March 12-18: Second Week of Lent
St. Patrick + St. Louise de Marillac + Cyril of Jeerusalem + Seven Penitential Psalms
TOP 6 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
Keeping in mind that it is a religious holiday, you might also want to pray the Lorica of St. Patrick with your kids; check out our version adapted for children. (We’ve also included two longer versions for older kids and adults.)
Make sure your kids know the real story of St. Patrick (see below); the legends are fun, but don’t let them obscure the fascinating true story of the Apostle of Ireland. To help you out, Steve Nagel has compiled a list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about St. Patrick . . . number 8 is a shocker! Curious adults and precocious kids might want to follow up by reading the Confessions of St. Patrick: part autobiography, part sermon, it’s a fascinating self-assessment by the saint in his old age.
We’re also running a St. Patrick’s Day contest; answer four questions about St. Patrick correctly to be entered for a chance to win a hardcover copy of the Paddy and the Wolves children’s book and the accompanying coloring book . . . or a keg of ale, your choice. Enter here.
N.B.: Check whether your diocese has offered a dispensation from the Lenten requirement to abstain from meat on St. Patrick’s Day; many have. Catholics who indulge in the name of St. Patrick are advised to make up their fast in some other way.
2. Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms with your kids this Lent. Do you know the Seven Penitential Psalms? They’re seven psalms of penitence that have been sung or recited since ancient times, especially in monasteries, and they’re a simple way to emphasize the penitential character of Lent in your home. We’ve got some ideas about how to pray them with your kids.
3. Get confounded by the divine. As Jen Schlameuss-Perry notes, both this week’s first reading and Gospel reading feature ordinary people encountering the divine in extraordinary ways . . . and reacting just about as any of us would! Preview this week’s readings with Breaking Open the Word at Home.
4. Give your kids a peek into heaven via Francesco Curia and Eileen Daily; Francesco is, unfortunately, dead; fortunately, Ms. Daily is still around to help us interpret his painting of the Transfiguration, which she says gives us a little sneak peek into heaven. It’s just one of several videos on encountering Christian art over at XnArtDaily. If you like this video, subscribe to her channel; she’s going to be doing her sacred art shtick once a day (hence the “daily” in the name of the channel).
5. Try ifisashi this Friday. No, we’re not trying to say “fish” with our mouths full…it’s a kind of peanut sauce that you serve over rice or polenta, and it comes from Zambia, and you can get the recipe from Catholic Relief Services here.
6. Spring ahead. Yeah, it’s that time of year again; you’ll want to set your clocks ahead an hour on Saturday night to avoid arriving at the end of Mass the next morning.
ARE YOUR KIDS . . .
. . . too wiggly to stay still during prayer? Then get them Paddy and the Wolves, which features a young St. Patrick who may be too wiggly to sit still, but not too young to pray to God in moments of both delight and danger. Order by Friday, March 10 from Gracewatch Media in order to get books delivered by St. Patrick’s Day; or order from Amazon through next week if you have Prime.
. . . picky about what they wear? Then get them the Molly McBride books, ‘cuz that five-year-old aspiring nun is particular about what she wears, too. Get both books in the series for just $17 at Gracewatch Media, or get Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper from Amazon.com.
. . . learning how to pray? Then get 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.
WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOUR TEEN FINALLY EMERGES FROM HIBERNATING IN HIS ROOM . . .
“Welcome, stranger.” That’s what the U.S. Catholic bishops want the U.S. government to do more of, according to a statement this week from the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration:
We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban. While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised Order still leaves many innocent lives at risk.
The removal of one of the original seven predominantly Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
You can read the full statement here.
In other news, Pope Francis on Saturday called for a renewal of sacred music. “Certainly the encounter with modernity and the introduction of the languages spoken in the Liturgy stirred up many problems, of languages, forms, and genres. . . . Sometimes a certain mediocrity, superficiality and banality prevailed, to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of the liturgical celebrations.” He was addressing the participants of an international conference on sacred music on the fiftieth anniversary of the document Musicam sacram.
SAINTS FOR YOUR KIDS TO KNOW & LOVE
Blessed Dulce Pontes (Monday); Sister Dulce Pontes (1914-1992) is one of the most highly respected people in the history of Brazil. At the age of 13, she began caring for the poor in her own neighborhood, giving haircuts and treating wounds. At 18, she joined a Franciscan order; a few years later, she began housing the sick and homeless in the convent’s chicken coop. Today, it is a 1,000-bed free hospital, and the charitable organization she began is the largest in Brazil. The extent to which Blessed Dulce is venerated in Brazil is exemplified in the 2014 film Irma Dulce. Backed by Paramount, the film looks fascinating . . . if you can speak Portuguese. Still, the film’s trailer gives a sense of the drama of her life.
St. Louise de Marillac (Wednesday), who helped Father Vincent de Paul in his work among the poor. Up until that time, charity for the poor had been unorganized. Together, they began a new type of religious order, the Daughters of Charity, who worked directly with the poor in an organized way to help improve their condition. She said: “We must develop the practice of making frequent acts of the desire to know God and ourselves.”
Blessed Torello (Thursday) was known as a troublemaker as a young man. All that changed one day when a rooster landed on his arm, crowing three times—just as the rooster had reminded Peter of his betrayal of Jesus. Shocked, Torello left his friends immediately, made a long confession, and became a hermit in the woods for the next fifty years. There, he rescued a child from a great wolf, whom he later befriended.
St. Patrick (Friday), who was kidnapped by the Irish at the age of 16 and was a slave for six years before making a daring escape. Years later, as a bishop, he returned to Ireland. Traveling all over the island, he proclaimed the Good News and planted churches. He wrote a famous letter condemning the practice of slavery—and got in trouble for it. Legend has it that his bishop’s staff once sprouted leaves when he planted it in the ground to preach. Read an excerpt from the Confessions of St. Patrick to your kids; it’s part sermon, part autobiography, and all interesting. Skip to paragraph 16 to pick up on his life in slavery in Ireland.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Saturday). Poor St. Cyril gets to follow up on St. Patrick’s Day without any parades or songs in his honor, despite his status as a Doctor of the Church. As a bishop, Cyril was once sent into exile for selling Church property to help starving poor people. He was involved in combating many heresies, and declared Mary the “mother of God” at a Church council—an action that precipitated one of his many exiles.
MARK YOUR (CATHOLIC) CALENDAR FOR . . .
- Solemnity of St. Joseph (Mar 20)
- Feast of the Annunciation (Mar 25)
“What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?”
—Pope Francis, urging Catholics to treat the Bible with the same devotion they give their cell phones
BOOKS FOR EASTER BASKETS
Easter ordering deadline: April 7
MISSION:CHRISTIAN Easter 2017. Did you know that the Easter season lasts longer than Lent? Help your kids celebrate Easter to the fullest with this colorful daily journal. It’s full of missions for every day, plus prayer prompts, saint stories, fun facts, and much more. Order early; quantities are limited.
The Illuminated Rosary 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.
Molly McBride set. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. Get books one and two for one low price while supplies last.
Paddy in the Woods board game. This is the printable board game that plays like Candyland, but featuring Patrick and the prayers he says during his adventures in the woods. It’s free to download now through March 18.