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One with Authority • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes

January 28 – February 3: Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

St. Thomas Aquinas + Brother Juniper + St. Balthild of Ascania + St. John Bosco + St. Brigid of Ireland + Presentation of the Lord + St. Blaise


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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.



Everyone’s favorite five-year-old Purple Nun is turning six! But it’s not all birthday parties and presents…not when Molly has to invite her least favorite kid from school to the party. you can find out how it turns out next week, when (fingers crossed) we’ll be releasing Molly McBride and the Party Invitation!



1. Shake off the distractions of busy family life and help your family focus on God. In this Sunday’s readings, we hear about the role of a prophet through the story of Moses, get a reminder from Paul to avoid distractions (even in our families) that keep us from focusing on God, and see how Jesus preached God’s word with authority. Read, reflect and engage your family with focus questions in this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.

2. Dedicate the month of February to the Holy Family. Your family can reprise the traditional practice of dedicating the month of February to the Holy Family with Brian Smith’s handy guide, which includes a kid-friendly reflection, a prayer, a Scripture verse and ways to keep the Holy Family on the forefront of our minds this month.

3. Take three minutes to teach your kids about consecrated life. That’s because it’s the World Day for Consecrated Life Feb. 2. Yep, same day as the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. See what the Church did there? Make sure your kids know how they are consecrated; older kids might benefit from this three-minute video. This would also be a great time to check out Jeanie Egolf’s article about raising kids who are open to a religious vocation.

4. Celebrate the feast of St. Brigid of Ireland with a coloring sheet and soda bread. Did you know this legendary woman of Ireland was born a slave? Her poverty did not stop her from giving to those who were even more desperate than herself. In time, she founded one of the most famous monasteries in Ireland! Read a kid-friendly story about her and get a simple Irish soda bread recipe in Playing with the Saints! And while that bread is baking, read another story about St. Brigid, watch a video about how to make a St. Brigid’s cross, and download a printable coloring page of the saint in Meet St. Brigid!

5. Make St. John Bosco skillet lasagna on Wednesday. Ryan Langr walks you through how to make this yummy homage to the patron saint of delinquent boys in the latest Cooking with Catholic Kids. And hey, check out how Cooking with Catholic Kids now features an easier-to-read layout, a printable recipe card, and the ability to adjust servings.

6. Get your throats blessed in honor of the feast of St. Blaise and play a guessing game with stuffed animals. Feb. 3 is the feast of St. Blaise, traditionally the day when people go to Mass to have their throats blessed. This time of year, we need all the help we can get! When you’re back, read more about St. Blaise to your children and play this role-playing game with stuffed animals. Here’s the child-friendly story and an activity in the St. Blaise edition of Playing with the Saints!

7. Celebrate the 40th day of Christmas. Are you the sort of family that finds it hard to let go of Christmas? Well, you’re in luck, because the Church circles back around to Christmas one last time at the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Here are five simple ways to celebrate.

8. Get a Brother Juniper coloring sheet. Yeah, he’s only a Servant of God, but the humble Brother Juniper would find that quite appropriate…and your kids will love the story of the trouble he caused when he once stole a pig! Get that and a coloring sheet in Meet Brother Juniper!

9. Add the pope’s prayer intentions to your family prayer. The pope’s intention for February is that those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.



We’re having some engaging discussions over at the PB & Grace Parents Facebook group! From getting ears pierced to teaching kids about grace to what boys ages 10-13 are into these days, there’s a lot going on in our newly moderated community. Join the group, introduce yourself and join in the conversation. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.



Sunday, Jan. 28

Catholic Schools Week

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Nicknamed “the dumb ox” by his fellow students, not because he was stupid, but because he was very quiet and a large man. His teacher, St. Albert the Great, reportedly told those students, “We call this man the dumb ox, but someday his bellow will be heard throughout the whole world!” And how. Thomas still ranks number one among theologians in polls of seminarians everywhere. But his greatest work, the Summa Theologica, went unfinished after he had a mystical experience that apparently placed it in perspective.


Monday, Jan. 29

Brother Juniper, servant of God (d. 1258)
The humble and generous companion of St. Francis who played with children, gave away everything to the needy, and comforted St. Clare on her deathbed. Read more about Brother Juniper and download a free coloring page by clicking on Meet Brother Juniper!


Tuesday, Jan. 30

St. Balthild of Ascania (620-680)
The queen of Burgandy who founded monasteries and freed enslaved children.


Wednesday, Jan. 31

St. John Bosco (1815-1888)
Inspired by a series of dreams that he believed to be expressions of God’s will, John Bosco dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, and opened a school for boys who had nowhere to go. He founded an order dedicated to this work, the Society of St. Francis de Sales, popularly known as the Salesians of Don Bosco. He later founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to serve and help poor girls. John Bosco died in 1888 and was canonized in 1934. You can read or listen to audio of the life story of St. John Bosco at the website of the Salesians.


Thursday, Feb. 1

St. Brigid of Ireland (451-525)
Born a slave, this legendary woman of Ireland had a rough childhood. However, during her life, she accomplished many great works including starting a monastery in Ireland. As a free woman, Brigid stayed with her mother, herself a poor slave, and they gave a lot of milk away to the poor. God rewarded their generosity and the dairy prospered. After a time, her mother was freed from slavery too. She and Saint Patrick were good friends and she helped many people throughout her life. You can read kid-friendly stories about her in our Playing with the Saints feature and our Meet St. Brigid feature, which includes a printable coloring sheet.


Friday, Feb. 2

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Jewish law required parents to dedicate their firstborn son to God, and that is what Mary and Joseph did when they brought Jesus to the Temple. The Feast of the Presentation remembers this event, and falls 40 days after Christmas; it is the last feast of Christmas. Today is also known as Candlemas, because it used to be the day when people brought
their candles to Mass to have them blessed. So, light a candle during your prayer time!

World Day for Consecrated Life


Saturday, Feb. 3

St. Blaise (d. 316)
St. Blaise is another saint who lived a LONG time ago — during the 4th century, when being a Christian was a crime. He was a bishop and a doctor for people and animals. To avoid being caught, he lived in a cave outside of the city. Legend has it that sick animals would come to him to be cured. But if St. Blaise was praying, the animals would patiently wait so as not to disturb his prayers.



  • World Day of the Sick (Feb. 9)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb. 11)
  • Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14)
  • First Sunday of Lent (Feb. 18)
  • Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Feb. 22)



…are apparently using the Guided Children’s Adoration website, which provides resources for, as the name implies, guiding younger children during short experiences of Eucharistic adoration. Hat tip to alert reader Dina Guittar, who pointed us to the resource in a Facebook comment, and who uses it with her own children.



Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, praised the House of Representatives for passing legislation that would protect the rights of babies born after surviving abortion. He urged the Senate to pass the legislation, calling it common sense to protect the life of a child surviving abortion with the same degree of care of any other child. The full statement can be found on the website of the U.S. bishops here.

In a separate joint statement, Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for creating a new Division on Conscience and Religious Freedom.

“We applaud HHS for its significant actions to protect conscience rights and religious freedom. For more than 40 years — dating back to the Church amendment of 1973 — Congress has enacted federal laws protecting rights of conscience in health care. We are grateful that HHS is taking seriously its charge to protect these fundamental civil rights through formation of a new division dedicated to protecting conscience rights and religious freedom,” they said in the statement, which can be accessed in full here.



“Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved … you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.”

— St. John Bosco



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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