Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31: St. Ignatius Loyola


St. Ignatius was a soldier for Spain, but he was very badly wounded and had several operations. While he was recovering, he read a book about saints, and realized he wanted to live the way they did. At first, he would pray seven hours a day, and he had holy visions. Then he went through a very hard time that left him very sad and doubtful. He used what he learned from these trials to write “Spiritual Exercises,” which has helped many, many Christians ever since.


Saint Ignatius prayed for seven hours a day, because he was living a monastic life. Laypeople usually can’t take the time to pray like that, but for families that are on summer vacation, you can pause every hour for just a few minutes to say a prayer together following what Saint Ignatius taught people in his “Spiritual Exercises.” For families with parents who work outside the home, you can do these all at once in less than half an hour.

Family Devotions based on Saint Ignatius’ “Spiritual Exercises”

Prayer #1: Lord, we thank you for your perfect, unconditional love. Help us to always stay close to you, and help us give you everything we have and everything we are, so that you are glorified in all ways. Amen.

Prayer #2: Lord, everybody in the world needs to be rescued from sin. Please help us! Heal us from fear, guilt, and other wounds that come from our sins. Help us flee from sin and trust you to lead us in the way of truth and light. Amen.
Prayer #3: Lord, sometimes when we sin, it’s hard to know that we are totally forgiven. Please help us trust Your gift of salvation. Amen.
Prayer #4: Lord, help us hear Your call to follow You. We want to be your disciples and do the work You have given us to do. Help us hear Your “still, small voice” and help us always be ready, willing and brave enough to follow. Amen.
Prayer #5: Lord, every day, we have the choice to follow You. Help us to reject what is evil, like greed, fame and pride. Help us dedicate our lives to serving You. Amen.
Prayer #6: Lord, give us strength to carry out the what You ask us to do – to tell people about Your great compassion and to help them see their need for Your salvation. Amen.
Prayer #7: Lord, we want to live in your love and your joy. Help us see the reality of your deep love and everlasting mercy. Amen. 

Saint Ignatius Loyola, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus


The word “chrysologus" means “words of gold,” so you can imagine how people loved to hear St. Peter Chrysologus talk about Jesus. He was a bishop who shepherded people with love and understanding. He also did many corporal works of mercy, because by caring for people’s bodily needs, he was able to show them how much Jesus loved them. He taught people how to become better Christians with simple, practical sermons, and he was later made a “Doctor of the Church.”


The Church teaches us that there are seven corporeal works of mercy. "Corporeal" means "for the body." These seven works are:
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirst
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Free the captive
  • Bury the dead

It’s important that we all do our part – even children can do most of these. Today, make a little booklet to help you remember the corporeal works of mercy. Using these templates (or just make your own), draw a picture showing how you can practice each of the corporal works of mercy, then fold the pages in half and staple them together. As a family, plan for when and where you will do them.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29: St. Martha


Saint Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary. In the Gospel of Luke, we learn that when Jesus and His disciples came to visit Martha and her family, she immediately set to work to serve them, but her sister Mary simply sat and listened to Jesus’ teaching. Martha didn’t think this was fair and asked Jesus to tell Mary to get to work. Instead, Jesus told Martha that it was better that she join them, rather than worrying about what was serving. Martha is a saint who understands that sometimes the things we “should” be doing are not as important as spending time with Jesus.


Like Martha, it’s really easy for us to start out our days with all the chores and other responsibilities that we need to take care of. And then when that’s done, we want to relax or play. That makes it easy to forget all about Jesus! Start your day with prayer today as a family. Then work together so that everything that must be done is done as quickly as possible so there is still time to relax at the end of the day. Don’t forget to pray together before bed, too! This way, your family can make spending time with Jesus the most important thing you do all day.

Saint Martha, pray for us!

More reading for parents:
Catholic Encyclopedia
American Catholic
Catholic Online

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28: Saint Innocent I


After Innocent became pope in 401, he worked very hard to keep Christians focused on what Jesus taught. Some Christians were making up different things, like saying Adam and Eve’s sin did not affect them, and that Jesus was only a “good example” not the Savior of the world. Pope Innocent I taught the truth about Adam and Eve and Original Sin to help Christians stay close to Jesus.


Read the story of Adam and Eve in your bible. Why did they eat from the forbidden tree? What happened after they ate that fruit? Because Adam and Eve brought sin to all mankind, we all have the urge to disobey our parents, teachers or other authority figures. This is why Jesus died to save us. 

Saint Innocent I, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 28-August 3 Supply List

Here is the supply list for the suggested activities for next week, July 28-August 3. Feel free to improvise or to adjust activities to fit your family's preferences, skills and time allotment.

Sunday: Children’s Bible

Monday: No supplies, but plan to read about this saint early in the day, before any chores, errands or housework.

Tuesday: Paper, scissors, stapler, crayons or markers or colored pencils.

Wednesday: No supplies, but there will be a series of short prayers to say once an hour throughout the day (seven total). A kitchen timer or alarm clock would be helpful.

Thursday: Frozen banana (1/2 per child), milk, rolled oats and peanut butter OR Frozen banana, pineapple or orange juice, plain Greek yogurt, strawberries (or any other kind of berry) and wheat germ; drinking straws.

Saturday: Squares of cardboard, scissors, darning needles (plastic is fine for little ones), purple yarn.