Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30: First Martyrs of the Church in Rome

Shortly after Jesus returned to heaven, the Church grew rapidly. People were excited about Jesus and the salvation that He gave us by dying on the Cross and then rising again. But the Emperor of Rome, Nero, was not happy with Christians. In the year 64, his hatred of Christians grew, and he had them arrested, tortured and killed. Many Christians were martyred in Rome that year.


In honor of these saints who shed their blood for Jesus, wear something red today. If somebody asks you why your whole family is wearing red, try to be brave like the First Martyrs and tell them you’re wearing red to honor the saints who died because they were Christians.

Holy martyrs of Rome, pray for us!

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 30-July Supply List

June 30-July 6 Supply List

Here is the supply list for the suggested activities for next week, June 23 - 29. Feel free to improvise or to adjust activities to fit your family's preferences, skills and time allotment.

Sunday: Red clothing, hair ribbons, etc.

Monday: Teddy bears (one per child if possible)

Tuesday: Family photos of baptisms

Wednesday: Crayons or colored pencils and coloring pages downloaded from this site (many options so you can match the skill level of each of your children)

Thursday: No supplies, but plan on attending Mass as a family (this may be easier in the U.S. than other countries, due to the national holiday)

Friday: Bells (even jingle bells will work), at least one per child

June 29: Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul


Saint Peter was named Simon by his parents. He and his brother, Saint Andrew, were fishermen when Jesus came up and called them to be His disciples. Peter was always very humble and full of faith in Jesus, even when he didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to teach him. Jesus gave him the name “Peter,” which means “Rock.” Peter is talked about in the Bible more than any other disciple. Even though he wasn’t perfect, Jesus loved Peter and gave him “the keys to the kingdom”, making him the first earthly leader of the Church. 

Saint Paul also had a different name when he was young: Saul. Saul was a faithful Jew who started out hating the Christians. He even persecuted them until he was on the road to Damascus and he was blinded by a bright light. He heard Jesus' voice say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" After that, Saul became a faithful Christian and he preached Jesus' Gospel in many different places. He took the name "Paul" because it means "least" or "little. Paul faced a lot of trouble, including a shipwreck, prison and beatings, but he stayed faithful to Jesus. 


Today is a solemnity and it some countries, it's a Holy Day of Obligation when everybody goes to Mass. Even if you can't make it to Mass today, it's good to have a special meal or special snacks. These pretzels are tasty and easy to make using a recipe from Catholic Cuisine. You can shape them into symbols that represent Saints Peter and Paul. For Saint Peter, you can make the pretzels into key shapes or croziers (shepherd's hooks). For Saint Paul, you can make swords or anchors. 


•   1 1/2 cups warm water
•   1 package yeast
•   1 tablespoon sugar
•   1 tablespoon salt
•   4 cups flour
•   1 egg (optional)


1. Preheat oven at 425°. Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add the sugar and salt.  Mix in the flour and knead until the dough is smooth.  

2. Shape the dough into keys or other symbols. (Click here to see photos of other children making key shapes out of the dough – you can make yours the same size or smaller and thinner). Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

3. Brush the dough with a beaten egg to give the keys a golden finish. You can sprinkle them with a little kosher salt if you want to. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy. 

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, pray for us!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28: Saint Vincenza Gerosa


Even when Saint Vincenza was a young girl, she acted like a saint. Though her family was wealthy, she always focused on helping poor and lonely people. She also went to Mass every day. Her family sent her to a school run by the Benedictine sisters, but Saint Vincenza fell ill and had to return home. Her mother, father and sister soon died, leaving Vincenza to run the family business. She worked hard and used the family’s money to do charitable works in her town. Then she started a new order of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.  


Today, learn the Act of Charity, and decide as a family when to add it to your family prayers. Will you all pray it together in the morning? After dinner? Or at bedtime.

An Act of Charity

"O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen."

Saint Vincenza Gerosa, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27: Saint Hemma


Saint Hemma is also sometimes called Saint Emma. Both of Saint Hemma’s parents died when she was very young, and she was adopted by the emperor of Germany. She married an important man and became a powerful woman, but she suffered a lot. Her children died young and her husband was killed. With her family gone, Saint Hemma used her money to help the poor and to build monasteries and churches. 


Today, make pretty church “windows” like Saint Hemma would have put in the churches and monasteries she built.


(per window)
Template (either simple or more complex, depending on the patience and cutting skills of the person cutting it out!)
2 sheets of black card stock (8.5 x 11 inches)
1 sheet of waxed paper (or clear acetate, 8.5x11 inches)
Assorted colors of tissue paper (bright colors work best), cut into small, randomly shaped pieces
Clear-drying glue mixed 50/50 with water and a small paintbrush or glue sticks
Yarn or string
1. Use the template to cut out 2 frames of a cathedral-shaped window.
2.    Lay the waxed paper flat on your work surface.
3.    Paint a little glue on the waxed paper and then stick a piece of tissue paper on it. Continue to add tissue paper, overlapping the pieces, until your waxed paper is mostly covered. Make sure all the edges are glued down. Allow to dry.
4.    Use the template to cut the waded paper into the cathedral window shape. Glue it between the two black frames.
5.    When dry, punch a hole in the top of the window and use string to hang it in your own window. 

Saint Hemma, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26: Saint Josemaria Escriva


Saint Josemaria Escriva grew up in a devout family. However, that did not mean things were always easy. Bad things happened to them, but that taught Saint Josemaria to find his joy in the Lord. He became a priest and started an organization to help all people learn to live holy lives filled with love for God and other people. Throughout his life, Saint Josemaria always prayed the same prayers his parents and grandparents taught him when he was a little boy, because they helped him remember to keep his eyes on Jesus.


Today, learn the prayer that Saint Josemaria Escriva prayed every night before he went to bed:  “I am yours, I was born for you,
 Dear Jesus, what do you want me to do?” Make sure you pray it every night, too!

Saint Josemaria Escriva, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Stories/games based on Saint Josemaria's life

Prep work for tomorrow's activity

If your children are very young, you may want to get a head start on tomorrow's activity after you put the kids to bed tonight. Using black cardstock, cut two matching frames for each child using one of the shapes found on this template. Then, cut a variety of tissue paper into smallish, random shapes (triangles work well). 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25: Saint William of Vercelli


Saint William of Vercelli was born to a noble family, but both his parents died when he was little. He was a very devout Christian and he lived as a hermit, somebody who lives apart from everybody else so he can concentrate on prayer. However, Saint William was so holy, many people came to him to learn from his example. So, a monastery was built. Saint William then traveled through Naples, Italy, founding more monasteries.


Using your favorite building toys (Legos, Lincoln Logs, whatever you have) build little monasteries and set them around your home. Whenever you pass by one of them, as Saint William of Vercelli to pray for you, so that you can become holy, too.

Saint William of Vercelli, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Saint John the Baptist


John the Baptist is a very important person in the Bible. He recognized Jesus as the Savior of the world before either one of them was born, and he preached to people, telling them that the Kingdom of Heaven was near and baptizing people who were sorry for their sins. He also baptized Jesus, even though he told Jesus, “It is I who need to be baptized by You!” Saint John the Baptist has two feast days each year, and today we celebrate his birth, which was a miracle because John’s parents, Zachary and Elizabeth, were old and thought they could never have children


Celebrate Saint John the Baptist’s birthday with a homemade or store-bought birthday cake (or cupcakes) and candles.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!

More reading for parents