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Decide Today Whom You Will Serve • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 15 minutes

August 26-September 1: 21st Week of Ordinary Time

St. Emily de Vialar + St. Monica + Augustine of Hippo + Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist + St. Jeanne Jugan + St. Aiden + World Day of Creation + St. Dryhthelm

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THE ALL SAINTS’ DAY PARTY

Get it now for $9.05 at Amazon.com! (Price is subject to change.)

Twin sister and brother Maggie and Max can’t decide who to be for their parish’s upcoming All Saints’ Day Party. Fr. Bill loves St. Martin of Tours, Miss Melody is a fan of St. Teresa of Avila, Grandpa has always been devoted to St. Joseph…it seems like everyone they know has a different favorite saint! How can they choose with the party just around the corner?

Join Maggie and Max as they learn about six saints…and what it means for everyone, even kids, to be called to holiness!

Get the book anywhere books are sold, or right here in the Gracewatch store.

7 CATHOLIC THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS

1. Welcome September with a family devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. September has traditionally been devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows. How can your family practice this devotion? Brian Smith has a kid-friendly explanation, a list of the seven sorrows of Mary, prayer prompts, activities, and a list of key feast days in The Seven Sorrows of Mary.

2. Pray for God’s creation. The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is September 1 (Saturday), and we’ve got prayers, videos, and activity ideas. Okay, it’s not as snappy as “Earth Day,” but hey, it’s more spiritual…and it’s Catholic! Pope Francis established the day jointly with the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in 2015 to help Christians address the global environmental crisis. It’s part of the larger Season of Creation (September 1 through October 4, the feast of St. Francis). 

3. Whom do you serve? In this Sunday’s readings, Joshua asks the people of Israel to decide who they will serve…the Lord, or the false gods of other countries. Similarly, Jesus asks his disciples whether they will stick with him despite his “hard” teaching. How does your family respond to the challenge? Explore the Sunday readings with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

4. Teach your kids how to do the chores. Cleaning with kids doesn’t have to be pure drudgery. It is a duty, yes, but also a path to help them understand that work is holy and redemptive. Erin Broestl (eighthobbits.com) offers five ways to teach your children about the dignity of work at home.

5. Make sure you’re protecting your kids. Yes, our Catholic leaders can and should be doing better by our kids. But we parents have a role, too, by making sure we hold parish institutions to the highest possible standards, and by teaching our kids bodily autonomy. Heidi Indahl offers four steps all Catholic parents can take to protect their kids in Four Ways Parents Can Say “No” to Continued Churchwide Sexual Abuse

Looking for a little hope amid the current crisis? Lynda Marie found it while weeding the strawberry bed she had given up for lost. Saving the Strawberries is her poignant reflection on on finding (and saving) the good among the weeds of sin.

See below for news about Pope Francis’s Letter to the People of God regarding the crisis, and the response from the U.S. Catholic bishops.

You can also participate in the lay-led #sackclothandashes campaign; search the hashtag on social media, or find more information at the Catholic All Year blog.

6. Celebrate the Passion of St. John the Baptist. The feast day of the Passion of John the Baptist is Wednesday; celebrate by reading the Scriptures for the day (or going to Mass!). Then, make honey cakes with Ryan Langr, who first posted the sweet treat for the Nativity of John the Baptist.

7. Celebrate the feast of St. Margaret Ward. Thursday is the feast of St. Margaret Ward, the Englishwoman who was executed for helping a priest escape the Tower of London. Read about her exciting adventure in the latest Playing with the Saints from Christine Henderson.

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YOUR CATHOLIC CALENDAR

Our calendar web app features saints’ feast days and important Church events, with links to more resources, images, a variety of viewing options, and the option to sync with your own calendar.

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ALL THE COOL CATHOLICS…

…are picking up the new graphic novel Finnian and the Seven Mountains, illustrated in part by Peanut Butter & Grace illustrator Michael LaVoy. “Seeking to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of Viking marauders, a young man named Finnian leaves his monastic school in Ireland to find a legendary sword rumored to have the extraordinary power to defeat evil. Will Finnian find the mythical sword and lead the way to victory? Or will the Vikings continue to destroy innocent villagers?”

…and all the cool Catholics already know about the movie The Apparition, the trailer for which looks amazing. From the website: “Jacques (Vincent Lindon) is a journalist at a large regional newspaper in France. His reputation as an impartial investigator attracts the attention of the Vatican, who recruit him to lead a committee to explore the legitimacy of a saintly apparition in a small French village—a true canonical investigation. Upon his arrival, he meets the young novitiate Anna, who claims to have personally witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary. She’s garnered an impressive following in the village but is torn between her faith and the many solicitations she receives.”

POPE ADDRESSES SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS IN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD

Pope Francis on Sunday issued a letter to the People of God addressing the latest revelations in the ongoing sexual abuse scandal. “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient,” he wrote. “Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. …

“I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.

“Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”

You can read the letter in its entirety on the Vatican website.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a statement in response to the pope’s letter. 

“I find these words of the Holy Father particularly helpful: ‘penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.’ These words must provoke action – especially by the bishops. We bishops need to– and we must – practice with all humility such prayer and penance.

“The Holy Father is also inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting as a way to help foster conversion and genuine change of life wherever it is needed, even in the shepherds of the Church.”

You can read the full statement at the USCCB website.

PARTING WORDS

“Never forget that the poor are Our Lord. In caring for the poor, say to yourself, ‘This is for my Jesus.’”

― St. Jeanne Jugan

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

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OUR BOOKS

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).

First Communion Journal
This beautiful First Communion journal is full of fun ways for Catholic kids to prepare for, remember, and live out their First Holy Communion. With its colorful design, prayers, devotions, special activities, and quotes from the saints and Scriptures, the My First Communion Journal can be used both before and after the child’s First Communion day.

The Way of the Cross Journal for Children
In The Way of the Cross Journal for Children, young readers are invited to enter into the story of Jesus’ suffering and death through story, prayer, coloring, and action. Appropriate for ages 5-8; younger children will need adult assistance. 62 pages.

The Stations of the Cross for Children
The Stations of the Cross for Children was designed especially for younger children, with colorful illustrations and simple text that introduces them to the Passion of Jesus Christ on their level. Each station takes about two minutes to complete, including about thirty seconds of silent prayer. Optional prayers and Scripture references for each station offer a variety of ways to adapt and expand The Stations of the Cross for Children for older kids. And the opening and closing prayers place the Passion in the larger context of Jesus’ mission…and every Christian’s call to continue that mission in the world today.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
Molly McBride is turning six, and her momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”? Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing acts of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party. It’s Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity.

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.

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.

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.

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