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Here I Am; Send Me • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

February 10–16 • Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Lourdes + Sr. Dorothy Stang + St. Catherine dei Ricci + St. Cyril & St. Methodius + Br. James Miller + St. Verdania

FEBRUARY FAMILY TIME PACK

The February Family Time Pack is here…get the Family Time printable calendar for Jan. 27-Mar. 2, plus bonus pages, including The Daily Examen for Children and Teens and the St. Brigid coloring sheet.

Patrons get all those downloads and more. Become a patron today.




FEBRUARY ROSARY WINNER

The winning parish for our monthly Illuminated Rosary set drawing is…St. Philip’s Catholic Parish of Petrolia, Ontario! Congratulations to Jacqueline Rowe and the whole St. Philip’s community.

You can enter your parish to win an Illuminated Rosary set or get the four-book set for yourself on sale for a limited time.

“IN THE SILENCE OF THE STONE” SALE

In the Silence of the Stone, the exciting sequel to In the Realm of Mist & Mercy, is here! We’re celebrating with a sale…for a limited time, get the book for $8 at the Gracewatch store. You can read an excerpt from the first pages of the book below.

9 WAYS TO DO FAITH & FAMILY

A few options for Catholic moms and dads to try with kids next week.

1. Make a family prayer box. How and when do you teach your toddler to pray? Start simple! Here’s a fun prayer box craft to help your toddler pray for friends and distant relatives. Brian Smith offers this quick, interactive strategy for praying with young children.


2. Consider yourself called. This Sunday’s readings feature three guys who were called to do God’s work…in spite of their profound awareness of their own sinfulness. Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry will help you preview this Sunday’s readings with your kids in Breaking Open the Word at Home.


3. Mark the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The feast is February 11 (Monday). Read your kids the story of how the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old girl in Lourdes, France, in Playing with the SAINTS!, Then cozy up on the couch and watch the story unfold in the Academy Award-winning “The Song of Bernadette.” Plus: You can get not one, but two fantastic coloring sheets about Bernadette in the Living Sparks of God coloring book.


4. Pray for the sick. Monday is also the World Day of the Sick. Get prayer cards for the sick as well as caregivers from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. Or, read Pope Francis’s message for the day at the Vatican website. And do you pray for the sick in your home? Here’s how to teach your kids to pray for the sick.


5. Teach your kids about Mary and the global Church. While we are on the topic of Marian apparitions, Heidi Indahl uses timeline as a visual tool for children to learn about the history and geography of the Church. Here is a quick lesson, video and resources for you to use at home.


6. Learn about a pair of saintly siblings. Did you know St. Benedict had a sister? Like her brother, St. Scholastica spent her days praying. Read a funny true story about a little friendly sibling rivalry between the two, plus enjoy a related activity with your kids in Playing with the SAINTS!. (Her feast day, February 10, is suppressed this year because it falls on a Sunday.)


7. Make Ordinary Time special. Feeling the winter doldrums? With the anticipation and excitement of Advent and Christmas well behind us and Lent not beginning for another month, your kids might need a liturgical reboot. Here are six ways to make Ordinary Time special.


8. Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, the Christian way. In case you weren’t ready to get into the cupids and hearts thing last week, here (again) are 8 simple strategies to teach kids about the Christian meaning of love. Plus:


9. Get some perspective on the clerical sex abuse scandal. In the wake of this week’s latest revelations about the ongoing clerical sex abuse scandal, and in preparation for the Vatican meeting to address the scandal Feb. 21-24, we’re re-running our article on what parents can do about the sex abuse scandal, and how to talk to kids.

RAISING FAITHFUL CITIZENS

BISHOPS CONDEMN BILLS ALLOWING LATE-TERM ABORTIONS

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement Feb. 2 in response to several states moving forward with legislation that would permit a baby to be aborted at nine months.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“Abortion has always been built on a lie. Today, the lie is switching from ‘abortion is a choice’ to ‘abortion is healthcare.’ A law recently passed in New York not only legalizes abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy but removes any protection for children born alive after abortion. A similar bill was proposed in Virginia along with several other states, all in the name of women’s health. 

This legislation is evil, pure and simple. And it shocks the conscience to see such evil legislation greeted with raucous cheers and standing ovations. Most grieving to our Lord of Life is that those who advocate for abortion put their eternal souls in jeopardy.

It is sickeningly dishonest to claim that women’s lives or health depend on intentionally killing their children. This is especially true for late-term abortion, which always involves the purposeful destruction of a child which could have been born alive, with much less risk to the mother, had they both received real healthcare.  

Now is the time for all Catholics—bishops, priests, and laity—to fight for the unborn with renewed vigor. We must educate family, friends, legislators, and fellow citizens about how it is never necessary to intentionally kill unborn children in order to save their mothers. Local action is especially important. Though ending Roe v. Wade is a central goal of the pro-life movement, if the decision were overturned, only eleven states would immediately ban abortion; the other thirty-nine states would still allow it.  

I urge Catholics, and thoughtful Americans of all religions or none at all to advocate for local change. Sign up for your State Catholic Conference or diocesan pro-life advocacy network, which can help you communicate to elected officials. Or seek out state and local pro-life groups, including parish respect life groups, that are making a difference at the state level.  

Though we live in very dark days, we know that the Lord has already triumphed over death. But we must use this time on earth to be His hands and feet. This means each of us rededicating ourselves to prayer, and fighting for the most vulnerable among us, especially unborn children and their mothers.”  The statement can be found on the USCCB website here

You can also read the bishops’ statement urging the Senate to adopt the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

THE FUN WAY FOR KIDS TO PREPARE FOR FIRST COMMUNION

Get a free full-book preview of the My First Communion Journal at the Gracewatch store.

BOOK EXCERPT

IN THE SILENCE OF THE STONE

The glow of the bonfire frolicked over their eerie faces. Like gargoyles, the bounty hunters chuckled at Waljan’s fate. Their distorted orange faces fit the sinister mood of this chilly fall evening.

Waljan of the Realm, famed Knight of Abidan, felt more like Waljan of the Fools, Snared Rabbit. He’d been snared before. But since the Battle of Centennial Court, he’d ridden high on the gratitude of the citizens of Mortinburg, and things more often went his way.

The prickly rope chafed Waljan’s wrists. Lashed to a rough pine, he struggled against the restraints. The knots only tightened. At least the numbing cold dulled his pain. As his captors rested and discussed his fate, Waljan thought, Some hero I’ve turned out to be. I can lead a successful battle against corruption but can’t free myself from a small band of half-wits!

After expelling the manipulative Judge Asmodeus and his goons from the city of Mortinburg, Waljan had enjoyed his status as resident hero. At first, celebrity fit him like the boots of a much larger man. But he grew into it quickly—or so he thought. After all, it was celebrity and heroism that led him to his current dilemma. Now all he could do was sit, wait, and hope.

So he sat. He sat as he had for hours, studying his captors as they ate, laughed, and told tall tales. One particularly irksome fellow tossed around a smooth opalescent stone he’d taken from Waljan’s pack. Mack, as his gang called him, recounted an old myth about Maweth, the Shadow Assassin. It was clear to Waljan that the man made up the entire story just to belittle him.

Maweth, in his fury,” Mack said with deliberate suspense, “conjured up the malevolence contained in his ghostly death stone.”

“Oh for pity’s sake, it’s a speaking stone, you witless lump!” Waljan murmured as if arguing with his own flickering shadow.

The man continued, “Unseen, unheard, undetected, the malevolence seeped from the death stone and crept through the land. One by one, it turned Maweth’s enemies to dust. With each offense, it gained strength, leaving no traces of the assassin’s evil acts. Justice could never touch him. Until today, eh, lads?”

The men broke out in cheers and laughter. They taunted Waljan, “How’s it feel, Maweth, to finally face justice? Ha!”

“I have told you,” Waljan spewed. “I am Waljan of the Realm, Knight of Abidan. Free me now or suffer the wrath of the king!”

The men laughed all the louder as Mack shouted orders for more ale and rapped a tin cup against a rock….

Continue reading the first three chapters for free

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Family Time! and Peanut Butter & Grace is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust. Find out about our contributors.

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