January 8 – 14: 3rd Week of Christmas
The Epiphany of Our Lord + The Baptism of the Lord + St. Marguerite Bourgeoys + Blessed Peter Donders + National Migration Week
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TOP 6 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
Celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Hey, birthday announcements don’t get fancier than hanging a star in the sky! Here are six ways you can celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord with your kids. Break out the blessed chalk!
Also, the Baptism of the Lord. Yep, on Monday already. Normally, it’s on the Sunday following Epiphany, but normally, there’s a Sunday between Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and this year there’s not. In any case, you can use the opportunity to talk about your children’s baptisms this Sunday instead. What was the most memorable moment? Why did you ask to have your child baptized? What promises did you have to make? Pull out anything related to your kids’ baptism: a baptismal gown, candle, pictures, or video. If you want to teach your kids about baptism in a hands-on way, try out Heidi Indahl’s simple yet elegant Child of Light activity. Bonus points: Using fabric markers, make a tablecloth celebrating baptism containing the baptismal dates of everyone in the family; bring it out for meals on the anniversary of each person’s baptism.
Group hug! That’s what you’ll be doing after reading Jen Schlameuss-Perry’s breakdown of this Sunday’s readings, which emphasize both the gifts that God lavishes on us, and the inclusiveness of those gifts: they’re for everyone, even strangers from far-away lands.
Speaking of strangers from far-away lands. . . . Catholics across the country will be marking this week as National Migration Week. Yeah, the connection to the Magi is no coincidence. Anyway, you can find a ton of easy ways to plug in and help out over at the Justice for Immigrants website and related social media sites. Like, you can print out a postcard to send your elected officials in Congress, asking for comprehensive immigration reform; you can participate in a webinar; you can find out practical things you can do for immigrants; or you can find tools for educating your kids about the crisis.
Take 99 seconds to plug in to 9 Days for Life. The U.S. Catholic bishops are once again sponsoring nine days of prayer and action for life. Head over to the event’s home page for a 99-second video that summarizes all the ways you can participate through prayer, local gatherings, the 9 Days for Life app, or social media. 9 Days for Life begins January 21, but the way you’re always forgetting these things, you probably want to sign up now. 🙂
Switch out red and gold for green. Yup, once we hit Tuesday, the Christmas season is officially over, folks, and we’ll be doing Ordinary Time again! Putting away all those decorations is a chore, but your littles will love changing the color of your prayer table covering.
(Psst . . . there’s still time to do something about poverty, ‘cuz Poverty Awareness Month is just getting underway.)
The magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but since we’re not the Savior, we’ll settle for a coffee or two. Thanks!
ALL THE COOL CATHOLICS ARE CHECKING OUT . . .
…these children’s books about the Twelve Days of Christmas. Check out The 12 Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song by Helen C. Haidle and The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett in our ever-growing resource directory.
FRIENDS YOUR KIDS SHOULD HANG OUT WITH THIS WEEK
St. Angela of Foligno (Monday), who went on a pilgrimage to Assisi after losing her husband and three sons in the plague. Overwhelmed by the love of God, she gave away all her wealth and vowed to live by the rule of St. Francis. She wrote down her mystical visions of God’s love. A sampling: “In an excess of wonder, I cried out, ‘The world is pregnant with God!’ . . . I understood how small is the whole of creation . . . but the power of God fills it all to overflowing.”
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (Wednesday), who arrived on the Canadian frontier in 1653 intending to teach the children of the settlers, only to find there weren’t any yet. She survived Indian raids, a fire, and disease, eventually starting the first ever school in Montreal—in a stable. Other women joined her, and they formed their own religious order. Besides teaching, they helped orphan girls from France find suitable husbands. Ils ont été les premiers marieur Canadiens!
Blessed Peter Donders (Friday), who struggled for years to be ordained a priest. Once he was, he left Holland for the Dutch colonies, where he first worked to improve the conditions of African slaves. Later, he ministered in a leper colony, where he stayed for the rest of his life. “He laboured with success among the African blacks in the plantations, and by 1850 had instructed and baptized 1,200,” Wikipedia says. “His letters express his indignation at the harsh treatment of the African peoples forced to work on the plantations. He extended his work to the Indians of Saramacca. In 1855 he took up his residence in Batavia, where for nearly 32 years he ministered to 600 lepers, tending to them personally until he was able to persuade the authorities to provide adequate nursing services. He left them only to visit the Africans and Indians.”
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Sun)
- Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Mon)
- National Migration Week (Jan 8 – 14)
- Martin Luther King holiday (Jan 16)
- 9 Days for Life (Jan 21-29)
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan 17-25)
“I renew my appeal so that penitential institutions would be places of rehabilitation and social reintegration, and that the living conditions of the inmates are worthy of human people.”
—Pope Francis, speaking in the wake of a recent deadly prison riot in Brazil
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.