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Nations Shall Walk By Your Light • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes


January 7 – January 13: First Week of Ordinary Time

The Epiphany of the Lord + The Baptism of the Lord + St. Raymond of Peñafort  + Blessed Eurosia Fabris + St. Adrian of Canterbury + St. Gregory of Nyssa + Blessed William Carter + St. Marguerite Bourgeoys + St. Hilary


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We know exactly which of you organize your junk drawer every third Tuesday and have your Christmas shopping done before the last leaf of autumn falls…because you’re the people who have been asking us about when the Lent MISSION:CHRISTIAN journals will be ready!

Sadly, we are not part of your tribe, as evidenced by the fact that the February/March 2018 MISSION:CHRISTIAN journal is still in production. Yes, we’re behind…and yes, we’re going to be releasing journals for the remainder of the year ahead of schedule. In the meantime, if you like, you can pre-order the February-March MISSION:CHRISTIAN at the Gracewatch store, and we’ll get it to you before February 1. (Lent runs from February 14 – March 31.) The April-May journal will also be available shortly for those of you already thinking of the Easter season.


And more good news! Also in production is our new Children’s Stations of the Cross book, available for order later this month. We plan to offer this book at an affordable price individually and in bulk so each child can have a copy. It will be available as a set of durable posters, too. While you’re waiting for the book, you can check out the download from last year; the text of the book will be substantially the same, but the art will be all new from Catholic artist Vicki Shuck.



1. 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!

2. Remember your child’s baptism on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord with mementos and two simple but meaningful activities. This feast day is the perfect excuse to take out the baby albums! Here are some ways to mark the feast of the Baptism of the Lord:

  • Pull out anything related to your kids’ baptism: a baptismal gown, candle, pictures, or video. Reflect on these questions: What was the most memorable moment of your child’s baptism? Why did you ask to have your child baptized? What promises did you have to make? Give your godparents a phone call or write them a note.
  • 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.
  • Using fabric markers, make a tablecloth or table runner celebrating baptism containing the baptismal dates of everyone in the family; bring it out for meals on the anniversary of each person’s baptism.

3. Welcome all comers. That’s the theme of this week’s Sunday readings: the revelation of Christ to the nations, who are united by his light. Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry will help you preview the readings with your kids in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

4. Mark Poverty Awareness Month. Looking for ways for your family and parish to answer Pope Francis’ call to live in solidarity with the poor? Here’s an interactive calendar with reflections, facts, readings and even an essay and creative works contest to enter to remember our call to serve others. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development offers an excellent website for its initiative Poverty USA. Click on the link to access more resources and stories of hope.

5. Take one child on a date to Mass. Have you ever considered taking one of your children on a Mass date—just your child, you, and God? Regina Lordan did just that with her 7-year-old son and found it to be a completely different experience compared to the whole-family-at-Sunday-Mass routine. She offers tips and talking points in Take Your Child on a Date to Mass.

6. Give the gifts of your heart, head and treasure to Jesus. Catechist Cindy Coleman offers suggestions to ensure that the end of Christmas is just the beginning of the journey to seek Jesus. Her ideas will help continue to give your home that lovely glow long after the Christmas lights have gone down.

7. Form a family prayer team with older kids. That’s what author Heidi Indahl and her children did when a family crisis swamped out their usual family prayer practice. Using the Catholic Family Book of Prayers, she and her husband now have a special prayer time with the older kids after the younger ones are off to bed. Check out exactly how she did it at her website, Work & Play, Day by Day.



We are talking about ways to stay unplugged — a popular resolution for the new year discussed on the PB & Grace Parents Facebook page. Children’s book author and educator Cathy Gilmore shared her ideas on the topic, noting that parenting through positive and not punitive measures might be a helpful way to keep the demons of too much technology at bay.

We are also sharing stories about people we know personally who should be canonized as a saint. Do you know anyone who should be canonized? Why? Share how they inspired you on the PB & Grace Parents page. It is a closed group, so you will have to be added.



Sunday, Jan. 7

The Epiphany of the Lord

St. Raymond of Peñafort (1175 – 1275)
Raymond was born into a rich family and was very well educated. Pope Gregory IX called him to Rome after he became a Dominican priest to work for the Church. Raymond had the job of collecting and organizing 80 years worth of Church law so that it could be referenced easily. He wrote a good deal, and convinced St. Thomas Aquinas to write a book, too. He was the head of the Dominican Order for a while, and also worked with Spanish Moors who are Muslims who reside in Spain. He lived to be 100 years old.


Monday, Jan. 8

The Baptism of the Lord

Blessed Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932)
An Italian housewife and mother of eleven children (two adopted), “Mamma Rosa” was beloved for her piety, joy, and service to the community. A Third Order Franciscan, she taught catechism in her parish, cared for the sick, gave lessons in housekeeping to young woman, and cultivated a life of prayer and simplicity. “I wish to be a poor woman and I am happy with it because it seems this way I am loved even more by the Lord…it is not riches, but doing the will of God, that brings happiness.”


Tuesday, Jan. 9

St. Adrian of Canterbury (d. 710)
The African-born scholar who made the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in Canterbury, England, one of the foremost centers of learning of its time. “The school attracted many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future bishops and archbishops,” according to Franciscan Media. “Students reportedly learned Greek and Latin and spoke Latin as well as their own native languages.” Several hundred years after his death, his body was found to be incorrupt.


Wednesday, Jan. 10

St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – 395)
Gregory was born in what we today call Turkey, and was raised by his brother and sister. He did very well at school, and was convinced to study for the Church. It was a good call, because he was a wonderful husband, priest (priests could get married at that time), and bishop who fought the Arian heresy (the same one that St. Nicholas, aka, Santa Claus was fighting). He’s known for being a Doctor of the Church and one of the leading philosophers of his time.

Blessed Maria Delores Rodriguez Sopena (1848-1914)
With the help of friends, Blessed Maria opened a series of settlement houses to serve the spiritual and material needs of workers. She and her companions eventually formed the Ladies of the Catechetical Institutes, a congregation devoted to serving the working poor, especially those alienated from the Church. “One of the main objectives of the centers were to bring people together to give them an opportunity to learn from each other,” according to the Vatican. “These encounters would result in mutual respect and a desire to help each other.” Thus her motto: “Make of all one family in Christ.”


Thursday, Jan. 11

Blessed William Carter (d. 1584)
The London printer who continued printing Catholic publications even after the faith was banned, ultimately paying with his life.


Friday, Jan. 12

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620 – 1700)
St. Marguerite 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. She and her religious sisters also served as matchmakers, matching orphaned girls sent from France with young male settlers looking for a wife. Canonized in 1982, she is Canada’s first woman saint.


Saturday, Jan. 13

St. Hilary (315-368)
The bishop of Poitiers, France, who spent much of his life vigorously defending the divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy. “Some consider Hilary as the first Latin Christian hymn writer, because St. Jerome said Hilary produced a liber hymnorum,” according to Wikipedia.





… are joining the group Be Yourself Journal: Ideas, Photos, Questions and Fun on Facebook. This group is to share pictures of colored pages, questions girls (or moms) have that stemmed from a page in the book, and to share ways you encourage your child to use the book. It was created by author Amy Brooks, so feel free to ask questions of her here too! Amy will share her ideas, too.



“Dear young people, do not bury your talents.”
– Pope Francis





Family Time! is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust.



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Remember to grab 15% off your order at Gracewatch Media with coupon code GRACE15.

Here’s a list of most of our books, ordered by publication date (most recent first).

The Catholic Family Book of Prayers
Do you want to introduce your kids to the richness of the Christian prayer tradition? The best way to do that is to pray with them, and now there’s a beautiful collection of Catholic prayers and meditations designed just for that purpose: The Catholic Family Book of Prayers: A Treasury of Prayers and Meditations for Families to Pray Together. It’s packed with prayers, blessings, meditations, saintly wisdom, and artwork—all selected specifically for Catholic families to pray together. Available in digital, softcover, hardcover, and handcrafted editions.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN December-January includes a saint, Scripture reading, Christian mission, prayer prompt, and fun facts in every daily entry…plus, special features and activities for Christmas and Advent.

Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You
Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You introduces young people to the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina in a guided journal format. It features a brief, accessible introduction to lectio divina, walking readers through the method step by step, then turns them loose to try the method themselves in eight pre-selected readings. Seven additional blank journal entries provide space for readers to choose their own readings; a list of suggested texts is included. The colorful, beautifully designed interior provides a warm and welcome space for reflection and prayer. Lectio Divina for Teens has received an imprimatur from the Diocese of Winona.

The All Saints’ Day Party
Maggie and Max can’t wait for the All Saints’ Day party. There’s just one problem: they can’t decide which saint to dress up as…and the party is just a week away! Join Maggie and Max as their friends and family tell them about six holy men and women who offer living examples of what it means to be a saint…even if you’re a kid!

Turning Grief Inside Out: Surviving Pregnancy Loss with God’s Help
Drawing on her own personal experience of pregnancy loss, Christine Hendersen offers practical and spiritual advice—as well as a hopeful path forward—for grieving mothers and the people who love them.

Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” Those words are at the heart of Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls, which is designed to help girls explore their identity and purpose in life in light of the wisdom of the Catholic Church, including half a dozen female saints. Ages 9 and up.

I Can Be Happy, Too: A Book about Attitudes uses simple rhyme accompanied by Scripture verses and sweet, expressive illustrations, to teach children that while we can’t control the bad things that happen to us, we can control how we respond to disappointment and adversity.

Blessed Is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss invites grieving mothers to let the Blessed Mother accompany them on their journey of grief and healing. Mary not only understands their loss, but wishes to bring mothers to healing through the saving work of her son. For each mystery of the rosary, author Heidi Indahl compassionately shares her own experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, offering insights about how those losses are connected to the experience of Jesus and Mary as revealed by the mysteries of the rosary.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN June-July 2017 includes features on Pentecost, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, St. Pierre Toussaint, St. Kateri Tekawitha, and more. A checklist of fun summer activities, plus “Christian missions,” Scripture readings, prayer prompts, and saint profiles for every day will keep your kids busy!

In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, our new YA fantasy/adventure novel with a Catholic heart and sensibility; it comes with an accompanying Lesson Plan book that helps parents and kids connect the story to teachings of the Catholic faith.

The Illuminated Rosary hardcover 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.

The Stations of the Cross for Children. Here’s a downloadable PDF with sacred art depicting each of the Stations of the Cross, along with a simple reflection and prayer, geared for young children.

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. Whether you are just getting started with family prayer or wish to broaden your horizons, 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids can help, offering practical, kid-friendly guides to Christian prayer practices both ancient and new. Features include: age-appropriate adaptations for young children, older kids, and teens; articles on a wide range of practices; Talking Points…explanations of prayer practices that kids might have questions about; cross-references to the Catechism, Scripture, and church documents; an appendix containing thirty-three common and useful Catholic prayers; a quick-find index makes it easy to find prayer ideas, and doubles as a checklist to track your progress.

Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. In this book, Molly faces off against the dreaded plaid jumper that she’s going to have to wear when she starts school in the fall. Along with her new friends, Dominic and Fr. Matt, she learns all about uniforms and our true identity in God.

Paddy and the Wolves. Young Paddy can’t sit still during morning prayers, but he’s more than happy to help the shepherd, Barra, watch sheep for the day! But who will watch Paddy when he wanders into the woods? As he explores the wilderness of coastal Britain, Paddy encounters many delights and dangers—and ultimately, the One who watches over him through it all. Available as a hardcover or softcover storybook, or a coloring book with complete text; also available is a downloadable board game. Features the art of Catholic folk artist Jen Norton.

The Children’s Little Advent BookThe Children’s Little Advent Book is designed to help parents with children ages 4-7 on a journey through Advent to Christmas. Each day’s entry includes a brief Scripture reading, a reflection, discussion questions, a brief prayer, and a simple coloring page for children to complete after praying with their families. With The Children’s Little Advent Book, parents have an Advent resource specifically designed for short family prayer services with young children.

Corporal Works of Mercy Cards. Teach a lesson about the Works of Mercy with these downloadable cards and teaching guide.

Little Lessons from St. Francis of Assisi. “Make me an instrument of your peace.”  The Peace Prayer of St. Francis, beloved by people of all faiths around the world, beautifully captures the spirit of “the poor little man” from Assisi, as well as the aspirations of our time: for hope, for reconciliation, for peace.

Flowers for Jesus: A Story of Thérèse of Lisieux as a Young Girl. Little Thérèse Martin could be a very stubborn young girl. All too often, if someone wanted her to say “yes,” she wanted to say “no”! But then, as she is preparing for her First Communion, Thérèse discovers a way to turn her everyday trials and tribulations into something beautiful for Jesus. Join Thérèse (and her family) as she learns to “gather roses from amid thorns.” Available in hardcover and softcover editions.

La Florecita de Jesús: Una Parábola de Santa Teresita Del Niño Jesús. This is the Spanish-language edition of The Little Flower. La autora Becky Arganbright ha adoptado las enseñanzas de las orecitas de santa Teresita en esta encantadora parábola para niños. La joven Teresita aprende que aunque es pequeña, con la ayuda de Dios, su pequeñez puede ser una manera de hacer grandes cosas para Dios.  La ilustradora Tracey Arvidson da vida a la joven Teresa Martín, y a sus ores en la parábola, con sus maravillosas ilustraciones.

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit. Meet Molly McBride! Molly loves her new purple habit — it’s just like the ones her friends, the Children of Mary Sisters, wear. She loves it so much, in fact, that she doesn’t want to take it off…not even for her sister’s big day! Join Molly and her wolf-pet Francis as they learn all about nuns, habits, and giving your heart to Jesus.

Living Sparks of God: Stories of Saints for Young Catholics to Color. Here are fourteen lively two-minute stories to introduce young Catholics to some of the Church’s most beloved saints. Each story is accompanied by two coloring pages: a gorgeously detailed portrait of the saint, and a scene of the saint in action.

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.

Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux: An Introduction to Her Words and WisdomLittle Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux presents brief excerpts from Story of a Soul as a way of introducing those unfamiliar with Thérèse to some of the essential themes of her spirituality. The words of St. Thérèse  are accompanied by the artwork of award-winning watercolorist Jeanine Crowe, a wonderful aid to prayerful meditation on the words and wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux includes twenty-one selections from the words of St. Thérèse, twenty artworks, and ten questions for reflection and discussion.

The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Thérèse of Liseux. Becky Arganbright has adapted St. Thérèse’s lesson of the little flowers into a delightful parable for children. The young Thérèse learns that even though she might be little, with God’s help, her littleness can be a way of doing great things for the Kingdom of God. Illustrator Tracey Arvidson brings the young Thérèse Martin (and the flowers of her parable) to life in gorgeous illustrations.

Sense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic PrayersSense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic Prayers contains thirty traditional Catholic prayers every child should have at hand, each accompanied by a beautiful, hand-drawn illustration to aid in prayerful meditation on the mysteries of the faith.

Sense of the Sacred: A Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. For centuries, the Catholic Church has used art to illuminate the sacred mysteries of the Faith. Now, your child can follow in that tradition by making sacred art with the help of Sense of the Sacred: Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. This book contains 30 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying Bible verses, drawing on the rich legacy of statues and stained glass in our Catholic Faith.

Follow Regina Lordan:
Regina Lordan, a digital editor at Peanut Butter & Grace, is a mother of three with master’s degrees in education and political science. She currently reviews books for Catholic News Service and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service.

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