The Family Zone
Lectionary-Based Playlist /Issue 53/April 4, 2021
This issue of The Family Zone begins our transition to looking at the week ahead, instead of the week behind..our new format! This edition will help you prepare for next Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday. Our hope is that this new format will help you better engage in the weekly liturgy and connect the themes of the readings to the faith conversations or sharing that enters your weekly family life! This issue will focus on how we can share God's mercy with one another as we take a closer look at the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy!
Have a Blessed Easter!
Journeying with St. Joseph
One of the legends surrounding St. Joseph is the miraculous staircase. According to legend, the Sisters of Loretto were invited to Santa Fe, New Mexico to help educate young women. Twenty years later, they had also raised enough funds to build a chapel for their motherhouse. They hired the same architect that had designed the cathedral in Santa Fe, but he unfortunately died before building access to the choir loft. Due to the limited space he had designed, it was decided that the loft would remain unreachable in order to maintain seating.
Then the sisters began a novena to St. Joseph the Carpenter. On the ninth (and final) day of the novena, a simple worker with only the most basic tools arrived and offered to help. He only used simple tools and wooden pegs, and a rare wood that is not native to the American Southwest (a spruce of some sort). None of the local lumber yards recall ordering or selling the wood. After about three months, during which no one recalls seeing this man come or go from the chapel, he disappeared without payment or a thank you, leaving behind a completed staircase.
The staircase itself is a feat of engineering. It completes two 360-degree turns with no center pole for support. This means the entire weight is distributed down to the bottom step. In the 20th century when two small brackets were added to provide more support it was discovered to do more damage than good by restricting the natural spring-like motion of the stairs.
Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at this coming Sunday's Mass. 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 yellow button below.
Do you love to read to your kids? These stories will help you apply this week's theme to other areas of life and connect the lines between our beliefs and daily life!
- Divine Mercy for Children by Vinny Flynn
- The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern
- Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePaolo
- An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Parent Articles on the topic:
- Helping your children understand the Works of Mercy in every day life: https://intentionalcatholicparenting.com/works-of-mercy-for-families-part-1-at-home/
- "Mary's Encouraging Parenting Example"
- This article is from 2016, but the message of the importance of Divine Mercy still holds true: https://lifeteen.com/blog/calling-on-mercy/
Below you will find "at-home" assignments if your child learns best through writing and completing worksheets:
FOR ELEMENTARY AGES:
- Try the Works of Mercy word search; pdf linked below
- Use this lesson connected to the Mercy Rule in sports to brainstorm and list ways you and your young person can be more merciful in every day life: https://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/2016/01/the-mercy-rule-how-to-teach-the-works-of-mercy/
- Use the Divine Mercy Image Journal below for prompt questions!
Listen to this podcast that shares a brief biography of one of our treasured Saints of Mercy, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Children learn through play; here are some ways for you to keep learning about the faith theme of the week in a "hands-on" way! The Easter season is all about JOY! Here are some joy-filled games for family time!
FOR SMALL CHILDREN:
- Split open the plastic eggs from Easter and create a game of concentration. Hide different objects under half the egg and play with your child to match the different objects! You can use buttons, candies, paper clips, etc. Just make sure there is a match to each object!
FOR ELEMENTARY AGES:
- Have fun making balloon rockets fly across the room! https://discoverexplorelearn.com/balloon-rockets/
- Plastic Easter egg fun beyond the hunt: https://teachingmama.org/games-using-plastic-eggs/
- Play these Easter themed Minute to Win it Games!
Great projects for you to create something together for quality time! In this issue, we've provided you with some family fun Easter crafts as well as crafts centered on the Works of Mercy!
FOR SMALL CHILDREN:
- Complete an Easter Egg Ice Excavation!
- Make an Angel of Mercy lacing craft to connect to the Kids of the Kingdom video above: https://www.messylittlemonster.com/2018/12/paper-plate-angel-lacing-craft.html
FOR ELEMENTARY AGES:
- Use plastic Easter eggs to make homemade Easter Egg Bath Bombs
- Paint your hands and then put your handprints on the paper. Around the paper, write all the ways you will help others!
- Make these Plastic Egg Planting Pots! https://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/plastic-egg-mini-planting-pots/
- Make Divine Mercy Tie Dye shirts https://www.catholicicing.com/tie-dye-catholic-shirts-sacred-heart/
- Do you have leftover Easter Candy? Make one of these fun desserts!
Wonder with St. Joseph
I always knew my little boy was special. But when he came back to his disciples after death, I realized there was nothing beyond him. A parent always hopes to prepare their children to be greater than they are – and my boy did it. Where I could not return to his mother and him, he DID return to his disciples and his mother! I wept with joy watching from the other side.
Parents – How amazing it is to watch your children grow and become their own persons. From an early age they have their own personalities, but watching them use their gifts to pave their own path is special. How do you help them see the truth as they search for independence? How can you encourage them to be like Thomas and allowing the truth to change their approach?
Young People – Jesus’ first words when he appeared to his disciples were ‘Peace be with you.’ The Lord wants you to be at peace, to know the calm that only he can give. Where do you find calm in your life? How can you invite God into that calm so it can grow? What do you think it would be like if that was how you greeted your family or friends? Would your time together be different?
FAITH WORD OF THE WEEK!
What does MERCY actually mean in the context we are exploring? Use this helpful outline and overview from the Catholic Apostolate Center to learn more about what all the works of MERCY can be defined as through our Catholic lens