December 30-January 5 • Christmas Season
Feast of the Holy Family + St. Columba + Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God + Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen + St. Zdislava Berka + St. Elizabeth Ann Seton + St. John Neumann
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9 WAYS TO DO FAITH & FAMILY
A few options for Catholic moms and dads to try with kids next week.
1. Consecrate your family to the Holy Family. It’s the Feast of the Holy Family this Sunday. Have you consecrated your family to the model of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their family life? Your family doesn’t have to be perfect to be holy! Here’s why, and a prayer of consecration you can use with your own family. You can also download a PDF of the article and the prayer of family consecration here.
2. Preview the readings with your kids. This week’s readings are all about what it means to be a holy family; the Gospel features the intriguing story of the boy Jesus giving his parents the slip for three days by remaining behind in the Temple in Jerusalem. Breaking Open the Word at Home is on a much-needed break this week, but you can preview the readings with your kids here.
3. Pray in the New Year. Gather around the Christmas tree or dinner table and give praise to God and pray for a holy new year. There are multiple parts to this prayer from the USCCB, so your kids have an opportunity to take the lead and engage the family in prayer.
4. Observe the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It’s Tuesday, January 1. You can preview the Mass readings at the USCCB website.
5. Mark the World Day of Peace. New Year’s Day is the World Day of Peace. The title of the pope’s message for this year is “Good Politics is at the Service of Peace.” You can read the entire message at the Vatican website or grab a two-page resource from the USCCB. The resource includes a prayer for peace that you can say with your family, as well as suggestions for taking action. “Political responsibility belongs to every citizen and, in particular, to those that have received the mandate to protect and to govern.” In fact, the pope says, “politics is one of the highest forms of charity.”
6. Dedicate the month of January to the Holy Name of Jesus. In popular practice, January has traditionally been devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus. Here’s how to celebrate that devotion at home with your kids, including a kid-friendly explanation of the devotion, a Scripture verse for the month, and ways to live it in faith, hope, and charity. We kick things off this month with The Holy Name of Jesus: Monthly Devotion for January. You can also download a printable PDF of the article here.
7. Meet St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and play a game of school, too. Can you guess which saint was the first to be born in America? If you had told this saint as
8. Pray for the U.S. Catholic bishops during their retreat. The U.S. Catholic bishops will be on a seven-day retreat from January 2-8 at the invitation of Pope Francis. The retreat will be entirely spiritual, with no business conducted; however, the president of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo, will head to Rome in late February for a summit on the clerical sex abuse scandal. Please keep the bishops in your prayers. (Read the press release here.)
9. Keep celebrating Christmas to the fullest. Christmas isn’t a one-day event for Catholics…which leaves plenty of time for fun Christmas traditions! Here are 20 Catholic traditions to try with your family this Christmas season, plus another five traditions that are just plain fun.
WIN AN ILLUMINATED ROSARY SET FOR YOUR PARISH
Win an Illuminated Rosary four-book set for your parish! We’re giving away one set per month. A set of Illuminated Rosary books is great for religious ed classrooms, adoration chapels, or prayer groups. Enter here.
RAISING FAITHFUL CITIZENS
BISHOPS PRAISE FIRST STEP ACT
Following the passage of the FIRST STEP Act in Congress, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice , FL, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Sr. Donna Markham, O.P, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, praised Congress for passing the FIRST STEP Act.
“The First Step Act is a true first step towards long-term criminal justice system reform,” the bishops said in their statement. “The Act provides meaningful reform to our nation’s mandatory minimum sentences and “three-strike” policies. This reform provides a more just and equitable criminal justice system. In addition, the Act provides valuable incentives for prisoners to participate in vocational and rehabilitative programs helping to prepare them for reintegration into society. The reauthorization of the Second Chance Act provides access to meaningful local and faith-based programs that help returning citizens contribute to their communities and families.”
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Family Time! and Peanut Butter & Grace is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust. Find out about our contributors.