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‘I Am the True Vine’ • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 15 minutes

April 29-May 5: Fifth Week of Easter

St. Catherine of Siena + St. Pius V + St. Joseph the Worker + St. Athanasius + Sts. Philip and James + St. Florian + St. Hilary of Arles


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1. Make dandelions for dinner. “Can we make dandelions for dinner?” You might think they’re a weed, but the lowly dandelion actually has deep roots in Catholic culture…and was a favorite of G. K. Chesterton. Mom and wildlife biologist Lynda Marie shares her family’s enjoyment of harvesting and appreciating this first sign of spring in this edition of Of Heaven and Earth.

2. Teach kids God is not a genie, and prayers aren’t magic. This week, we’re pleased to launch a new series with Father Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr., Brick by Brick with Father Brooke. Fr. Brooke will be taking your questions about how to teach your kids the faith, or how to explain difficult faith concepts, and answering them in a post and a video. The goal? Helping parents build a strong foundation of faith, brick by brick. This month he answers the question, “How can I teach kids that God is not a genie?” Or, put another way: How can we teach kids to pray in a way that doesn’t lead them to be disappointed when God doesn’t always “magically” answer their prayers the way they’d like?

3. Change the way you live. That’s what Saul/Paul did after his conversion…his radical about-face finally convinced the early Church’s leaders to trust him. Preview all of this week’s Scriptures with your kids in the latest Breaking Open the Word at Home.

4. Devote the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In popular practice, May traditionally has been devoted to Mary. Here are ways to live out in faith, hope and love this month in honor of Mary. Brian Smith gives us a reflection, links and ideas in this month’s family devotion for May.

Speaking of Mary, here are eight ways to celebrate Mary with your kids this month, from Marian hymns to Mary gardens and other easy but meaningful practices. Plus, an explainer for your kids: Why are Catholics so into Mary?

5. Support the Catholic Home Missions appeal. Encourage your kids to save a few dollars for the annual campaign. The money raised during the April 28-29 collection will help support missions in the United States. Specifically, the grants help fund dioceses and eparchies “that would otherwise struggle due to difficult geography, impoverished populations and limited resources.” To learn more visit Catholic Home Missions on the U.S. bishops’ website.

6. Watch A Quiet Place, which turns out to be a surprisingly life-affirming film about familial love. In her review for Catholic families, Adrienne Thorne calls it an excellent story of familial love. Her piece includes links to reviews from Catholic News Service, Bishop Robert Barron, and Commonsense Media.

7. Try these best practice to raise faith-filled kids. How do you raise faith-filled kids? By integrating the practice of the faith into the everyday life of your family, Here’s a roundup of the research from Catholic family faith formation expert John Roberto — including a list of the best practices of faith-filled families.

8. Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1). Introduce your kids to St. Joseph in our Saints for Kids feature, Meet St. Joseph! It includes an introduction to his life, a short story for children, a coloring page, a Child’s Prayer to St. Joseph, some St. Joseph’s Day traditions, and a short video about the saint. Plus: Teach your kids about the dignity of work, one of the foundations of Catholic social teaching.

Download two St. Joseph coloring sheets with the Living Sparks of God PDF download.

9. Celebrate St. Catherine of Siena. Her feast day is this week (Sunday, so it’s suppressed), and we’ve got a prayer, a short story, and a video to help you introduce this fantastic saint to your kids.



Our patrons recently got an advance look at the new edition of The Illuminated Rosary, which ought to debut toward the end of May. You can head over to our Patreon site to take a look, and to find out why we’re issuing a second edition.

Thanks, by the way, to Beverly Thetford and our other patrons…your vote of support is going to help us continue making great digital content for Catholic families!



You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month…or check out the perks at our higher patron levels as well.



It’s crowdsourcing time! Who are your favorite “mom” saints? The ones who changed diapers, wiped noses, kissed boo boos, and lived saintly lives of holiness? Come join our PB & Grace Parents page on Facebook and leave the names of your favorite “mom” saints in the comments of the post. Then vote with a heart reaction for your favorite from those listed. On May 1 we will put the results in an article for Mothers’ Day, and also sweeten the deal with a randomly selected recipient for a prize.



Do you love our books? Are you going to a Catholic conference or event? Then think about selling for us! We’ll pay your conference registration, and you’ll get to keep 15% of what you earn. There are no up-front fees or product purchases…we send you books, you sell them, we send you 15%. Intrigued? You can find out more here.



Our new calendar web app features saints’ feast days and important Church events, with links to more resources, images, a variety of viewing options, and the option to sync with your own calendar.


Sunday, April 29

St. Catherine of Siena


Monday, April 30

St. Pius V


Tuesday, May 1

St. Joseph the Worker


Wednesday, May 2

St. Athanasius


Thursday, May 3

Sts. Philip and James


Friday, May 4

St. Florian


Saturday, May 5

St. Hilary of Arles



  • Ascension of the Lord (May 13)
  • Mother’s Day (May 13)
  • Mary, Mother of the Church (May 21)



…are checking out “Mask Off God,” a Future rap remake by Jesuit Father Michael Martinez. Father Martinez was disturbed by his cousins singing the original lyrics, and after a lot of prayer and consideration, he reworked the song to uncover the authenticity of his own relationship with God. Have your kids watch the video, then read more about his song here. The blog is best suited for older kids and teens since it includes some of the song’s original lyrics; the song is best suited for even the most boring parents who eventually will tap their feet and nod their heads to the sweet rhythm.



In a statement for a conference preparing for the 2020 review of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, a top Vatican leader said the existence of nuclear weapons creates a mentality of “fear, violence and dominance” in the human family.

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva, added, “It is an unfortunate irony that we have a full adherence in the rightful condemnation of other weapons of mass destruction, while, on the other side, we find complacency over the continued possession and massive modernizations of nuclear weapons.” Read more about the statement here.



“Life only fully makes sense when it is given as a gift. It becomes tasteless when it is lived for itself alone.”

— Pope Francis 



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 Stations of the Cross for Children
The Stations of the Cross for Children was designed especially for younger children, with colorful illustrations and simple text that introduces them to the Passion of Jesus Christ on their level. Each station takes about two minutes to complete, including about thirty seconds of silent prayer. Optional prayers and Scripture references for each station offer a variety of ways to adapt and expand The Stations of the Cross for Children for older kids. And the opening and closing prayers place the Passion in the larger context of Jesus’ mission…and every Christian’s call to continue that mission in the world today.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
Molly McBride is turning six, and her momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”? Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing acts of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party. It’s Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity.

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.

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.

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 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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