Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 94/ 9.4.22

Prayer for a New School Year!

September is always both an exciting and stressful time in most households! We hope that this school year blesses your family with many opportunities to share your learning, support one another, laugh, and pray.

Here is a prayer for parents to pray over their children as our area returns to school:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the gift of the child/children that you have entrusted to my care. Please watch over them as they begin a new school year. Bless their teachers, school administrators, bus drivers, school support staff, friends and classmates.

Keep them safe every day. I pray they may feel Your presence and know that You are always with them. Help them recall my loving words of support for them. Give them wisdom to make good choices, and an openness to learn new things. Fill them with knowledge and positive thinking. Help them overcome obstacles and shield them from negativity.

Surround my child/children with good friends who also know and love You. Help them treat each other with kindness, fairness, and respect. May they treat each person they encounter as another child of God. Grant them the Grace to place their trust in You so they may know Your peace. Amen

(Adapted from St. Paul Catholic Church, Flowood, MS)


Beginning a new school year gives us an ideal opportunity to be Christ out in the world to others. As we are sent forth from the Mass, how can we be the hands and feet of Christ in our schools? How can we encourage our children to respect themselves and one another, to show kindness and appreciation for those that serve them in our schools and how can they live the Gospel through their actions toward those around them. Living the Eucharist, can be as simple as taking the time to SEE those around us, to notice another's needs, and to respond with love. On August 9, we celebrated the Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein. One of her famous quotes is "the deeper one is drawn into God, the more one must 'go out of oneself'; that is one must go to the world in order to carry the divine life into it." This school year, may you be guided by this powerful quote. As you receive the Body and Blood of Christ, may you be encouraged to bring God's love out into your school and into the world; it is so needed right now! This is the essence of our discipleship!



Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday 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 blue button below.

Sunday Readings:

Family Stories: Here are some stories that could help you break open the themes of the Sunday readings or further explore your faith this week! One of the themes you will see in the upcoming Gospels focuses on trustworthiness. Here are some children's stories that can lend some opportunities for conversation on the topic!

  • The Lion and the Mouse by Gail Hermann and Lisa McCue
  • Chattaboonga's Chilling Choice: A Story about Trusting God by Sheila Walsh
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel by V. Burton

A few good articles on trustworthiness to share with teens:


Everyone wants to be a person of integrity! Integrity can be defined as the ability to act in ways that are consistent with the values, beliefs, and moral principles we claim to hold.

When we have integrity, we do the right thing, even when no one is watching and we show respect toward others.

This week, spend some time writing a list of what your family values. What values come from experience? What values have been passed down by your family through the generations? How do your family values intersect with the values of our faith? Here is a list of some Gospel values to get you started:

LOVE: How do you show Christian love to each other and those outside your family?

FAMILY: How do you prioritize the support of one another?

FAITH: How do you show faithfulness to God?

HOPE: How do you bring a sense of hope to life, even in tough times?

FORGIVENESS: How do you offer forgiveness to one another and receive it with grace?

SERVICE: How do you reach out to others in charity, kindness and hospitality?

TRUTH: How do you strive to live God's truth and make truth a part of your daily lives?

JUSTICE: How do you work toward the Common Good?

COMPASSION: How do you bring consciousness to the suffering of others and seek opportunities to respond?

Hang your list in a prominent place and chat about a plan to engage your family in living the values of the Gospel. Small steps make a big impact!


Listen to this podcast from The Messy Family Project on the subject of family values and the challenging ways we may need to navigate our values in a world that doesn't always share them!


A video to help you better explain the meaning of integrity!
An Object Lesson on Integrity
A humorous video on integrity that gets to the point! A great discussion tool for middle school and above.
PBIS: Integrity


Create a watercolor painting together! You will need watecolor paper, watercolor paints, permanent markers, brushes and water (and toweling on hand!)

Choose a family value you cherish or a phrase that reflects it, such as "Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain."

Begin by writing out your word or phrase and then enjoy time together by decorating with watercolors. Hang this beautiful reminder inside or outside your house to share a message of positivity!!


On September 18, we will celebrate a day known as Catechetical Sunday. Parents are the first and most important catechists in the life of their children. Thank you for sharing our beautiful faith with your child and giving them the gift of journeying with the knowledge of God's presence alongside them. It will become important in so many ways as they grow.

Today, we share with you this prayer for Catechists, from Loyola Press and we pray in gratitude for your ministry to your own children and others you will surely impact:

Loving God, Creator of all things, you call us to be in relationship with you and others.

Thank you for calling me to be a catechist, for the opportunity to share with others

what you have given to me. May all those with whom I share the gift of faith discover how you are present in all things. May they come to know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

May the grace of the Holy Spirit guide my heart and lips,

so that I may remain constant in loving and praising you. May I be a witness to the Gospel and a minister of your truth.

May all my words and actions reflect your love.



Enjoy fun family AND friend time together!

You can demonstrate the difference between trustworthiness and untrustworthiness by playing a simple block stacking game. Begin with a dice and a tower of blocks. If the player rolls an ODD number they are untrustworthy and removes a block from the tower, but does not place it in the correct order on top. If the player rolls and even number, they are trustworthy and they reset the block they removed in the same pattern. When the stack falls, likely because the tower has too much weakness, share about how those same things can happen in life when trust breaks down!


Scientific studies have shown that having a sense of higher purpose stimulates oxytocin production, as does trust. Trust and purpose then mutually reinforce each other and this can make for a happier family life. Giving your child a sense of purpose in the workings of daily family life, making decisions and helping others outside the home can give them a real sense of confidence and trust within themselves. What can you entrust your child with and encourage his or her sense of purpose in your family and the world?


Kids thrive (even if they pretend not to) on knowing their boundaries and the consequences of their actions. If you have given your child a responsibility that they do not carry forth; don't just let it go out of frustration or the hope for a more peaceful morning/evening routine. Take the time to talk about follow-through and provide concrete examples of accountability in your life as well as theirs! Want to know more? Here is a valuable article from a website called Empowering Parents.


"Be Assured of My Prayers": Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them or for his or her intention? This is often a conversational exchange between Christians. If they have, have you taken the time to follow through? A nice family ritual is to offer intercessory prayer on the behalf of others. Intentions might come from those who have requested your prayers, or they may come from knowing about hardship in your community or world. What a beautiful lesson to teach our children to pray for others and to be trustworthy in carrying out that role of our discipleship. Next time someone asks you to pray for them, you can surely say, "please, be assured of my prayers for you!"


Let's wonder about being Trustworthy and Trusting in God:

  • Does God expect certain things from me?
  • When I talk about a friend behind his or her back, how will that affect my friendships in the future?
  • Can I be trusted to keep myself and others safe?
  • How do I know Jesus is by my side?
  • What does my heart tell me about the situation?
  • How does it feel when I admit to a wrong?
  • How does it feel when I can't trust someone?

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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