March 31-April 6: Fourth Week of Lent
Sister Ignatia Gavin + St. Mary of Egypt + Venerable Carla Ronci + St. Benedict the Black + St. Vincent Ferrer + St. Mary Crescentia Hoss
9 WAYS TO DO FAITH & FAMILY
1. Devote the month of April to the Most Blessed Sacrament. In popular practice, April traditionally has been devoted to the Most Blessed Sacrament. Here are some ways to practice that devotion with your family this month, including a calendar of feasts and an intriguing story about miracles involving the Eucharist.
2. Help your wiggly kids pray. Wiggly kids? No problem. Adapt with these ideas
- Have kids walk in procession to help focus their attention.
- Try having your children call the family to prayer with hand motions.
- Or go with the flow and dance your prayer.
3. Be an ambassador for Christ. This Sunday, we hear the story of the prodigal son…and are commissioned to bring God’s forgiveness to a world badly in need of reconciliation. Preview the Scriptures with reflections and questions from Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.
4. Catch the movie Unplanned with mature teens. If you know Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned, you’ll want to catch the movie by the same name, in limited release this weekend. Both the book and the movie tell the true story of how Johnson left her job as the nation’s youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director after witnessing an abortion. The movie is rated R, and Catholic News Service rates it “adults only” for “gruesome images of abortion and dismembered fetuses, much medical gore, a mild oath, a few crass expressions
5. Forgive a family member. Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that God’s forgiveness is without bounds. How can we be more like him toward our kids when there’s always that certain someone or something that pushes our patience and mercy to the max? Here is one mother’s story of Jesus guiding understanding and mercy toward a challenging child, by Becky Arganbright.
6. Put a Catholic twist on April Fool’s Day. April Fools’ Day is not a Christian holiday, but maybe it ought to be. “We are fools for the sake of Christ,” St. Paul said (1 Corinthians 4:10), a maxim that quite a few saints embraced wholeheartedly. Help your kids be “fools for Christ” this April Fools’ Day with some of these ideas.
7. Plan a neighborhood block party. “Loving your neighbor” is kind of hard to do if you’ve never met your neighbors (or haven’t seen them since you moved in). That’s why you should plan a neighborhood party; here’s how and why planning a block party can be a great experience for you and your kids.
8. Plan a Catholic Easter basket. Is it unfair that moms and dads get all the fun of planning Easter baskets while their kids are still stuck in the middle of Lent? “Nope,” says Meagan Daoust. Her 2016 article cataloging great Catholic Easter gifts remains very popular, and we’ve updated it with ideas from parents in our
PB & Grace Parents Facebook group.
9. Get a free “Celebrate April” download from Teaching Catholic Kids. The printable PDF includes an overview of April saints, an Easter prayer, and a cupcake recipe.
Will your Easter baskets include Catholic children’s picture books, prayer books, journals, and more from Gracewatch Media? Some tips:
- Order now for delivery by Easter. Use coupon code grace15 for 15% off, and i35 for 35% off institutional bulk orders (parishes, schools, etc.).
- Many of our books are back ordered; however, back ordered books can be sent to you direct from the printer in under 10 days.
- All of our books are available from online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Abebooks, and more, or may be ordered from your local independent bookseller.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS POSTERS & BOOKLETS
Get the Stations of the Cross for Children books and posters and the Way of the Cross Journal as digital downloads at the Gracewatch store, or get the print versions at Amazon (links from individual product pages).
RAISING FAITHFUL CITIZENS
NEW MERCURY RULE ISN’T PRO-LIFE, BISHOPS SAY
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule that deems it no longer “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury and other hazardous air pollutants emitted by power plants. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed concern about the potential risks to human life and environmental health.
“The proposed change to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule is troubling since it is well-documented that pregnant mothers and their unborn children are the most sensitive to mercury pollution and its adverse health effects,” said Archbishop Nauman. “The MATS rule reflects a proper respect for life of the human person and of God’s creation – a great example of the integral ecology called for in Laudato Si’,” said Bishop Dewane.
Comments in opposition to the regulations can be found at the USCCB website.
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Family Time! and Peanut Butter & Grace is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust. Find out about our contributors.