April 23-29: Second Week of Easter
Divine Mercy Sunday + St. Mark + Ven. Nano Nagle + St. Zita + St. Catherine of Siena + St. George
In the Realm of Mist and Mercy Launch Party • 7-9 pm CDT • On Facebook
Our launch party for In the Realm of Mist and Mercy is tonight (Wednesday, April 19…come when you can, leave when you must)! We’ll be giving away signed author copies and other gifts, interviewing author Susan Howard, and talking about Catholic fiction for kids. The party’s on Facebook, so it’s a BYOB thing; you can join by going to the Mist and Mercy Launch party event page and selecting “Going.”
A new journal just for Catholic girls? Yes, please! Catholic blogger and journal fanatic Amy Brooks has written a fun, faith-filled journal just for girls: “Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls.” The title is based on a quote from St. Catherine of Siena, who said, “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” The journal helps girls unfold questions of identity, worthiness, belonging, and mission in light of the wisdom of the Church and God’s unique will for them. It’s full of “personal letters” from women saints, quotes from the Catechism and Scripture, and faith-based activities…all presented in a fun format that girls will love, with plenty of quizzes and journaling opportunities. Every page is colorfully designed by Agape Design Studio, with contributions from award-winning Catholic artist Vicki Shuck.
Pre-order the journal today to help us pay for the art, and we’ll get it to you by the end of June, making it a perfect mid-summer activity for the Catholic girls in your life!
Check out the journal and place your order here: https://igg.me/at/byj
7 THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
1. Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Divine Mercy Sunday has its origins in visions reported by the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska in which Jesus asked the Church to spread the good news about his mercy for all sinners. Check your parish’s website or bulletin for information on services celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, find out about the origins of Divine Mercy Sunday, and enjoy a Divine Mercy Sundae with your kids. And for Family Prayer Time, try praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy; the USCCB website has the prayer and instructions. And read how Heidi Indahl’s willingness to trust God resulted in two beautiful faces that have painted her own image of divine mercy.
2. Play with St. George! His feast would be this Sunday, and while the Church doesn’t officially mark feast days on Sundays, that shouldn’t stop you from teaching your kids about this early Christian soldier and martyr . . . or the fun legend of his slaying a dragon and rescuing a princess. Christine Henderson tells both stories in the latest Playing with the Saints.
3. Teach your kids about the liturgical year. As we move into the seven-week Easter season, check in with your kids about the liturgical year. Heidi Indahl has developed a cool activity for teaching kids the order of the major church seasons; you can get instructions in her article, Make Your Own Circle of the Church Year.
4. Teach your kids generosity. The principle of generosity is at the heart of the Gospel, so it’s important to practice intentionally with our kids; Ryan Langr has four suggestions about how to go about doing just that.
5. Get our free Catherine of Siena coloring page! It’s the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena (April 29), and we have a gorgeous coloring page for you from Be Yourself! artist Vicki Shuck. Get it at the Gracewatch Media store, where you can download the PDF for free or throw a few dollars into our open guitar case to help pay for more Catholic art like this.
6. Believe! This Sunday’s Gospel features the story of “doubting Thomas,” which may be all of us at one point or another. Preview the Scriptures with your kids and explore these questions with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in Breaking Open the Word at Home.
7. Sprinkle your kids with holy water. All throughout the Easter season, the sprinkling of the assembly with holy water replaces the penitential rite—a reminder of our own death and rebirth with Christ in the waters of baptism. A great way to celebrate the Easter season is to incorporate your own “sprinkling rite” into your family prayer time. First, get some holy water from your parish. Keep it in a glass jar or dish, or a homemade holy water font. Then, bless your kids with the holy water before saying your meal prayer, or before your family prayer time. Or have them bless themselves by dipping their hand in the holy water and signing themselves with the sign of the cross at the beginning of your prayer time.
Hey, it’s still Easter! Check out 10+ Ways to Celebrate the Easter Season.
SAINTS FOR YOUR KIDS TO KNOW & LOVE
St. Mark (Tuesday). Little is known about the person who wrote the Gospel of Mark. Some believe he was a disciple of Jesus who witnessed the events he wrote about; others say he was a companion of Paul. In any case, he was the first to write down the story of Jesus. His short and action-packed Gospel was probably meant to be read out loud
Ven. Nano Nagle (Wednesday), who was born in Ireland during a time when it was illegal for Catholics to start schools in their homes or send their children abroad for schooling. Her family smuggled her to Paris for a full Catholic education. Upon returning, she opened a secret school for the poor, teaching them their faith. Her brother wasn’t too happy about her clandestine work for the poor, but the network of schools she started became the basis of the Irish Catholic school system. She told her sisters: “Spend your lives for the poor.”
St. Zita (Thursday), a servant in a large household from the time she was 12 until her death. At first, the other servants scorned her for being so religious: she got up in the night to pray, gave away food to the poor, and went to Mass every day. Over time, though, Zita (1218-1278) won their respect with hard work and kindness. According to legend, angels once baked the bread for her when she was late coming back from Mass! as well as simple reading, writing, and arithmetic, and skilled crafts that might relieve their poverty.
St. Catherine of Siena (Saturday) was a mystic and gifted writer who employed several scribes to keep up her correspondence with kings, queens, and popes on matters of international importance. But she also served the sick during the Black Plague. She is a Doctor of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI said of her: “When the fame of her holiness spread, she became the protagonist of an intense activity of spiritual guidance for people from every walk of life: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated men and women and religious, including Pope Gregory XI who was living at Avignon in that period and whom she energetically and effectively urged to return to Rome.”
ALL THE COOL KIDS . . .
. . . are apparently getting subscriptions to the Catholic T-Shirt Club, the latest Catholic-stuff-in-a-box subscription program. The kids’ version comes with a Catholic t-shirt, craft, memory verse card, and a sacramental. “Each box is centered around a Catholic theme so that the kids can receive their very own box in the mail and learn about their faith in a new and exciting way,” says Vanessa Ciastko. You can check out their stuff at their website.
. . . and all the cool moms and dads are listening to a new podcast, Out of the Boat by Catholic theologian, spiritual director, and author Susan Windley-Daoust. (Yes, you’ve seen her name before . . . she’s the spouse-in-chief around here, and published The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth with us last year.) The weekly podcast features reflections about how to get off the edge of faith and walk toward Jesus . . . hence the cute title (Peter walking on water and all that). Each episode runs about 20-30 minutes . . . the perfect accompaniment to your next workout. You can subscribe on ITunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
- World Day of Prayer for Vocations (May 7)
- Mother’s Day (May 14)
“Proclaim the truth and
do not be silent through fear.”
—St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is Saturday
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ONLINE
We’ve been talking about kids who expect the Easter bunny to visit all seven weeks of Easter over at our Facebook group, Peanut Butter & Grace Parents. Join us! It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.
GET MORE PEANUT BUTTER! GET MORE GRACE!
BOOKS FOR SPRING
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 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.
Molly McBride set. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. Get books one and two for one low price while supplies last.