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Mary Kept All These Things in Her Heart • MISSION:CHRISTIAN Parents

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

January 1 – 7: 2nd Week of Christmas

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God + St. Zdislava Berka + St. Elizabeth Ann Seton + St. John Neumann + St. André Bessette


Get MISSION:CHRISTIAN for January as a PDF download for daily missions and live links to readings, saint biographies, and other resources. Or pre-order Volume 3 (February – May) now to make sure you get it in time.



May your children fall asleep before midnight, and may God bless your family abundantly in 2017. Happy New Year, everyone!



Reflect on the old year, look ahead to the new. Use our handy-dandy worksheet for doing a little “examen” of 2016 with your family . . . and look forward to what you want to accomplish spiritually in 2017.

Pray in the New Year. Pray the “Prayer for the New Year” with your family on New Year’s Day.

Read Pope Francis’s message for the 50th World Day of Peace. It’s titled “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace,” and you can find it at the Vatican website. Read it in advance and digest the main points for your kids, or find any number of summaries online by searching the title in your favorite search engine.

Visit Poverty USA. The U.S, Catholic bishops have made a big investment in trying to help out the 1 in 6 Americans who live in Poverty USA. Educate your kids about poverty and find out what you can do to help at the Poverty Awareness Month page, where you can download a PDF calendar full of activities to observe the month; and at Poverty USA, where you can find stories of hope, explore an interactive county-level map, take a tour of Poverty USA, and find out what your family can do.

Observe the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother Of God by praying the Magnificat and by downloading our free coloring page (the first piece we’re publishing from fourteen-year-old Maria!).

Be amazed. That’s what the shepherds were after seeing the infant whose coming the angel had announced to them. Check out more about this week’s readings with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.


Imagine us dressed in a red Santa hat, ringing a bell. Now, imagine dropping a coin into Peanut Butter & Grace’s little red kettle. (Thanks!)



Liturgical Training Publications’ Year of Grace 2017 Liturgical Calendar, available from the publisher or on Amazon. We’re a little late with this one, since the liturgical year began with Advent . . . but this is such a great visual aid for teaching kids about the liturgical year, it’s worth getting a little late. This 26-inch square calendar comes in a plain paper format ($8) or laminated ($16). The liturgical year is presented in a very visually appealing, circular format, with art at the center and in the corners. Here’s the catalog description: “LTP’s circular display of the liturgical year makes its key features easily understandable. Everyone can see at a glance the liturgical seasons in their characteristic colors, Sundays on the outer rim, and the days and weeks radiating from the center, where the artist has portrayed John baptizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending.”



St. Zdislava Berka (Monday), Zdislava ran away from home at the age of seven 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!

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Wednesday), who said: “Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts.” Elizabeth (1774-1821) 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: After her conversion, “Elizabeth’s close relatives chose to forget that they had ever known her and would not lend her money or help her pay her bills,” the Catholic Community of St. Elzabeth Ann Seton in Plano, Texas, tells us. “Elizabeth was now a destitute widow with no means to care for her children. It was almost impossible to make ends meet. The bills were piling up. Elizabeth had to work night and day to make a simple living for her children. She started a school, but that soon closed when students would not come to class simply because their teacher was a Catholic. Elizabeth was seriously thinking about moving her family to Canada, where she hoped life would be easier. Fortunately, Elizabeth did not have to make that move. A priest in Baltimore, Maryland learned of Elizabeth’s plight and invited her to begin a girls’ school in that city.” Pretty amazing that she could remain cheerful in the face of such adversity! 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.

St. John Neumann (Thursday), 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.”

St. André Bessette (Saturday), 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.



  • Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Jan 1)
  • World Day of Peace (Jan 1)
  • Poverty Awareness Month (January)
  • Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan 8)
  • National Migration Week (Jan 8 – 14)
  • Baptism of the Lord (Jan 9)



To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence. As my predecessor Benedict XVI observed, that teaching “is realistic because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness. This ‘more’ comes from God”.[4] He went on to stress that: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’”.

—Pope Francis, in his message for the 2017 World Day of Peace


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Pre-order MISSION:CHRISTIAN Volume 3 (February – May) now! Pre-ordering helps us know how many books to print, and ensures that you’ll get your copies on time.

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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