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Here I Am…You Called Me • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes


January 14 – January 20: Second Week of Ordinary Time

Blessed Peter Donders + St. Paul the Hermit + St. Joseph Vaz + St. Anthony of Egypt + St. Prisca + Ven. Frederic BaragaSt. Fabian


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Our February-March MISSION:CHRISTIAN takes kids through all of Lent (plus April 1, Easter) with daily Scripture readings…stories and quotes from more than 50 inspiring saints…a daily prayer prompt…a daily “Christian mission”…charts and checklists…fun “This Day in History” facts…and explainers about major liturgical events. Your kids can write in their journal every day, or just every now and then. We’re taking pre-orders now, with plans to ship beginning January 15. This will be a limited print run, so get your order in now.


How about practicing lectio divina with your kids during Lent? Lectio divina is the ancient Christian practice of praying meditatively with Scripture. Find out more at our Lectio Divina for Kids article, then order our lectio divina journal for kids. It contains a short, kid-friendly explanation of lectio followed by seven lectio divina texts and journaling opportunities.



1. When God calls you this week, pull “a Samuel”…listen and respond, “Here I am!” In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 14, God calls Samuel, the first apostles and all of us to live most fully through our relationship with God. God calls each of us by name, and we learn to listen, follow and respond. Read and reflect on that and more with this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.

2. Pray for Christian unity. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins Jan. 18 and runs until Jan. 25. During this time, the Church asks Catholics to pray that all Christians are united as brothers and sisters, and work to answer Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). A little confused why there is so much division between all of us Jesus-loving people? Sin, of course. Some helpful information on the topic is listed below:

3. Connect with families halfway around the world and bring them new hope. The Church is celebrating Poverty Awareness Month in January, but how can your family connect with poor families in distant countries? Brian Singer-Towns made a start by actually traveling to Ethiopia with Catholic Relief Services, where he met Ethiopian women  who used to spend up to six hours a day fetching dirty water that made their kids sick. Find out how U.S. Catholics reached out, and what you can do with your kids to make a difference.

4. Consecrate your family to the Holy Family. Have you consecrated your family to the model of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their family life? Your family doesn’t have to be perfect to be holy! Here’s why, and a prayer of consecration you can use with your own family.

5. Call young children to prayer with hand motions. Do you have a wiggle worm in your family who doesn’t quite sit through family prayer time but is desperate to be part of the mix? Try using simple hand motions. Here are two examples to help get you started. 

6. Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day by talking about the role of faith in the civil rights movement. Over a dinner of his favorite foods (buttermilk-fried chicken, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, cornbread, collard greens, and pecan pie) discuss the role of faith in the civil rights movement. The Catholic Catalogue provides some neat resources here, including that epic photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. standing arm-in-arm with other religious activists. Bonus question for your kids: Did you know that his niece is an advocate in the pro-life movement?

7. Prepare your children to march for life. Catholics around the country will be participating in marches for life Jan. 19. It’s been 45 years since the first March for Life, but the reason we march remains the same—we’re doing it for the babies and their moms. What can you do to prepare your children to participate in a meaningful way?

8. Participate in Nine Days for Life. The annual nine-day prayer experience sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops begins Thursday, January 18. Find out the many ways to participate at the USCCB website.



We are running a crowdsourcing contest over at the PB & Grace Parents Facebook page! We love the idea of using music as a way of teaching kids about the faith. What music do you listen to with your kids to help boost their faith? We’ll be giving away Amazon gift certificates to a few randomly selected commenters. PB & Grace Parents is a closed group, so you will have to request to be added.



Sunday, Jan. 14

Blessed Peter Donders (1807-1887)
Blessed Donders struggled for years to be ordained a priest. Once he was, he left Holland for the Dutch colonies, where he first worked to improve the conditions of African slaves. Later, he ministered in a leper colony, where he stayed for the rest of his life. “He labored with success among the African blacks in the plantations, and by 1850 had instructed and baptized 1,200,” according to Wikipedia. “His letters express his indignation at the harsh treatment of the African peoples forced to work on the plantations. He extended his work to the Indians of Saramacca. In 1855 he took up his residence in Batavia, where for nearly 32 years he ministered to 600 lepers, tending to them personally until he was able to persuade the authorities to provide adequate nursing services. He left them only to visit the Africans and Indians.”


Monday, Jan. 15

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

St. Paul the Hermit (c. 233-345)

The 15-year-old who fled to the desert to escape persecution and ended up staying for 90 years.


Tuesday, Jan. 16

St. Joseph Vaz (1651–1711)
The priest from India who rebuilt the Church in Dutch Ceylon
despite the faith being banned. He and a servant traveled to Ceylon in disguise, carrying no baggage but hiding the vessels for Mass under their clothes. Once in Ceylon, Vaz traveled disguised as a Hindu holy man, ministering to the local Catholic population in secret. He eventually made his way to the royal city in the province of Kandy, where he was arrested and brought to the king, who confined him to a house. There, Fr. Vaz eventually began openly saying Mass; in time, his reputation as a holy man spread, and the king relaxed his restructions on Vaz’s travel. During a great drought, Fr. Vaz was invited by the king to pray for rain; before he rose from his knees, rain began to fall in a great deluge, but without a drop touching the saint. The miracle convinced the king to give the priest special privileges.


Wednesday, Jan. 17

St. Anthony of Egypt (251 – 356)
The young man who, at the age of 18, sought God in the solitude of the Egyptian desert; so many other men and women followed his example that he became known as “Father of All Monks.” His fame was spread by Athanasius of Alexandria, whose biography “The Life of St. Anthony” stayed on best-seller lists throughout the Christian world through the Middle Ages, influencing the spirituality of countless other Christians. Among his sayings: “Whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the witness of the holy Scriptures.”


Thursday, Jan. 18

St. Prisca (first century)
The woman who
, with her husband Aquilla, saved Paul’s life, joined in his missionary work, and founded several churches.

Nine Days for Life begins

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins


Friday, Jan. 19

Ven. Frederic Baraga (1797-1868)
First bishop of the Diocese of Marquette; he’s one of those obscure figures who probably should be better known. A Slovenian priest, he arrived in the United States Dec. 31, 1830. “For the next 37 years,” the Bishop Baraga Association said, “he traveled the length and breath of the Great Lakes area to minister to the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. … During the summer months, Father Baraga traveled on foot and by canoe. During the winter months, he traveled on snowshoes thus giving him the titles of ‘Apostle of the Lakelands’ and ‘Snowshoe Priest.’ He wrote long and frequent accounts of his missionary activities including a three-volume diary. He also wrote seven Slovenian prayerbooks and authored 20 Native American books which includes his monumental Grammar and Dictionary of the Chippewa Language, still in use today.”


Saturday, Jan. 20

St. Fabian (d. 250)
The layman who was elected pope after a dove landed on his head; he collected the stories of the martyrs, and was martyred himself.





The president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference has called for Catholics to mark the celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday with renewed courage and commitment to break the chain of hate; you can read the full statement here.



“Joy, prayer and gratitude are three ways that help us live authentically.”
—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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