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Proclaim the Gospel • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes

January 21 – January 27: Third Week of Ordinary Time

St. Sebastian + St. Agnes + Ven. Satoko Kitahara + St. Francis de Sales + Feast of the Conversion of St. PaulSts. Timothy and Titus + St. Angela Merici


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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. Preview every page of the book here.

Practice 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. Now is the time to respond to God’s call to repent and forgive … then watch Veggie Tales. In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 21, repentance is the key. From the winning failure of Jonah (winning for Nineveh, yet failing himself), to Paul’s urgent message of time running out, to Jesus taking the baton from John; we see that now is the time to respond to God’s invitation to salvation. After reading and reflecting with this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home, watch Veggie Tale’s “Jonah” with your kids. What message is the story of Jonah telling us?

2. Teach your children about the sanctity of human life with these resources, and pray for the protection of the unborn. The Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn is Jan. 22, and we have resources for your family:

3. Recharge your parenting. Part-time stay-at-home father and licensed therapist James Otremba knows what it’s like to feel exhausted by kids—but he also knows a few faith-based tricks for recharging your parental batteries. He tells all in 4 Ways to Thrive as Catholic Parents This Year.

4. Make a lamb puppet in honor of the feast of St. Agnes. This patron saint of young girls is often depicted holding a lamb. But don’t let this sweet image deceive you. She bravely died for her faith at a young age. Read about her story here and get instructions on how to make a lamb in this week’s Playing with the Saints with Christine Henderson.

5. Build a blessing box to help neighbors in need. As the Catholic Church observes Poverty Awareness month, here’s a unique way more than a thousand communities are reaching out to neighbors in need. “Blessing Boxes” are little charitable dispensaries that people set up in public places: you leave what you can, and pick up what you need. As the women behind the movement will tell you, the boxes are a blessing for the whole community. Here’s how the idea caught on, and how your family might get involved.

6. Gear up your gadgets with these great Catholic apps. So many , so little time! With Lent coming up in less than a month (Ash Wednesday is Feb. 14), it’s time to get a little God in your phone. Here are four Catholic apps we think you’ll love (and actually use).

7. Teach your kids to pause and pray during ordinary and extraordinary moments in life. “We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment in our lives,” said St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. One way to do that is by pausing to pray in response to the events in our lives, both ordinary and extraordinary. Here are more than 50 moments that ought to prompt us to pause in prayer and blessing.



We’re introducing our new group moderators, Heidi Indahl and Cindy Coleman, over at the PB & Grace Parents Facebook group! Stop by and say hi! PB & Grace Parents is a closed group, so you will have to request to be added.



Sunday, Jan. 21

St. Sebastian (c. 256 – 287)
The young Roman who, according to legend, joined the Roman army so he could help persecuted Christians. He converted several army officers who freed their Christian prisoners, but when his faith was discovered, the emperor had him tied to a post and shot full of arrows, which is the way he typically is depicted in art, and apparently the basis of his patronage of athletes. He was left for dead, But surprise, surprise, he wasn’t dead yet, and when he recovered, he went to warn the (presumably shocked) emperor that he was sinning by persecuting Christians. The emperor had him beat to death on the spot.


Monday, Jan. 22

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

St. Agnes (d. c. 258)
She was only 12 or 13 years old when she was pressured to abandon her faith, but she refused, even after being tortured. She is one of the most popular early martyrs, and her name is sometimes mentioned during Mass. Listen for it this weekend! And check out her story in this week’s Playing with the Saints!


Tuesday, Jan. 23

Venerable Satoko Kitahara (1929-1958)
On the path to sainthood, Kitahara qualifies as one of those holy Catholics you’ve never heard of but wish you had. After her city (Tokyo) was leveled by firebombing and her country defeated in World War II, Sotoko experienced a spiritual crisis that eventually led her into the Church. She began serving the garbage-pickers in a nearby slum, and soon went to live with them, becoming known as “the Mary of Ants Town.” She said: “I experienced a desire to serve … which seemed a natural accompaniment to being a follower of Christ.” Upon recognizing her heroic virtues, the first step to sainthood, Pope Francis declared her venerable in 2015.


Wednesday, Jan. 24

St. Francis de Sales (1567 –1622)
As a young man, he despaired that he was doomed to hell. But through prayer, he learned to trust in the love of God. As a priest and bishop, Francis was a zealous evangelizer of those who had fallen away from the Church, winning their respect with his gentleness. He wrote many popular books on the spiritual life, and is a Doctor of the Church.


Thursday, Jan. 25

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
Saul was a zealous persecutor of Christians who converted after he was struck down and Jesus spoke to him, making him aware of his sins.


Friday, Jan. 26

Sts. Timothy and Titus (d. c. 95)
The close companions and helpers of the apostle Paul (you know, the guy whose conversion we celebrated on Thursday). Paul’s letters to them shed light on what the early Church was like. Paul gave both men lots of advice about how to take care of the Church — along with occasional personal advice: “Stop drinking only water,” he told Timothy, “but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Tim 5:23). Okaaay, “Dad.”


Saturday, Jan. 27

St. Angela Merici (1470-1540)
The founder of a group of women dedicated to the education of girls; the group eventually became the Order of the Ursulines. During a trip to the Holy Land, she was struck blind; she went anyway, visiting all the holy sites with as much enthusiasm as if she could still see. “On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost,” according to Franciscan Media.



  • January is Poverty Awareness Month
  • Catholic Schools Week begins (January 28)
  • Blessed Juniper (January 29)
  • Feast of John Bosco (January 31)
  • Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Feb. 2)
  • World Day of the Sick (Feb. 9)
  • Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14)



On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, James Rogers, the U.S. bishops’ chief communications director, released a statement reaffirming the bishops’ position that all life should be treated with “respect and compassion” and that all life is created in the image and likeness of God. Amid a backdrop of certain immigration policy negotiations, the bishops cautioned against using language that “can dehumanize our brothers and sisters.” To read the full statement, visit the bishops’ conference website here.



“You are called to stand up for life! To respect and defend the mystery of life always and everywhere, including the lives of unborn babies, giving real help and encouragement to mothers in difficult situations.”

— St. John Paul II during a homily at Central Park in 1995


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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