The Feast of the Annunciation is a beloved feast day for it is the day we rejoice in Mary’s YES! It only stands to reason that we and the Church rejoice as it is the day that the “Word was made Flesh!” There was a very dear priest in our diocese, one of those rare individuals who inspired countless people with his unwavering trust in Divine Providence…even in the most difficult and trying situations he reminded us to trust. He loved the Blessed Mother and like her was transformed by his YES to a life in service to God and in turn transformed all of us! Everyone prayed that he would live to celebrate his 100th birthday, but he actually died just a few short hours of the day. However, nine months earlier he would cheerfully and enthusiastically remind all of us that indeed he was already 100 years old since he counted his age from the time of his conception in his mother’s womb. What a testimony to all of us as to the sanctity of life in the womb, the unborn! Today is no ordinary day but a great day to pause from our day to day routines and take time to celebrate this momentous event in all our lives!
“In families with young children, this feast would be a good time to begin teaching youngsters important lessons about the inestimable value God places on human life.
First, that He loved us so much that He chose to become one of us — to take on our humanity so completely that he “became flesh”, as utterly weak and dependent as any human infant is. Second, God became “like us in all things except sin” at the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb, not at some later time. The Feast of the Annunciation is a celebration of the actual Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Children may, quite naturally, think that the birth of Jesus is the time when Our Savior first ‘became Man,’ especially since Christmas has become the Christian holiday in our culture. We understand best what we can see, what is visible. The invisible, the hidden is, no less real for our lack of seeing it. (We think of the baby in its mother’s womb, known and felt, though unseen, only to her.)
Even very young children can know the truth about the growth of a baby inside its mother’s body, especially If the mother of the family (or an aunt, perhaps) happens to be pregnant on the holiday. The exactly nine months’ wait from March 25th to December 25th for the Baby to be born would be interesting to most children. (God made no special rules for His own bodily development!) What better way than reading the first chapter of Luke to gently begin teaching children about the beginning of each new human life?
Children should be told how important it is to every person that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1), and parents can find this feast a valuable teaching moment.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Article 3 of the Creed, “He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the Virgin Mary” (#436-511), should be read by parents. This will not only give adults a timely review of Catholic doctrine, but it can be a great help to us in transmitting important truths of the faith to our children. The summary at the end can help formulate points we want to emphasize. Excerpts from the Catechism could be read aloud to older children.” (http://www.ewtn.com/library/FAMILY/MARCH25.TXT)
In hope of inspiring you to pause from your regular curriculum may I suggest the following:
You can begin with the prayers associated with Mary and her Fiat, the Angelus, the Magnificat and an Annunciation prayer too! (http://www.marypages.com/Annunciation.htm). Over the centuries these same prayers inspired lovely Classical pieces of music. As I started to research them, I had no idea of the veritable wealth of music giving Glory to unborn Christ Child. Do plan on spending your quiet time today listening to this beautiful music and hear the joy!
The Magnificat, Canticle of Mary, Song of Mary, Latin Hymn, Daughters of Mary:
Bach – Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 : Harnoncourthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oL_qsKPeik
Antonio Vivaldi – Magnificat in G Minor RV 610:
MOZART Vesperae de Dominica, KV 321 –  Magnificat KOOPMAN:
Franz Schubert – Magnificat in C major, D486:
You can also see that this momentous event also inspired much artwork. Three years ago Larry and I found a gorgeous rendition of the Annunciation by the artist Jan Van Eyck on our 25th Wedding Anniversary, or should I say it found us, as a reminder of our YES to each other and to God. It is currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, a trip we will have to make soon to see the original! Today you can explore the work here where you can take a closer look and explore its symbolism: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.46.html?opensection=overview
And that is not the only image of the Annunciation, visit these sites to gaze at all the beauty. The following sites have a multitude of beautiful Classical artwork to share with your family:
http://www.abcgallery.com/L/leonardo/leonardo36.html (Leonardo Da Vinci The Annunciation. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)
http://www.abcgallery.com/B/botticelli/botticelli34.html (Sandro Boticelli Cestello Annunciation Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)
http://www.abcgallery.com/virgin.html#Annunciation (many other masterpieces)
For your younger set I found several coloring pages that you can print whereby they grant copyright permission to print and use any original material or ideas for individual or classroom use.
This site has about 10 different images to choose from different sources: http://printablecolouringpages.co.uk/?s=the+annunciation
This one comes to us compliments from the parish church in Front Royal Virginia St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where we just went last weekend! http://www.sjtb.org/images/Annunciation.pdf
Here is a simple outline coloring page for the littlest ones:http://www.sermons4kids.com/mary_angel_colorpg.htm
For a bit of fun here are pictures that the kids can color on-line, changing the colors and printing off the version they like best! : http://www.supercoloring.com/pages/annunciation
Be certain to end the day with a delicious meal or special dessert. My favorite cookbook, A Continual Feast has a Swedish Waffles recipe where the author explains that in Europe beginning around the twelfth century waffles were generally eaten on feast days and most certainly on the Feast of the Annunciation. You can use your own special recipe or this one:
Swedish Waffles (A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream, well-chilled
1 1/3 cups flour
1-2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons melted sweet butter
Whip the cream until stiff. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter. Fold the whipped cream into the batter. Stir in the melted butter.
Heat the waffle iron. (If it is well seasoned, it will not need to be greased.) Fill the grid surface about two-thirds full of batter. Bake until golden brown.
Place on a rack to keep crisp while you make the rest of the waffles.
Yield: about 8 waffles
In Advent, the season of preparation, it is not a coincidence that the Church gives us some very special feast days …..beginning with our family favorite, the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30th…. we stand in thanksgiving for his “Yes” to follow Christ, to be a first disciple and bring in other disciples such as his own brother Peter… our very first Pope (we have our own Andrew & Peter, too!).
To help you prepare we have a a FREE download for your family of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card!
On December 6th, next to arrive is the feast for the patron saint of children, St. Nicholas, the real “Santa Claus”… each year we layout all nine pairs of shoes by the fireplace. We wake in the morning to treats and always chocolate coins in our shoes… and somehow miraculously, just for the children, it always seems to snow, even just a little bit here in the Mid-Atlantic .
We bake a lovely cake for the Blessed Mother’s feast of her Immaculate Conception on December 8th. When the kids were little we made our own play to celebrate both the feast of Juan Diego on the 9th ….and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the unborn, on the 12th. We pray for her intercession and protection for the most vulnerable in our world… (Our girls sleep with their Lady of Guadalupe dolls). Quickly arrives the 13th, the feast of St. Lucy….my Swedish uncle always had us remember this day and now our oldest Anne is carrying on the tradition and waking us with cocoa and muffins….we also put up our Christmas lights outside the house on this day as my family did every year on the Festa of Santa Lucia, when I was little…
The next week brings St. John of the Cross on the 14th …that great Carmelite reformer…on the 21st is the feast of yet another disciple…St. Thomas… heralding us unto the birth of Our Lord on the 25th, Christmas day. Yes, it is no coincidence that God has placed these saintly celebrations to help us prepare each day towards Christmas….enjoy your family traditions…add new ones this year and most importantly pray together, adore together and thank the prince of Peace…our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel!
Last Mother’s Day I received a lovely necklace from my children that had a hand stamped medal with the inscription “have courage and be kind,” the words and theme from the recent Cinderella movie. The kids know how much kindness means in this world and in our families. They know how I hold it to be preeminent in all their words and actions. Long ago I was introduced to the prolific writer, Fr. Lawrence Lovask. The same priest who wrote the dear little children’s booklets, St. Joseph Picture Books, that we all know and love, wrote with clarity and a mind to the practical for adults too!
Transform yourself — and the world — through kindness! Kindness counts. If you have trouble acting with the consistent kindness our Lord expects, your relationships with God and those you love may be suffering. Probably you just can’t find the time — and can’t ever seem to develop the patience — that you need in order to be consistently kind amid the irritations that afflict you daily. That’s why this book is such a godsend. You’ll learn how to be kinder, even in difficult circumstances.
There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindness that creeps — undetected — into the behavior of even the most careful souls. You will grow towards holiness with these beautiful and practical step-by-step instructions for overcoming all forms of unkindness and meanness.
Four ways you can become more considerate . . . immediately!
Sympathy: why it’s your spiritual responsibility to show it to others — and five ways you can start doing so.
Three things to do — and three things you must not do — in order to grow kinder quickly.
Four surprising reasons why it’s spiritually dangerous to criticize others.
Three sure-fire remedies to eliminate sinful anger from your life.
Seven ways you can turn to your own spiritual benefit the wrongs that others do to you.
Six ways you can find and root out the hidden envy that may be choking your spirit right now.
And much more to help you grow kinder — and holier!
Also includes a 67-question self-examination you can use to monitor your progress in growing kinder and holier! (.epub, 256 pages, high school+)
“This work cannot fail to influence for the good all who are indirectly or directly touched by it.” – Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln “This wonderful book increases our insights into the wonders of the message that speaks so powerfully to us: ‘Love is patient, love is kind . . .’ ” – Sr. Mary Rose McGeady, Covenant House
“Speaks passionately about the nature of true kindness.” – Publishers Weekly
“Fr. Lovasik’s book on kindness clearly shows that kindness is love put into practice, and traces how kindness must begin in our thoughts, be communicated in our words, and reach its fullest expression in our daily actions. This book is made to order for anyone seriously wanting to respond to the present movement of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth for Christ!” – Rev. Andrew Apostoli
Our Holy Father, the Pope:The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present
by Don R. Caffery Illustrated by Emmanuel Beaudesson
After the historic visit of Pope Francis to America, it is fitting and fun to read together from this beautifully and richly, illustrated, hardcover book about the papacy. The book takes the reader through the inception of the first pope, beginning at the Sea of Gallilee with Peter and Jesus as Jesus first calls Peter to be a “a fisher of men”, to his giving Peter the “keys of the Kingdom.”
The language of the narrative is appropriate for even your young ones to listen along and engaging enough to keep everyone still while being inspirational and rich in the depth our our beliefs. As we are lead to Peter’s life as the first pope we see the the connection today to our pope as well as the election of a pope.
The book journeys towards several notable popes to our present day Pope Francis. It is complemented with a lovely prayer for the pope, as well as the official listing of all 266 popes throughout the history of the papacy. You can even extend the lessons taught in this inspiring book with the suggested Scripture readings listed in the back of the book. 48 pp. Hardcover. All ages.
Copies may be obtained here:
The original! Written by Maria Augusta Trapp the true story of a family forced to flee Austria by hiking a mountain trail to freedom, leaving everything behind with only singing as their means of support. “It is great because of the faith emanating from it— the tremendous trust of ‘consider the lilies of the field.’ Abounding in humor, freshness and love… The love of God, of one another, and of their fellowmen has proved a sustaining influence against ‘the roar of the world.’”
This is the very first book recommended to me when I began homeschooling and was looking for ways to celebrate our rich Catholic heritage throughout the Liturgical Year. We have seen this classic often times copied and quoted but NOW you can own the original! As timeless as all classics are you will discover many ways to add new traditions to your Domestic Church. You’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful Church calendar. You will learn all about Advent and how to celebrate all 12 days of Christmas, Lent and the opportunities to make your home ready to welcome the Risen Lord, Mary Shrines, Saint Feast Days, Blessing your children, The Feast of St. Joseph and vocations, the soul and the feasts of the Holy Souls. You will refer to this book time and time again. (Family, 352 pages)
A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families is a 304 page book by Monica McConkey offering ideas for activities, crafts and recipes to help families celebrate the various Seasons and Feast Days of the year. With fun-filled activities, we can build our own family traditions while passing on the richness of our Catholic Faith.
Guided by the Liturgical Calendar, the book journeys through the Seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and the 2 spans of Ordinary Time. The months of the secular calendar are woven in, providing the context for Feasts and monthly Devotions. Saints are introduced as their Feast Days occur, offering details and legends about their lives and providing suggestions for family activities surrounding them.
Various sections within Ordinary Time suggest that this time can be anything but ordinary!
“Extraordinary Events in Ordinary Time” and “Everyday in Ordinary Time” address both special events and everyday family rituals to bring the family together and integrate the Catholic Faith into daily living.
Suggested activities are intended to prompt families to actively practice their Faith, delving into Church celebrations and allowing these festivities to spill back into home life.
There is much written about this beloved saint and many saint anthologies contain a brief synopsis of his life. He is the patron saint of Ireland and is most notably responsible for its conversion to Christianity….making Ireland become the land of “Saints and Scholars.”
There are numerous legends surrounding his life but the best way to come to know the true saint is through his own writings and in particular his testimonial, “Confessio”. How marvelous and glorious it is to learn about this saint through his own words. In his “Confessio” we hear the voice of a truly humble servant of Christ. In addition your family will begin to understand about the beginnings of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, learn the chaplet prayer to St. Patrick, make cards to send to family and friends and so much more in this Hands-on Learning material.
Included in this kit:
- Information on St. Patrick
- How St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began
- The meaning behind the symbols of St. Patrick’s Day
- Directions and prayers for a St. Patrick chaplet
- St. Patrick’s Confession (Autobiography) to have family print to read aloud together
- 3 Coloring pages: Saint Patrick, Page from Book of Kells, Celtic Cross
- Mini book templates (2 different – three flap books horizontal and vertical)
- Notebooking pages-2 versions with lovely images
- Full-color Holy Cards with St. Patrick prayers
- Holy Cards in outline versions to color in
- St. Patrick’s Day cards to send (2 versions, with prayers and ones to practice handwriting)
Thank you for supporting our family business and respecting our copyright of this material for single family use. For classrooms or large groups email us.