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They Returned to Galilee • Family Time!

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December 31-January 6: Second Week of Christmas

Feast of the Holy Family + Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God + World Day of Prayer for Peace +St. Zdislava Berka + St. Elizabeth Ann Seton + St. John Neumann




All of us here at Peanut Butter & Grace…including the many wonderful people who volunteer their time contributing to our online resources*…wish your family a merry Christmas, and a blessed 2018. You can catch a video of some of the families who have contributed to this Catholic family ministry here:



1. Pray in the New Year. Gather around the Christmas tree or dinner table and give praise to God and pray for a holy new year. There are multiple parts to this prayer from the USCCB, so your kids have an opportunity to take the lead and engage the family in prayer.

2. Reflect on the old year, look ahead to the new. Your kids may not make it to midnight this New Year’s Eve, but you can still make remembering the old year and setting some spiritual  for the new one part of your celebration. Here are some ideas for family resolutions from Peanut Butter & Grace bloggers and some handy printables to guide your own process.

3. Observe the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Go to Mass, pray the Magnificat and download our free coloring page to help honor Mary’s special role as the mother of God in the Church’s teachings about the Incarnation. Although the solemnity is normally a holy day of obligation, because it falls on a Monday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated. You can preview the Mass readings at the USCCB website.

4. Mark the World Day of Peace. New Year’s Day is the World Day of Prayer for Peace, and Pope Francis has asked us to focus our prayers in the New Year on our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters. You can read the pope’s 2018 message for the World Day of Peace at the Vatican website. And here is a list of quotes and prayers from popes and St. Francis of Assisi on world peace.

5. Dedicate the month of January to the Holy Name of Jesus. In popular practice, January has traditionally been devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus. This week, Brian Smith launches a new series about how to practice monthly devotions in your home, with a kid-friendly explanation of the devotion, a Scripture verse for the month, and ways to live it in faith, hope, and charity. We kick things off this month with The Holy Name of Jesus: Monthly Devotion for January.

6. Meet St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and play a game of school, too. Can you guess which saint was the first to be born in America? If you had told this saint as little girl that she would become Catholic, she probably would have laughed at you. Read about St. Elizabeth and play a game of “school without words” in this edition of Playing with the Saints!

7. Be a holy family. Preview this week’s readings for the Feast of the Holy Family with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

8. Continue to make the season merry with blessings and an interactive calendar. As we noted last week, Christmas is a several-day celebration continuing until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The U.S. bishops’ website has several resources to help us keep the holiness and excitement of Christmas each day of this liturgical season.




We’re gathering a list of quality Christmas movies to watch with our families. Here are some suggestions, and a discussion on the PB & Grace Parents Facebook page added more ideas. What are your favorite Christmas movies? Join the conversation online.



Sunday, Dec. 31

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph


Monday, Jan. 1

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God


Tuesday, Jan. 2

St. Zdislava Berka (1220-1252)
St. Zdislava ran away from home at the age of 7 to become a hermit in the woods, but was caught. Later, she was forced to marry a count. She had four children, attended Mass regularly, and while her husband was away at war, she opened up their fortified castle to refugees. The count didn’t always like her generosity; when he chased a sick man out of his bed, Zdlislava sold the bed and put a crucifix in its place. The count never complained again!


Wednesday, Jan. 3

Most Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the holy name of Jesus has grown throughout the centuries. God told us never to take the name of the Lord in vain, and St. Paul told us that we should respect Jesus’ name above every other name. The Cistercians, Franciscans, Jesuits and Dominicans, in particular, took this seriously. They preached and taught about Jesus’ holy name, and in 1721, we began celebrating the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus to remind us of how important it is.


Thursday, Jan. 4

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)
Saint Elizabeth said, “Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts.” Elizabeth grew up in high society in New York City, but when her wealthy husband died, she completely changed her life. She joined the Catholic Church, which led to her rejection by friends and family. After taking care of her children, she began a new religious order that started the first Catholic schools in the U.S. Her story is a reminder that the lives of Christians—even (and especially) the saints—are not any easier than anyone else’s. By the way, Elizabeth had three reasons for becoming Catholic: 1. Jesus’ real, physical presence in the Eucharist. 2. Devotion to Mary. 3. The Catholic Church’s direct, historical connection to Jesus and the apostles.


Friday, Jan. 5

St. John Neumann (1811-1860)
The Bohemian who came to the United States in 1836 to minister to immigrant Catholics. He eventually became the bishop of Philadelphia and began a network of Catholic schools. He said: “Everyone who breathes has a mission, has a work. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul … for a purpose. He deigns to need every one of us. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.”


Saturday, Jan. 6

St. André Bessette (August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937)
The doorman at Notre Dame College in Montreal. There, he welcomed people, listened to their problems, and prayed for them. He became so well known for curing people of sickness that thousands of pilgrims flocked to his door



  • January is Poverty Awareness Month
  • Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 7)
  • The Baptism of the Lord (Jan. 8)
  • Ordinary time begins (Jan. 9)
  • Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection on Unborn Children (Jan. 22)



…are kickin’ back and relaxing during the Octave of Christmas.



The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regularly urges Catholics to pray, reach out, advocate and act for a just world. Over the past year, the U.S. bishops have called for fair tax reform, peace in the Middle East, the protection of undocumented immigrants, religious freedom, an opposition to racism, and laws to protect the sanctity and beauty of life. In an effort to applaud success stories of such action, the bishops’ conference created We are Salt and Light: Success Stories. The website, part of a larger project from the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, highlights small but impactful success stories of solidarity for human rights, justice and peace from parishes around the country.



“The world must be educated to love peace, to build it up and defend it.”
– Pope Paul VI, 1968




Family Time! is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust.



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Remember to grab 15% off your order at Gracewatch Media with coupon code GRACE15.

Here’s a list of most of our books, ordered by publication date (most recent first).

The Catholic Family Book of Prayers
Do you want to introduce your kids to the richness of the Christian prayer tradition? The best way to do that is to pray with them, and now there’s a beautiful collection of Catholic prayers and meditations designed just for that purpose: The Catholic Family Book of Prayers: A Treasury of Prayers and Meditations for Families to Pray Together. It’s packed with prayers, blessings, meditations, saintly wisdom, and artwork—all selected specifically for Catholic families to pray together. Available in digital, softcover, hardcover, and handcrafted editions.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN December-January includes a saint, Scripture reading, Christian mission, prayer prompt, and fun facts in every daily entry…plus, special features and activities for Christmas and Advent.

Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You
Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You introduces young people to the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina in a guided journal format. It features a brief, accessible introduction to lectio divina, walking readers through the method step by step, then turns them loose to try the method themselves in eight pre-selected readings. Seven additional blank journal entries provide space for readers to choose their own readings; a list of suggested texts is included. The colorful, beautifully designed interior provides a warm and welcome space for reflection and prayer. Lectio Divina for Teens has received an imprimatur from the Diocese of Winona.

The All Saints’ Day Party
Maggie and Max can’t wait for the All Saints’ Day party. There’s just one problem: they can’t decide which saint to dress up as…and the party is just a week away! Join Maggie and Max as their friends and family tell them about six holy men and women who offer living examples of what it means to be a saint…even if you’re a kid!

Turning Grief Inside Out: Surviving Pregnancy Loss with God’s Help
Drawing on her own personal experience of pregnancy loss, Christine Hendersen offers practical and spiritual advice—as well as a hopeful path forward—for grieving mothers and the people who love them.

Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” Those words are at the heart of Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls, which is designed to help girls explore their identity and purpose in life in light of the wisdom of the Catholic Church, including half a dozen female saints. Ages 9 and up.

I Can Be Happy, Too: A Book about Attitudes uses simple rhyme accompanied by Scripture verses and sweet, expressive illustrations, to teach children that while we can’t control the bad things that happen to us, we can control how we respond to disappointment and adversity.

Blessed Is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss invites grieving mothers to let the Blessed Mother accompany them on their journey of grief and healing. Mary not only understands their loss, but wishes to bring mothers to healing through the saving work of her son. For each mystery of the rosary, author Heidi Indahl compassionately shares her own experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, offering insights about how those losses are connected to the experience of Jesus and Mary as revealed by the mysteries of the rosary.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN June-July 2017 includes features on Pentecost, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, St. Pierre Toussaint, St. Kateri Tekawitha, and more. A checklist of fun summer activities, plus “Christian missions,” Scripture readings, prayer prompts, and saint profiles for every day will keep your kids busy!

In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, our new YA fantasy/adventure novel with a Catholic heart and sensibility; it comes with an accompanying Lesson Plan book that helps parents and kids connect the story to teachings of the Catholic faith.

The Illuminated Rosary hardcover 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.

The Stations of the Cross for Children. Here’s a downloadable PDF with sacred art depicting each of the Stations of the Cross, along with a simple reflection and prayer, geared for young children.

77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids, now in hardcover from Dynamic Catholic; to celebrate, we’re offering hardcover copies for $12, about 50% off the cover price, while supplies last. Whether you are just getting started with family prayer or wish to broaden your horizons, 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids can help, offering practical, kid-friendly guides to Christian prayer practices both ancient and new. Features include: age-appropriate adaptations for young children, older kids, and teens; articles on a wide range of practices; Talking Points…explanations of prayer practices that kids might have questions about; cross-references to the Catechism, Scripture, and church documents; an appendix containing thirty-three common and useful Catholic prayers; a quick-find index makes it easy to find prayer ideas, and doubles as a checklist to track your progress.

Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. In this book, Molly faces off against the dreaded plaid jumper that she’s going to have to wear when she starts school in the fall. Along with her new friends, Dominic and Fr. Matt, she learns all about uniforms and our true identity in God.

Paddy and the Wolves. Young Paddy can’t sit still during morning prayers, but he’s more than happy to help the shepherd, Barra, watch sheep for the day! But who will watch Paddy when he wanders into the woods? As he explores the wilderness of coastal Britain, Paddy encounters many delights and dangers—and ultimately, the One who watches over him through it all. Available as a hardcover or softcover storybook, or a coloring book with complete text; also available is a downloadable board game. Features the art of Catholic folk artist Jen Norton.

The Children’s Little Advent BookThe Children’s Little Advent Book is designed to help parents with children ages 4-7 on a journey through Advent to Christmas. Each day’s entry includes a brief Scripture reading, a reflection, discussion questions, a brief prayer, and a simple coloring page for children to complete after praying with their families. With The Children’s Little Advent Book, parents have an Advent resource specifically designed for short family prayer services with young children.

Corporal Works of Mercy Cards. Teach a lesson about the Works of Mercy with these downloadable cards and teaching guide.

Little Lessons from St. Francis of Assisi. “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.

Flowers for Jesus: A Story of Thérèse of Lisieux as a Young Girl. 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.” Available in hardcover and softcover editions.

La Florecita de Jesús: Una Parábola de Santa Teresita Del Niño Jesús. This is the Spanish-language edition of The Little Flower. La autora Becky Arganbright ha adoptado las enseñanzas de las orecitas de santa Teresita en esta encantadora parábola para niños. La joven Teresita aprende que aunque es pequeña, con la ayuda de Dios, su pequeñez puede ser una manera de hacer grandes cosas para Dios.  La ilustradora Tracey Arvidson da vida a la joven Teresa Martín, y a sus ores en la parábola, con sus maravillosas ilustraciones.

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit. 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.

Living Sparks of God: Stories of Saints for Young Catholics to Color. Here are fourteen lively two-minute stories to introduce young Catholics to some of the Church’s most beloved saints. Each story is accompanied by two coloring pages: a gorgeously detailed portrait of the saint, and a scene of the saint in action.

The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth. Is the process of giving birth a medical problem to be solved, a hurdle to be overcome on the way to motherhood . . . or is it something more? Could it be, as Susan Windley-Daoust proposes, that giving birth is a gift from God, laden with signs that speak to women about their identity, their calling, and their destiny? If so, then learning to read those embodied signs during pregnancy and labor could transform the way women experience childbirth. These signs reveal that God is not only powerfully present in the whole birthing process, but desires to actively work with women to bring forth new life.

Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux: An Introduction to Her Words and WisdomLittle Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux presents brief excerpts from Story of a Soul as a way of introducing those unfamiliar with Thérèse to some of the essential themes of her spirituality. The words of St. Thérèse  are accompanied by the artwork of award-winning watercolorist Jeanine Crowe, a wonderful aid to prayerful meditation on the words and wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux includes twenty-one selections from the words of St. Thérèse, twenty artworks, and ten questions for reflection and discussion.

The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Thérèse of Liseux. 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. Illustrator Tracey Arvidson brings the young Thérèse Martin (and the flowers of her parable) to life in gorgeous illustrations.

Sense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic PrayersSense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic Prayers contains thirty traditional Catholic prayers every child should have at hand, each accompanied by a beautiful, hand-drawn illustration to aid in prayerful meditation on the mysteries of the faith.

Sense of the Sacred: A Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. For centuries, the Catholic Church has used art to illuminate the sacred mysteries of the Faith. Now, your child can follow in that tradition by making sacred art with the help of Sense of the Sacred: Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. This book contains 30 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying Bible verses, drawing on the rich legacy of statues and stained glass in our Catholic Faith.

Follow Regina Lordan:
Regina Lordan, a digital editor at Peanut Butter & Grace, is a mother of three with master’s degrees in education and political science. She currently reviews books for Catholic News Service and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service.

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