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“I Will Never Forget You” • MISSION:CHRISTIAN Parents

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February 26-March 4: Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Shrove Tuesday + Ash Wednesday + Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig + St. Katharine Drexel + St. Casmir

Get the hardcover edition of
Paddy and the Wolves: A Story of St. Patrick as a Young Boy
on sale now at Gracewatch Media.



1. Kick off Lent with pancakes and ashes. Shrove Tuesday (“Fat” Tuesday) and Ash Wednesday are coming up; we’ve got nine things you can do with your kids to get Lent off to a great start, including links to fun recipes, a printable “Alleluia” coloring sheet that your kids can hide until Easter, and an article about how to fast like a real man.

2. Pray and sacrifice for the victims of famine in Africa. The United Nations has declared the first famine since 2011 in South Sudan, with parts of three other neighboring countries also at risk; millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of children, are already starving, with more at risk if food aid isn’t delivered quickly. The Guardian has a helpful article listing where to donate.

3. Play with Sts. Christopher, Drithelm, and Josephine Bakhita. They’re all featured this week as part of Christine Hendersen’s Playing with the Saints series, new at Peanut Butter & Grace. She offers a kid-friendly story about each saint, followed by a simple activity kids and parents can do together.

4. Stop worrying. Really . . . whatever it is, stop it. God’s got your back. So says this Sunday’s Scriptures, three times over. Preview the readings with your kids in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

5. Encourage your kids to tithe for the Ash Wednesday collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe; the U.S. Catholic bishops tell you why you should care on the collection’s home page.

6. Download your Lent 2017 calendar from the U.S. Catholic bishops, and get more Lent resources than you can shake a stick at while you’re at it.

7. Get your Catholic Relief Services rice bowl. Almsgiving and caring for the poor are one of the three pillars of our Lenten practice. How much can your family raise for those in need around the world? CRS is doing daily Lenten reflections to inspire you, either on its website or on its rice bowl appYou can also grab Lenten recipe ideas while you’re there. They’re easy to make, yummy, and so much more interesting than fish fingers.



“Don’t make a mess.” That’s what the U.S. Catholic bishops have been saying in several statements issued in the past week, including a joint statement by the bishops of northern Mexico and Texas called The cry of Christ in the voice of the migrant moves us and a statement by the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, regarding the Department of Homeland Security memoranda on immigration.

The chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee also joined with Catholic Relief Services in issuing a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging the new administration to do everything possible to help the poor and vulnerable adapt to the effects of climate change: “Adaptation policy is fundamentally concerned with helping God’s creatures and all human beings, especially those who are poor, to adapt to the effects of climate change, regardless of the causes. From the perspective of Catholic social teaching, adaptation ranks among the most important actions we can take.”

And as if to prove that they can be just as busy as your average Catholic mom, thank you very much, the U.S. Catholic bishops also issued a statement urging President Trump to take action on the issue of religious freedom: “The right of all human beings to religious freedom, based on the inherent dignity of every person, has long been supported by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Over the last several years, to our great dismay, the federal government has eroded this fundamental right, our first and most cherished freedom.”

Going forward, Peanut Butter & Grace will be occasionally featuring important statements from the U.S. Catholic bishops and the Vatican in this space so that Catholic moms and dads can pass along that information to their kids. If you see a statement here, it’s because it was put out by the Church first.



St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (Monday); known as “the dancer” for his
fun-loving ways as a teenager, Francesco Possenti brought his joyful nature to the Passionist Order when he joined them at age 18. He died two days before turning 24, having impressed everyone with his simple holiness. Since his death, he has been known as a great worker of miracles: “By visits to his tomb, by prayer to him, and by the use of his relics, the sick have been cured, the blind have been made to see, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, and the crippled to walk,” according to a website dedicated to the saint. “Not one-half the miracles worked by God through His servant are kept on record, and still up to the present over four hundred have been recorded.”

Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig (Wednesday), one of the many priests recognized by the Church in recent decades for his witness opposing the Nazi death machine. He was martyred in the Dachau Nazi concentration camp for speaking out in defense of the Jews. Before his death, he wrote: “One sees again and again that the human heart is attuned to love, and it cannot withstand its power in the long run.”

St. Katharine Drexel (Friday), the wealthy American heiress who set about using her fortune to help Native Americans and blacks. At the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she started a new missionary order to help them. Katherine and her friends founded dozens of schools on Indian reservations, as well as Xavier University, the first Catholic college for African Americans. She said: “All do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path.” If you’re a fan of Katharine Drexel, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament keep a lovely website about her with pictures, stories, and a timeline of her life.

St. Casimir (Saturday), a Polish prince who died at a young age (25), but is remembered for his exceptional intelligence, politeness, generosity toward the poor. “Surviving contemporary accounts described Prince Casimir as a young man of exceptional intellect and education, humility and politeness, who strove for justice and fairness,” according to Wikipedia, which also notes that the prince refused his physicians dubious advice to engage in sexual relations with women in order to cure his illness.





“I will give to God the best that I have—the entire affection of my heart.”

—St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows


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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.

When I gave birth to my sixth child, there was a moment at the end when I thought that I had lost all strength, that my baby would die and it would be my fault. (Fortunately, everything turned out fine!) It wasn’t until I read The Gift of Birth that I learned how excruciating self-doubt is a sign of the Holy Spirit at work in the birthing process. Susan’s book helped heal a very painful memory. The wisdom in this book is a great blessing to all mothers, whether expecting or experienced.

—Karee Santos, co-author of The Four Keys to Everlasting Love: How Your Catholic Marriage Can Bring You Joy for a Lifetime


Pregnancy and motherhood are such deeply spiritual times, but so often we are too consumed by our “to do” lists and worries and preparations to take time apart to let the experience resonate deep within our souls. The Gift of Birth by Susan Windley-Daoust is the perfect companion for both expectant and veteran mothers.

—Mary DeTurris Poust, author of Everyday Divine: A Catholic Guide to Active Spirituality

The Gift of Birth is on sale now through February 28.


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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