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Blessed or Cursed? • Family Time!

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

:February 17-23: Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Geltrude Comensoli + St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei + Dorothy Gauchat + St. Robert Southwell + Feast of the Chair of St. Peter + St. Polycarp

Thank you…

…to Catherine S. for supporting the work of Gracewatch Media and Peanut Butter & Grace. She gets some cool thank you gifts…check them out at our Patreon page!


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.


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

1. Get your kids ready for Lent. Yeah, it’s less than three weeks away…how’d that happen? Get ready by looking over our ideas for ways that kids can fast, give, and pray during Lent…and download our printable Lent planner. Plus, check out our kid-friendly explainers about these traditional penitential practices.

  • Now is the best time to stock up on Lent resources, including The Way of the Cross Journal for Children, in which young readers are invited to enter into the story of Jesus’ suffering and death through story, prayer, coloring, and action. Appropriate for ages 5-8; younger children will need adult assistance.
  • And The Stations of the Cross for Children booklets are great for doing the Stations of the Cross with younger kids throughout Lent.

2. Explain the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to your kids. The Church celebrates the feast of the Chair of St. Peter Friday. So, if you quizzed your family about the feast, what would they come up with? Regina Lordan did, with humorous results. Fortunately, she has an explainer, simple activity a few accessible ways to teach your kids about the feast.

3. Are you blessed or cursed? This Sunday’s readings feature a series of blessings and curses…first from the prophet Jeremiah, then from Jesus. Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry will help you preview this Sunday’s readings with your kids in Breaking Open the Word at Home.

4. Make Baked Rock of the Church Rockfish. Keep talking about the feast of the Chair of St. Peter as you make baked Rock of the Church Rockfish with your kids. Ryan Langr breaks down this easy recipe with pictures and a printable recipe card, plus a reflection and a prayer to say with your meal, in the latest Cooking with Catholic Kids.

5. Tell the story of St. Margaret of Cortona and bandage up your kids’ stuffed animals’ boo boos. St. Margaret is a saint with a sad past and a somewhat Cinderella story. Not holy by nature, she changed her ways, and devoted her life to helping the poor and sick. Check out her story and an activity to mark her feast day Feb. 22 is in this edition of Playing with the SAINTS!

6. Pray for the president. President’s Day is next Monday, Feb. 18. Use it as an occasion to pray for our nation’s elected officials, including President Donald Trump.

  • Here’s a prayer and neat story from The Catholic Company about America’s first bishop, Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, brother to the only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The “Prayer for Civic Leaders” is simple enough to read with your family.
  • The Catholic Family Book of Prayers includes “Pope Francis’ Five-Finger Prayer.” A perfect finger-play prayer to say with young children, it includes this line to accompany the third finger: “The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our government leaders and other who have authority. They need God’s guidance.”

7. Raise your children to be good faithful citizens. If we’re going to raise our kids to be responsible Catholic citizens, we need to know what we’re aiming for—and most importantly, how to model citizenship for them. Here are eight things your kids should know, and four things to practice.

8. Bust those myths about what a Catholic family looks like. Seriously, it could be keeping you from fulfilling God’s plan for your particular way of being a Catholic family, says Heidi Indahl, who shares some of the myths she had to get over after her family’s conversion. She shares all in the latest edition of The Intentional Family.

9. Pray for the Church. In the wake of the ongoing clerical sex abuse scandal, the leaders of the world’s bishops will be meeting at the Vatican Feb. 21-24 to figure out how best to move forward. If you haven’t already caught it, check out our article on what parents can do about the sex abuse scandal, and how to talk to kids.



On February 7, 2019, the State of Alabama executed Domineque Ray, a Muslim man whose request to have an imam present at his execution was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 5-4. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued a statement, which reads:

“The execution of Domineque Ray deeply troubles us. The death penalty itself is an affront to human dignity, and the Church has long called for its abolition in the United States and around the world. Mr. Ray bore the further indignity of being refused spiritual care in his last moments of life, in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Alabama law. This unjust treatment is disturbing to people of all faiths, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or otherwise. People deserve to be accompanied in death by someone who shares their faith. It is especially important that we respect this right for religious minorities. As Pope Francis said during his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates, ‘What we are called to do as believers is to commit ourselves to the equal dignity of all.’ Let us make this commitment today.”


In the wake of the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, H.E. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, PA issued the following statement:

“In our increasingly hostile world in which violence too often predominates between Christians and Muslims—violence that has led to tragic consequences for the most vulnerable humans—we welcome with great joy this historic joint statement on human fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. The statement, which represents the culmination of the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula and marks the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in Egypt, is a clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace. We commend it to all people of good will, especially leaders of nations and religious groups, in the hope that it might serve as a resource to overcome division through a renewed commitment to dialogue and the establishment of goodwill.”

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


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



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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