The Bread PDF
What’s happening in the Church next week, and how can your family participate?
- During this fifth week of Lent, we’re celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and a young martyr of the Nazi concentration camps. See page 3 of the PDF for a coloring sheet of Saint Patrick!
- This Sunday, God provides water in the desert and forgiveness where none seems possible. Break open the Scriptures with your family using Jen Schlameuss-Perry’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.*
- We’ve got 8 ways for you to #GetYourGraceOn, including an idea for praying with wiggly kids, a table-setting blessing, and Catholic resources for talking politics with older kids.
- The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth is out in hardcover; use your March coupon (e-mail edition only) to get 20% off at the new gracewatch.media store.
- You can also read chapter two in our online serial release; this week, Susan Windley-Daoust explores what the Law of the Gift and the Theology of the Body reveal about the birthing body.*
- Are you planning your kids’ Easter baskets? Guest writer Meagan Daoust offers a plethora of fun ideas with a Catholic focus.
- Are you on “the crazy train”? Heidi Indahl suggests a resource for jumping off in The Intentional Family.*
- What do you when your three little kids start crying hysterically during their first catechism lesson? It happened to Becky Arganbright, and she shares all in Confessing the Blessings.*
- What does the word Church mean? Can you name the precepts of the Church? Those are two of the questions for this week’s Stump the Parents game.
- Use your March coupon code (e-mail edition only) for 20% off at the new Gracewatch Media Store, where you’ll find Peanut Butter & Grace books and more!
* Link to the article under MORE FOR YOUR WEEK, below.
You’re looking at The Bread for the Fifth Week of Lent, Mar 13-19.
Sign up to get The Bread by e-mail, and get 20 percent off all Gracewatch Media books during the month of March at gracewatch.media. (you’ll get the discount code in the e-mail):
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.
Drawing on insights from spiritual direction literature, the Bradley Method, and Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Susan Windley-Daoust provides expectant (and veteran) mothers with a spiritual retreat aimed at learning to see the signs of God’s presence in their pregnancy and childbirth. Reflection exercises, prayers, and meditations guide the reader in preparing for and exploring her own experience of giving birth. In learning to cooperate with “the Lord, Giver of Life,” the reader receives a sacred gift to be opened not only in childbirth, but in her whole life. More »
THE WORD THIS SUNDAY
SUNDAY, March 13, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Daylight savings time (spring ahead)
If your parish has people preparing for baptism at Easter, you may hear alternate readings about the dead being raised from their graves (Ezekiel) and Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (Gospel of John).
I put water in the desert
and rivers in the wasteland
for my chosen people to drink.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish that I may gain Christ.
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
THE CHURCH THIS WEEK
MONDAY, March 14
Blessed Dulce Pontes (1914-1992)
The Franciscan sister twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for her service to workers and those in need in Brazil.
TUESDAY, March 15
Mother Benedicta Riepp (1825-1862)
The Bavarian Benedictine nun who came to America to teach on the frontier; the community she founded in St. Joseph, Minnesota, became the largest Benedictine community in the world.
WEDNESDAY, March 16
Eusebio Kino (1645-1711)
The Jesuit astronomer, cartographer, and missionary who baptized thousands of Native Americans and opposed their enslavement by Spanish colonists.
THURSDAY March 17
St. Patrick (c. 415-493)
The teen who escaped enslavement in Ireland only to return years later as a missionary who established the Church throughout Ireland.
FRIDAY March 18
Blessed Marcel Callo (1921–1945)
The young man whose work spreading the faith among workers prompted the Nazis to deport him to a concentration camp where he was martyred.
Saturday, March 19
The “just man” who was visited by angels in dreams, married Mary, and raised Jesus in the ways of his people.
THE WEEKS AHEAD
1 week to the first day of spring and Palm Sunday (Mar 20)
2 weeks to Easter (Mar 27)
GET YOUR GRACE ON
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. Can you pray Paul’s words as your own? “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things….” 
If your young children are wiggly during family prayer, try praying in procession. Prepare by laying out a path for them to follow. Indoors, this might be carpet squares, tape, or yarn laid out in a circle. Outdoors, follow a sidewalk, a chalked path, or stepping stones. Practice before prayer time, encouraging your kids to stay on the path. This is the perfect way to pray litanies or a decade of the rosary 
Let your younger children choose the prayer for mealtime or family prayer time using grab bag prayers. Put some simple prayers on colorful note cards and drop them in a clear mason jar marked “prayers.”* 
Make pretzels this Lent! Pretzels are said to be a traditional Lenten food because they do not require yeast or fat, and the shape resembles praying hands. Google “easy pretzel recipe,” and talk about the role of bread in salvation history (manna, Eucharist, etc.) as you make it. 
Make a special treat or meal for St. Patrick’s Day, and have your kids complete our St. Patrick coloring sheet as you tell the story of the saint. You can find a plethora of recipes online at Catholic Cuisine and My Catholic Kitchen. 
Have your kids tithe part of their allowance this week to Homeboy Industries, a Jesuit ministry that helps former gang members develop work skills. 
Teach your younger children how to set the table as an act of family service, prayerfully. Get things started for them by marking each place with a napkin. For very young children, bring the correct number of plates, cups, utensils, etc. to the table in advance. Teach them to pray a simple blessing at each place as they set it: “Lord, bless N. as s/he sits at this table; may s/he make our meal happy as best as s/he is able.” 
Kids ages about 9 and up may start asking questions about the U.S. presidential contest. Use their curiosity as an opportunity to link faith to civic responsibility. You can draw on a couple Church documents for guidance: The Participation of Catholics in Political Life (available at the Vatican website) and Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship, available at the U.S. bishops’ website, usccb.org. 
Stump the Parents! The Holy Spirit
This week’s theme: The Holy Spirit.
Have your kids look at the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (available online) #147–152, then let them choose questions to pose to you; they get points if they can “stump” you, you get points if you answer correctly. See the full rules at “Stump the Parents” at pbgrace.com.
- What does the word Church mean? (#147)
- Name three other names and images from the Bible for the Church (#149).
- What is the mission of the Church? (#150)
- What does it mean to say the Church is a mystery? (#151)
- What does it mean to say the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation? (#152)
- Bonus: What are the five precepts of the Church, and what is their purpose? (#431–432)
EVEN MORE FOR YOUR WEEK
Fill That Easter Basket with Catholic Goodness
Planning your kids’ Easter baskets? Here are more than a dozen fun ideas that honor the religious meaning of the holiest day in the Church year. by Meagan Daoust
The Law of the Gift: The Birthing Body As Spiritual Sign
Two spiritual masters, John Paul II and Ignatius of Loyola, teach us that all things are designed to draw us to God. How might that be true for the birthing body? by Susan Windley-Daoust
Jump Off the ‘Crazy Train’
No one wants to be the first to jump off the “crazy train” that is modern parenting. But Dr. Meg Meeker does a great job of helping parents restore some perspective and sanity. by Heidi Indahl
5 Ways to Do Grab-Bag Prayers
Give children a small leadership role during prayer time by letting them choose the prayers. You can provide some boundaries by making up a fun system for doing this. Here are a few ideas.
How Our Lady of Grace Saved My First Sunday School
“Mom, do you remember when I was afraid of the snake?” Lucy asked me the other day. Boy, do I ever…our first family religion lesson was nearly our last. by Becky Arganbright
The Chronicles of Narnia | Bigger on the Inside
Narnia was the first place that I began to believe that anything was possible, which made the stories of my faith all the more real. They’re a must-read for your kids, too. by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
On Not Throwing Stones| Breaking Open the Word at Home
Knowing God’s forgiveness is the first step to deeper relationship. But as Paul says, we are in pursuit of being made more perfect in Christ, which means that there are more steps to follow. by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The Young Messiah
In case you hadn’t already heard, this movie about a year in the life of the young Jesus at age seven releases on Friday, March 11, and is getting good advance reviews. You can see a lengthy movie review from Patheos blogger James McGrath here.