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A Prophet to the Nations • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

February 3-9 • Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Joseph of Leonissa + St. Agatha + St. Paul Miki and companions + Blessed Rosalie Rendu + St. Josephine Bakhita + Blessed Jacoba of Settesoli

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.




In the Silence of the Stone, the exciting sequel to In the Realm of Mist & Mercy, is here! Read an excerpt of this faith-inspired novel for ages 10-15 below, or get the book now at the Gracewatch Store.

8 WAYS TO DO FAITH & FAMILY

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

1. Put a Catholic spin on St. Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to teach kids about the Christian meaning of love, and we’ve got 8 simple strategies for doing that…no glue, candy, or flowers required.


2. Try the “Bubble Prayer” with your littles. Here’s a super-simple way for kids ages 3-7 to send their prayers to God. Here is a prayer that young children like; we call it “Bubble Prayer” because of the last step. Here’s what to do.


3. Talk about prophets. This Sunday’s readings are all about prophets, people God sends with an important message…that we often don’t want to hear. Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry will help you preview this Sunday’s readings with your kids in Breaking Open the Word at Home.


4. Celebrate the Feast of St. Blaise. Sunday, Feb. 3, would normally be the feast of St. Blaise; it’s suppressed because it’s on a Sunday this year, but your parish may still offer a traditional blessing of the throats. Why is St. Blaise the patron saint of throats? Find the answer in Playing with the Saints!, then play a role-playing game with stuffed animals.


5. Tell the story of St. Bakhita. Can you imagine being sold into slavery at the age of 7? It was so traumatic for poor little Josephine that she couldn’t remember her own name. After years of being a slave, she finally won her freedom and entered a convent where she lived the rest of her days. Introduce this saint to your kids with a story and a coloring sheet in Saints for Kids. Then, make a kindness chain with your kids in Playing with the SAINTS!


6. Cozy up to your better half. That’s because it’s the beginning of National Marriage Weekwhich runs Feb. 7-14. So take an extra moment to gaze into each other’s eyes, hug a little tighter, and say some prayers for the health and happiness of your marriage. Looking for more ideas? Get a marriage tip a day and check out the newly revamped For Your Marriage, now with a virtual marriage retreat and more resources.


7. Help your kids solve their own fights. When kids fight, how should parents respond? Ignoring the conflict or solving it for kids are two ways to go, but teaching your kids to solve their own fights gives them the conflict-resolution skills they’ll need as adults—and means you’ll ultimately spend less time playing peacemaker. Here’s what to do.


8. Get Pope Francis’s messages to youth at World Youth Day. Did you follow coverage of World Youth Day with your kids? If you missed it, the Vatican News Service has archived video and text coverage from Panama, including several messages of the pope to youth. “Keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it,” the pope told young people. “You are not the tomorrow, you are not the ‘meantime,’ you are the Now of God.”

RAISING FAITHFUL CITIZENS

BISHOPS APPLAUD CARBON TAX BILL

After the introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (EICDA) Jan. 24, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the legislation as an important step forward in addressing climate change.  

“This bipartisan bill is a hopeful sign that more and more, climate change is beginning to be seen as a crucial moral issue; one that concerns all people,” Dewane said in a statement. “If enacted, this proposal is expected to result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, the need for legislative solutions like this is more urgent than ever.”

You can read the statement in its entirety here.

STOCK UP ON STATIONS BOOKLETS

Our sale on the Stations of the Cross for Children booklets continues through Jan. 31. Buy three or more copies to get 40% off using coupon code #STATIONS.

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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Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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