The Family Zone

Lectionary-Based Playlist /Issue 36/December 6, 2020

A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths."

It's the second Sunday of Advent; have you found a little time to make more room for God in your heart? This weekend we hear about one of the most important figures of our Advent story: John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus. Today is also the Feast of St. Nicholas, the 4th century Bishop who was known for his generosity. This week we observe many important special days in our Advent season and our church year: Tues, Dec. 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a Holy Day of Obligation); Saturday is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast days of St. Ambrose and St. Juan Diego are this week as well! So much to celebrate as we move through the week; we hope you enjoy our suggestions for quality family time and at home learning! As always, pick and choose what suits your family best. Have a blessed week, waiting in joyful hope!



Family Stories:

  • The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali
  • Just Nicholas by Annie Kratzsch
  • Juan Diego -Saints and Me! by Barbara Yoffie
  • The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaolo

Parent Article: Read about Celebrating Advent as a Family:

For Teens: Read the story "Donkey Bells" by Catherine Doherty. Are you excluding someone from your life or your heart right now? Just like on an Advent calendar, sometimes we find ourselves needing to open new doors to others. The full book this story is found in can be a great resource for your family during the season!


  • John the Baptist was definitely a unique individual. He didn't act like others around him and he knew his purpose. Write about what makes you unique and special. Have you discovered your purpose yet? Maybe it involves using one of the things that makes you, uniquely YOU!
  • Download this lesson from Sadlier to focus on respecting others when learning about the story of St. Juan Diego:
  • Complete this BE PREPARED word search about Advent:
  • Have you ever heard the motto "Be Prepared?" It belongs to the Boy Scouts, but it is a good motto for all of us to follow. The Prophets wrote about preparing ourselves to meet God at the end of our life. Write about a time when you weren't prepared for something to happen. What does the motto "be prepared" mean to you now?


Have you gotten started on your Advent experience? Are you making time to prepare yourself? Here is a thought-provoking podcast that focuses on a new book for teens but also guides our thoughts toward preparing, in general, for the beautiful season of Advent.


Have you set up your nativity scene? Here are some ways to pray as a family with the nativity scene throughout the Advent season.

Many Catholic families engage their children in the tradition of slowly moving Jesus and Mary toward the manger during the weeks of Advent. It can be a fun activity for the kids to seek out their progress and bring attention to this special scene again and again! Do you have a family nativity scene you love? We'd enjoy seeing it! Send it to and it may make our Diocesan Instagram! Finally, as always, we invite you to pray this week's psalm!

Lord, Let Us See Your Kindness, And Grant Us Your Salvation. Psalm 85 (A073, B074)


Choose one of these videos to watch and have a conversation about what you see and hear!
Episode 1 | Introduction | Saint John the Baptist: From Birth to Beheading
Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe | Miracles of Mary | Episode 01
Great Family Activities for Advent
Advent #ShareJesus 5: Prepare the Way of the Lord


  • Even if you open this AFTER the day, this will still be a fun tradition for your kids to enjoy: Put your shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with oranges, nuts, candy or coins; this tradition is observed widely around the world! In the spirit of St. Nicholas' generosity, choose a day that your family will enjoy handing out random acts of kindness and surprising others. It is a beautifully joyful and playful experience!
  • El Balero is a well-loved children's game in Mexico. Celebrate the Feast of St. Juan Diego by making and playing with this new toy!
  • Download this free matching game from Pontifical Mission Societies in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to learn more about Advent scriptures and enjoy some family fun!



  • John the Baptist is famous for "pointing toward Jesus " with everything he did. Do you do something in your life that helps others feel God's presence? What are some things you could do that "point toward Jesus?"
  • St. Nicholas was very generous. How you can be generous to your friends and family this week? Does being generous always have to cost money? Can you be generous with your time? Or with a special talent or skill you have?
  • St. Juan Diego was from Mexico. When he had his vision of the Virgin Mary, she spoke to him in his own language. What do you think it is like for people to be in a country where they don't know the language? How would you feel if you couldn't understand what was being said? How can you be welcoming to someone who speaks a different language?


Marian Apparition: A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance by Mary, the mother of Jesus. In order to be classified as a Marian apparition, the person or persons who claim to see Mary must claim that they see her visually located in their environment. St. Juan Diego experienced a Marian apparition when he saw a vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are 8 approved Marian apparitions. To learn more, follow:

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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