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A Prophet to the Nations + Feast of the Presentation | THE BREAD for Jan 31 – Feb 6

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This week in The Bread:

  • This week, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord…plus Sts. Brigid, Blaise, and Agatha. Yes, we’ve got suggestions for how to celebrate and links to resources!
  • 10 ways to pray, celebrate, serve, and talk about faith with your kids this week in the #GetYourGraceOn game.
  • Do you know what the hidden life of Jesus teaches us, or why Jesus was baptized by John? Explore these and other questions about the life of Jesus in the Stump the Parents game.
  • How do night prayers fit into your kids’ bedtime routine? Switch things up with fourteen different ways to do bedtime prayers! (link below)
  • Do you have a child with special needs who is looking forward to preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation? Susan Windley-Daoust describes her experience, and an adaptive sacrament preparation resource that really works. (link below)
  • What do you do for kids’ birthday parties? If you’re the Indahls, you figure out a way to be generous to others. Heidi Indahl offers five strategies. (link below)
  • Dumb dads are funny…but are they good for our boys? Jen Schlameuss-Perry explores that question in her latest Bigger on the Inside column. (link below)
  • Does your family fit Paul’s definition of love? Find out when you try Jen’s simple reflection exercise in Breaking Open the Word at Home. (link below)

You’re looking at The Bread for the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year C, Jan. 31-Feb. 6.

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SUNDAY, January 31, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Schools Week

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
—Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19

I will sing of your salvation.
—Psalm 71

So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13

And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.…”
—Luke 4:21-30

Re-read all of the Second Reading…but this time, replace the word “love” with the name of each family member (in turn). What parts of the description could family members grow in?

This reflection continues in Breaking Open the Word at Home has more Sunday Scripture resources, including reflection questions for kids and adults; by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry.



MONDAY February 1
St. Brigid of Ireland (450-525)
The slave girl who was freed because she kept giving away her master’s goods; she became the abbess of the monastery at Kildare, and was known for her generosity and miracles on behalf of the poor.

National Day of Prayer for the African-American and African Family

TUESDAY February 2
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord….”

WEDNESDAY February 3
St. Blaise (d. 316)
The bishop and martyr who befriended wild animals and healed the throat of a young boy.

THURSDAY February 4
St. Joseph of Leonissa (1556-1612)
The Capuchin priest and preacher who ministered to Christian slaves, often offering himself in their place.

FRIDAY February 5
St. Agatha (231-251)
One of the most popular of the early virgin martyrs, and patroness of protection from fire and earthquakes.

SATURDAY February 6
St. Paul Miki and Companions (d. 1597)
The twenty-six Christians who sang and preached as they were crucified for their faith in Nagasaki, Japan.

World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

1 week to Ash Wednesday (Feb 10)



Try out a handful of these ideas this week! Numbers in brackets are points for the #GetYourGraceOn game.


Preview this Sunday’s readings with your kids. [20]

How do night prayers fit into your younger kids’ bedtime routine? Change up the way you do bedtime prayers by checking out the article “14 Ways to Do Bedtime Prayer with Your Kids” at pbgrace.com. A few ideas: have your kids bless you (and you them); try Pope Francis’s Five Finger Prayer; try a kid-friendly daily examen. [40]

Go to Mass and have your throats blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise (Wednesday, Feb. 3). [50]

Light a candle and pray the Canticle of Simeon* on the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) (Tuesday, Feb. 2). [20]

Mark the Day of Prayer for African-American and African Families with a special prayer at your mealtime; search the name to find prayer resources from the USCCB. [40]


Make crepes or edible candles for Candlemas. Get more ways to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation at pbgrace.com. [20]

Celebrate the feast of St. Brigid with traditional Irish foods…and beer for the grownups! (Brigid is said to have miraculously provided beer to eighteen churches from one barrel). Read stories of the saint (plentiful online, or go to Shower of Roses for suggestions). And bake bread to give away, an Irish tradition to mark the day. [30]

Plan your child’s upcoming birthday with a giving twist by reading Heidi Indahl’s “birthday” article on pbgrace.com, which includes links to websites that help parents plan birthday parties to benefit charities. [30]

When St. Brigid was a slave, she gave away so much of her master’s things that he freed her just to get rid of her. Honor St. Brigid by giving away something you need to someone who needs it more. [60]

How are dads portrayed in the media your kids watch? Check out “Dumbing Down Dads” by Jen Schlameuss-Perry at pbgrace.com. [30]

Pre-order the children’s book Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World [Amazon] available March 1 from Loyola Press. [20]


Stump the Parents! The Life of Christ

This week’s theme: The Life of Christ

Get answers to this week’s questions in #101-111 in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (available online). Sample questions:

  1. How did God prepare the world for the mystery of Christ? (#102)
  2. What does the birth and infancy of Jesus teach us? (#103)
  3. What does the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth teach us? (#104)
  4. Why was Jesus baptized by John? (#105)
  5. Who is invited to come into the Kingdom of God proclaimed and brought about by Jesus? (#107)
  6. Why did Jesus proclaim the Kingdom with signs and miracles? (#108)
  7. What authority did Jesus give his Apostles? (#109)
  8. What is the meaning of the Transfiguration? (#110)

How to play: Older kids and teens skim the text to come up with questions to ask their parents. Parents score 10 points for correct answers; kids score 20 points for stumping the parents. All points get added up for the Get Your Grace On game. See “Stump the Parents” at pbgrace.com for more ideas.



Dumbing Down Dads | Bigger on the Inside
The “dumb dad” is the entertainment industry’s go-to character for cheap laughs. But what message are these men sending our boys? by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

Celebrate the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) with Your Kids
A little background on the feast, a few ideas for celebrating it, and links to more resources.

14 Ways to Do Bedtime Prayer with Your Kids
They’ve bathed, brushed their teeth, had a drink of water, and been read a story or two (or three). But wait! Don’t forget bedtime prayers! Here are fourteen bedtime prayer ideas for kids of all ages.

Six Evening Prayer Options for Catholic Families
There are many, many ways for your kids to make an evening offering at the end of the day. Here are six options for different ages and prayer styles.

For My Birthday, Let Me Do Something For You
Here are four ways to give your child the gift of a generous heart on his or her birthday.   by Heidi Indahl

Preparing for First Reconciliation When Your Child Has Special Needs
The Church says that “Catholics with disabilities have a right to participate in the sacraments.” But when your child is intellectually disabled, how do you make that happen?   by Susan Windley-Daoust


Other resources

SaintNook: The Life od St. Brigid
SaintNook is a great all-around resource that’s “in progress,” meaning that there aren’t many saints “online” there yet…in part because of the scope and ambition of the project. However, St. Brigid has an “account” there, full of stories and resources, including many fun, kid-friendly anecdotes. Check it out and print a few out in advance of the feast day.


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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