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Invited to the Feast • Family Time

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Reading Time: 15 minutes


October 15-21: 28th Week of Ordinary Time

St. Teresa of Avila + St. Ignatius of Antioch + St. Luke + St. John of the Cross + St. Hilarion




1. Teach your kids lectio divina, the ancient practice of praying with Scripture. If you want to introduce your kids to meditative prayer and the power and beauty of the Scriptures at the same time, try lectio divina with them this week. To celebrate the publication of our new guided journal, Lectio Divina for Teens, we’ve updated and greatly expanded our Peanut Butter & Grace article Lectio Divina for Kids: Teach Your Kids to Pray with Scripture. It now includes an expanded overview of lectio, a family prayer service (from the forthcoming Catholic Family Book of Prayers), a simplified approach for young children, an extensive list of Scripture texts, and links to additional resources.

2. Get a little taste of heaven. God gives us a sneak peek into heaven this week and invites us to join into a relationship with him in this world so we can be with him in the next. Jen Schlameuss-Perry breaks it down for your family with Breaking Open the Word at Home.

3. Enter our Halloween and All Saints’ Day contest. To celebrate the release of our new picture book (The All Saints’ Day Party), we’re holding a “Best Ideas for Halloween and All Saints’ Day” contest. Send us photos of how you’ve celebrated Halloween (with a Catholic twist) and All Saints’ Day, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win one of several $25 coupons to the Gracewatch Media website. You can drop photos in the comments on the contest posts on Facebook, or send them by e-mail using the subject line “October contest” to [email protected] The idea is to share ideas, so include some comments with your picture. We’re looking for cool cupcakes, “holy” pumpkin carvings, fun saint costumes. Your ideas may be shared on our Pinterest page, as well as in an upcoming newsletter.

4. Play hide and seek, and find out about St. Hilarion. Desperate for some solitude, St. Hilarion hid in the desert. But his devotion to Jesus was so saintly, people couldn’t resist finding him. Christine Henderson has a story about him in Playing With the Saints!—and a game for kids, too. Plus (bonus!) we’ve linked to an archived coloring sheet of St. Hilarion; look for the link at the end of the story.

5. Invite your teens to a meeting at the Vatican. Okay, perhaps they won’t actually get to go to the Vatican, but the pope announced last week that young people are being asked to share their hopes, criticisms and ideas about the church to help plan for the meeting. Young people ages 16-29 can participate by filling out a confidential survey that goes directly to the Vatican Synod Office. The shared ideas will be discussed during a pre-synod meeting in March; the March meeting is in preparation for the Synod of Bishops next October with the theme, “Young people, faith and vocational devotion.” Here is a letter from the pope addressed to young people of the world to mark the synodal theme. Extra credit: teach your kids about synods.

6. Mark the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. Although this remarkable saint’s feast day falls on a Sunday this year, you can use the occasion to learn more about this doctor of the church, and explain to your kids what a doctor of the church is. Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote a simple explanation here in this still-relevant today article.

7. Seek healing from pregnancy and infant loss. Sunday marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day; in honor of the sadness, suffering and healing after such a loss, Mary Kate shares her own story of loss—and her trust in divine providence.

8. Participate in the Pro-life Day of Silence on Tuesday, October 20. Download instructions and materials at standtrue.com/silentday2017.

9. Let kids lead. The next time you pray together as a family, let one of your kids lead the prayer. Give kids and teens a heads up so they have some time to think about what they want to do; provide them with resources, such as a book of prayers to choose from, or a songbook.




Over in PB & Grace Parents, besides our Halloween and All Saints’ Day contest thread, we’re doing daily parenting challenges. It’s a closed Facebook group, so you’ll need to request to be added.



Look for something beautiful in your household or in nature: That’s God giving you a shout-out.



St. Jose Sanchez Del Rio (March 28, 1913 – February 10, 1928)

The young Mexican teen who joined the Cristeros movement that sprang up in resistance to the persecution of the Church by the Mexican government; he was captured, tortured, and executed in 1928. Throughout his ordeal, he never wavered in his faith, but welcomed his martyrdom because, as he said, “Never has it been so easy to obtain heaven!”



St. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107)
A convert to early Christianity, St. Ignatius said: “It is better to be silent and be a Christian than to talk and not be one.” Martyred in 107, his letters offer a rare peek into the state of the early Church.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty



St. Luke (d. ca. 84)
Unique among the four evangelists for being the only Gentile convert to Christianity; according to tradition, he was a Syrian from Antioch, the same Luke mentioned in Colossians 4:14Philemon 24 and 2 Timothy 4:11. His Gospel is the first of a two-part work that includes the Acts of the Apostles, and concern with the early Church shapes his interpretation of the ministry of Jesus.



St. Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and Companions (died c. 1640s)

These eight men were among many Jesuit and lay missionaries who endured cold, heat, and hardship to evcangelize the Huron and Iroquois peoples of North America. The men whose lives are celebrated today became the first North American martyrs: Rene Goupil was tomahawked while baptizing a baby; Anthony Daniel was saying Mass when Iroquois shot him and threw him into the fire; and Isaac Jogues was made a slave, escaped back to France, then returned to New France to serve the native peoples again. “The Indian who killed him was later baptized and took the name Isaac,” notes Loyola Press. Isaac Jogues  said: “My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings.”



St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)

Founder of the Passionist order, St. Paul was a popular preacher with a special devotion to the Passion. He said, “The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus which are the miracle of miracles of the love of God. We must arouse the world from its slumber.”



St. Hilarion (291-371)
The fifteen-year-old convert who wanted to become a desert hermit, but whose holiness kept attracting followers.





In response to the White House’s release of priorities to Congress regarding “Dreamers,” Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, chairman of the Committee on Migration, urged Congress to “ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all.” “Dreamers” is a term derived from the DREAM Act proposal and the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. Both are meant to provide certain criterion-contingent protections to immigrants under the age of 35 who immigrated to the United States illegally before they were the age of 16, and who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.

In a statement Bishop Vasquez said: “The administration’s immigration principles and policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society and our Church.

“Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the DREAM Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.”



Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices. 

—St. Teresa of Avila



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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 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 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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