidebar, sign up to be notified when the book is on sale (we’re now looking at a Mar. 1 on sale date).
  • This Sunday, we hear the story of God’s covenant with Abram and the Transfiguration of Jesus. What we know about the traditional meaning of covenants sheds light on both readings, according to Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.
  • We’ve got 8 ways for you to #GetYourGraceOn, including a Lenten app and a cool video for older kids and teens about how to pray.
  • Want a cleaner house and confident, responsible kids to boot? Check out “12 Tips for Training Kids to Do Chores” by Heidi Indahl (link below).
  • Make the front door of your home into a Jubilee Year of Mercy door with the ideas in “Make a Door of Mercy for Your Home” (link below).
  • It’s not Easter yet, but we’re already at that part of the catechism that talks about Jesus’ resurrection…it’s the theme for this week’s Stump the Parents game.
  • Don’t miss your Peanut Butter & Grace 10% off February coupon code (e-mail edition only).

* Link to the article under MORE FOR YOUR WEEK, below.

You’re looking at The Bread for the Second Week of Lent, Feb. 21-27.

Get The Bread for the First Week of Lent, Feb 14-20.

Sign up to get The Bread by e-mail, and get 10 percent off all Gracewatch Media books during the month of February (you’ll get the discount code in the e-mail):


Check out a free whole-book preview of
The Illuminated Rosary books
…perfect for Lent.



SUNDAY, February 21, 2016
Second Sunday of Lent

The Lord God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
—Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
—Psalm 27

Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
—Phillipians 3:17–4:1

While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.
—Luke 9:28-36


What do you think you would have felt or done if you were at the Transfiguration?

Breaking Open the Word at Home has more Sunday Scripture resources, including reflection questions for kids and adults; by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry.



MONDAY February 22
St. Margaret of Cartona (1247–1297)
The penitent woman who was taken in by Franciscans, eventually becoming so famous for her holiness that people traveled from abroad to hear her speak.

Chair of St. Peter

TUESDAY February 23
St. Polycarp (69–155)
The bishop and martyr who was a disciple of John the Evangelist and Ignatius of Antioch; at the stake, the flames miraculously did not touch him.

WEDNESDAY February 24
Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes (1820–1893)
The Spanish lay woman who opened an embroidery workshop where young women could learn a trade while studying the Bible and praying.

THURSDAY February 25
Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio (1502–1600)
The Spanish immigrant to Mexico who became the country’s first cowboy, built a 450-mile road, made a fortune ranching, and gave his wealth away to the poor.

FRIDAY February 26
St. Maria Bertilla Boscardin (1888-1922)
The religious sister and nurse who bravely cared for children with diphtheria and wounded soldiers, even during air raids.

SATURDAY February 27
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
Much like St. Therese of Lisieux, he entered religious life at a young age (17) and lived a quiet but holy life until his death of tuberculosis at age 24.


2 weeks to Laetare Sunday (Mar 6)



Try out a handful of these ideas this week! Numbers in brackets are points for the #GetYourGraceOn game.


Preview this Sunday’s readings with your kids. Close your eyes and imagine you were with Jesus on the mountaintop during this incident. How do you think you would have reacted? What would you feel? What would you say or do? [30]

Make the Seven Penitential Psalms and the Songs of the Suffering Servant part of your family prayer time. “Prayerfully reciting these psalms will help us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for God’s forgiveness,” says the U.S. Catholic bishops’ website (usccb.org), where you can find the prayers in audio and text forms. [15]

Get in the habit of blessing your children. Here’s a simple way to start. Make the Sign of the Cross on your child’s forehead while saying: “May God bless you and keep you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Seal the blessing with a kiss on the forehead. Even more powerfully, allow and encourage your kids to bless you as well. See “Bless Your Child” at pbgrace.com for more about household blessings. See Bless Your Child. [20]



For your meatless Friday meal, try rice and lentil mash, a Catholic Relief Services recipe from Laos that features onion, garlic, and egg. According to CRS, it’s easy enough for kids to make under adult supervision, and inexpensive, too. Be sure to note the suggested modifications in the article above the recipe: crsricebowl.org. [20]

Transform the door of your home into a Door of Mercy this Lent as part of your observance of the Year of Mercy. Get instructions at Make a Door of Mercy for Your Home. [25]



The cardboard Catholic Relief Services rice bowl has had an upgrade: Now you can get it as an app, complete with automated donations, Lenten prayers, recipes, and videos. You can download it for either Apple or Android. [30]

Teach your kids a new chore that they can take on as an act of service to your family. See 12 Tips for Training Your Kids to Do Chores. [50]



Looking for a video to share with your older kids or teens? Check out Catholic youth evangelist Chris Stefanick at Real Life Catholic (reallifecatholic.com). A good place to start? The video “How Do I Pray?” which encourages kids to “chew on” Scripture and pray the ACTS formula. [40]


Stump the Parents! The Resurrection

Have your kids look at the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #125-131, then let them choose questions to pose to you; they get points if they can “stump” you, you get points if you answer correctly. See the full rules at Stump the Parents . . . a quick (if slightly humbling) way to do family catechesis.

Sample questions:

  • What is the “hell” into which Jesus descended? (#125)
  • What are the signs that bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus? (#127)
  • Why is the Resurrection a mystery of faith? (#128)
  • What is the condition of the risen body of Jesus? (#129)
  • How is the Resurrection the work of the Most Holy Trinity? (#130)
  • What is the saving meaning of the Resurrection? (#131)
  • Bonus: What is the meaning of the Transfiguration?



The Spiritual Meaning of Childbirth
Childbirth has a spiritual meaning that goes beyond the existence of new life—as profound as that is. Childbirth teaches us how to make room for God, receive grace, and live in relationship with the Holy Spirit.

12 Tips for Training Your Kids to Do Chores
Expecting your kids to do chores teaches them important life skills, and helps keep the house clean, too. But first, you have to train them—and yourself. Here are 12 tips.

Best Backstory Ever | Breaking Open the Word at Home
We are not always sure how to respond to God’s grace when we experience it. Whether we respond with fear, enthusiasm, or trying hard but getting it wrong, God makes things happen through us.

My ‘Desert’ Looks Like a House Full of Sick Kids and Dirty Dishes
I thought I was prepared. I thought I had a plan. I thought this would be the year I did Lent right. Then my kids started throwing up . . .

Make a Door of Mercy for Your Home
Making your own Holy Door of Mercy can remind your family to keep the Jubilee Year of Mercy everyday . . . and welcome your guests with a message of mercy. Here’s how.

Bless Your Child (and Let Your Child Bless You)
Regularly blessing your child is a powerful symbol of your love, and more importantly, your desire to entrust your child into the care of God’s love. Here’s how to start.

Bonus resources

Inheritance | Audrey Assad

Music is a great “soft” or “passive” way to teach even the youngest kids the faith. While Audrey Assad’s new album, Inheritance, is geared more for adults than kids, we’ll have it in heavy rotation in the car over the next few months—and I can guarantee that our youngest, pre-literate kids will be singing along before the week is out.

Fr. Damian Ference has written a wonderfully rich, insightful review of Assad’s new album; here’s an excerpt:

It would be a grave mistake to think of Inheritance as a cover album. Take for instance, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, a traditional hymn with which most Christians are familiar. Assad’s version begins not with an organ, but with soft, yet powerful percussion and then a couple of Loreena McKennitt-sounding cries, before her voice glides gracefully into the first verse. The contemporary instrumentation embodies the ancient text, and one can imagine the sun rising through the mist as Assad sings, “Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.” And that seems to be a major mission of this record, to re-present the hymn tradition to a new generation of listeners, and to an older generation, to offer a fresh iteration of Christian classics. 

You can read his full review at Word on Fire or get the album at Amazon.

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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