The Family Zone

Equipping the Domestic Church/ ISSUE 68/ 9.5.21

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Who is Jesus to you? Next week, the Gospel will lead us to ponder the question "Who Do You Say That I Am?" in reference to Jesus Christ. The disciples were asked the question and reflected on what their community was saying about Jesus. Jesus shared that instead of living the life of a king, he would experience great suffering and he and his disciples led a very simple life. This theme extends into the following week as we ponder the idea of "greatness." We are reminded that greatness might be very different than what our society labels as such. Often we are led to believe that we can judge our success by how many things we have acquired: a nice car, a beautiful home, many "toys." Society teaches us about accumulation. However, it is often shared that those that have a lot, more than most, are still challenged to find happiness. It's interesting to reflect on this as we observe Labor Day, a holiday created to honor those who toil for long days and little wages. How can your family engage the Christian practice of simplicity? How can you focus less on "stuff" and more on relationship with one another, with neighbor and with Jesus? How might that draw your whole family closer to Christ?


Learn more about St. Joseph during this YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH!

Pope Francis remarked that Joseph's "humility and simplicity" help show us the way of life. The humble life that Mary and Joseph led as the parents of Jesus are a wonderful symbol to mothers and fathers of the beauty that can be found in our simple daily life, often filled with hard work and mundane tasks. What are the simple tasks of your family life that feel holy in the way you carry them out day after day?

Holy Family with bird, c. 1650, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo



Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday's Mass for the coming two weeks. This will give you a chance to prepare your heart and mind for full and active participation in Mass this weekend! For a Mass schedule in our diocese click on the red button below.

Family Stories: Story Time with a Positive Message. This edition shares some books that share the theme of healing. These could be a great starting point for conversation after a tough year! This week's stories echo the practice of simplicity and sharing!

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James

The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni

The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau & Gail de Marcken

Articles for Parents:

Helping Your Kids Embrace a Simpler Life:

Books/Articles for Teens:


  • Jesus asks "Who Do You Say that I Am? Make a list of everything you know about Jesus!
  • Leading a simpler life and being responsible with household economics is a Christian practice. Talk about budgeting for wants and needs as a family. Create a simple budget sheet for kids with the titles Save, Spend, Share. Set a budget and encourage them to fill in the budget worksheet throughout the month. Be sure to teach them the valuing of sharing part of that budget with those less fortunate as part of this Christian practice.
  • Take a family inventory of your things..count up the number of shoes, articles of clothing, books, electronics, sports equipment, etc. How much do you have? Are there things that can be shared with others?
  • Living simply is also about purging what doesn't matter in your life. Make a family list of the things that keep you from spending time together, attending Mass, helping others. Change happens in small steps; choose one or a few of these items to let go and journal as you begin to discover positive things you have more time for like service, prayer, family, etc. What do you see happening as a result of these changes? How do you feel?


Do you listen to podcasts throughout the week? We will share episodes to help you embrace week's theme and be able to converse with your kids feeling more confident! We'll also share family listening skills from time to time!


Many things clutter up our lives: possessions, extracurricular activities, worries, ideas....sometimes there is so much clutter that it gets in the way of life's important things: God, Our Family, Dear Friends and even kindness. How might "de-cluttering" bring you peace this month? How might it help you re-establish priorities?

Use this Prayer for Simplicity with your family:


Think about the "Stuff" you have. The three videos below help you think about the power it has on your family right now and the power stuff has in the health of the world!

For Teens and Adults

The Story of Stuff
Learning Detachment from Your Stuff

For Kids

The Berenstain Bears: Get The Gimmies/Lost in a Cave - Ep.12
Use the video below to reflect on who Jesus is for you!
Jesus of Nazareth - Who Do You Say That I Am? (Film Clip)


  • Have a toy clean-out! Make a morning out of choosing toys to donate to others. Give the toys a good cleaning. Say a prayer over them and donate them to your favorite charity. As you are going through the toys, it is likely you will rediscover a few things that have been forgotten! Have fun enjoying them as a family!
  • Make a toy out of a cardboard box, or product box! Here are some ideas:


Make a Kitchen Scrap Garden! Did you know that many vegetables can be regrown from scraps? Create an indoor or outdoor vegetable garden with your kids and teach them the value of reducing waste!


No equipment needed and a quick workout for the whole family!

Wonder with the Holy Family!

Jesus came into the world in the most simplistic of ways: born in a barn and laid in a manger. There was no room in the inn and the world was too busy to notice – all except the simple shepherds in the field. They understood simplicity, and that virtue was passed on to Jesus who kept his ministry simple and approachable. Imagine being in a family with the Son of God, and yet living simply. The King of King ate at a “simple carpenter’s” table. It just shows how much God loves humanity that He would humble himself to live so simply.

Parents: Sometimes less is more. Think of the times your family has enjoyed being together the most. Most often those times include an activity that everyone can be a part of – a hike or some other simple task. Sometimes they include learning and sharing knowledge. It’s amazing how they rarely require tons of money – just time and relationships.

Children: What do you do that makes you happy? Isn’t it amazing that God gives us so many ways to be happy that are really easy? Look at the clouds and find shapes, or play tag with friends. It can be simple and still fun!

Exercise for Kids - No Equipment Lower Body & Core

Word of the Week!

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: A basic moral test for society is measuring how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. As Catholics, we strive to make sure "the least of us" has what is needed. Living a life of simplicity can make us more conscious of the needs of others and able to share what we can with those in need.

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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