^xxÑ|Çz à{x fxtáÉÇá [ÉÄç Lenten and Easter Traditions: Marriage and Family Life Office

Lenten and Easter
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Marriage and Family Life Office
Diocese of Columbus
Lenten and Easter
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Marriage and Family Life Office
Diocese of Columbus
197 East Gay Street
Columbus, OH 43215
[email protected]
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How and When to Begin
During the week before Lent plan to meet together and decide what your family will do during
this holy time. Decide together, but observe Lent according to each family member’s ability and
spiritual development. Discuss why Lent is an important part of the Liturgical Calendar and our
lives as Christians. What does the Church recommend? This may be a good time for the family to
evaluate their family spiritually. What does the family want to accomplish with this Lenten
observance? It is also an opportunity to purposely live our life in reflection of Christ. Are there
hurts or family squabbles that need to be healed? Equate Jesus’ Death and Resurrection to
everyday occurrences within our lives.
1. Have a definite beginning. An Ash Wednesday service is a good place to start, whether
it be observed at Church or in the home. When Lent begins, let it come with a special prayer, a
special activity.
2. Choose at least one activity that will show movement toward Easter, similar to an
Advent Calendar. The purpose of every single day or week is to build a habit for nurturing the
Life we have been given.
3. Keep it simple. Do not plan to do something that is difficult to maintain. Too many
symbols and activities can destroy the significance of this holy season. Let time together be
warm, honest, and spontaneous. Find a way to involve all members of the family regardless of
their age. Rejoice in this effort, and do not look for it to be perfect.
4. How will you commemorate Holy Week? Why is Good Friday a “Good” day? Since
you are moving toward this week, it is good to plan how this day will be spent. Now is the time
to ask any teens who may be working to schedule off for that day. Mom and Dad, can you
schedule “off” that day? If not, how will the evening be spent? The evening may be the only time
you are together, if you plan for it. Can we promise to spend time in prayer for one another, for
ourselves, for our community?
5. Stay determined and consistent. PUT LENT FIRST. While we will need to respect work
and activity schedules, be sure to set time aside to complete the plan made for your family’s
Lenten observation. This may become a way for family members to learn how to recognize and
establish family priorities.
Our Family Faith Development Plan
I will pray alone in the
Our family will pray together in the
I will use the ACTS Formula for prayer.
Bible Reading
I will read the Bible
I will read the Bible to my children
(Bible storybooks appropriate to a child’s developmental level are preferable to reading from the
actual Bible. It can still be done in a systematic way by reading through a Bible storybook).
Service & Outreach
Our family will participate in activities or organizations that serve others in the name of Christ.
Food drives
Night shelters
Clothing drives
Nursing homes
Toy drives
Refugee settlement
Soup kitchens
Name some organizations you may get involved with in an ongoing way.
Name some organizations or activities you may be involved with only once or twice a year.
Christian Holidays
Describe one new ritual or tradition that your family will begin this year to keep Christ at the
center of
Reprinted with permission from January 1996 Family Information Services Family Ministry Connection developed by Rev. Penny Hill.
“Lent” means “Springtime.” Practices of Lent are about as old as spring itself. When people’s
lives were ruled by the climate, the end of winter meant a scarcity of provisions. What meat
(frozen or salted) that remained from the long winter was in danger of spoiling. Rather than have
the meat spoil, the people held a festival to consume food left from winter. Our word “carnival”
originally applied to this end-of-winter holiday. It means “good-bye to meat.” Mardi Gras, or “Fat
Tuesday,” was such a festival. Once the food was consumed, there were some weeks of very low
rations until food could be replaced. Today, “Fat Tuesday” is usually celebrated by providing
donuts or other special foods to eat before the long forty-day fast begins.
In the early Church, the natural penance of spring became the Lent of the church. Initially, its
special disciplines were for the catechumens preparing for their Easter Baptism. To mortify (“make
dead”) one’s selfishness was to test the strength of one’s commitment to conversion. Later, Lent
was for the public sinners, marked with sackcloth and ashes and assigned to special penances.
Soon Lent belonged to everyone as a time of renewal, a re-initiation into the Christian lifestyle.
The first Lent lasted forty hours as a reminder of the time Jesus’ body lay in the tomb. In the sixth
century Pope Gregory the Great set aside a forty-day period of fasting, penitence, and prayer.
Sunday is not considered a day of Lent. After the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the
week, the early church decided to celebrate through worship the most important event in its
Christian heritage. Each Sunday became a time to remember Christ’s resurrection; therefore, each
Sunday is a happy day, a day of celebration. As a result, Sunday takes precedence over the
Lenten season and is not counted in determining the forty days of Lent.
The number “forty” occurs often in the Bible. It rained for forty days and forty nights while Noah
and his family remained on the Ark. The Israelites, after being freed from bondage in Egypt,
wandered with Moses for forty years in the wilderness before coming to the Promised Land.
Also, after his baptism, Jesus spent forty days alone in spiritual preparation for His ministry and
the coming of that first Easter. It is therefore speculated that the number “forty” was selected for
these reasons as a time to prepare for Easter.
The Three Traditional Pathways of Lent:
Fasting, Almsgiving, and Prayer
Lent marks the forty days from Ash Wednesday until Easter when we pray and do penance in
commemoration of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, led there by the power of the Spirit after
he was baptized. The desert is a place that tests a person’s character. That is why Christians
traditionally devote this season to fasting, praying, and giving alms. Like Jesus, we enter the desert
not to punish ourselves but to experience the power of the Spirit within us. Just as Jesus rejected
the false promises of worldly power, so do we distance ourselves from dependence upon the
power of position and possessions so tempting in our society. We fast without complaining and in
a way that respects our bodies, avoiding the abuses of excess - of eating or exercising too much or
too little. We give alms quietly and in a way that serves others - without calling attention to
ourselves or expecting anything in return. We pray in private and in a way that is less “talking” and
more listening - trusting that God knows, better than we, what is good for us.
Do Some Soul-Searching This Lent
Has Lent lost its bite? In the rush of family activities, some people report that Lent no longer feels
like a serious season, just more of the “same old, same old.”
“We’re losing Lent and we’ve got to get it back,” says Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw,
Michigan in the February, 1998 issue of U.S. Catholic. In his article, “Who Threw Out These 40
Days?” he says it’s good that the Church, in the wake of Vatican II, put aside the complicated rules
that snuffed out Lent’s spirit, but in the process we also lost the soul-searching that is the purpose of
Lent. Untener argues, “The time has come to get back to the roots of Lent, the time-proven
practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving: the rhythm of 40 intensive days experienced together
as a community.” He offered seven steps. I’ll adapt three of them for families:
“1. Take fasting seriously
If you want to experience life differently, eat less. Americans are so used to having abundance
that it can be truly jarring to cut back on your intake.
‘Fasting in itself does not make things right.’ says Untener. ‘It helps us see what things
need to be made right.’ Small children shouldn’t fast to the same extent as adults or older
children, but everyone can give up a favorite food, snack, TV program, or game. Sharing your
experience with your family cannot only model the importance of this practice, but also help you
shore up one another’s resolve and experience the pleasure of going through Lent together.
‘Be creative in what you decide to give up. I have taken to giving up listening to the radio
when I’m in the car. I find the silence quite unnerving at first, but come to appreciate it over the 40
days. I find God often has much to say to me during those quiet rides, and I get a better sense of
my own spiritual state. Often I become aware that I’ve been ‘running on empty,’ spiritually
speaking, and I had been using the noise to mask a yearning for more connection with God.
“2. Give to the poor
There are two ways to teach your kids about charity: instruction and example. Lent is a time to
employ both methods. ‘The word alms means a kind gift for someone in need,’ says Untener.
Involve your children in almsgiving by sponsoring a needy child ... which is a charitable act the
children can understand and participate in. Or you can clear out closets and give good used
items to Goodwill or your St. Vincent dePaul group. Set aside a chunk of the family budget this
month for charity. Have a short family meeting to decide who best to give the money: to a local
charity, a needy family, or some other need you’re aware of. If you’re not aware of any needs,
call your parish for suggestions. Vow to become more aware in the coming year.
“3. Make the Triduum the high point
If you wanted to [encapsulate] the lessons of Jesus’ life, they would be contained in the services
of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Even the smallest child can learn powerful
lessons from the rituals surrounding these holy days: washing feet on Holy Thursday, stripping
the altar after the Holy Thursday liturgy, the reading of the Passion and venerating the cross on
Good Friday, a candle lit in the midst of a darkened church, blessing the oils, and pouring living
water on new members of our community of faith on Holy Saturday.
It might be too much to expect younger children to attend services on all three days
(which the Triduum means), but choose one or more services to attend. They are revealing truths
about our lives our kids will hear no place else. And don't forget to include your own ethnic and
family rituals during Lent and Easter. These are not frivolous activities—they give our kids a sense
of belonging and a sense of the sacred, two qualities in short supply in our kids’ world.”
Reprinted with permission from “Bringing Religion Home,” March, 1998.
Symbols of Lent
Ashes symbolize death and grief as well as the unworthiness and repentance we feel because we
have not lived up to being the person God intends us to be. Yet, out of the ashes of our past we
can be renewed spiritually and journey into a new life of faith and trust. Ash Wednesday marks
the beginning of our journey.
Colors are symbolic: violet signifies suffering and sorrow; white, purity and glory; green, growth
and hope of eternal life; pink or rose, joy.
The Butterfly dramatically symbolizes new life and is commonly used to help
children begin to understand the meaning of Easter. Out of a dead-looking cocoon
emerges a new creation, free and radiant.
Salt is necessary to sustain life and is a symbol of wholeness. Salt is used as a
preservative which keeps food fresh, and as a flavoring that permeates the whole of whatever it is
added to. In biblical tradition, salt was a sign of covenant.
In the Church water has always been a symbol of cleansing and the gift of life, and is commonly
associated with Baptism. In Scripture, Jesus speaks of Himself as the “life-giving water” (John
4:14), the one who quenches spiritual thirst.
Light is a universal religious symbol which reminds us that Jesus is the light who shows us the
way. We cannot see without light. “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5), Jesus tells us. “He
who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). During the
Lenten season, the church uses light and darkness as symbols to represent good and evil, and life
and death.
Seeds symbolize the emergence of new life. Seemingly lifeless seeds grow and
flower. Like the emerging butterfly, the emerging plant symbolizes the new life that
follows Christ’s death and Resurrection. The gift of faith is given as seed. Unless it is
nourished it will die, never to grow. Christian life is a process of growth. If our life as
a Christian is not nourished through prayer, sacraments, and charitable works, it too
will die.
Palm Branches symbolize Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the Sunday
before His crucifixion. The branches remind us that there are both triumphs and
defeats in our lives. However, if we maintain our friendship with God, we will
ultimately triumph.
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Seven Lenten Practices to Bring You Joy
1. Start all prayers with praise and thanks.
2. Take time with God in a beautiful place.
3. Don’t carry all the world’s pain on your own back.
4. Fast for the sake of richer food: daily Eucharist.
5. Take flowers and a smile to a sick person.
6. Try to reconcile with an estranged friend or family member.
7. Compliment, congratulate or affirm someone for making the world a better place.
Praying the Stations
Sacred Scripture, reflection, meditative silence, vocal prayer, mental prayer and formulary prayer
may be used at each of the Stations of the Cross. The Stations may be prayed individually or
corporately; they may be indoors (as in a church or chapel) or outdoors, as in a cemetery or on
the grounds of a shrine or place of pilgrimage. Indulgences are attached to observing this
devotion. It is not uncommon, for example, that parishes offer this devotion to their parishioners
on the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday. The stations are:
I. Jesus is condemned.
II. Jesus carries His Cross.
III. Jesus falls the first time.
IV. Jesus meets His mother.
V. Simon of Cyrene helps carry the Cross.
VI. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
VII. Jesus falls a second time.
VIII. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
IX. Jesus falls the third time.
X. Jesus is stripped of His garments.
XI. Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
XII. Jesus dies on the Cross.
XIII. Jesus’ body is taken down from the Cross.
XIV. Jesus’ body is laid in the tomb.
(Some modern stations add a 15th for Jesus’ resurrection.)
Taken from Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Dictionary
Lenten Activities - Family Time
Lent is a time for renewing relationships and reconciling misunderstandings among family
members. Take this opportunity to begin observing Family Time together. Family Time is a
special time. It is a time set aside to play, pray, share, and learn together. You can vary the
format, but it is appropriate to include a short opening prayer or meditation, a sharing time, as
well as a snack and entertainment. There are also many publications which offer various ideas of
how to spend family time together during Lent. A listing of resources is provided at the end of
this booklet. Do some research before the planning meeting with your family.
1. Since spring is highlighted by new life, consider a planting session. Plan a vegetable or
flower garden for the back yard. Design it, and begin to plant seeds which can be transplanted in
the yard in spring. Everyone in the family should have a task to complete. Observe
how the water, soil, sun, and your careful attention bring out the life that is hidden
within the seed. You may want to explore working with bulbs to force-bloom them in
time for Easter Sunday. Planting (on Ash Wednesday) and watching an Amaryllis bulb
grow and bloom (hopefully by Easter) is ideal for this project.
This is a good example of marking time during Lent and it can also stimulate
discussion on how we are brought to a new spiritual life through Easter. Concentrate
on the theme of the symbolism of water and light in Scripture.
2. How about an afternoon or evening together in the kitchen? Pretzels are especially
appropriate to the Lenten season. In the Old Roman Empire, the faithful who were keeping a
very strict fast made small breads of water, flour, and salt. As a reminder that Lent was a time for
prayer, they shaped these breads in the form of arms crossed in prayer, which is how they
prayed. They called the breads “braecellae” which means “little arms.” From this Latin word, the
Germans later coined the term “pretzel.”
Bread is also baked by many people in special forms for this season. Bread symbolizes life
because it is a means to sustain life and because it has the life force of yeast which makes it rise.
Some people combine this with the symbol of the egg by baking the loaf with a raw egg inside (it
bakes hard with the bread and can be colored before being placed in the bread.) Others bake
buns called “hot cross buns” because the cross cut in the top or made with icing is a reminder
that the cross of Jesus and the resurrection are one action. Research your family heritage to find
ways in which your ancestors may have used bread to celebrate the season. Share bread with an
elderly neighbor or another family in your parish or neighborhood.
Soft Pretzels
1 packet of yeast dissolved in warm water (according to packet instructions)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
4 cups of flour (white or whole wheat)
Mix all the ingredients in the order listed. Knead the dough until smooth. Cut into
small pieces. Roll into ropes and twist into the desired shape. Place on a lightly
greased cookie sheet. Brush pretzel with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.
3. Ask someone in the family to bring a story from the newspaper or a magazine about a
person who is hurt or abused. Gather as a family and read parts of each article. Discuss how
these articles impact you. Why do people hurt or abuse one another? Do you know anyone with
a similar story? What can be done to repair the harm to people? Is there something you can do to
help the situation? Can the example of Jesus help us to change things?
4. Assign a time for a television free hour per day. Perhaps your family can identify an
aspect of television that is particularly destructive and discuss what effect it can have on your
family. How might time be better spent than watching a show with a negative theme? Can you
find a show that is positive and one which the family as a group can watch? What type of
television programming is good for the family? How can the family utilize the television for
growth, learning, and spiritual formation?
5. Identify videos that reflect the theme of “Death and Resurrection.” Schedule a
“Family Movie Time.” This is a good time to formulate a list of quality movies for the family to
view together all year long. This activity may be better suited for families with teens. For some
examples of movies with this theme, see the listing at end of this booklet or visit your library.
6. Each week choose a Station of the Cross, read it, and discuss a theme to work toward
as a family. For example, Simon Takes Up the Cross: how is this exemplified in our lives, in the
local community, and in the parish? Can you relate the stations to a social issue? How did
Christ’s life model the same concepts and issues we face today?
7. Designate a time of silence in the home.
8. Attend daily Mass at least once weekly.
9. When the family gathers, write a note of acknowledgment to someone
you see who is helping to make the world a better place. Praise acts of kindness. Write an
editorial letter acknowledging a teacher, neighbor, television show, etc., you feel is worth noting.
10. Look for and encourage opportunities to use the phrases, “I love you,” “I am sorry,”
and “I forgive you” with each other and with people you encounter in daily life. Talk about the
difference between mistakes and sin.
11. Most people consider giving up some form of food when they elect to include
fasting for Lent. List these suggestions on your refrigerator to remind the family that we can
choose to fast in other ways:
Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on gratitude.
Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith.
A weekly discussion on signs of the negative and positive behavior included in these suggestions
may help your family to understand this concept of fasting.
12. Plan a Seder Meal during Holy Week. If you cannot serve a complete meal, plan to
serve one or two items on the menu and discuss the symbolism. This tradition connects us to our
Judaic foundation, while the celebration of Easter moves us in faith to our Christian tradition.
Discuss the importance of remembering. What do we as a family hold as sacred in our
13. Designate a time when each family member concentrates on cleaning out his/her
closet of unused clothing. It is time to decide if this piece of clothing, though barely used, is
something someone less fortunate will be thrilled to own. After the clothes have been boxed,
gather the family together in a prayer of thanksgiving for the abundance your family experiences.
Allow the entire family to deliver the boxes to a shelter.
14. Bring out the family Bible and have family members locate the use of the number
forty in the Bible. Who can find the most instances of that number? What might be the
significance of that number in the context of the story?
15. Decorate your home -- symbols of Easter help us to celebrate the good
news of Christ’s resurrection in our homes. Cut out crosses from bright yellow
construction paper, make paper butterflies, or purchase a lily. Keep Easter baskets in
view until Pentecost. Fill them with plants or hollow eggs. Place a crucifix in a
prominent place at home. Light an Easter candle daily during meals or at bedtime
during the 50 days of the Easter season.
16. Bring home a small bottle of water blessed at the Easter Vigil Mass. With the holy
water, ask God’s blessing upon your home, family members and special events throughout the
year. The water is a reminder of our baptism and the promise of eternal life. Continue to use it all
year long by blessing fearful children, new bike riders, seeds for the garden, and sick or traveling
family members.
17. On Easter morning, ask all family members to sign the cross over their Easter eggs
and say this blessing: “God bless these Easter eggs, sign of new life bursting forth in our home.
Blessed are you, God of all creation, for the gift of your Son, Jesus. We rejoice in His
resurrection. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.”
18. Keep the Easter story alive at home. Several times each week at meal or bedtimes,
read the day’s scripture story about Jesus’ appearances after Easter. If your parish bulletin does
not list the day’s Scriptures, ask for them or find them online so you can follow the excitement of
the early Christians after the resurrection.
19. During the Easter season remember your baptism. Designate a special night for
each family member to remember and celebrate his/her baptism. Take out pictures,
home movies or videos of the baptism, and find prayer cards or gifts received if you
have them. Post each child’s baby picture in a special place and ask the child to
choose the dinner menu. A small gift may be appropriate. Give thanks for that child’s entrance
into God’s family and your family.
20. Sometime during the Easter season, welcome new members of the Christian
community received into the Church at Easter by taking a meal or a treat to their home with a
welcome note, or invite them to your home. Encourage other households of faith to do the same.
21. Take an Easter walk; gather family members for a spring walk in a forest
or on a path in a nearby park. Point out how nature repeats the cycle of death,
decay, and new life. Let children bring home objects that show this transformation
from death to new life: beetle shells, acorns, leaves, sprouting grass, etc.
22. Plant an Easter garden. Gardens, large or small, allow us to see the seed
die and the new plant come to life with care and nourishment from us. Gardens show in ordinary
ways how God creates new life out of death. Share what you produce with others as a simple
way of sharing the new life you have been given in Christ.
23. Create a tradition of spring cleaning after Easter to commemorate the passing of the
old and the arrival of the new. Clean up and give away old things that are no longer needed by
your family.
We aren’t sure of all the details of the Passover Meal at the time of Jesus, but this was the basic
♦ A gathering of a family-type group of 10-20.
♦ The meal began with a first cup of wine when two prayers of blessing were offered: one for the
feast, and one for the cup of wine.
♦ Herbs and unleavened bread were eaten, dipped by hand into a dish of sauce.
♦ The “paschal lamb” (sacrificially killed at the Temple earlier in the day) was brought in. The
meaning of the Passover rite was explained. (See Exodus, Chapter 12).
♦ The first part of the Hallel (taken from Psalms 112-113) was sung, and the second cup of wine
was drunk.
♦ The lamb was eaten along with the herbs and unleavened bread, and the third cup of wine was
drunk, with thanksgiving to God for the meal.
♦ The rite ended with a fourth cup of wine and the singing of the rest of the Hallel.
♦ The family member presiding at Passover would take the unleavened bread and say, “This is
the ‘bread of affliction’ which our ancestors ate when they came out of Egypt.”
Seder Meal
The Seder is a celebration of liberation. The traditional meal commemorates the escape of the
children of Israel from the armies of the Pharaoh long ago. Before the Angel of Death brought
the final plague upon the Egyptians, the Israelites prepared a hasty meal of lamb, marking their
door posts with its blood. Their bread was the bread of haste, made without yeast.
For us Christians, this meal has an additional meaning. Jesus was celebrating the Jewish Passover
tradition the night of the Last Supper. During the meal He blessed the wine and matzos (i.e.,
unleavened bread) and converted these ancient Jewish symbols into His body and blood. We
remember that Jesus, our Paschal Lamb, died for us on Good Friday. When we celebrate the
Passover, we celebrate more than ancient history - we celebrate what God has done and is doing
for us today.
Taken from “Seasons of the Spirit,” published by the Christian Family Movement, 1997.
When the Jews remember the night of Passover, they bring this holy event into the present. They
become the Passover. Remembering the mighty deeds of God, the Hebrew people believe that His
saving, liberating power is present to them. Jesus asks His people to remember the moment in
which He emptied Himself in the giving of His body, the shedding of His blood. When we “Do this
in Remembrance of [Him]” at Mass, Christ becomes present in all His liberating, healing power.
You may wish to set aside one night during Holy Week to celebrate Passover with a Christian
slant. If you choose to do a full Seder meal, there are many books which explain the Seder and
have accompanying prayers. (The Christian Family Movement encourages this family meal in
their publication, “Seasons of the Spirit”). Otherwise, you may include the traditional Seder
menu items mentioned below at your family meal.
Seder Meal Menu Items
Three Matsos
A cloth is spread over three Matzos placed atop each other.
A paste of walnuts, apples, honey and a little wine suggests the clay used by the Hebrews to
make bricks during the time of their enslavement in Egypt.
Onions or potatoes which are later dipped into salt water and eaten.
A piece of roast meat, such as lamb or chicken, symbolizing the Passover Lamb that the Hebrews
ate in Egypt the night they were freed.
A hard boiled egg.
A bitter herb such as horseradish and/or romaine, symbolizing the cruel suffering of the Hebrews
in Egypt.
Mealtime Prayers from the Heart to Feed the Soul
Meal prayers are easily forgotten. Here is an idea to encourage a time of
gratitude as you gather together for your meal. Have family members write
out a favorite prayer on stiff paper and place it in the center of the table. You
may want to have at least six prayers: one for each week of Lent, although
you could have many more. It could be a scripture quote, a meaningful verse,
or a prayer of special significance, or one your child is learning. Leaving it on
the table throughout the week is a good reminder to all to be constantly
grateful for all of life’s blessings.
Lord, it’s been a busy, noisy day! Here we are together at last to share another meal. Quiet us
down, soothe our minds, make us present to the goodness of Your gifts around us. Thank You for
this nice meal. Thank You for all your gifts this day. Bless our food and bless us. Amen.
Lord, bless us and our time together. Let us be strengthened by our love for and friendship with
each other. Remind us that the love of each person here follows us long after we’ve left this
table, through all we do, good or bad, successfully or unsuccessfully, happily or unhappily.
Thank You for the love we share as we share this meal. Amen.
Lord, help us during this meal to be aware of the needs of each other. As we pass a bowl or the
salt, help us to remember how You served people. Make us more willing to serve, just like You.
May this meal strengthen us to give of ourselves, just as You do. Bless our meal, bless us, make
us Yours. Amen.
Lord, many people have helped bring this meal to us. We thank You for the loving attention and
work of those in our home. We thank You also for the many, many people whom we don’t know
who brought us this food: the grocery store employees, the truckers and train engineers, the
growers, harvesters, and canners, the label makers, the scientists always working on
improvements, the ranchers, the inspectors... all of them, Lord. Bless them as they sit down to
their meals, too. Thank You for this food. Amen.
Lord, thank You for all the gifts You’ve given us today (here pause to allow each person the
opportunity to name something for which he/she is grateful). You are so good and full of love.
Thank You for this meal. Bless it and bless us, Your children. Amen.
Lord, thank You for this food. May it bring us nearer to You. May it strengthen us and make us
healthy. May it make us grateful. May it remind us of those in need. May its sharing bring us
peace and unity. May it remind us of You and Your last supper with Your friends. May it be a
steppingstone in our journey of faith. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Lord, we so often take our sense of taste for granted. Tonight we want to think about that gift.
We want to eat slowly and enjoy this food that was so lovingly prepared for us. Thank You for
the gift of taste. May it remind us of You more often. Bless us and bless this tasty meal. Amen.
Lord, thank You for this food. It is good to be together to share it. We ask You to bless (name)
who is not with us. Keep him/her safe, and let him/her know how much we love and miss him/
her. Amen.
Thank You, Lord, for the goodness of life around us: for the beauty of the earth, for each other,
for surprises and challenges. Bless this meal. May it strengthen us and lead us to a new
awareness of the goodness around us. Most of all, may the strength we gain from this meal lead
us to You, the Source of all goodness. Amen.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest © 1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
Celebrating Eucharist at Home
Eat Together
Make meals a happy family time of sharing and thanksgiving. Some meal rules will help:
♦ No television or radio.
♦ Don’t answer the phone, or tell callers you are eating and will return their call.
♦ Encourage each family member to share events and thoughts of the day (go around the table
so everyone has a turn).
♦ Instruct table manners gently.
♦ Do not allow bickering or criticizing at the table. Simply say, “If you want to tattle or
complain about your sister/brother, you can tell me after dinner,” or “We can resolve this
disagreement after we finish dinner.”
♦ Pray in thanksgiving before or after your meal; use whatever prayer
works: memorized grace before meals, spontaneous thank you’s from all
members, a meal prayer booklet or prayer cards. Check your local
religious goods store for ideas or make up your own.
Sacrifice for others
Help your child understand the value of sacrificing for others. Give him/her opportunities to
perform difficult or inconvenient acts out of love for others -- changing a baby’s messy diaper,
cleaning Grandpa’s house for him, giving up treats and donating the money to a poor family.
Share memories
Encourage family members to share memories of their First Eucharist, and show photos if possible.
Feed others
Give your child[ren] experiences of feeding others, especially the poor. Help him/her to see the
connection between Eucharist and service by involving your family in service to the community.
As a more “grown up” Christian, your child needs to recognize the responsibility that comes with
being in a Eucharist community.
Attend Mass regularly with you child. Make a special effort to go together as a family, even if it
means trading baby-sitting with a neighbor. Attend Mass with your child to celebrate special
occasions such a birthdays, special achievements and at Lent, Advent, or other special [or
ordinary] times of the year.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest© 1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
Celebrating Eucharist at Mass
At every Mass, when the bread and wine are placed on the altar, we say to God,
“This is my body... This is my blood... My whole life, with all its joys and sorrows.
It will become the body and blood of your Son, and when it does, I am with Him,
too, on the cross. I give it all, everything, to you, trusting that in Your hands, all
will be well.” The Eucharist is not something we watch; it is something we do.
When you go to Mass, talk to God that way when the bread and wine are placed
on the altar. Think about this during the Eucharistic prayer.
Think about it now. Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
From “Lent 2000,” published by the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan.
Lenten Psalm of Longing
I thank you, O God,
for the warming of the winds
that brings a melting of the snow,
for daylight hours that daily grow longer
and richer in the aroma of hope.
Spring lingers beneath the horizon
as approaching echoes of Easter
ring in my ears.
I lift up my heart to you, O my God
in this season of Lent
that gently sweeps across
my sluggish and sleeping heart,
awakening me
to a deeper love for You.
May the wind of the Spirit
that drove Jesus into the desert,
into the furnace of prayer,
also drive me with a passion
during this Lenten season
to enkindle the fire of my devotion
in the desert of Lenten love.
Birds above, on migratory wings
signal me to an inner migration,
a message that draws me homeward bound
on Spirit’s wings
to the heart of my God
May I earnestly use this Lenten season
to answer the inner urge
to return.
Family Prayer
Thank You, Lord, for each person in our family (name family members).
We thank You for our home, and for all the persons who are part of our life together.
(each family member might mention something for which he/she is thankful).
Loving God,
You have made us a family so that we can learn about Your love for us.
Thank You for the times we are able to laugh and cry together,
for giving us time to talk and listen to one another,
and for all the ways we know we are loved.
We ask pardon for the times we have hurt one another.
Help us to be a sign to others of Your unconditional love for us.
Please give Your special protection and love to those who feel alone, especially children.
Help us to remember that we are all family and to share our blessings with others.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest, ©1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
A Family Prayer of Thanksgiving for Love
Faithful God, You have lavished us with love.
Keep us ever mindful that You keep Your promises.
On our difficult days,
help us to remember that You are a refuge for those who need shelter,
a comfort for those who feel empty and poor in spirit.
On our joyful days,
fill us with a deep sense of thanksgiving as we experience Your everlasting love.
Help us to share Your graciousness with all those who need a touch of generous love. Amen.
From May I Have This Dance? by Joyce Rupp
A Child’s Prayer
Loving Father,
today we celebrate this group of special people,
our family.
It isn’t anyone’s birthday;
we just want to say “Thank You” for making us a family.
We’re glad
we have each other.
Thank You for the times
You have helped us
to understand and love
and forgive each other.
Help us to know
how much we need each other.
Help us to remember
how much we need You.
Help us to grow together
so that someday
we’ll be together again
with You in heaven. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Prayer After Nine Rainy Days and Other Family Prayers by Pat Corrick Hinton
Prayers for One’s Children
My God, source of all life,
thank You for the blessing You gave me when You entrusted me with children.
I have tried faithfully to live up to Your expectations.
It is not for me but for each of them that I pray.
Care for them in Your great kindness.
Whatever I am lacking, supply the blessing of Your protection.
You see the sincere love of my caring, small as it is,
compared with what they need and deserve.
In the name of this love,
keep them, along the path of life,
free from evil, and make them always strong, happy, and loving.
All of them without distinction, are a living part of my being.
My God, I want them to be better than I am.
In the midst of the rich opportunities of life, may they count on Your powerful help.
Every day, as I pray for my needs, my God, I am actually praying for them.
In total confidence I place them under Your divine parental care. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Prayers of Blessing and Praise from All Occasions by Humberto Porto and Hugo Schlesenger
Let my presence to my children be my prayer.
When I reach to pick up laundry, errant toys, dirty dishes, or scattered CDs,
may I lift them up as prayers to You.
Let me fast from critical words, sniping words, pain-inflicting words.
Let me forgo small-heartedness and feast on generosity.
Let me fast from the junk food of my distractions
and taste the plain sweetness of the present moment.
Let me give of my abundance
by offering time, attention, interest, and what wisdom I possess.
May I give freely of myself,
to put away the newspaper, put down the phone,
look eye-to-eye and listen heart-to-heart.
I ask this because all things are possible in you, Almighty God.
Reprinted from “At Home With Our Faith,” March 1999 by Tom McGrath. Used with permission
in the Name of Love
I suspect every parent has at least one habit that gets in the way of being the parent they want to
be. What is it for you? Is it nagging? Is it not having the time to listen? Is it needing to correct or
fix rather than hearing your kids out? Is it not trusting your kids? Or abdicating your responsibility
as a parent? The list can be endless. One problem I have is that I get easily distracted rather than
listening. Typically I let my mind drift off to work problems even when I want to be present to
my kids.
Here’s a challenge and an opportunity. Just for today, to the best of your ability, give up one bad
habit and invest in a good one. For example, stop nagging and find something to praise in your
child. Or put aside being wishy-washy and take a firm stand on an important issue. For me, I’m
going to try to leave work at work and focus on the non-verbal cues my family members are
giving me when I’m at home. I know I will wind up feeling closer to them and more a part of
their lives. You can do it just for a day. Or you may find that you like the results and keep it up.
But forget about forever. The best way to change a habit is to do it one day at a time.
“Weekly Meditations for Busy Parents” by Tom McGrath. Used with permission.
Ways to Reconcile at Home
Establish forgiveness
Establish a habit of forgiveness between parent and child. Say the words “I’m sorry for... ” and “I
forgive you” as often as necessary. Teach you child to say them by asking: “Can you say....?” or
“Are you ready to say ‘I’m sorry’?” Never force or demand an apology.
See “Eye to Eye”
The word reconcile comes from the Latin, meaning “seeing eye to eye.” Express forgiveness or
sorrow by looking straight at the other person, touching their shoulder or hand, or hugging.
Body language speaks as loudly or louder than words.
Forgiveness Rituals
Establish family and individual rituals of forgiveness in the home. Choose a space at home where
you can go to reconcile differences (staircase, bedroom, front porch, etc.). Also choose certain
times for reconciliation (bedtime, a Saturday trip to church, Sunday morning in the car on the
way to church, etc.). Make forgiving one another a part of your family’s everyday life.
Examination of Conscience
Help your child examine his/her conscience on a daily basis. There are numerous examples in
children’s prayer books - or make up your own. Follow it by talking about ways to change bad
habits. End with an act of contrition or informal prayer expressing sorrow and gratitude for
Remember that there is a special time at the celebration of the Eucharist for reconciliation.
Remind children before Mass to mention the things they are sorry for at the appropriate time.
Remind them about the meaning of the term “contrite heart” that the priest uses.
Celebrate forgiveness
When a serious hurt has been forgiven between family members, find a way to celebrate
together: go out for a treat, do a puzzle together, or read a special story. Time together heals
hearts when words aren’t enough.
Model forgiveness
Children need to watch adults forgiving each other and resolving conflicts. It helps if parents can
share examples of forgiveness such as: “I was very angry with Mrs. _____ for what she said, but I
have forgiven her.”
Don’t fake forgiveness
If you are genuinely hurt by someone over a long period of time and cannot forgive him/her,
explain to your child that you understand the necessity and value of forgiving the person. Let
your child know that you are trying to forgive and are praying for the grace of forgiveness. Never
give children the impression of forgiveness and then turn around and show unforgiving behavior
toward the person who has hurt you.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest © 1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha.
Activities for Reconciliation
♦ Look for and encourage opportunities to use the phrases “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” and “I
forgive you” with each other and with people you encounter in your daily activities.
♦ Decide on a time (once a month or so) when you will gather as a family or household to share
hurts and mend fences.
♦ When you watch TV together talk about the actions portrayed on the show that either affirm or
conflict with your own beliefs about God’s love and mercy, or the need for forgiveness and
♦ Make a habit of making peace with each other before going to bed. You can use words or
gestures of love. If a difference can’t be settled before bedtime, agree about when and how you
can work to settle it.
♦ Do an inventory of leisure activities and monitor language and images used in family
conversation. You might want to work on this as a family or household to support and
challenge one another in the effort.
♦ Attend a parish reconciliation service as a family. Encourage reception of the sacrament of
♦ Use opportunities that are part of everyday family life to talk with young children about the
differences between mistakes and sin.
Lives of Reconciliation
In my family it was a tradition that Grandma would give all the grandchildren a forgiveness stick
on their fifth birthdays. She would cut an old broomstick about three feet long and mount it in a
block of wood so that it would stand alone. The forgiveness stick would be placed beside the
child’s bed. Every night before going to sleep, the child would think about who he had forgiven
or who had forgiven him that day. If someone had been forgiven, or had forgiven him, he could
cut a notch in his forgiveness stick. It was Grandma’s legend that the forgiveness stick was to
remain with them their whole lives. Hers and Grandpa’s were always by their bed. They were
covered with notches. At the end of a person’s life, the forgiveness stick was to be placed by the
grave to show God how well the person had lived. This tradition can be started at any age. It is a
wonderful way to end the day. Our family used to gather in the living room every night before
bed, and Grandpa would carve the notches on those sticks whose owners had earned them that
By Christine Ramirez, Family Ministry Coordinator, Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. Reprinted with permission from the March/April 1999 issue of the “Jubilee 2000”
A Family Forgiveness Prayer Service for Lent
Loving Father,
our family gathers here together with You.
Help us to listen carefully
to our hearts tonight [today]
to see if we have shared our
love and peace with each other,
or if we have hurt each other.
We know You love us very much.
You are always ready to forgive us.
Help us now to forgive each other.
First, let’s listen to this story Jesus told about a forgiving father.
(Adapted from Luke 15:11-32)
There once was a man who had two sons. The younger son was unhappy. He
wanted to leave the home and have fun. He said to his father, “Give me my share
of the family money.” So the father gave each son his share of the family money.
The older son stayed at home to work with his father. The younger son left
home and went far away. He ate fancy food, bought fine clothes, and gave big
parties for his friends. One day all his money was gone. So were all his friends. He
was poor and sad and alone. He found a job feeding pigs. Sometimes he was so
hungry that he felt like eating the pigs’ food. More than anything, the younger son
wanted to be home again in his father’s house. So he left the pigs and started for
Meanwhile, the father waited at home, hoping that his younger son would return.
Every day he watched the road for some sign of him. Then one day he saw
someone in the distance. He knew it was his son, and ran out to meet him. The
son said, “Father, I have sinned against God and you. I do not even deserve to be
called your son. Just let me work as a servant in your house.”
The father threw his arms around his son and kissed him. He was so happy
that he shouted to the servants, “My son has come home! Get him new clothes
and sandals. Prepare a celebration.”
The older son came in from the fields. He was tired from his hard day’s work. As
he got closer to the house, he could hear music. “What is the reason for
all the music and dancing?” he asked the servants.
“Your brother has come home. Your father is so happy he is giving a party,” the
servants answered.
The older son grew very angry. He would not go into the house and join the party.
Soon the father came outside to see his older son. The older son said, “Father, all
these years I have been working by your side, but you have never given a party for
me and my friends. This younger son of yours went away and wasted his money.
Now, just because he has come home, you have a big celebration.”
“My son,” replied the father, “you are always with me. Everything I have is yours.
But your brother went away and has come home again. We thought he was dead,
and now he is with us. He was lost, and now he is found. We must all celebrate
his return.”
Thank You, God our Father, for always forgiving us when we are sorry.
Let’s take a minutes to talk together about the message of this story. (Discussion)
We are sorry, Father.
Let’s ask God’s forgiveness for those times we have not obeyed His command to
love all people.
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have been mean or selfish to each other in our words,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have been mean or selfish to each other in our actions,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have refused to share our time or our things or our friendship,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have not welcomed others into our family,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have not shown our love for our parents by obeying them,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times when we as parents have failed to listen to our children’s needs,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times when we have not done our share of the work,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we hurt each other by lying or telling only half the truth,
We are sorry, Father.
For the times we have not forgiven each other,
We are sorry, Father.
As a sign that we are willing to start over and be peaceful and loving again, let’s
share a sign of our peace with each other. (A hug, kiss, a handshake)
Reprinted with permission from Prayer After Nine Rainy Days and Other Family Prayers by Pat Corrick Hinton. Taken from Faith and Family Fest ©1996 The Catholic
Archdiocese of Omaha.
Lord, You told us to love one another, but the day is long and living with
others is so hard. Little things bother us, we grate on each other’s nerves.
Impatience creeps into our being. Tempers flare, arguments spring forth, and
we end up hurting someone. Lord, You also told us to forgive one another.
How wise You are! For it is in the forgiving that we set each other free to
fully love again. Thank You, Lord, for bringing us together so that we may
heal and be healed. Amen.
Giving Tree
Read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. You may decide to ask children old enough to read to
the family, take turns reading pages aloud, or have the adult read this entire short book. Work
with your children to create your own giving tree, having flowers and leaves to represent your
Lenten efforts to grow in the virtues of patience, love, endurance, etc. As a good act is
accomplished, leaves or flowers are added to the branches. You may choose to include names of
the giver or receiver, or to encourage anonymity, with virtue as its own reward. By Easter, your
beautiful, full tree is a wonderful sign of the fruit of your family’s love for one another!
Be Like Simon
Do your children know the story of Simon the Cyrenian? The account of Jesus’ torture and
crucifixion includes this sentence: “As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a
Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made
him carry it behind Jesus” (Luke 23:26).
Although there’s not a lot about him in the gospel, Simon plays a key role. You can picture a
simple, strong man, just arrived in Jerusalem, caught up in the middle of this horrible display of
cruelty and injustice. Standing on the sidelines, he is nonetheless dragged into the center of the
controversy and made to carry Jesus’ heavy cross.
Here’s an idea for what you and your family can do for Lent. At least once a
week, be a Simon the Cyrenian. As Simon helped carry Jesus’ cross, offer to help
a neighbor, family member, classmate, or coworker with a tough chore. The help
can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Realize as you’re helping today that
you’re also helping Jesus.
From “At Home With Our Faith,” March 1999. Used with permission of the author, Tom McGrath.
Who’s Who in the Passion Story?
See if your kids (and you) know the answers to these questions about key players in the Passion
story of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. This story is central to our faith. (For clues, read
the Gospel of Matthew chapters 26-28. Answers follow below.)
1._______________ was the apostle who betrayed Jesus by greeting him with a kiss.
2. At the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the Jewish feast of _________________ with his disciples.
3. After the last supper, Jesus went with his disciples to the garden of ______________, where he
prayed in great agony.
4. After his arrest, Jesus was taken before _________________, the high priest of the temple, who
declare that Jesus had blasphemed.
5. ___________________ was the apostle and “first pope” who denied knowing Jesus.
6. ___________________ was the Roman governor who questioned Jesus and asked him, “Are
you the king of the Jews?”
7. ___________________ of Cyrene was the good man who helped carry Jesus’' cross.
8. The spot on Calvary where Jesus was crucified was called _________________, or “Place of the
9. ___________________ of Arimathea owned the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid to rest.
10. __________________ and __________________ were the first to go to the tomb on Easter
Reprinted from “At Home With Our Faith,” April 2000 by Tom McGrath. Used with permission.
(Answers to Bible Quiz: 1, Judas, 2. Passover, 3. Gethsemani, 4. Caiaphas, 5. Peter, 6. Pilate, 7. Simon, 8. Golgotha, 9. Joseph,
10. Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary”).
Ash Wednesday Prayer for Families
O Lord of all love and unquenchable compassion, Burn in our hearts throughout this day of ashes. Give us courage to root out and set fire to all the junk in our lives: Pettiness and impatience, overindulgence and indifference. Where there is a grudge, help us burn it away with forgiveness. Where there is fear, help us burn it away with the fire of your love. Where there is greed, help us burn it away with self‐sacrifice. Where there is pridefulness, help us burn it away with the awareness of God’s grace. And after we’ve offered up all our shortcomings on your altar, Help us to rebuild our house on an indestructible foundation of love. Mary Lynn Hendrickson, www.HomeFaith.com Make Holy Week Special
Take advantage of Catholic traditions. Take steps to indicate
that this is not life as usual, but a special time set apart. Do that
through what you eat, what you do in the evenings, what you
talk about, and what you do upon waking and going to sleep.
For example, you might set aside an evening to read the Gospel
accounts of Jesus’ passion and death. Encourage your local
church to try to involve younger people in any Holy Week
liturgies, and prepare your children for such participation by
explaining what the symbols and readings mean to you.
If you know of any Easter and Holy Week traditions
from your ethnic heritage, introduce them to your children.
Many families decorate eggs—symbols of the Resurrection—or
put together Easter baskets that will be blessed at church. Many
churches have services that are filled with meaningful
symbols—like light shining forth in the darkness that cannot
overcome it—and those rituals speak volumes directly to your
child’s heart. The story of Jesus’ suffering and death are at the
heart of Christian faith. They are at the heart of our very
existence and meaning. It’s easy to be too busy or too distracted
to attend these rites and lessons. But we deprive our children of
life and meaning when we do so.
Tom McGrath, Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26‐28 Why Is Lent Important?
Lent prepares you to celebrate
more fully the death and
resurrection of Jesus. For individuals
and the community, it intensifies
Christians strive to understand
more deeply the Paschal Mystery:
Jesus’ passage through death to
eternal life and His promise of
renewed life to those who believe.
Christians try to strengthen and
increase their faith and loyalty to
Jesus through spiritual discipline
and purification.
Through self-sacrifice and works of
charity, Christians seek to rise
above self-love and follow the
spirit of Jesus’ service and sacrifice.
The more earnestly and deeply
you observe Lent, the more you
will benefit spiritually. Easter will
have more meaning and more joy
for you.
“What Every Catholic Should Know About Lent,” Channing L. Bete Co.
May the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet
that we belong to your Son.
A Prayer
for Ash Wednesday
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
the all-holy one, who gives us life and
all things. As we go about our lives, the press of
our duties and activities often leads us to forget
your presence and your love. We fall into sin
and fail to live out the responsibilities that you
have entrusted to those who were baptized into
your Son.
In this holy season, help us to turn our
minds and hearts back to you. Lead us into sincere repentance and renew our lives with your
grace. Help us to remember that we are sinners, but even more, help us to remember your
loving mercy.
As we live through this Ash Wednesday,
may the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we
meet that we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring
us refreshed and renewed to the celebration of
Christ’s resurrection at Easter.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus
Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
© Catholic Update February 2004. St. Anthony Messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH.
Parents have the mission
of teaching their children to pray
and to discover their vocation
as children of God.
Pope Paul VI
Again we keep this solemn fast,
A gift of faith from ages past,
This Lent which binds us lovingly
To faith and hope and charity.
Gregory the Great
Enrich Your Lent with Prayer
To deepen your prayer life and make prayer
more a part of your life, put prayer on your
daily “to do” list this Lent. Tell yourself that
you will find a few moments every day to
pray. Here are some ways to get you started.
Mark your day with prayer. In the morning
dedicate your day to God. In the evening
give thanks for the day. You can also pray
throughout the day by making everything
you do a prayer—not only your words but
your thoughts and actions as well.
Pray with Scripture. Read the passage
slowly, noticing what stands out and speaks
to you. Turn over in your mind what has
struck you, and talk with God about its significance for your life. Listen for what comes
from deep within you, and from God.
Do some spiritual reading, listening, and
viewing. Ask friends, family, or members of
your church to recommend some good reading for Lent. Purchase some inspirational
books on tape from a local religious bookstore, and have them on while you’re cleaning, cooking, or driving.
Pray with others. Consider joining a prayer
group or small faith community. Put yourself
in the frame of mind that what you do in
church on Sunday is prayer. Your singing,
spoken prayers, even your posture and how
you greet other people—everything—can be
Go on a retreat. Lent is a good time to go on
a retreat—to get away and pray. You have
some time away from the responsibilities and
pressures of daily life so that when you return, you are refreshed and inspired to live
your faith more fully.
During Lent we make a special effort to practice our faith. May your prayer this Lent be a
blessing to you and those around you!
Excerpted from “Five Simple Prayer Ideas to Enrich Your
Lent” © by Joel Schorn.
Lenten Table Blessing
Begin after a short silence. The leader may
alternate among those present.
I was hungry.
And you gave me food.
I was thirsty.
And you gave me drink
I was a stranger.
And you welcomed me.
I was naked.
And you clothed me.
I was ill.
And you comforted me.
I was in jail.
And you came to see me.
Lord Jesus Christ, may our
fasting turn us toward all our brothers and
sisters who are in need.
Bless this table, our good food,
and ourselves. Send us through Lent with good
cheer, and bring us to the fullness of your
Someone at the table reads one of the
following Scriptures or the text assigned to the
liturgy of the day.
Listen to the words of the
apostle Paul to the Romans:
I urge you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by
the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your
spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to
this age but be transformed by the renewal of
your mind, that you may discern what is the
will of God, what is good and pleasing and
The Word of the Lord.
(Romans 12:1-2)
Listen to the words of the
apostle Paul to the Corinthians:
[God says:] “In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold,
now is the day of salvation…In everything we
commend ourselves as ministers of God,
through much endurance, in afflictions, in
hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments,
riots, labors, vigils, fasts…We are treated as
deceivers as yet are truthful; as unrecognized
and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we
live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as
sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet
enriching many; as having nothing and yet
possessing all things.
The Word of the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 6:2, 4-5, 8-10)
Thanks be to God.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
We thank you, O Lord, who give
us this food to eat. We pray that you may also
provide food for those who are hungry and
gather us all together at the table of your
heavenly kingdom. We ask this through Christ
our Lord.
After the meal
No one lives on bread alone.
But on every word that comes
from the mouth of God.
Excerpt from Prayers of the Lenten and Easter Seasons © 1989 National
Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
It is not how much we do,
but how much love we put into the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.
- Mother Teresa
Family Reconciliation Ritual
God became a human being in Jesus Christ. Jesus came,
died and rose from the dead to reconcile us with God so that, reconciled
with others, we might be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven.
Pause and light a candle
And so we pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May this burning candle remind us that, by the light of
Christ, God forgives our sins and our failings. God loves us with the
faithfulness of a mother, the tender mercy of a father. We are called to
forgive those who hurt us, even when they did not intend it. We come
together to pray for the grace we need to ask for forgiveness and to grant
Allow a moment of silence to reflect on the need to be forgiven or to forgive,
or to pray for family members in need of reconciliation.
Oh God, you have bound us together as family. Help us to live together
with mutual love and respect. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reader #1
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-9)
Reader #2
Almighty God, show us your kindness, we pray:
Teach us to be merciful, Lord.
Reader #2
Jesus, you ate with sinners and comforted the
brokenhearted, we pray:
Teach us to be merciful, Lord.
Reader #2
Holy Spirit, you console our troubled spirits, we pray:
Teach us to be merciful, Lord.
Reader #2
Let us pray together that God will give us what we need in
order to live like Jesus.
Our Father…
God our loving Creator, the earth, the moon and the stars
show the splendor of your glory. You created us to show the splendor of
your love. In our baptism, you granted us the splendor of your forgiveness.
May we continue to grow in the image and likeness of your son, Jesus, our
brother, forever and ever. Amen.
Exchange a sign of peace.
Courtesy of Charles Balsam from the March/April 1999 Jubilee 2000 newsletter on www.usccb.org
Your Prayer Life
Come as you are. The good
news is that while God wants
us to come to Him as we are,
God never leaves us that way.
Seek God’s will, not your own.
Pray boldly and trust God.
You’ll grow more passionate
about asking God to work in
your life.
Approach God often. If we
truly desire to live fully, we must
talk to God frequently.
Recognize God in all the
moments of life.
Christopher News Notes No. 450
We pass on gospel values to our
children when those values infuse
our most mundane interactions
within the family. When our children
see how decisions are made, how conflicts
are resolved, how work gives way to
healthy play, how household tasks are
undertaken out of a sense of commitment
to the welfare of others, how affection
and encouragement dominate family
interactions, how challenges, corrections
and discipline are engaged in ways that
never demean but rather affirm the dignity of
all—those children are being schooled in
the life of discipleship.
- Richard R. Gaillardetz, Ph.D.
A family is holy
not because it is perfect,
but because
God’s grace is at work in it,
helping it set out anew everyday
on the way to love.
- U.S. Catholic Bishops, “Follow the Way of Love,” a pastoral.
What Is Contemplation?
Contemplation is both a way to pray
and a way of life. It is a relationship
with God and a practice to foster that
relationship. Often a person remains
in complete silence, reflecting on
spiritual things. Contemplatives take
time to get behind the busyness, noise,
wordiness, and information overload
of today’s world. Contemplative
prayer does not replace all other types
of prayer. It simply balances words
and activity with silence and repose.
Due largely to the Trappist
monk and writer Thomas Merton—
who exposed many to contemplative
life through his books The Seven
Storey Mountain and New Seeds of
Contemplation—the modern
contemplative movement seeks to
restore a tradition somewhat neglected
in the history of Christian spirituality.
God’s first language,
contemplatives remind us, is silence.
Before creation, there was utter
silence, and that silence has remained,
like a backdrop to the universe.
Contemplation is a movement beyond
conversation with God to communion
with God and a more powerful sense
of God’s active presence in every
person and situation of our lives. Its
main purpose is developing a deep
relationship with God that carries over
into the rest of life. Contemplation
moves us beyond selfishness and
attachment to a place
where our true and
natural selves find
Joel Schorn, U.S. Catholic “Glad You
Asked: Q&A on Church Teaching,”
December 2003.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
God has no body now on earth but yours;
no hands but yours;
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes
through which the compassion of Christ
must look out into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands
with which he is to bless his people.
St. Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582, Spanish Carmelite nun, named the first woman Doctor of the Church.
Taking Action:
How to Involve Your Children During Lent
Practice the traditions of fasting, prayer, and giving to the poor. You can
encourage your children to give up a favorite snack or TV show and pay
attention to their feelings in its absence. Coming to such an awareness is a
valuable spiritual experience.
Encourage your children to pray for someone who has hurt them. Jesus
tells us to do good to those who hurt us.
Select a worthy charity or mission opportunity that you will donate to as a
family during Lent. Some families put a small
This is what Yahweh asks of you:
collection bowl on the kitchen table. Holding a
family discussion on where to give the money will
only this,
open your children’s eyes to the needs of others in
to act justly,
the world and their responsibility to act in charity and
to love tenderly
justice for the good of others.
and to walk humbly
Encourage your children to read spiritual
biographies. Introduce them via books and videos to
with your God.
people who made a choice to live their life with faith.
Micah 6:8
Make Holy Week special. Talk about what the
symbols and readings mean to you. If you know of Easter and Holy Week
traditions from your ethnic heritage, introduce them to your children. Many
families decorate eggs—symbols of the Resurrection—or put together Easter
baskets that will be blessed at church. Often parishes have services that are
filled with meaningful symbols—like light shining forth in the darkness that
cannot overcome it—and those rituals speak volumes directly to your child’s
heart. It’s easy to be too busy or too distracted to attend to these rites and
lessons. But we deprive our children of life and meaning when we do so.
Raising Faith-Filled Kids/Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home by Tom McGrath, Loyola Press, Chicago, IL © 2000.
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty
To clothe the naked
To visit the imprisoned
To shelter the homeless
To visit the sick
To bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
To teach the ignorant
To counsel the doubtful
To convert the sinner
To bear wrongs patiently
To forgive enemies
To comfort the sorrowful
To pray for the living and the dead
“We are members one of another and
everything that is given to one member is
given for the whole body.”
- Thomas Merton
Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on gratitude.
Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith.
Raising Kids Who Care/About
Themselves, About Their World, About
Each Other by Kathleen O’Connell
Chesto, Liguori Lifespan, Liguori, MO ©
Raising Kids Who Will Make
Difference/Helping Your Family
Live with Integrity, Value
Simplicity, and Care for
Others by Susan V.
Chicago, IL © 2002.
Lift your heart to God
and pray today for...
1. Emptiness. Pray that physical
hunger will give way to spiritual
2. A return to God. Like the father
of the prodigal son, God stands
waiting for us.
3. Acceptance. When life’s burdens
arrive, pray for the gift of acceptance.
4. An open heart and mind. Be willing to learn
new lessons and see deeper truths.
5. Charity. Donate money or food to a charity.
6. Healing. Be willing to open those wounds that
stifle your spiritual growth.
7. Forgiveness. Ask God’s pardon for all the
ways you may have strayed.
8. Faithfulness. Pray today that you can remain
faithful to your commitments to God, to those
around you, and to yourself.
9. Fear of the Lord. Pray that you will not fear
God so much as you will fear ignoring and
abandoning the God who loves you.
10. Mercy. The world desperately needs the
healing that mercy can bring.
11. A grateful heart. Praise God for all the
blessings that you receive every day.
12. Perseverance. Keep in mind that, on the way
to the cross, Jesus fell. Rise up and know
God’s help is at hand.
13. Silence. Seek silence today, and listen.
14. Surrender. Pray to release a bad habit that
curtails your freedom to love God and others.
15. Release from resentments. When our heart
clutches at resentment, we have no room to
love God or others.
16. Calm. Much of life is filled with anxiety,
worry busyness, and speed. Open your heart
to a spirit of calm.
17. Understanding. Jesus said, “Judge not.”
Instead, seek understanding.
18. Wonder and awe. Today, take time to really
see the glory of God’s creation.
19. Hospitality. Lent is a time to give freely of
what we have to others.
20. Self-control. Practice self-discipline to keep
from gossip, spite, pettiness, and deceit.
21. Follow through. As you come to the midway
point of Lent, ask God to help you follow
through on your spiritual journey.
Contentment. Today, concentrate on how God
provides you with what you need.
Open hands. Go through closets and drawers
and donate items you no longer need.
Hope. Because we see so little of the big
picture, we need the virtue of hope.
Patience. Pray for patience, to adjust to the
rhythms of nature on your spiritual journey.
Zeal. Ask God to fill your heart with
enthusiasm for following God’s ways.
A good clean-up. As you tidy up a mess that
saps your spiritual energy, pray that God will
help clear away the blocks within you.
Compassion. Pray for an increase in your
capacity to feel the pain and sorrow of others
so that you might be a channel of peace.
Constancy. Jesus said, “I am with you
always.” Pray that you might be truly present
with love to those around you.
Willingness. All it takes is the least bit of
willingness for God to enter our hearts and
begin the transformation.
Release of anger. Anger can be a holy emotion
that fuels us to protect the innocent and work
for justice. But ongoing anger can easily get
twisted into vengeance and hate.
Courage. Like Jesus in the garden, pray today
for the courage to show up fully for life.
Reconciliation. Pray that you can be open to
forgiveness, both given and received.
Passion. Pray to be guided by your deep
longings as you act as co-creator with God.
Generosity. Today, pray for a spirit of
generosity so that you might freely give of
your time, talent, and treasure.
Prudence. Pray for an increase in prudence,
the virtue that guides you in the application of
the rest of the virtues.
Steadfastness. Pray that you will remain
steadfast on this journey toward God.
Wisdom. You have learned many lessons on
this Lenten journey. Pray that this wisdom
will illumine your heart.
Joy. Pray today to see God’s love so clearly
that joy fills your heart.
Self-offering. Pray that you might gain the
freedom to give yourself to God, to others, and
to the world.
Tom McGrath. Prayer Notes: “Prayer Starters for All the Days of Lent.”
lessed are you, O Lord our God, the all-holy one, who gives us life
and all things. As we go about our lives, the press of our duties
and activities often leads us to forget your presence and your love. We
fall into sin and fail to live out the responsibilities that you have
entrusted to those who were baptized into your Son.
In this holy season, help us to turn our minds and hearts back to
you. Lead us into sincere repentance and renew our lives with your
grace. Help us to remember that we are sinners, but even more, help us
to remember your loving mercy.
As we live through this Ash Wednesday, may the crosses of ashes
that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet that
we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this
day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring us refreshed
Through penance,
find healing
and forgiveness
for your sins
Through prayer,
study and
Lenten devotions,
and renewed to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.
help your
spiritual growth
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with
Through good works,
you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
Catholic Update February 2004, St. Anthony Messenger Press
renew your faith,
hope, and love
Prayer, Almsgiving, and Fasting for Families
Think beyond the traditional ways of fasting, praying and contributing to the financial welfare
of others. Even young children can participate in these rituals and activities.
Set up a prayer corner or table in your home. Include a purple cloth, a cross, a bowl of
water as a sign of baptism, a Bible, a candle, and a small box for prayer intentions.
Devise a calendar and post it on your refrigerator.
For each of the forty days of Lent, list one good deed, such as doing household chores, writing cards to distant
friends or relatives, praying for peace, the sick, the lonely, and the dying, or volunteering in your community.
Fast from dessert and junk food and donate the money you saved as a family to your local food bank.
Turn off the TV. Ask each family member to choose their favorite Bible story. Read it aloud. Ask each family
member to explain why he/she likes that particular story.
Plan a movie night. Invite friends to join you. Choose a movie with a lesson or message and discuss it afterwards.
Visit a nursing home. Adopt a resident to visit and provide for some of his/her needs.
Walk together for a cause that is meaningful to your family (cancer research, peace, or ending hunger).
Prepare a food basket for a complete Easter dinner and donate it to a family in your parish or community. Invite
those without extended family nearby to join your Easter dinner.
Post a “question of the day” on your family bulletin/black board and ask all to write down their thoughts. Share
your reflections over a meal.
Create some quiet time to be with God, at least once a week—more often, if possible. Ask God to enter your
heart, and listen to what God has to say to you. Do some spiritual reading.
Lent is a time to move beyond our limitations, to repent and be converted to Christ, to deepen our relationship with
God and neighbor, and shed the habits that prohibit us from being all God wants us to be.
Cecelia P. Regan, Church magazine Spring 2006 (adapted)
Family Meal Prayer to Feed the Soul
Our family’s restaurant manners are impeccable. Those of us
with our food sit patiently, avoiding the temptation to dig in
until everyone is served. At home, however, the appearance
of food is immediately followed by its consumption, usually
because someone has inconveniently chosen this moment to
disappear and we have Places To Be after dinner.
What is lost, aside from proper digestion, is that pause
before lifting forks, a moment to acknowledge our
togetherness. This time is precious in unifying our family and
bringing an awareness of God’s presence to our table. It’s our
moment to pray.
We might always say the traditional prayer. In doing
so, we are also unified with our larger family, the Catholic
Church, whose members have uttered the same or similar
phrases for years upon years. Said thoughtfully, it resonates.
Even on those days when we zip to the finish, it makes a
point—God is with us, and we thank him.
But if you find prayer becoming habit over heart,
there are ways to be more mindful at mealtime:
♦ Sing the traditional prayer—let your child improvise the tune.
♦ Say a prayer chain: Let one family member begin with
something he is thankful for, then continue with prayers of
thanksgiving around the table. You
might start with a petition, praise to
God—whatever the leader chooses.
♦ Read a poem or Scripture passage that
gives thanks to God. Perhaps you can
even find positive lyrics in a song from
pop culture to engage your children.
♦ Instead of—or in addition to—a prayer
before meals, try a prayer after meals.
♦ Institute a moment of silence. St. Therese of Lisieux described
prayer as “a simple look turned toward heaven.” This gesture
can reframe our focus: on each other, and on Jesus who offers
us the greatest nourishment, his Body and Blood.
Julianne Will, www.FindingGod.org
“A child who does not gather regularly
around the table giving thanks to God for
food and family will have a very difficult time
understanding the meaning of Eucharist.”
- An experienced Religious Educator
Here’s a simple prayer you can use at your
dinner table throughout the season of Lent. One
member of the family takes the role of leader.
You may begin by lighting a single candle.
When I was hungry,
you gave me food.
When I was thirsty,
you gave me drink.
When I was naked,
you clothed me.
When I was sick,
you visited me.
Gentle God, during this Lent
help us to see you in one another. Open our eyes
to those who are hungry for food or thirsty for
friendship. Help us to reach out to those who are
new or lonely. Bless this food and the time we
spend together. In Jesus’ name we pray.
“The Busy Family’s Guide to Lent,” a Prayer Notes from Abbey Press
Nourishing Your Faith
A snack of carrot sticks or a swig of milk
doesn't have to be the only easy find at the
fridge. Among many helpful hints from Bridget
Mary Meehan is this one: “Make a list of all the
people, situations, and events
that you as a family are
praying for. Include the needs
and concerns for healing of
your neighborhood, town, the
nation, and the world. Include
the people and projects your
family has chosen for an
outreach project. Hang this list
on the refrigerator door. This will serve as a
reminder for members of the family as they
open and close the refrigerator door. At the
end of the month, during your meal, take down
the list and give thanks to God, who heals us
and blesses all our needs.”
Mr. Jones
Aunt Rose
Prayers, Activities, Celebrations—and More—for Catholic Families in “At Home
with Our Faith”
Enrich Your Prayer Life
Mark your day with prayer
Pray with Scripture
Think of an ocean liner traveling the seas. A small change in its course will, over time, greatly change the destination. Lent is an opportunity to have small changes in your daily life make a big difference in your family over the long run. Practice Lent, right where you are. It’s where God is waiting for you. Tom McGrath, Raising Faith‐Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home Do some spiritual reading, listening, and
Pray with others
Go on retreat—maybe even online
Lenten Prayers
O Good and Gracious God, You call your people back to You this Lent. May this sacred
season renew our desire to always live fully the promises of our baptism and to love You
with our whole heart. Through more frequent prayer, acts of charity toward our
neighbor, and fasting, may we remember that the most important thing we can do is
love You and one another. We ask these things through Jesus, our Risen Lord and
Savior. Amen.
Jesus, who went out into the desert to fast and pray, come into our hearts and homes
during this Lent. Be with us daily, increasing our self discipline, hearing our prayers and
calling our attention to the good that we fail to do. Call us to be better people of God by praying
and sacrificing 40 days in You and with You, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayers for Holy Week
Holy Thursday
God our Father, our family is gathered here to share in this meal. On the night before He died,
Your Son, Jesus, gathered His followers around Him and shared a meal with them as a sign of
His love for them. Help us to always love one another for we know that where there is charity
and love, You are there also. Bless us, our food and all our works in the name of Your Son, Jesus.
Good Friday
Dear Jesus, You died for us to show us how much You love us. Yet how often we forget! For the
times we've been forgetful, forgive us. And while we may not be called upon to die for You, help
us to live each day well, especially when we are tempted to give up. Amen.
Holy Saturday
Dear Father, we await the celebration of the rising of Your Son and our Brother with a feeling of
peace and joyous excitement. Give us the grace to look forward in the same way to our own
dying and rising in each day of our lives. Help us to always see the life of spring even in the
death of winter. May we give glory and thanks to You through Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit
every day that we live. Amen.
TENEBRAE - a Celebration of Darkness
The word “tenebrae” means darkness, and often during Holy Week Christians
commemorate Jesus’ time of darkness in the tomb with a Tenebrae liturgy.
They want to experience the loneliness that darkness can bring, the sensation of
the sadness and grief at the end of Jesus’ earthly life, the sorrow of Jesus at the
denial and desertion of his friends and their abandonment to sleep when he
agonized in the garden of Gethsemani.
If your parish does not have a Tenebrae service, you might inquire about
one being scheduled, or have one at home. The evening of Palm Sunday is an
appropriate time for this prayer. Place fifteen lit candles in a row. Turn off all the
lights in the room, so that the only illumination comes from these candles. Take a moment to
notice how the fire dances, the light flickers, the shadows move with the flame. Each member of
the family old enough to read can recite a portion of Psalm 51, the Church’s penitential song,
then blow out one of the candles until all the candles are out, leaving as the last one lit the one
in the center.
1. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out
my offense. (Reader blows out 1 candle, and so on after each verse...).
2. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
3. “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight” - that you may be
justified in your sentence, vindicated when you condemn.
4. Indeed, in guilt was I born, and in sin my mother conceived me; Behold, You are pleased
with sincerity of heart, and in my inmost being You teach me wisdom.
5. Cleanse me of my sin with hyssop, that I may be purified; wash me, I shall be whiter than
snow. Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away Your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt.
6. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out
from Your presence, and Your holy spirit take not from me.
7. Give me back the joy of Your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.
8. I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall return to You.
9. Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God; then my tongue shall revel in Your justice.
10. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim Your praise.
11. For You are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a holocaust, You would not accept it.
12. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not
13. Be bountiful, O Lord, to Zion in Your kindness by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
14. Then shall You be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings and holocausts; then shall they
offer up bullocks on Your altar.
Everyone says together the Doxology:
15. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, it is
now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (Blow out the last candle).
Remain silent for a few minutes in the darkness, and reflect on the mysteries of our
salvation which we will commemorate in the days of Holy Week ahead.
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He is
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
came to the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from
heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his
clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the
crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”
Matthew 28: 1-6
Then the angel said
to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking
Jesus the crucified.
He is not here,
for he has been raised
just as he said.”
Matthew 28:5-6
Loving God, we praise You with greater joy than ever on this Easter Day because Christ has risen
as He said. He has broken the power of sin and healed an injured world. Christ has made us whole
again. Fill our home with joy and peace. Bless our celebrations and our family. We ask this through
Christ our Lord. Amen.
g{x XåâÄàxà
The church, in shadows and lit only by the candles of the faithful and the single
flame of the paschal candle waits in hushed expectation for the opening words
of the Exultet of the Easter Vigil: “Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of
angels!” All of creation is invited to rejoice in the celebration of this feast as the
Exultet joyfully proclaims the world’s salvation. In its great beauty the ancient text of the Exultet
leads us to the mystery of God. The wonderful works of God are chanted in praise, with
meditation upon what they mean for us. Make it your family’s tradition to read this prayer of our
salvation at your Easter dinner, talking about it at the level of your children’s understanding.
Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
It is truly right that with full hearts
and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God,
the all-powerful Father, and his only Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
to our eternal Father!
This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred,
brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Prayers on the Feast of Easter
God our loving Father,
we are your people and everything in us shouts for joy
on this feast of the resurrection.
What great love and power you have shown!
You have raised your Son, Jesus, from death!
You have given him a new life stronger than death.
You have made him Lord over all the earth.
In the name of all your creatures
we thank You for Your great love.
We praise You and we wait with hope
for the day of our own resurrection.
Show us that we can celebrate
the new life of Easter today
and every day through the truth, the hope, and the love
we give to each other in the name of our risen Lord. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Prayer After Nine Rainy Days and Other Family Prayers by Pat McCorrick Hinton
Loving God, we praise You with greater joy than ever on this Easter
Day because Christ has risen as He said. He has broken the power of
sin and healed an injured world. Christ has made us whole again. Fill
our home with joy and peace. Bless our celebrations and our family.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
He has been raised
just as he said.
Matthew 28:6
Easter Mealtime Blessing
Jesus Christ is risen today.
Alleluia! Lord Jesus, we celebrate your resurrection and we rejoice in your love. You
are with us now as we share this meal, offering us forgiveness, peace, and new life.
Help us to recognize you in the breaking of this bread, and strengthen us to share with
others the good news of your rising.
Jesus Christ is risen today.
Catholic Update “Mealtime Prayers Through the Year,” by Robert M. Hamma © 1996.
Spring flowers
preach the gospel:
we who have died
are alive today.
We who risked winter
now raise our heads high
to the glorious sun.
Delicate petals,
daughters of resilience,
they call to me,
encouraging the heart
of true believing.
Joyce Rupp, Rest Your Dreams on a Twig, Sorin Books
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe
that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ,
raised from the dead,
dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
Rom. 6: 8-9
of Easter
The Lamb
reminds us of
Jesus’ sacrifice
remind us of Jesus’
becoming alive again
Easter Traditions
Separating indigenous and Christian traditions
Many worship rituals of indigenous people were adapted by the early
Christians, and continue in common usage. Understanding these traditions
can make them more meaningful.
The very word “Easter” comes from a Teutonic goddess of spring by
the same name. The early Christians added a spiritual dimension to the
celebration of the pagan festival that heralded the coming of spring. For
them, newness of life was more than blossoms, leaves, new lambs, and birds.
It included the new life of the Spirit they had come to know through the life,
death, and resurrection of Jesus. Their celebration of Easter was as if to say,
“Yes, the miracle of spring is worthy of praise, but there is so much more.
We have a whole new understanding of ‘new life’: the Spirit of Christ living
within us!”
What about the date itself?
Why is Easter celebrated on different Sundays from year to year? Easter is
the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day
of Spring, when day and night is of equal length). When we consider it in
terms of light, it takes on a symbolically beautiful meaning. The ancients
were aware of the effects of the sun and moon and light and darkness—not
months or dates or calendars. The shortest day of the year is December 21.
Just when it might look as if darkness is growing and will overtake all light,
light returns and begins to push back the darkness… this is when we
celebrate the feast of Christmas. In Jesus’ birth a new form of light came into
the world. On Easter, we celebrate Christ’s victory over all the dark things
this earth could offer—even death itself.
Easter eggs
Ancient civilizations thought of the egg as holding the secret of new life. The
creation stories of India and Egypt explained the beginning of the world as
the splitting of a huge egg: one half becoming the heavens, and the other half
becoming the earth. For the early Christians eggs still symbolized the secret
of new life—the spiritual new life as found in the life of Christ.
Easter Candle
reminds us of how
Jesus showed us the light
XtáàxÜ _|Äç
reminds us of new life
Easter dinner
A traditional Easter meal frequently served is a ham dinner. One explanation
of the serving of ham at Easter is as a break from Judaic tradition. The
serving of ham is an unspoken declaration that by Christ’s revelation and
fulfillment of the law, Christians are no longer bound by Jewish dietary
regulations forbidding pork. Lamb is also a favorite dish, and can be
understood as an important symbol in relation to the life of Christ as the
Lamb of God, the good shepherd, and as fulfillment of the Old Testament
Passover or Paschal Lamb.
Easter clothes
As the Church grew and developed traditions and customs, Lent became a
time to instruct new members in the faith, toward their baptism at Easter.
New white linen clothes were worn for the occasion to symbolize their
cleansing and new life of faith.
Use the traditions that are meaningful to your family, and create
some of your own to fill your home with the joy of Easter.
A New Idea for Easter Eggs
Eggs remind us of the new life that is present for all of us in the resurrection of Jesus. In pre-Christian
times, eggs were a symbol of fertility, and people presented them to one another at the beginning of
spring. During the Middle Ages, the eating of eggs was prohibited during Lent. So, on Easter morning,
Christians would give eggs to one another to celebrate the breaking of the Lenten fast. The egg
became the symbol of the tomb from which Christ emerged, calling us all to resurrection and new life.
This year hide “Compliment Eggs.” Buy some plastic eggs, and along with some jelly beans enclose
these messages after you have personalized them. Of course you can copy them or create your own—
no one can ever receive too many compliments!
From Family Prayers for Family Times/Traditions, Celebrations & Rituals by Kathleen O’Connell Chesto and www.FamilyFirst.net
I have so much fun when we
You do such a great job at
I appreciate it when you
You are so thoughtful when you
You’re so helpful when you
I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the
hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his
people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in
us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death.
Eph 1:18-20
Family Table Blessing
During Eastertime
An Easter candle is lit while the leader says:
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad, alleluia!
We praise you, Lord, with greater joy than ever in this Easter season. The thirsty have
come to the water. The poor have come to receive bread and eat. Blessed are you in earth’s bounty: the
joy of the resurrection renews the whole world. Christ is risen, alleluia!
Christ is truly risen, alleluia!
Another form of Easter prayer begins with the sign of the cross.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Someone at the table reads on of the following Scriptures of the text assigned to the liturgy of the day.
Listen to the words of John: [When the disciples had returned to shore at the Sea of
Tiberius,] they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish
you just caught.” so Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three
large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have
breakfast.” and none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the
Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.
John 21:9-13
Listen to the words of Luke: [The two disciples urged Jesus,] “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and
the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them
at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened
and they recognized him.
Luke 24: 29-31
Listen to the words of the apostle Peter:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to
a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3
The reader concludes:
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
We joyfully sing your praises, Lord Jesus Christ. Whom on the day of your resurrection
were recognized by your disciples in the breaking of the bread.
Remain here with us as we gratefully partake of these gifts, and at the banquet table in heaven welcome
us, who have welcomed you in our brothers and sisters, for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
All join in singing an alleluia.
After the meal
The disciples recognized the Lord, alleluia.
In the breaking of the bread, alleluia.
Excerpt from Prayers of the Lenten and Easter Seasons © 1989 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
Water is one of the signs that the Church often uses in blessing the faithful. Holy
water reminds us of Christ, who is given to us as the supreme blessing, who
called Himself “living water,” and Who in water established Baptism for our
sake as the sacramental sign of the blessing that brings salvation.
In some communities, it is customary for homes to be blessed during the Easter season. All who
live in the house should be present along with friends and neighbors. The leader should be a
member of the household.
(All begin with the sign of the cross)
God fills our hearts and homes with peace. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Now and forever.
Christ, risen from the dead, is our hope, joy and comfort. May all who enter
this home find Christ’s light and love.
(using the family bible, proclaim one of the following passages: Luke 24:28-32
or John 20:19-21. Intercessions may be made while going from room to room and
around the outside of the house, sprinkling with holy water. All then gather at the
front door.)
O loving God, make the door of our house wide enough to receive all who
need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride
and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to
children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the
tempter’s power. God, make the door of our home the gateway to your eternal
kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Our Father, Who art in heaven ...
Lord, we rejoice in the victory of Your Son over death: by rising from the
tomb to new life He gives us new hope and promise. Bless all the members of
this household and surround us with your protection, that we may find comfort
and peace in Christ Jesus, the Paschal Lamb, who lives and reigns with You and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
(Again, all make the sign of the cross, with holy water)
May Christ Jesus dwell with us, keep us from all harm, and make us one in
mind and heart, now and forever.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest © 1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
Sundays Are Easter Days
In the time of the Old Testament, the people of God kept the Sabbath as a day of rest. That meant
that they observed the lesson of the story of Creation: they paused to give thanks and praise for
the goodness of God’s gifts. Because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, Christians gradually
came to observe their Sabbath on Sunday, and it came to have a whole new meaning. Sunday
was still a day of rest, but it also came to be a day to share with family and friends, for it was on a
Sunday evening that Jesus first appeared to his friends after his death and resurrection.
With your family you might plan together how you can observe that same spirit of Sunday as a day
of thanksgiving and joy: a day to be with family and friends. Sundays might be a time for you to:
♦ Go out to breakfast or brunch after Sunday morning Mass, or buy something special to eat;
♦ Visit friends or relatives, particularly those homebound, grieving, or otherwise in need of care
and love;
♦ Go on picnics, go to parks, join in some simple games outdoors or around the table;
♦ Write letters, call, or e-mail friends and relatives;
♦ Remind your selves of new life and the resurrection of Jesus with fresh flowers;
♦ Observe the day of rest with a nap or quiet time set aside from the week’s work, to be
renewed for the week ahead.
A Family Easter Basket
Gather together as a family to discuss how Lent is a time to deepen your faith, show your love for
Jesus, and be mindful of all he has done for you. Suggest the following idea as a way to do that
every day. Each family member is to write on slips of paper things that any of you can do to
increase virtue or draw you nearer to God. These are then placed in an empty bowl or container,
and drawn out daily, perhaps at breakfast, bedtime, or together at the evening meal. For
♦ Today I will perform one loving act for each person in my family.
♦ I will do without dessert today at lunch and put the money saved in the
Rice Bowl.
♦ I will write a letter or call a forgotten relative, neighbor, or friend.
♦ I will spend time really LISTENING to another.
♦ I will forgive someone.
As these works are accomplished, the slip of paper is placed in the Easter basket. On Easter this
same basket is used as the centerpiece for the family table, perhaps with the addition of colored
grass, candy, and Easter eggs.
We snuggle together, our family
to keep warm in these early hours of Easter,
to hear the great announcement:
Christ is risen!
We snuggle together - mother, father, children
to hug,
to embrace,
to share Peace-that-passes understanding,
to delight in open hearts and glad spirits!
In the touching
we find each other changed,
more hopeful,
cleansed from the ghosts of the past,
more of a family.
We ask ever year, Why?
We’re not sure. They say, “Christ is risen!”
We know only that this is mystery,
and our whole world is changed
because of it.
Only God really knows
the hows and the whys.
But we know the celebration,
the delight,
the hope.
Resurrection Cookies
Make the cookies together Saturday night before Easter Sunday.
1 cup whole pecans
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
You need:
Zippered baggie
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
Wooden spoon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place pecans in zippered baggie and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to break into
small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read
John 19: 1-3
Let children smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on
the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19: 28-29
Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10: 10-11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it, and brush the rest into the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own
sin. Read Luke 23:27
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of
the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read
Psalm 34: 8, John 3:16, and 1 John 1:3
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the
color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Romans 3: 23-24 and 1 John 2: 1-2
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by tsp. onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each
mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27: 59-60
Put cookie sheet in the oven. Close the door and turn the oven off. Give each child a piece of
tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27: 65-66
Go to bed!
Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in
despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16: 20 and 22
On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface
and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection Day, Jesus’ followers were
amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9
Blessing Prayer for Seeds
Lord of all life,
Who did hide Your seeds in all that lives,
be present here
as we greet these tiny seeds
with their gifts of life.
Seeds of life -- so small,
and yet, in the mystery of death and burial,
you will produce life tenfold and more.
We sprinkle you with water,
sacred sign of life,
asking that you may be embraced by our mother the earth,
fed by rain
and kissed gently by the sun.
In caring for you
we shall experience the most ancient profession of the human family:
the primal vocation of being workers in the garden.
Soon you will be our pride and joy.
Soon you will be our food as you give up life that we may live.
pregnant with life,
teach us the Easter secret of life,
as we ask God to bless you. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Prayers for the Domestic Church by Rev. Edward M. Hays, Forest of Peace Publishing, Inc., Leavenworth, KS
Suggestion for use:
• When planting a garden at home
• When sowing new grass seed in the yard
• When starting seedlings indoors
Gather two or more friends or family members who will plant the seeds or care for them. Have a
bowl of water ready for the blessing. You may wish to use water blessed at the Easter Vigil. Most
churches make this available if you bring your own container.
Taken from Faith and Family Fest © 1996 The Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha
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Solemnity of Pentecost
Pentecost: The Fiftieth Day
Jews commemorated the giving of the Law on Sinai with a celebration called their “Feast of
Weeks.” Luke, in his Acts of the Apostles, connects this celebration with Christianity as the day
on which the risen Christ gave the gift of the Spirit to the disciples -- Pentecost. The forty days
leading up to Easter are followed with the fifty days of Easter, culminating with Pentecost. Thus,
this feast is directly connected to Easter rather than being a distinct celebration. The gift of the
Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to be “always with you” (John 14:16). When
celebrating Pentecost, we are reminded of this promise. In essence, He remains with us through
the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. At Pentecost the Church was empowered to move out of
the upper room and into the streets with the gospel message. A celebration of the mission of the
local church and the total Church may help to bring that same empowerment to us -- an
empowerment that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Here are some activities to remind us of the work of the Holy Spirit through us:
1. As a family, read the gospel of Pentecost. What gifts has the Holy Spirit granted to
members of your family currently and in the past?
2. Have members of the family exchange gifts that represent the gift of the Holy Spirit
most exemplified in the receiver’s life.
3. Discuss ways the family can reach beyond the home, much like the apostles were
encouraged by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to move out of the upper room and into the
4. Study the history of your family. What gifts were evident as you consider past
achievements of the family? How was faith modeled by your grandparents?
5. Have the children make a banner for each member of the family which illustrates the
gifts of the Holy Spirit given to each individual family member.
6. Each week after Lent, discuss the various personality traits each family member was
given at birth. Relate these personality traits to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Blessing for Pentecost
Symbol Feather
Gathering Prayer
Spirit of God, You are present everywhere, pervading our lives like the air we breathe, like the
wind that blows, like the life that flows through our being. May we be carried like a feather on
the breath of Your love to serve others on this feast of Pentecost.
Two Candles
We light a candle to the past to help us see the fears and trembling that hinder and block the
Holy Spirit’s life in us.
Light one candle. Be silent.
We light a candle to the future to warm the hearts of children everywhere that they may be
awake and alert to the Holy Spirit as giver of life and gifts.
Light second candle. Be silent.
In the present, may we together experience the Holy Spirit among us – nearer to us than we are
to ourselves.
Hildegard of Bingen writes: “But I am continuously filled with fear and trembling. For I do not
recognize in myself security through any kind of personal ability. And yet I raise my hands aloft
to God, that I might be held by God, just like a feather which has no weight from its own
strength and lets itself be carried by the wind.”
Questions for Reflection
When have you felt like a feather in God’s hand?
How have you seen the Holy Spirit work in others’ lives?
Be wind to bring healing.
Come Spirit, come.
Be breath to bring life.
Come Spirit, come.
Be a flame to bring light and warmth.
Come Spirit, come.
For what else shall we ask the Spirit?
Pause, then response.
Sending Prayer
Clothe us with your Spirit. Carry us as a feather on the wind of your love to the north, south, east
and west. We remember your promise: I am with you always. And we promise: We are with You
always. Amen.
Ask all to breathe in God’s spirit and breathe out God’s life in all creation.
Reprinted from The Blessing Candles/58 Simple Mealtime Prayer-Celebrations by Gaynell Bordes Cronin & Jack Rathschmidt, OFM Cap.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith,
mildness, and chastity.
Gal. 5:22-23
Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts
which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Each one of you has received a special grace. So like good stewards responsible for all these
different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others.
1 Peter 4-10
Resources for Family Spirituality and Keeping the Seasons Holy
Bartkowski, Renee. Family Prayers for Daily Grace. Liguori, MO. Liguori Publications. 2003.
Berends, Polly Berien. Gently Lead: How to Teach Your Children About God While Finding Out for Yourself. New
York, NY: Harper Collins. 1991.
Bush, John C. and Patrick R. Cooney. Interchurch Families. Washington, D.C. USCCB Publishing. 2002.
Calvey, Phyllis. Keepers of the Light: A Parents’ Guide to Passing on Your Faith. Liguori, Missouri. Ligouri Lifespan.
“Celebrating Lent At Home” (A Calendar of Activities For Lent and Easter Sunday). South Deerfield, MA. Channing L.
Bete Co., Inc. 800/628-7733.
Chapman, Gary and Ross Campbell, M.D. The Five Love Languages of Children. Chicago, IL/ Northfield Publishing.
Chesto, Kathleen. Family Prayer for Family Times. Mystic, CT; Twenty-third Publications, 2003.
Chesto, Kathleen. Know Me, Hold Me, Sing To Me. Notre Dame, IN. Sorin Books, 2004.
Chesto, Kathleen O’Connell. Raising Kids Who Care/About Themselves, About Their World, About Each Other.
Liguori, MO. Liguori Lifespan. Revised and updated 2003.
Coleman, Ronda. Around the Family Table/ 365 mealtime conversations for parents and children. Beltsville, MD.
Robins Lane Press, 2001.
Coloroso, Barbara. Kids Are Worth It! Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline. New York, NY. Avon Books,
Costello, Gwen. Family Prayers for Lent. Mystic, CT. John Twenty-third Publications, 1997.
Coury, Paul C.SS.R. Lenten Daybreaks. Ligouri, MO. Ligouri Press, 1997.
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. New York, NY. Golden Books, 1997.
Cragon, Julie. Bless My Child/A Catholic Mother’s Prayer Book. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press. 2005.
Cronin, Gaynell Bordes and Rathschmidt, OFM, Cap. The Blessing Candles: 58 Simple Mealtime PrayerCelebrations. Cincinnati, OH. St. Anthony Messenger Press. 2000.
DeFrain, John and Stinnett, Nick. Secrets of Strong Families. New York, NY, Berkley Publishing, 1986.
“Day by Day Through Lent/ A Catholic Update” (# CO296). Cincinnati, OH. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996.
Doe, Mimi. Busy But Balanced. New York, NY. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2001.
Doe, Mimi and Marsha Walch, Ph.D. 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting. New York, NY. HarperPerennial, 1998.
Doherty, William J., Ph.D. The Intentional Family/ Simple rituals to strengthen family ties. New York, NY;
HarperCollins. 2002.
Doherty, William J., Ph.D. and Barbara Carlson. Putting Family First/ Successful strategies for reclaiming family life
in a hurry-up world. New York, NY. Henry Holt & Company; 2002.
Doherty, William J., Ph.D. Take Back Your Kids/Confident Parenting in Turbulent Times. Notre Dame, IN, Sorin
Books, 2000.
Fosarelli, Pat. Praying with Your Children/ A Guide for Families. San Jose, CA. Resource Publications Inc. 2003.
Glavich, Mary Kathleen. Catholic Family, Catholic Home. Mystic, Connecticut. Twenty-third Publications. 2000.
Gould, Meredith. The Catholic Home/Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day. New
York, NY. Doubleday. 2004.
Grizzle, Anne F. Reminders of God/Altars for Personal and Family Devotion. Brewster, MA. Paraclete Press. 2004.
Hays, Edward. Prayers for the Domestic Church/A Handbook for Worship in the Home. Leavenworth, KS. Forest of
Peace Publishing. Revised 2001
Hilliard, Laurie Lovejoy and Sharon Lovejoy Autry. Hold You, Mommy / Moments with God for Moms on the Go.
Minneapolis, MN. Bethany House Publishers, 2006.
Kehrwald, Leif. Family Spirituality/The Raw Ingredients of Faith. Chicago, IL, ACTA Publications. 1994.
Kendig, Ellen J. Children’s Book of Family Blessings. New York, Mahwah, NJ. Paulist Press. 1999.
Kinn, Gail. Be My Baby: Parents and Children Talk About Adoption. www.artisanbooks.com, 800/722-7202. 2001.
Lahr, Maureen Treacy and Julie Pfitzinger Daily Conversation Starters for the Family Meal Liguori, MO. Liguori
Publications. Revised Edition 2005.
Ledbetter, J. Otis and Tim Smith. Family Traditions. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cook Communications. 1998.
Lindsey, Jacqueline, Editor. Catholic Family Prayer Book. Huntington, IN. Our Sunday Visitor. 2001.
McGrath, Tom. Daily Meditations (With Scripture) for Busy Parents. Chicago, IL, ACTA Publications, 2002.
McGrath, Tom. Raising Faith-Filled Kids/Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home. Chicago, IL,
Loyola Press. 2000.
McNally, Thomas and William Storey. Day by Day; The Notre Dame Prayerbook for Students. Notre Dame, IN. Ave
Maria Press; 2004.
Mathson, Patricia. Time to Pray! Seasonal Prayer Services for Middle Grades. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press.
“Our Holiest Week: A Practical Guide for the Holy Week Liturgies/ A Catholic Update” (#CO492) by Thomas
Richstatter, O.F.M. Cincinnati, OH. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996.
“Passover: Jewish Roots of the Eucharist/ A Catholic Update” (#CO398) by Arthur E. Zannoni. Cincinnati, OH. St.
Anthony Messenger Press, 1998.
Rogers, Fred. Mister Rogers Parenting Book/ Helping to Understand Your Young Child. Philadelphia, PA. Running
Press, 2002.
Rogers, Fred. World According to Mr. Rogers/ Important Things To Remember. New York, NY. Hyperion
Publications, 2003.
Rupp, Joyce. The Cup of Our Life: A Guide for Spiritual Growth. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press. 2000.
Rupp, Joyce. The Circle of Life/ The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press. 2005.
Rupp, Joyce. Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria
Press. 2000.
Santa, C.SS.R., Thomas M. Lenten Family Graces, A Treasure of Prayers for Lenten Meals. Ligouri, MO. Liguori
Press, 1997.
Sasso, Steve and Pat Sasso. 10 Best Gifts for Your Teen/ Raising Teens With Love and Understanding. Notre Dame,
IN. Sorin Books, 1999.
Smith, Timothy. Connecting with Your Kids / How Fast Families Can Move From Chaos to Closeness. Minneapolis,
MN. Bethany House Publishers, 2005.
Smith, Timothy. 52 Family Time Ideas/Drawer Closer to Your Kids as You Grow Closer to God. Minneapolis, MN.
Bethany House Publishers, 2006.
Steinberg, Laurence, Ph.D. The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting. New York, NY; Simon & Schuster. 2004.
Stinnett, Dr. Nick and Nancy, Joe and Alice Beam. Fantastic Families/6 Proven Steps to Building a Strong Family.
West Monroe, Louisiana. Howard Publishing Co. 1999.
Stinnett, Dr. Nick and Nancy, Joe and Alice Beam. Fantastic Families Workbook/6 Proven Steps to Building a Strong
Family. West Monroe, Louisiana. Howard Publishing Co. 2000.
Thigpen, Paul and Lisa. Building Catholic Family Traditions. Huntington, IN. Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. 1999.
Turpin, Joanne. Catholic Traditions/Treasures New & Old. Cincinnati, OH. St. Anthony Messenger Press and
Franciscan Communications. 2004.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “A Family Perspective in Church and Society.” Washington, DC,
USCC Publishing, 1998.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Follow the Way of Love.” Washington, DC, USCC Publishing, 1994.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. John Paul II “On the Family, Familiaris Consortio, Apostolic
Exhortation” Washington, DC, USCC Publishing, 1982.
Vogt, Susan V. Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference/Helping Your Family Live with Integrity, Value Simplicity,
and Care for Others. Chicago, IL. Loyola Press. 2002.
Wright, Wendy M. Sacred Dwelling/A Spirituality of Family Life. Revised Edition. Boston, MA, Pauline Books &
Media, 2007.
Web Sites:
www.vatican.org (Holy See)
www.usccb.org (US Bishops)
www.nacflm.org (National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers)
www.colsdioc.org (Columbus Diocese)
www.FamilyLife.colsdioc.org (Marriage and Family Life Office, Diocese of Columbus)
Family Films Worth Viewing and Discussing
You may wish to preview the film to determine its appropriateness based on the maturity level of your child/ren,
and/or visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site for movie information and reviews at
A Man For All Seasons *
Cry Freedom
El Norte
Fly Away Home
Four Roses in December
In the Gloaming
Malcolm X
Mr. Holland’s Opus
My Life
Song of Bernadette *
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
The Secret of Roan Irish
The Shadow Lands
To Kill A Mockingbird
Schindler’s List
TV Hallmark Stories
With Honors
* Available through the Media Department of the Office of Religious Education and Catechesis at 614/221-4633
The following is a short list of movies and study resources (appropriate for a mix of ages) that are available through the
Media Department of the Office of Religious Education and Catechesis at 614/221-4633.
Cabbages and Kings
Edna Eagle
Goodnight, Mrs. Foster
Heroes and Heroines (Series):
People of Hope
People of Prayer
People of Courage
Lights Camera...Faith! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture—Cycle A
Lights Camera...Faith! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture—Cycle B
Lights Camera...Faith! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture—Cycle C
Meaningful Conversations About Prayer (Series of four DVDs):
How and Why We Pray
Praying with Our Own Words
Praying with Scripture
Praying with the Church’s Words
Miracle of the Heart
Movies That Matter: Reading Film through the Lens of Faith
Pardon and Peace
Power of Forgiveness
Saints Alive (Series)
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf
The Greenhouse
The Happy Prince
The Man Who Planted Trees
When the Wind Stops