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Of Cyrus & Caesar • Family Time

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Reading Time: 17 minutes



October 22-28: 29th Week of Ordinary Time

World Mission Sunday + St. John Paul II + Sts. Simon and Jude + St. Anthony Claret




“We haven’t even had Halloween yet!” So say our kids in reaction to the Christmas trees set up in the big box stores. And yet, we know some of you like to plan ahead (because you’ve been e-mailing us!)…so, for those of you who like to beat the rush, we’re happy to announce that our Advent journals are ready for pre-order. The Children’s Little Advent Book is great for younger children; it features a simple coloring page and five-minute prayer service for each day of Advent. And MISSION:CHRISTIAN December-January covers the entire Advent and Christmas seasons, with special features on both. Check them out here.



1. Welcome God’s presence in all aspects of our lives, including politics. In the readings for this Sunday, Oct. 22, God gets a little political. That’s not new for God, because our relationship with God is meant to inform every area of our lives—including our civic life. Jen Schlameuss-Perry provides a reflection and age-appropriate questions for your children, teens and adults in this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.

2. Get ready for a Catholic Halloween. We asked families over at the Peanut Butter & Grace and PB & Grace Parents Facebook pages to share photos of their favorite ideas to celebrate Halloween and All Saints’ Day with a Catholic twist. They came back with almost 40 photos of cute costumes, creative cupcakes, and Catholicky party activities…and a few more ideas without photos, too! Check them out: Your Best Costume and Party Ideas for All Saints’ Day.

Want even more help planning for Halloween? Check out Make It a Catholic Halloween and Halloween Is the “Holy Day” Catholic Kids Shouldn’t Miss.

3. Is it time to change up your family prayer time? The Peanut Butter & Grace website is loaded with family prayer ideas, and this week, digital editor Regina Lordan adds three more fun and simple ideas to keep your kids engaged in family prayer.

4. Participate in Mission Sunday by supporting a real-life mission and messaging with the pope. Sunday is World Mission Sunday, a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice. In addition to contributing to your parish’s collection, which supports more than 1,000 local missionary churches, you and your family can sponsor a mission project directly and even chat with Pope Francis using a neat new technology called missiobot or “Pope Bot.” Use Facebook Messenger to learn more about these special projects and how local missionary churches support the poor in practical and spiritual ways and then click on the Missio website, where you can choose a mission to support, whether it’s helping to build a chicken coop at a school in Madagascar or fighting malnutrition in Tanzania. Here are several more resources to engage your family and parish.

5. Celebrate the feast of St. John Paul II with his favorite dessert and a movie. The Polish pope who gave us World Youth Day, 482 canonizations and so much more, St. John Paul II famously enjoyed this favorite dessert, kremowka papieska (papal cream cake) that you can make, too. Also watch Karol: The Man Who Became Pope (available on Youtube; some scenes are not appropriate for children.)

6. “Are you willing to sacrifice your child?” That’s the question one mom had to answer after her son was stillborn. As Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month comes to a close, read about one family’s spiritual journey.

7. Let your children watch you pray. Children learn by watching and then will imitate, including habits leading to reverent prayer. Author Becky Arganbright writes how although at first it made her feel uncomfortable, she learned to let her children stare at her while she prayed.




Over in PB & Grace Parents we’re talking about hugging our kids…and a new study finding that kids who read the Bible regularly are more likely to practice their faith as adults. It’s a closed Facebook group, so you’ll need to request to be added.



Quiz your family in light of the upcoming All Saints’ Day and this week’s feast day by asking your kids, “Which of this week’s saints publicly forgave his would-be assassin?”


Sunday, Oct. 22

Feast Day of St. Pope John Paul II (suppressed)

World Mission Sunday


Monday, Oct. 23

Martyrs of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (d. 1992)
The mission of the Martyrs of the Blood of Christ is to be “a living image of that divine charity by which [Christ’s] blood was shed,” according to the order’s constitution. In 1992, five of the order’s missionary sisters in Liberia fulfilled that mission by quite literally giving their lives during the Liberian civil war. “Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra and Mary Joel Kolmer were killed on Oct. 20 as they drove the convent’s security guard home to a neighboring suburb. They never returned,” according to the order’s website. “Three days later, soldiers shot and killed Sisters Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, and Shirley Kolmer in front of their convent in Gardnersville.” Pope John Paul II called them “martyrs of charity, since they had the opportunity to leave in the face of danger but chose to stay to continue their mission to the poor. “However and wherever I am, my work, like the Father’s, is to breathe a little life into those I know, help them to come to be a little more fully, a little more freely who they are.” (Sister Kathleen McGuire, ASC)


Tuesday, Oct. 24

St. Anthony Claret (1807-1870)
The missionary, social reformer, and publisher who founded the Claretian order, and who spoke out on behalf of indigenous peoples. He founded a missionary institute known as the Claretians, as well as a publishing house. As the new archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, he preached and dispensed the sacraments around-the-clock, traveling throughout the archdiocese on foot. He irked plantation owners by teachng their slaves; when they tried to have him killed, he forgave the would-be assassin. Claret was a great friend of criminals; one story tells of how he persuaded four men who had been condemned to die to confess. Another time, he persuaded bandits who were going to kill him to let him go preach instead, with the promise that he would return the next day so they could finish killing him. The outlaws were so shocked when he returned, they begged to receive confession instead. “The force that drives me to preach and hear confessions is my desire to make my neighbor happy.”


Wednesday, Oct. 25

Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (September 14, 1947-October 19, 1984)
The quiet young priest who said, “The Christian must at all times be a witness to and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom, and love.” He volunteered to serve striking steel workers in Warsaw, Poland, and was eventually murdered by Communist agents; 250,000 people attended his funeral. “The Communists saw him as an enemy because he freed people from fear of the system,” a fellow priest later noted.


Thursday, Oct. 26

Blessed Contardo Ferrini (1859-1902)
A man of science and learning, Contardo prayed about becoming a priest or marrying, but instead decided to serve God as an unmarried lay person and as a law professor. In his spare time, he served the poor through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and went camping and mountain climbing. “Our life must reach out toward the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity.”


Friday, Oct. 27

Saint Frumentius (d. 383)
As a boy, Frumentius and his brother were captured during a sea voyage and made slaves to a king in Ethiopia, who eventually came to trust them with great responsibility. After being freed by the king, Frumentius became a bishop, converted a later king, and spread the faith throughout Ethiopia, where he was called Kesate Birhan (Revealer of Light) and Abba Salama (Father of Peace).


Saturday, Oct. 28

Sts. Simon and Jude (1st Century)
Two of “the Twelve” apostles of Jesus. Little is known of them, other than that Simon had been involved with the Zealots, a political movement that aimed to throw the Roman Empire out of the Holy Land by force. St. Jude (“Judas the son of James”) is the patron saint of hopeless causes, perhaps because he is named last among the apostles (except for traitorous Judas Iscariot).





In light of recent executive moves affecting health care policy, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for the Trump administration and Congress to enact comprehensive health care reform for the sake of the most vulnerable in the country and to protect low-income people. 

“The Affordable Care Act is, by no means, perfect, but as leaders attempt to address impending challenges to insurance market stability and affordability, they must not use people’s health care as leverage or as a bargaining chip. To do so would be to strike at the heart of human dignity and the fundamental right to health care. The poor and vulnerable will bear the brunt of such an approach,” Bishop Dewane said in a statement, which can be accessed in full on the U.S. bishops’ conference website. “Ultimately, this executive order ignores many more significant problems in the nation’s health care system. Congress must still act on comprehensive reform in order to provide a sustainable framework for health care, providing lasting solutions for the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability, and underlying affordability problems that remain unaddressed.”


On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum for all executive departments and agencies on the subject of “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty.” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has offered the following statement in response:

“The Attorney General’s guidance helpfully reaffirms that the law protects the freedom of faith-based organizations to conduct their operations in accordance with their religious mission. The guidance also reaffirms that the federal government should never exclude religious organizations from competing on an equal footing for government grants or contracts, and religious entities should never be forced to change their religious character in order to participate in such programs.” Read the full statement here.



As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live. 

—St. John Paul II


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).

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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