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Be Made Clean • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 16 minutes

February 11-17: Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Lourdes + Blessed Humbelina + St. Catherine dei Ricci + Ash Wednesday + Sts. Cyril and Methodius + St. Claude de la Colombiere + Blessed Giuseppe Allamano


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Just in time for Lent, it’s The Stations of the Cross for Children, a way to practice the Stations even with preschool age children. With colorful artwork and short, easy-to-understand meditations and prayers, each Station takes about two minutes to complete (including time “to be quiet with Jesus.” These simple, straight-forward stations use the form adopted by the bishops of the Philippines, which in turn is closely related to St. Pope John Paul II’s Scriptural Stations of the Cross. This form of the stations highlights events of special importance to Catholic Christians, including the institution of the Eucharist and John and Mary at the foot of the cross. In addition, practicing this form of the stations throughout Lent prepares children for celebrating the Triduum, which begins with our remembrance of the Last Supper and culminates in the discovery of the empty tomb at the Easter Vigil.

The Stations of the Cross for Children includes optional prayers and Scripture readings for each station, making it easy to expand and adapt the stations for older children.

The artwork in this book is so beautiful, we decided to make it into a set of 11 x 17 posters—perfect for a Way of the Cross procession. The posters are printed on heavyweight coated card stock, thick enough to stand up on their own (on a stand) and used year after year.

The posters are available immediately; the books will ship for free beginning Ash Wednesday. Buy 5 or more books and get 30% off using the coupon code #stations at checkout!



Molly McBride, that nun-loving (and fun-loving) kindergartner is back, and she’s turning six! But when a bully threatens to ruin her big birthday bash, it’s going to take a lesson in the virtue of charity to save the day.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation is only available at Amazon.com right now; look for her in the Gracewatch store and everywhere books are sold beginning St. Valentine’s Day.



1. Indulge in sweets then shelf the treats for a day of fasting and abstinence. Are your kids ready for ? Kick things off right by celebrating Shrove Tuesday and observing Ash Wednesday. Here are nine things to do with your family and resources to go with them.

2. Catch a break from the germs and let God heal your soul. Feeling a little sick these days? Or perhaps you’re feeling a little sick of being stuck inside taking care of sick kids? Rest easy, Sunday’s readings and accompanying reflections in Breaking Open the Word at Home are for you. In the readings we encounter stories of illness that cause alienation from community, and a remedy for that alienation — God’s healing power.

Sunday is also World Day of the Sick, a day the Church remembers its history in healthcare and renews is commitment to providing healthcare and healing to the world’s most vulnerable people.

3. Help your kids make a Lent plan. Did you procrastinate this? Yeah, same here, which is why we’re re-running our gigantic, all-purpose guide to doing Lent for real this year. It includes 25 ideas, primers on why we do what we do, fasting guidelines and a downloadable kids’ Lenten planner.

4. Make lentil soup for Lent. Abstaining from meat during Lent doesn’t mean indulging in a lobster dinner, but it also doesn’t have to mean fish sticks and custard every Friday, either. This Lent, try some rustic lentil soup as we welcome chef and mom Theresa Wilson to Cooking with Catholic Kids.

If you like that idea, consider trying soup for supper for nearly all of Lent. That’s what Heidi Indahl did last year and she is going to do it again this year; you can read about her family’s creative family plan here in Work and Play, Day by Day.

5. Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. Here are seven super-simple ways to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with your kids, plus some other resources with great ideas for the holiday.

And don’t forget these ten awesome ways to navigate the mashup of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday this year.

6. Give “alms” to your kids. In case you’re thinking, “Wait a minute … I do nothing BUT give to my kids,” read on. Almsgiving, of course, is not so much about the quantity of our giving as the quality of our giving. Here, then, are a few suggestions for “alms” you can give your kids this Lent.

7. And now it’s the kids’ turn to give alms. Encourage your kids to put on a show, scrounge for change and try other neat ways to give alms this Lent. They can start by collecting cash for the Church’s annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Many parishes around the country will have a second collection this Ash Wednesday.

8. Watch the “Song of Bernadette.” Our Lady has appeared to many people throughout history, including a 14-year-old girl in Lourdes, France. Here’s the story of St. Bernadette Soubirous and Our Lady of Lourdes. After reading this kid-friendly story in this edition of Playing with the SAINTS!, cozy up on the couch and watch the story unfold in the Academy Award-winning “Song of Bernadette. (You’re all stuck inside sick, anyways, right?)

You can get not one, but two fantastic coloring sheets about Bernadette in the Living Sparks of God coloring book.



Come and check out all of the amazing resources for and from Catholic parents on our PB & Grace Parent page on Facebook! Need a family book for Holy Week? Got it. A modern liturgical calendar and jewelry? You’re covered. Science experiments you can do with your kids? No problem. It’s all there under our “Strut Your Stuff” thread. So strut yourself over to the page, bid your greetings and join the discussion. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to ask to join.


Access our saint biographies and special Church events on our new calendar page.


Sunday, Feb. 11

Our Lady of Lourdes

World Day of the Sick


Monday, Feb. 12

Blessed Humbelina


Tuesday, Feb. 13

St. Catherine dei Ricci


Wednesday, Feb. 14

Ash Wednesday

Valentine’s Day

Sts. Cyril and Methodius


Thursday, Feb. 15

St. Claude de la Colombiere


Friday, Feb. 16

Blessed Giuseppe Allamano


Saturday, Feb. 17

St. Alexis Falconieri and companions





… are wondering whether or not to take kids their kids to see the new Peter Rabbit movie. The stories by Beatrix Potter are a favorite of many, but this movie adaptation by Sony Pictures might have missed the mark. Here’s a movie review by Catholic News Service to help you decide if it’s right for you and your kids.

And all the cool Catholics are still talking about the Super Bowl. Sure, the Eagles are the reigning champions, but the real winners might very well be the women religious behind the trending hashtag #superbowlintheconvent on Twitter. Throughout the game, nuns around the country shared funny anecdotes under the hashtag which both gave a light-hearted peek inside convent life and reminded us the power of the internet for evangelization. Way to go, sisters!



Speaking at the Sunday Angelus Feb. 4, Pope Francis called for Feb. 23 to be a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace for war-torn countries, in particular the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. During the same audience, which fell on Italy’s Pro-Life Sunday, the pope also expressed concern that there are not more people involved in promoting pro-life causes in this world of expanding “throwaway culture.”



Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.

— Pope Francis in his message for Lent 2018



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 Stations of the Cross for Children
The Stations of the Cross for Children was designed especially for younger children, with colorful illustrations and simple text that introduces them to the Passion of Jesus Christ on their level. Each station takes about two minutes to complete, including about thirty seconds of silent prayer. Optional prayers and Scripture references for each station offer a variety of ways to adapt and expand The Stations of the Cross for Children for older kids. And the opening and closing prayers place the Passion in the larger context of Jesus’ mission…and every Christian’s call to continue that mission in the world today.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
Molly McBride is turning six, and her momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”? Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing acts of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party. It’s Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity.

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.

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.

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 Jerry Windley-Daoust:

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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