The Family Zone

In Honor of Earth Day/Issue 4/April 26, 2020


....Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity. The Bible speaks again and again of the goodness and beauty of creation, which is called to glorify God." (Pope John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 14)

The value of the outdoors is becoming even clearer to us in our time at home. For many, it has become our daily refuge from our quarantine, our screens, and our online work and learning. Spring is a great time to see the Earth come out of its slumber and begin to grow and green! What a wonderful time for us to celebrate the 50 days of the Easter season. How many signs of new life can you spot in your yard or on your walk? Make it into an impromptu scavenger hunt and take an up close look at God's amazing creation! Some of our important Patron Saints of the environment are St. Francis of Assisi, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and St. Benedict. All three individuals showed their concern for the environment and saw it as an important place to connect with our creator. Throughout the newsletter, you will find connections to these saints and an opportunity to get to know them better!

We've also added another new section! Since we can't gather to celebrate the sacraments right now, we wanted to give you an opportunity to consider how you are bringing sacramental life into your home! Check out our suggestions in our new Living a Sacramental Life column.

Photo by Johannes Andersson on Unsplash


This Sunday's gospel can be found at

A children's version can be found at:

The Emmaus story is a beautiful Resurrection story that reminds us to be open to the presence of God in our midst. Two of the disciples were walking along the road and Jesus came upon them. He walked and talked with them and they didn't know it was their Lord. Do your eyes sometimes miss seeing God in your presence? Are you having a hard time seeing God at work in the world right now or have you talked with your families about the helpers? The people being Christ for one another in the midst of tragedy..are you one of them?

Discuss as a family:

Where have you seen God at work in the last week?

Do you sometimes have a feeling that God is walking right along beside you? Can you share a story about that?

If Jesus came toward your family on your walk today, what would you want to say to Him? What do you think He would say to you?



Living a Sacramental Life

While we cannot gather to celebrate the Sacraments, we can still bring beautiful elements of sacramental life into our homes and experience sacramental moments with one another. Click on the PDF below to learn more about the healing sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.


Enjoy this beautiful prayer service created around the Canticle of the Sun which was written by St. Francis of Assisi in 1224. It would be a great prayer to share outside with your family for a new experience! We have also provided a video of the prayer complete with gorgeous nature photography! Want to know more about St. Francis? He is the Patron Saint for ecologists and was known for his love of nature and animals. Share the short video below with your children!

The Canticle of Creation


To help you learn the faith at home together

Download the linked PDF below to find catechetical lessons for all ages for you to share and teach the faith at home!

Supporting the Foundation

With another few weeks added to our "pause" and an indefinite end to our current normal, the quarantine is getting to some of us. We are tired, bored and weary from adapting to this new way of life. This is when morale can go way down. It's going to be as difficult for our kids as it is for us, so we can support them best by tending to ourselves. Our three environmentally conscious saints (St. Francis, St. Kateri and St. Benedict) all knew something about isolation as well. St. Benedict devised a rule, known as the Rule of St Benedict with is focused around balance between community and time away, simple life and care for the common good. These are all things we are called to right now, as we adjust. In Benedictine life, the monks watch out for those experiencing social isolation. Is your family doing the same? Is there an elder, a young single adult or someone in your circle who is experiencing this pandemic alone? How might your connection to them in turn feed your spirit by bringing you a sense of community?

St. Kateri experienced the devastation of the small pox epidemic and learned to seek God's comfort and consolation in a difficult time and St. Francis found great moments of peace and prayer alone in nature. These are all things we can do right now to be good to ourselves. And, we must also remember that Easter is a season of joy. Joy is much different than happiness. We can feel joy, even in difficult times. Watch the video below to learn more of that fruit of the spirit. Be well!

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Little Lessons from the Saints: Saint Francis of Assisi


Risi e Bisi and St. Mark

On April 25, we celebrated the Feast of St. Mark. The author of the oldest and the shortest of the four Gospels, Mark’s Gospel emphasizes Jesus’s rejection by humanity while being God’s triumphant envoy. Like another Gospel writer Luke, Mark was not one of the 12 apostles. A winged lion is Mark’s symbol. The lion derives from Mark’s description of John the Baptist as a “voice of one crying out in the desert” (Mark 1:3), which artists compared to a roaring lion. The wings come from the application of Ezekiel’s vision of four winged creatures to the evangelists. Venice, famous for the Piazza San Marco, claims Mark as its patron saint; the large basilica there is believed to contain his remains. On this feast day, known by some as St. Mark’s Day, this dish was traditionally served as an offering to the Doge of Venice from the peasantry from the lagoon islands.

Enjoy this quick and easy, pantry friendly meal with your family!

Picture by Romke Hoekstra

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


There are incredible amount of fun ways to STRETCH as a family, imitating your favorite creatures in nature! Follow our pin board on NATURE-THEMED STRETCHING to have a new kind of family movement fun this week! Stretching can be a great calming activity and help quiet over-stimulated kids while giving a great opportunity to work the muscles!



Why not make something new out of things you find around your house? Here are some great ideas to fill a boring day with the joy of creativity! Follow the link (below the 10 ideas) to our Pinterest board of art projects where you will find plans for these and many more beat the boredom "craftivities!"

1. Make a face mask or reusable bag out of a t-shirt

2. Create a collage with old magazines and mail.

3. Sew together fabric scraps to make a blanket, a bowl or a cool room decoration

4. Create a sculpture using recycled materials

5. Make a hanging planter birdfeeder or terrarium out of a milk jug

6. Make a mosaic out of cut up cereal and packaged food boxes

7. Create a set out of large boxes and write your own skit or build a fort

8. Make a set of puppets out of toilet-paper tubes

9. Make a marble maze out of cardboard boxes, shoeboxes and more

10. Design decorative planters out of used plastic containers


Click on an image in the gallery and it will take you online to an activity you can download for your child to enjoy!

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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