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The Lord Will Sing Joyfully Because of You / Third Week of Advent + St. Lucy + O Antiphons

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The Bread PDF


This week in The Bread:

  • The Third Week of Advent is jam-packed with everything from the Feast of St. Lucy to Las Posadas and the beginning of the O Antiphons. Check out our special article about what to do this week…and how to find some quiet amid the busyness (see link below).
  • It’s Pope Francis’s birthday this week, not to mention the feast days of Hildegaard of Bingen and St. John of the Cross.
  • The Force Awakens releases this week; if you’re going to see it with your kids, check out Jen Schlameuss-Perry’s take on how to connect the movie to faith issues. It’s her debut in a new geek media series called Bigger on the Inside (catch the reference?).
  • Guest writer Amy Brooks shares the miracle she experienced when she went to pray at a Planned Parenthood with her three-year-old in tow, and a sign reading: “We want to adopt.”
  • What do your kids learn from watching you pray? Becky Arganbright shares her experience.
  • Heidi Indahl reflects on how she managed to find moments of joy, even after the loss of a child.
  • Play the Stump the Parents! game; this week is a “wildcard” week as we let the kids ask the questions most on their minds.
  • Earn points with the Get Your Grace On game; you’ll find a handy scorecard on page 2 of the PDF version.
  • And as always, we have a sneak peek of the Sunday Scriptures, reflection questions, and a place to record your family’s prayer intentions for the week.


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Sunday, December 13, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent
» Feast of St. Lucy

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, / a mighty savior; / he will rejoice over you with gladness, / and renew you in his love, / he will sing joyfully because of you, / as one sings at festivals.
— Zephaniah 3:14-18

Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
—Isaiah 12:2-6

Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
—Philippians 4:4-7

“I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.”
—Luke 3:10-18

The reading from the Prophet Zephaniah tells us that God will rejoice over us and “sing joyfully because of you as one sings at festivals.” What an image! That God is so happy about us being renewed that he sings about us!
—Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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



MONDAY December 14
St. John of the Cross
The Carmelite monk, poet, mystic, and reformer, and one of the most important spiritual writers in the Church.
TUESDAY December 15
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier (1819-1876)
The founder of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, many of whom tended to the wounded in the U.S. Civil War.

WEDNESDAY December 16
» Beginning of the Christmas Novena*
» Beginning of Las Posadas

THURSDAY December 17
St. Hildegard of Bingen
The talented abbess, poet, composer, and mystic who saw human beings as living sparks of God’s love.

» Birthday of Pope Francis

FRIDAY December 18
St. Flannan (7th century)
The Irish monk and bishop who prayed to become ugly.

SATURDAY December 19
Blessed Pope Urban V
The humble monk and man of the people who, as pope, lived simply and pressed for reform.


2 weeks until the Jubilee of Families and the Feast of the Holy Family (Dec 27)



Try out a handful of these ideas this week . . . and if you want to “play for points,” record your points in the Get Your Grace On game in the PDF version of The Bread. You can add up your points at the end of the week, and give your kids an appropriate prize. Points are roughly equivalent to minutes, so adjust your points for extra time spent on family faith formation.


Preview this Sunday’s readings
with your kids. [20]

Pray an Advent prayer service with your family, lighting the third candle on your Advent wreath. [20]

Find time for quiet prayer this week using one of the ideas at pbgrace.com. [60]

Begin to pray the O Antiphons or the Christmas Novena [70]



Celebrate Las Posadas by re-enacting the search of Mary and Joseph for lodging; see pbgrace.com for ideas.* [35]

See whether your kids can identify three things that are different about the environment or liturgy this Sunday. [60]

Celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy with candles, a party, and cuccia.* [25]

Celebrate Pope Francis’s birthday with a cake and by praying for the pope’s intentions for the month. [25]



Purchase a gift from the Catholic Relief Services gift catalog. Examples include: health exams for 12 children, $25; modified bicycle for a child with disabilities, $50; quality seed for a season, $50; 1 lamb or kid (baby goat), $80. Let your kids choose the gift at crs.org. [100]



If you see The Force Awakens with your older kids, talk to them about its connection to their faith using the “Bigger on the Inside” article at pbgrace.com. [30]


Stump the Parents! Wildcard

This week, let your kids ask any faith-related question that has been on their minds lately. Give them a day (or at least a few minutes!) to think of good questions, and encourage them to brainstorm together.

How to play: Older kids and teens skim the text to come up with questions to ask their parents. Parents score 10 points for correct answers; kids score 20 points for stumping the parents. All points get added up for the Get Your Grace On game. See “Stump the Parents” at pbgrace.com for more ideas.



The Third Week of Advent: Six Traditional Practices (Plus a Time for Quiet Anticipation)
The third week of Advent is laden with celebrations both traditional and popular. Here are six practices your family might want to try, plus some ideas for making time for quiet anticipation.

How God Answered Our Prayers for Baby Zoe with a Miracle…and a Lollipop
I tentatively held up my sign outside the abortion clinic: “Unplanned pregnancy? We want to adopt.” Would this be the way that God answered our prayers for baby Zoe?   by Amy Brooks

Why Am I Still Smiling? Because Even Amid Tragedy, I Have Reason for Joy
The nurses must have thought we were crazy for laughing after my daughter was taken away to the funeral home. We weren’t crazy…just making room for joy in our sadness.   by Heidi Indahl

When I Bow My Head to Pray…My Kids Won’t Quit Staring at Me
“Kids, why are you staring at me when we pray?” I demanded. Max’s answer was simple: “Because we like to watch you pray.”   by Becky Arganbright

The Force Awakens | Bigger on the Inside
Are you ready for ‘The Force Awakens’? Here’s what to expect—and how it can help kids think about their faith. by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

Rejoice! | Breaking Open the Word at Home
Woo hoo! It’s Gaudete Sunday! We’re more than halfway there to Christmas! The word gaudete means “rejoice,” and today’s readings are all about that. by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

The Jubilee Year of Mercy: 7 Things Your Family Can Do
Pope Francis is calling the Church to a renewed focus on mercy with the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Here’s how your family can reap the riches of the jubilee throughout the year.

Catholic Mom and Musician Inspires the City of Angels with Her New Pop Single, “Los Angeles”
Who says Catholic moms can’t rock out? Amanda Grace is taking her faith to the heart of the music industry with a new pop single about keeping the faith in the City of Angels. by Jerry Windley-Daoust

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.