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Jesus, the True Vine | The Bread for May 3 – 9

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This week, we’re delving into those mysterious “I am” sayings of Jesus and thinking ahead to Mother’s Day; plus: the story of a Russian prince who became a pioneer priest, a mealtime game of two truths and a lie, and how to invite “the poor” to dinner.

Also this week, we debut a new format for The Bread. Hopefully you’ll find it both easy to read and useful…keep the feedback coming!

The Bread is eminently shareable…just forward it along to friends or fellow parishioners.

The week at a glance: May 3-May 9



Fifth Sunday of Easter

Preview Sunday’s readings with your kids; find the full text at the USCCB, and reflection prompts below.

Acts 9:26-31
Paul spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord

Psalm 22
I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

1 John 3:18-24
God is greater than our hearts

John 15:1-8
Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit



Cinco de Mayo

A celebration of Mexican pride (but not independence)

Cinco de Mayo at Wikipedia



Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin

The Russian prince turned pioneer priest of the Alleghenies

Read his story: Wikipedia | demetriusgallitzin.org

(The Demetrius Gallitzin website includes a comic book!)



St. Rosa Venerini

Uplifting women by starting the first public school for girls in Italy

Read her story: Vatican | AmericanCatholic

National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer website has videos, activities, and local events.

What to do this week

Strong Catholic families pray, serve, celebrate, and talk about God together, according to the best research. Here’s what to try this week.


Practice lectio divina with the Scriptures

Read one of this week’s Scripture readings (or a few verses) slowly and prayerfully with your kids a few times. For more about how to do lectio divina with kids of all ages, see Lectio Divina for Kids: Praying with Sacred Texts.

Pray an Easter table blessing

Yes, it’s still Easter, and you can continue celebrating the season with an Easter table blessing. The Book of Blessing offers two plans for an Easter season table blessing. You can find and print out the prayers over at Catholic Culture: Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Easter (1st Plan)Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Easter Season (2nd Plan).


Invite the poor to dinner

In its introduction to the table blessing prayer for Easter, the Book of Blessings offers this interesting instruction: “By their moderation they will therefore try to provide help for the hungry and as a sign of Christ’s love will on occasion invite the poor to their own table, in keeping with the words of Christ recorded in the Gospel” (#1034). And on Tuesday, Pope Francis said that poverty is the great teaching Jesus gave us, that we can find his face among the poor and needy, and that he wished that Christians could kneel before a poor person.

All of which got us thinking: How exactly does one go about inviting “the poor” to one’s family table? You’ll find some thoughts and practical suggestions in Invite the Poor to Dinner.

Give to the relief effort for Nepal

Pope Francis has lamented a growing “culture of indifference” to the plight of people suffering around the world. Get your kids involved in the relief effort by giving some of their allowance to a relief agency such as Caritas International or Catholic Relief Services. Also, the U.S. Catholic bishops have called for a second collection for Nepal; find out whether your parish will participate, and encourage your kids to bring money to church.


Play a meal game: two truths and a lie

Play the game “Two truths and a lie” with your older kids and teens during a meal this week. (You can try playing with kids younger than age 7, but younger kids usually don’t understand the concepts well enough to play. If you have younger kids at the table, have an older kid help them play.)

To play, each person shares two truths and one lie about what happened to them during the day. Then the other people at the table take turns guessing which statement is the lie. Only when everyone has guessed does the person reveal which statement was a lie. The goal, of course, is to get everyone sharing about their day.

Talk about the Scriptures

Younger kids: Act out, paraphrase, or read a kids’ version of one of Sunday’s readings. Go outside and find a tree or plant to make the metaphor of the vine and branches more concrete.

Older kids: Boost your kids’ understanding of the Scriptures with these study activities and discussion questions:

  • Ask: What line from Sunday’s readings stood out for you, or was most interesting? Which “spoke” to you the most? (Remind kids that when we listen to the Scriptures prayerfully, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through them.)
  • Provide context for the first reading: Why don’t the disciples welcome Saul at first? Because he had been one of the leading persecutors of the Christians before his conversion!
  • Tell kids that while the Gospel of John contains no parables, it does contain seven “I am” sayings of Jesus. This week featured one such saying (“I am the true vine”); last week featured another saying (“I am the Good Shepherd,” John 10:11). What are the other five? Do a bible hunt to find them. (They are: “I am the bread of life,” John 6:35; “I am the light of the world,” 8:12; “I am the gate for the sheep,” 10:7; “I am the resurrection and the life,” 11:25; “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” 14:6).
  • Learn more about the “I am” sayings at “I Am” Sayings in the Fourth Gospel, by Felix Just, S.J.
  • Ask: What does this Sunday’s readings mean for us as a family? Would you speak out boldly in the name of Jesus, as Saul does in the first reading?


Celebrate Mother’s Day the original way

This Mother’s Day, get back to the original intention of the holiday founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908 by having your kids write a hand-written letter to their mom. (Dad can write a letter in honor of his wife’s mothering, too.) Find out more in the article Celebrate Mother’s Day, in which we also list some of the Facebook comments we collected as part of our discussion of Mother’s Day over in the Facebook discussion group, PB&G: The Kitchen. (The group is “closed” to make the discussion private, but you can ask to be added.)

By the way, Mother’s Day is not this Sunday, but Sunday, May 10…but it’s never too early to begin planning!

This week in The Grace

Thou Shalt Not Worship Legos (Hairy or Otherwise): A Cautionary Tale

If the fiasco of the hairy, smoky Legos taught me anything, it’s that the next time I get that panicky feeling about needing to buy something for my kids, it’s time to do a heart check. by K. Phillips

Read the whole story at The Grace

The Bread comes to you every Thursday. To subscribe by e-mail, go to pbgrace.com and fill out the “Subscribe” form.

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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