St. Patrick’s Day – It’s not about Leprechauns, it’s about Prayer!

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Come to find out, thanks to my mom’s steady and relentless genealogy research, there were many Irish grandmas on my husband’s side of the family.

Who knew, with such a Slovakian name as Ciskanik, there would be Dooleys, Fitzgeralds, and English relatives who married Irish women!

So this Italian girl resolved to find out all about  St. Patrick to infuse Irish history into our family homeschool. In my quest, however, I was dismayed at how far from the real story our culture had strayed, especially in our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  

St. Patrick was amazing, he was all about prayer! 

I became overwhelmed at the sheer number of prayers attributed to this holy man, not only ones he wrote, but also many that were inspired by him.  

Prayer is central to our relationship with God. 

It is a comfort to me to know that even when St. Patrick strayed and forgot his early faith formation, when the real moment of truth came in his life, he turned to prayer.  

I really think that this was okay by God. We usually forget Him, but when we really need Him, we begin our conversation of prayer.  St. Patrick must have learned how to be quiet and listen to God too!  He most definitely had a two way conversation with God! He heard Him, obeyed Him, and prayed for the many souls he longed to send to Christ! Just read his “Confessio.” We made a Family Read Aloud Version in our St. Patrick’s Religion Lessons and Craft Packet. 

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An oldie but a goody. Watch as “Veggietales” explains the life and teachings of St. Patrick and how he used the power of prayer to bring the people of Ireland out of paganism and into relationship with the one true God!

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St. Patrick’s Prayers

How many of these prayers have you heard or prayed?

We are going to learn a new one this Saint Patrick’s Day and in the process grow closer to God. We are going to dig deeper into our Irish heritage, learn about the Hedge schools, learn about the colors and the symbolism attributed to the Irish and make Irish Soda Bread!

How are you going to spend St. Patrick’s Day? Please comment below, so I can add more Irish heritage and traditions into my family!!

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PRAYER TO CHRIST CRUCIFIED
Keep us in peace, O Christ our God,
under the protection of Thy holy and venerable Cross:
save us from enemies visible and invisible
and account us worthy to glorify Thee with thanksgiving,
together with the Father,
and the Holy Ghost,
now and ever and world without end.
Amen.
[THE LITURGY OF THE ARMENIANS]

Have Faith Love Will Find You
Dear God, Committed love is a sacred treasure I long to find the one who is mine.
I trust you will grant my desires for love – to love of myself, and to find love with my true soul mate.
I trust you will bring this to me gently and sweetly, in a way that is completely right for me and my true love.
I give thanks for your presence, your guidance and your love. And so it is.

High Cross

Prayer to St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland
Dear St. Patrick,
in your humility you called yourself a sinner,
but you became a most successful missionary
and prompted countless pagans
to follow the Saviour.
Many of their descendents in turn
spread the Good News in numerous foreign lands.
Through your powerful intercession with God,
obtain the missionaries we need
to continue the work you began.
Amen.

Prayer about St. Patrick
God our Father,
you sent Saint Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland.
By the help of his prayers,
may all Christians proclaim your love to all men.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Thanks for St. Patrick
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to send Thy Confessor and Bishop, Blessed Patrick, to preach Thy glory to the nations, grant, through his merits and intercession, that what Thou dost command us to do, we may, by Thy mercy, be enabled to perform. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

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Prayer for the Faithful by Saint Patrick
May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
– Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

An Irish prayer
As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen

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St. Patrick’s Breastplate (ca. 389-461 AD.)
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need: the wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; the Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me,
Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me and restore me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me, Christ in the hearts of all that love me,
Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three, of Whom all nature hath creation; Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.
I bind myself to God’s power to guide me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to teach me, God’s Eye to watch over me, God’s Ear to hear me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to shelter me, God’s host to secure me…Against the snares of demons, against the seductions of vices, against the lusts of nature, against everyone who meditates injury to me, whether far or near, few or many.
source: http://www.catholic.org/prayers

Catholic kids and the REAL St. Valentine

Image of St. Valentine

Necessity is truly the mother of invention!

Here is my story!

In an attempt to spice things up a bit in our family homeschooling I was planning on doing all things St. Valentine! So off to the library I went. Only to find that practically EVERYTHING I found was about the cute (sometimes creepy looking) cupids with love arrows, hearts, flowers, chocolate BUT nothing about the real saint!

Just to paint the picture , here is a small sampling of titles you will find if you do a library or book search: Hugs and kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug by famed author Eric Carle, Groggle Monster’s Valentine (yes, that is a real book recommended on a popular teacher website), Valentine’s Day Jokes for Kids, The Secret Life of Squirrels – a Love Story, Little Ant’s Valentine, do I need to go on???

Needless to say I was dismayed and horrified at the same time!!

Who is the saint that causes us to be wild about hearts ♥, the color red and send friends and family messages of love every February 14?

The secular world is CLUELESS.

So I made it my mission to learn the real story behind this Catholic feast day!

Step 1:

I began our little evangelization journey/project towards reclaiming the REAL St. Valentine from the jaws of the secular world by first learning several prayers attributed to the saint, to ask him to intercede for our family and friends.

Step 2:

Next I went back to the library and scoured the shelves and on-line catalog, I took out a bunch of books that looked promising and eventually found a few good books to use for our nightly read aloud time. There are not many I would recommend but these definitely passed the mustard! Each one added different facts and historic details.

  • The Story of Valentine’s Day by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda
  • Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert
  • Hearts, Cupids and Red Roses by Edna Barth

Step 3:

The next thing you knew I was immersing myself in the transition from the pagan rituals and the symbolism of the symbols and colors surrounding this feast day! Naturally that then brought me to the history of the feast day and story of how a Pope helped to Christianize this day, his name is Pope Gelasius. So cool right?

In true form it was the Catholic Church elevating a pagan feast day and its symbols by celebrating the feast day of an early martyr of the Church, St. Valentine. 

Thus became our family tradition, to make cards that included sacred and beautiful images of the real St. Valentine, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary! We use Scripture verses that speak of REAL love.

Step 4:

I designed it to counts as school work, by adding notebooking sheets for our narrations, mini-book templates of various shapes and designs to have the kids write about all they learned from the history I had written for them on several reference sheets. We also added the mini-books to lapbooks too!

Handwriting practice lessons for the week included Scripture verses I had collected with God’s unending love for His children! Coloring sheets of St. Valentine, were super handy for my little ones during nightly rosary or quiet time.

And I also had holy cards designed so we could print/color and share. This collection has something for everyone in the family!

My talented daughters helped me put all of this together in a 50 page printable packet ! It is well loved by family and friends who use it year after year, as their family tradition and more importantly as an evangelization tool to tell the REAL story of St. Valentine.

For that we are grateful!

Leave a comment on your family’s journey towards evangelizing the culture by reclaiming the saints!!

You too can invite a family you know from your homeschool community or from your parish and make beautiful St. Valentine Cards or postcards to exchange or bring to neighbors! Immerse yourselves in all thing St. Valentine!

Santa Lucia Day ~ Celebrating the Feast of St. Lucy (December 13)

The Feast of St. Lucy 

We are praying for all of you as we await the Light of the World.

The feast of St. Lucy or better known in my Italian family as Santa Lucia is the day our family traditionally sets up our outdoor Christmas lights display. It is one of the events we look forward to as we build towards Christmas.

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Growing up in my Italian family this is the day each year we would light our Christmas tree too! We had an artificial tree (real ones were just too pricey for this New York City family, no balsam growing in Brooklyn and Queens). It didn’t matter that it was not real, the minute the lights went on we held our breath in awe and wonder!

In our family we have celebrated the Swedish tradition, (I had a Swedish uncle too) whereby the oldest daughter, in our case it was always our Anne  (pictured above), who woke early to make breakfast treats and hot cocoa. She would don her battery-operated, candle wreath (no real candles for this momma) and served the entire family in bed. The honor has passed down through the years to the next daughter in line, only to fall back to Anne again, now graduated from college!

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Here are some terrific ideas for St. Lucy celebrations with your family!

Firstly, find out together who St. Lucy is and what does she have to do with light. Hint, Lucy means “light.” As she was an early Christian martyr there are several versions of the story. Here’s a spoiler, her eyes have something to do with the story. A miracle ensued and for her martyrdom she now wears a heavenly crown.

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Watch this lovely video explaining the traditions surrounding this feast day and its association with Advent.

St. Lucy Fast Facts and Activities

  • Here is an ENTIRE Pinterest board dedicated to St. Lucia with tons of resources including recipes, and free downloads:

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Catholic Advent homeschool

The book, A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz is my go to source for family traditions.It not only is my best source to live the liturgical year it has recipes that simply do not disappoint! Starting on page 107, there is St. Lucy’s story and a great recipe for St. Lucy’s crown (we have made it many times- yum!). On page 109 you will find the recipe for Swedish St. Lucy ginger snaps (trying it this year) and lest we forget the adults, on page 110 one can find the recipe for Swedish mulled wine.

Don’t have a copy? Not a problem, with this instant download, no shipping….Here is the link: A Continual Feast

A fruitful and blessed Advent to all of you!!
The Ciskanik Family

Paola’s Book Bites: Encounter the Saints Series

ENCOUNTER THE SAINTS SERIES

St John Paul II: Be Not Afraid
By Sr. Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

John Paul II, who served as Pope during the last 25 years of the 20th century and who led the Church with hope into the third Christian millennium, was beatified six short years after his death on May 1, 2011. Born in 1920 to a devout Catholic family, ordained a priest in 1946, ordained a bishop in 1958, and elected Pope on October 16, 1978; the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. From that moment he took the Church and the world by storm. He traveled the world to proclaim Jesus Christ to all people, making a tremendous impact on hearts and minds and drawing large crowds everywhere he went. John Paul II never let oppression and tyranny spoil his dreams or dampen his faith. It is a message every child needs to hear as they try to be a true follower of Jesus. (Grade 4+, 111 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Gianna Beretta Molla: The Gift of Life
By Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

This title in the series for younger readers tells the inspiring story of Saint Gianna from her awaited birth to her touching death. This book reveals the friendly and loving Gianna while we see her coping with the death of her siblings and later her parents, moving to different places throughout her childhood years, struggling with schoolwork, falling in love with her future husband, fulfilling her duties as a doctor and raising children. Gianna was impressed with the idea that we can prepare ourselves for heaven by the way we live on earth. Gianna studied medicine and became a doctor in 1949 specializing in pediatrics. Practicing medicine was not just her job, but the way she obeyed Jesus’ command to love one another and nurture both body and soul. It was not until she met Pietro, the brother of one of her dying patients, that Gianna realized that God was calling her to marry and be a good Christian wife, mother and doctor. (Grade 4+, 112 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. John Vianney: A Priest for All People
By Elizabeth Marie DeDomenico, FSP

Discover the life story of St. John Vianney—beloved patron saint of parish priests. From his youth during the tumultuous French Revolution, to his difficult years of study and amazing work to rebuild the parish of Ars, John Vianney is a model of love for God that spilled over into tireless care for others. Historical and cultural details make the story of this remarkable saint come alive for young readers. Also includes a glossary, features black and white illustrations by Ben Hake and a concluding prayer. (Grade 4+, 128 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Damien of Molokai: Hero of Hawaii
By Virginia H. Richards

Canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th of 2009, Joseph De Veuster was an ordinary boy growing up in Belgium in the mid 1800’s, planning to take over the family farm as he grew older, until he was called to a new vocation-the life of a priest. Joseph became Father Damien and was sent as a missionary to Hawaii and, eventually, to volunteer to go to Molokai to become the priest for those suffering from leprosy. He ministered to those who were quarantined on this remote and desolate island. He brought dignity and more important, Jesus in the Eucharist to his new family, the lepers of Molokai. This truly is an amazing and inspiring life of service in the name of God. (Grade 4+, 102 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St Bakhita of Sudan: Forever Free
By Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

Kidnapped into slavery at the age of seven and brought to Italy as a teenager, the indomitable Bakhita eventually became a Catholic nun and spent over fifty years joyously serving her Lord as a Canossian Sister. In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized her. This African saint’s engrossing life story, heroic choices, and forgiving heart make her a wonderful role model! (Grade 4+, 102 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Edith Stein: Blessed by the Cross
By Patricia Jablonski, FSP

Learn about a saint of our times…a brilliant Jewish philosopher born in Germany before WWI. After reading the biography of St. Teresa of Avila, she converted in 1922 and became a Carmelite nun! She was also martyred in Auschwitz during WWII and was canonized by John Paul II in 1998. (Grade 4+, 115 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

 

 

St. Maximilian Kolbe: Mary’s Knight
By Patricia Jablonski, FSP

Learn about another great saint of our times… born in Poland in 1894 to poor, but devout Catholic parents. At a young age, he asked Mary what would become of him…and when she appeared to him, she asked would he accept the crown of purity or of martyrdom. He accepted both! After becoming a Franciscan priest, he began Militia Immaculatae as well as a publication Knight of the Immaculate. In Nazi occupied Poland, he was sent to Auschwitz, where he asked to take the place of another prisoner (who was a father and husband) selected for starvation in reprisal for the escape of three prisoners! He was canonized by John Paul II in 1982. (Grade 4+, 115 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Pio of Pietrelcina: Rich in Love
By Eileen Bertanzetti

Known to us first as Padre Pio, he was born of poor farmers in southern Italy in 1887. He had poor health, but through grace became a priest in 1910. Many were attracted to his confessional and saintly counsel, including an elderly, saintly Italian neighbor of ours. He became the first priest to bear the wounds of Christ stigmata in 1918. His life was one of austerity and suffering till he died in 1968. (Grade 4+, 112 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

 

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: Missionary of Charity
By Mary Glavich, SND

The name Mother Teresa of Calcutta is known to all of us… get to know her life story! She followed her first calling to become a nun and her second calling to serve “the poorest of the poor”. Since 1950, when she began the Missionaries of Charity, her work knew no boundaries… the poor are “… Christ in distressing disguise.” She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003. (Grade 4+, 132 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: Journey to the Summit
By Ana Maria Vazquez and Jennings Dean
Pier Giorgio Frassati, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1990, lived only twenty-four years. But in that short time, he lived his life to the fullest. His student escapades, his athletic achievements, and his dedication to helping the poor all combined to make this amazing young man an “avalanche of life.” (Grade 4+, 142 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

Paola’s Book Bites: Heroes and Saints

Book of Heroes
By Amy Welborn
Publisher: Loyola University Press

What a breath of fresh air to read a book written for children about real HEROES.

Amy Welborn has an incredible gift of relating deep truths to children in an easy manner. Her description of “What a hero is” alone is worth getting this treasure of a book. By using the spiritual and moral virtues as a guide towards introducing REAL Heroes (Saints and Blesseds) she incorporates opportunities for the child to really think about their own relationship with God.

Meet well known, lesser known, modern, and ancient saints in stories that describe the saints lives and how they loved God above all, how God was the center of their lives and in ways that our children can find true heroes to imitate!!! This is a real find and one you will go to over and over again. This book would also work well with the PACE program in bringing home virtue to a child’s life. Great to read aloud. (Ages 8+, 175 pages, HC, $$)

Book of Saints
By Amy Welborn
Publisher: Loyola University Press

Perhaps you have read her Prove-it series, which is amazing see my review here! Well, she has done it again—this time for a younger set.

This gifted author has written a great compilation of the saints accessible for our children and it is truly inspiring. Who are the saints, why are they important, and what can today’s children learn from them? In Book of Saints, author Amy Welborn answers these questions with exciting and inspiring stories, real-life applications, and important information about these heroes of the Church.

This delightful collection of saints’ lives, written in a storybook style for children eight to twelve, explains how saints become saints, why we honor them, and how they help us even today. Divided thematically, the book features more than sixty saints from all over the world and from all across time, including our newest saints, such as Katharine Drexel; popular saints, such as St. Anthony of Padua; and Blesseds, such as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Each story tells about a saint and encourages readers to consider how they might apply what they learn from the story to their everyday lives. (Ages 8+, 304 pages, HC, $$)

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

We’d like to offer you this St. Andrew Christmas Novena holy card, at no charge, as a token of our appreciation for you to help get ready for our Lord’s birth as we enter the season of St. Andrew novenaAdvent! This two-sided holy card features classical artwork on the front side and the Christmas Anticipation Prayer on the reverse.  Just save,  print and pray!

… And have a blessed Advent this year!

Christmas Anticipation Prayer, also known as the St. Andrew Christmas prayer starts November 30, the feast of St. Andrew and continues through Christmas Eve, December 24th!

This meditative prayer is traditionally said 15 times each day to help us reflect on the TRUE meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

 Click on the picture….to get your free download!


Beauty surrounds the Feast of the Annunciation

Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_AnnunciationThe 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. 

Mary with baby JesusFirst, 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. 

teaching-youth-religious-values.jpg.crop_displayThe 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!

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Song_of_the_Angels_(1881)_edit

The Magnificat, Canticle of Mary, Song of Mary, Latin Hymn, Daughters of Mary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9QtEb8XNr4

Bach – Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 : Harnoncourthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oL_qsKPeik

Antonio Vivaldi – Magnificat in G Minor RV  610:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDQREd7Ahys

MOZART Vesperae de Dominica, KV 321 – [6] Magnificat KOOPMAN:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuOT1LMFIQA

Franz Schubert – Magnificat in C major, D486:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itQNbtXXhzE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou 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.

Crayones de cera

Coloring pages:

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

http://www.thecolor.com/Coloring/simone-martini-the-annunciation.aspx

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)

swedish waffles

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

The Feast Days of Advent

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!).
St Andrew Novena Holy cardTo 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!

Our Holy Father, the Pope

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:

Ignatius Press - Catholic Books