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Rejoice in The Lord

Rejoice in The Lord

Rejoice in The Lord always! Again, I say rejoice! This third week of Advent is more than just priests wearing pink…it’s about the coming of The Lord and His birth is nearly upon us!

So this week’s readings lead us to The Lord in a unique way, and they give us a sense of salvation – the cross – while we anticipate an innocent baby being born.

Our activity is a simple but not easy moment or two each evening with our family. Do you dare approach The Lord and anticipate His arrival with such a small sacrifice?

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Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus is quite clear about who will go to heaven, so we explore what it means to be poor in spirit, and it has nothing to do with our bank accounts!

God provides through Scripture the exact meaning of what it is to be poor in spirit, and the encouragement we all need to have that attitude as we grow closer to Jesus and learn, from Him, who the Father is.

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United

United

This week we think about how our families, parishes, communities, and world would be different if we all lived up to our baptismal vocation.

If all of us lived the Gospel and witnessed to Christ crucified, what would change?

Would the divisions among us be healed?

Would we be more understanding of one another?

Would we be able to live a life of virtue more easily?

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The Feast of the Epiphany of The Lord

The Feast of the Epiphany of The Lord

The Feast of the Epiphany of The Lord is the celebration of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (non-Jews).

Learn more about what this means to us Catholics and other Christians, and what we should do to evangelize the Good News to our neighbors – hint, it doesn’t require words!

It’s as simple as leaving the lights on for them…

Have an epiphany, and be an epiphany! And watch a really cool video with ALL of the verses of “We Three Kings.” We provide the lyrics, too!

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Third Sunday of Advent – He Comes to Save Us

Third Sunday of Advent – He Comes to Save Us

How often do we truly think about how we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ?

And how does the promise of the kingdom of heaven bear on our current lives and choices?

The Church calls us to contemplate how He comes to save us this week as we continue our Advent journey up the mountain and along the Way of Christ Jesus.

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First Sunday of Advent – Climbing the Mountain

First Sunday of Advent – Climbing the Mountain

Life is a journey.

That’s nothing new.

But why and how do mountains give us such clarity in what that journey is like?

As we constantly strive for heaven, that summit is clear, but the valleys, hills, and crooked paths and steep cliffs stand between us and the goal.

The One on the mountain is also with us.

This week as we begin a new liturgical year at Advent, we explore these challenging readings and discover something about ourselves:

Heaven is no hill, at least for a climber!

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Christ Our Superhero

Christ Our Superhero

How does our view of superheroes affect our relationship with Christ?

Do we want Jesus to swoop in and “save the day”?

Or do we even ask Him for help when we need it?

Or rather looking to our own self-reliance, or escaping from the problems at hand in some unhealthy way?

Jesus came to save us, but it takes more than just passive reception to receive the Salvation He offers.

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All Souls Day – Episode 119

All Souls Day – Episode 119

All Souls Day is an often overlooked day of remembrance.

Beth and Kristofer explain why the Church celebrates the lives of all the Souls not yet in Heaven.

They touch on Purgatory and the path to Heaven.

They talk about why we should pray for our deceased loved ones and even those souls who nobody prays for.

Also,  Beth and Kristofer answer why it is an important day to us as Catholics., why we should remember and celebrate it, and why we pray for the souls in Purgatory.

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Sacred Scripture

Sacred Scripture

What is Sacred Scripture? What makes it so special?

This week we get it from the horse’s mouth: Paul, while writing Sacred Scripture which he does not know will be Sacred Scripture, provides Timothy with the reasons and purposes for Sacred Scripture.

At that time Paul could only be referring to Old Testament scripture. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote a lot of the New testament, unknowingly. But can it be denied as Sacred?

The Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church, and has since Pentecost, before Paul came into the picture – so He was guiding and inspiring Paul.

Understanding and applying Sacred Scripture is simple, but is not something to be done alone. The Holy Spirit has led the Catholic Church through 2000 years of first writing the last Sacred Scripture and then understanding it.

This week we explore how to understand Sacred Scripture, what’s so important about it, why we should know it, and how we can know it. It’s pretty simple!

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Give Thanks

Give Thanks

“Thank you, Lord, for a good day.” Our family ends the day with this prayer, without fail.

Some days it is VERY hard to give thanks to God for that, after everything that happened that day:

Death. Sickness. Pain. Broken hearts. Unruly children, and hurt that our children suffer that we cannot do much to salve.

Recognizing God’s infinite Goodness and thanking Him for it is also very hard to remember to do. In our fallen state, we tend to think how wonderful we are when we accomplish or experience something good.

How often do we thank God for this stuff?

Maybe one in ten times, like the lepers in the Gospel. Maybe it takes seven experiences like Naaman in the Jordan.

Shouldn’t we always be thankful, even in our suffering?

This week we read of these and Paul’s suffering, and learn why bad things happen to good people.

And there’s some wisdom in here that deals with that question directly Why does a Good God make bad things happen?

See if you know the answer…

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Increase Our Faith

Increase Our Faith

This week we hear a familiar psalm and a familiar analogy from Jesus.

Does that familiarity breed content or contempt?

Does it increase our faith?

We may be so used to the words of healing from Our Lord that we inadvertently block them from being more than words. Jesus has the words of everlasting life, but we often choose to be deaf to them.

Too busy? Too distracted? Too turned on by politics, news, social media, 15-second videos, even being helpful? Too worried and concerning ourselves about things happening in the world that we can do nothing about? Then our heart is hard.

The mustard seed is all the Lord encourages us to have and give, yet He knows we might only attain a faith the size of a crumb of salt of the earth.

And yet do we aspire to give him even that because of the hardness of our hearts?

This week is all about re-setting, refocusing, and recommitting. Let’s stay focused at Mass, and go forth, living the Gospel by our life!
This allows us to welcome Jesus into our hearts, soften them, and rely on him when we cry out for help – and hear His answer and see His help!

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Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness, and Mercy

Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness, and Mercy

God our loving Father offers us forgiveness and mercy.

But why?

We are sinners, we fail, we fall. Then, we seek forgiveness.

In all humility, we repent and beg for the mercy and forgiveness that only God can provide.

It is an unfathomable truth of our faith that we cling to, just as the forgiving Father in the story of the Prodigal Son clings to his son who returns.

He clings to the hope that his son will return.

We cling to the hope that the Father will take us back.

And He does – every time.

He offers that Forgiveness and Mercy when we repent of our sins.

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The Virtue of Humility

The Virtue of Humility

Humility is a virtue that is highly praised.

How does one keep from becoming “proud” of their humility?

The readings this week give us ample opportunity to reflect on and learn more about this virtue of humility that is so elusive, especially in the current culture of “look at me” – and everybody looking!.

How DO we remain humble when we are constantly bombarded by the message that we need to always be in front, showing off our talents, or bodies?

Thinking of ourselves less while not thinking less of ourselves is a start…

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Patience Leads to Justice

Patience Leads to Justice

Jesus patiently explains to Martha that her work, though good, is not the most important thing at the moment.

Abraham and Sarah’s patience is rewarded by the promise of their son, Isaac.

The Lord’s infinite patience leads to justice in all His dealings with us, His very impatient and unjust children.

This week we reflect and work on the virtues of patience and justice in how we relate to one another.

With God’s help our patience can lead to justice, too.

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The Lord Has a Place for Us

The Lord Has a Place for Us

What do we rejoice about?

Our accomplishments and those of others whom we love.

This week, Jesus gives us a different perspective – God’s perspective:

We should be most joy-filled because our names are written in heaven.

The Lord has a place for us, ready and waiting!

Our work for Him here prepares us to live eternally with Him in heaven.

That’s worth laboring for!

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Follow Christ!

Follow Christ!

Following Christ can be difficult, but with His help, it becomes easy.

We place many things and people – obstacles – between us and the Lord.

This week we explore how we can remove the obstacles we put up so we can become better disciples and follow Christ to heaven.

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Pentecost Sunday – Receive the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday – Receive the Holy Spirit

On Pentecost Sunday two thousand years ago, the Apostles received an amazing gift – the Holy Spirit.

Jesus kept His promise and sent the Advocate and amazing works have been done ever since through Him.

How He works in our lives is just as important as how He worked in the lives of the Apostles.

And the gift and work is all connected to the Sacraments.

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Sixth Sunday of Easter – The Holy Spirit, Our Advocate

Sixth Sunday of Easter – The Holy Spirit, Our Advocate

Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit as our Advocate. And the first reading helps to illustrate what that means and how it “works”.

Reflecting on the role of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate in our faith and in our Church increases our understanding of the gifts we receive at Baptism and Confirmation.

This points us to the practical ways we are called to advocate for others in response to these gifts.

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Fifth Sunday of Easter – The Lord Makes All Things New

Fifth Sunday of Easter – The Lord Makes All Things New

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord proclaims that He makes all things new.

New life in Christ is the promise He makes to us and is fulfilled in the love He bears for us through the Cross and Resurrection.

And He calls us to love one another as He loves us.

New life through love – the basics of the Christian life.

Read on to find out how we can embrace and imitate this love and new life!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Third Sunday of Easter – Feed My Sheep

Third Sunday of Easter – Feed My Sheep

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

“Do you love me?” Jesus asks. We reply with Peter, “Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus gives us a job to do – feed the sheep. We are addressed in this week’s Gospel as much as Peter is. How do we feed the sheep? What are we to do with this mandate?

Read on and get some insights into how we are shepherds and what we can do to learn how to be a better one!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Divine Mercy Sunday – Witness and Bear Fruit

Divine Mercy Sunday – Witness and Bear Fruit

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

And He comes to offer His Divine Mercy!

The work of Jesus, through His Apostles down to us is mercy. The unconditional love He has for each of us is a gift of mercy.

We are not worthy that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should come to us, to heal and forgive us, yet He does! In His Church, His ministers, His people – you and me.

Learn more about how we can allow Jesus to work His Divine Mercy through us. Read on and be ready to be changed!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Easter Sunday – Eyewitness Accounts

Easter Sunday – Eyewitness Accounts

Our life in Christ, through His Resurrection is what we celebrate at Easter. This gift of salvation is something we are commanded to share!

The readings for Easter this year include several eyewitness accounts of what happened that day. The first reading is Peter’s testimony in Acts; the Gospel is Mary Magdalene’s witness to the Apostles; and the Psalmist declares his own witness.

And if the Psalmist is true, then we will declare the gift of salvation because we are excited about it! Our witness to Christ’s work in our lives is part of being a member of Christ’s Church.

When Mary, Peter, John, and all the other disciples shared their eyewitness accounts, they invited their listeners into relationship with Jesus, so everyone who hears has the opportunity to the new life in Christ. It is too good to keep to ourselves…it is too good not to share with others.

Our Discussion section invites us to remember those who witnessed to us, and our activity rises to the occasion!

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The Prodigal Son- Episode 88

The Prodigal Son- Episode 88

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the most famous of Jesus’ teachings, and Mama and Daddy take a different look at it this time.

What is the meaning of this Parable? What can we learn from it? And what is the sin of the older brother?

As Mom says, we commit this sin of ingratitude and pride.

We, as baptized Christians, are the older brother in this lesson.

How should we respond to the Prodigal Son’s Homecoming?

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4th Week of Lent – The Prodigal Son

4th Week of Lent – The Prodigal Son

We know this parable forwards and backwards, so why is it every time we hear Jesus’ lesson about the Prodigal Son, it seems we hear something different?

Are we the Prodigal Son? Are we the Faithful Son?

Or are we the Forgiving Father?

This week in a short TWMWU (We are all sick so production is at a standstill!) we explore each of the characters in this story to discover who we are at this point in our lives and to prepare ourselves for who we will be tomorrow.

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Blessed Are We

Blessed Are We

How blessed are we? Jesus uses his stump speech this week in the lesser known Sermon on the Plain to tell us.

This week, we learn a little history and a little more than we might like when Jesus starts talking about the woe we may be in for!

The discussion questions are a bit more probing than may be comfortable, and our activity gets us out into the neighborhood for a little soul-searching.

As a bonus: We have some free Valentine Cards for you to download if you get far enough down the page!

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Love is Patient

Love is Patient

“Love is Patient, Love is Kind…”

We’ve heard that a million times! But have we reflected on it?

Who or what is Love, actually? Are we any of those things?

This week we reflect on Jesus’ profound love for the people of Nazareth who want to throw him off a hill, and explore St. Paul’s famous description of Love.

And the activity gives you an opportunity to meet Love face-to-face!

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Glory to God

Glory to God

Glory to God in the highest! Glory be to God! Glory Hallelujah! Good glory…what is all this “glory”?

In English, we use this one word so much, while the original languages of the Bible use many different words for different types of glory. In this week’s readings, we see the glory of God manifested in Jesus, who shows us how to glorify the Lord – give glory to Him – by His example, which glorifies Him. Wow!

Wrapping up this week’s TWMWU, we look at how we can “glorify The Lord by our lives.” That’s a familiar phrase, isn’t it? This week, find out where it comes from and what to do about it.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We hope and pray that your preparations for this wonderful season celebrating the birth of Our Lord have been fruitful.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we reflect on His humble beginnings, and our hearts. Can we make our hearts a comfortable and desirable place for Jesus to dwell?

This week’s activity is perfect, and we bet you are already doing it!

May the love of Christ be with  you and your loved ones today and always! Merry Christmas!

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We Believe In The Resurrection

We Believe In The Resurrection

Why do Catholics believe in the resurrection of their bodies? Aside from it being as true as the day is long, so it’s a simple thing to believe in, there is scriptural, natural, and traditional evidence.

This week, we explore resurrection – ours, not Jesus’ – and Purgatory. This is sort of a hint or taste of things to come this month as we delve into Purgatory as the whole month of November is dedicated by The Church to focusing on prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Without Purgatory, there would be a LOT of empty rooms in Our Father’s mansion!

So, start this month’s reflection with this TWMWU that is a lot shorter than the last couple of weeks and opens the door to a better understanding of what we know about and mean by eternal life!

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When the Saints Go Marching In

When the Saints Go Marching In

When the Saints go marching in, will we be able to count ourselves in that great multitude?

This week’s Bonus TWMWU is all about All Saints Day and is loaded with song, prayer, and activity to help you learn and teach about this great Solemnity all about the Church Triumphant.

You’ll have to download the PDF to get the most out of this, including a rather exhaustive set of lyrics for the song!

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Whoever Is Not Against Us Is For Us

Whoever Is Not Against Us Is For Us

This week, Jesus sounds like a cowboy out of the Ol’ West, making sure no bandits try to get any of the good stuff. Or is He?

“If you ain’t with us, yer agin’ us” is an old adage made famous by cowboys, presidents, and even ancient Romans. Jesus, in his usual style of humor and relatability, flips it over and uses it to teach us something very important: Whoever is not against us is for us.

The Truth of Jesus and the Good News of the Gospel is not ours to keep, withhold, or deny to or from others who may not have the fullness of it as we do. Many a lesson can be learned from the ignorant, unlearned, and even impious. An atheist might stumble across Truth and share it, too!

In fact, you and I are not fully versed in the Truth, no matter how much we know or how much we share. So, are we agin’ Him, or for Him?

This week’s Mass warm-up gets your thoughts and feelings flowing with things to talk about and think about, as well as our family-friendly podcast episode covering this topic. We end with a couple of prayers to join with Jesus and the whole world in praying for what Jesus is talking about in Sunday’s Mass Readings.

So, git yer boots on and saddle up, pilgrim! There’s some Truth to be rustled up!

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Be Doers of the Word

Be Doers of the Word

Being Catholic is a good start. Doing Catholic is where the supernatural happens.

This week’s readings call us to be Christ-like, which is the very essence of being a Saint.

This Sunday at Mass we are called to DO more than just HEAR the Word. It seems we can get into a habit of hearing the readings and listening to the nice homily and then go about our business. But when we are at donuts after Mass, are we even talking about the good things that we heard – let alone doing something about it?

The last words we hear at Mass are the deacon or priest telling us, “Hey, Mass is over. Go do something with what you just heard!” Okay, maybe not exactly in those words – but certainly with that meaning!

This week’s activity is a deeper discussion maybe you can have at the donut shop after Mass. And if you want to go deeper, there’s a follow-up activity that defines what a word we use all the time really means, and a couple of Saints who were great Doers of the Word.

When we are Doers of the Word we are authentic Catholics.

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God Keeps His Promises

God Keeps His Promises

God keeps his promises in everything. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a great example of that! The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is this Sunday.

This week we discuss God fulfilling His promises to Adam and Eve all through to the New Covenant – all of His promises kept while we continue to break ours to Him.

But God knows we are weak, and He promises to help us be and do better. And the Assumption of Mary is part of that promise – showing us that a real human being can be and do what they are supposed to be and do!

Mary’s assumption gives us hope, and we present reasons for that hope this week that you can share, along with many Mary resources, including a Hail Mary infographic, just a click away!

Now is a wonderful time, with the resources this week, to share with children and remind ourselves how we do not worship Mary, but honor her as the mother of our Best Friend, as she is constantly pointing us to Jesus and all He does for us – constantly keeping His promise!

The activity is a prayer direct from the Bible, and an ongoing easy discussion for follow-up about Mary wherever you are.

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Faith, Hope, and Love

Faith, Hope, and Love

Wisdom is hard to come by. It requires practicing the three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.

This week we dive into these virtues as we join Jesus in his ministry, healing the hemorrhaging woman and raising a girl from the dead.

These are touching stories that we can all relate to, and they show us Jesus’ humanity and his divinity, something the Apostles struggled with, and we still have trouble understanding.

We explore these concepts, these virtues, and wisdom, and have a fun family activity to help us remember these things throughout the week.

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Quiet! Be Still!

Quiet! Be Still!

In Mass this week, Jesus rebukes a storm, teaching the frightened, suffering Apostles how to rebuke the storms in their lives by being quiet, being still.

This week, the lesson is all about understanding our suffering and how to deal with it. Job, probably the most well-known suffering servant in the Bible after Jesus, gets us started in the readings, and we learn from Paul that better days await us.

Our discussion helps us know everyone suffers, and our activity helps us put our suffering in God’s hands, and see it from His perspective.

The activity gives us an excuse to get outside with each other. Take advantage of it!

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Receive The Holy Spirit

Receive The Holy Spirit

FINALLY! The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in this long and glorious story leading up to the birth of The Church.

Wait…what? Didn’t Jesus give them the Holy Spirit already?

Aha! There’s the rub. There is a big difference between being given something and receiving it.

In this lesson for this coming Sunday’s Mass readings. Beth explores that strange but true fact and shares its connection with our Baptism and our entire life.

The activity is simple and fun, and a little exasperating probably, especially if you like fruit or sweets…

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Consecrated In Truth

Consecrated In Truth

Are we “Consecrated in Truth”? What does that mean, anyway?

Most likely, you are already consecrated in truth, but maybe do not know it. And this week we discuss this intense prayer Jesus asked for us moments before He was arrested and killed.

Are we living a life consecrated in truth to honor His desire and sacrifice for us?

The activity in this lesson gives everybody in the family something to do that is simple and humbling, and puts everybody on the same team with Jesus.

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To Each According to Need

To Each According to Need

The first reading can be a bit confusing. Are we supposed to sell everything we have and give it to the Church so that the bishops can distribute it evenly among everybody?

That sounds a bit like a failed economic system, so what does St. Luke mean when he writes that people sold their homes and property and gave the money to the apostles, who distributed it according to need?

This Week’s Free Thing is a great, easy primer on early Church socio-economics, with an easy activity to explain it to the kids – and a great way to show how God wants us to share!

Plus, some handy links to Stewardship, and for the curious, there are some resources on that great Catholic Idea, Distributism, which developed in part from the Acts of the Apostles.

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This Is the Day the Lord Has Made

This Is the Day the Lord Has Made

Readings, Discussion, Activities for 50 days, Video, and even a Podcast Episode are in This Week’s Free Thing. Must be EASTER!

The Psalmist proclaims: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!” (Psalm 118:24) Are you glad it’s Easter? Are you glad it’s Springtime? Are you glad for your life, health, family and friends? Are you glad we are beginning to see an end to the COVID pandemic?

This Easter season, we have much to rejoice about. But, the singular thing we should rejoice about each and every day is the Salvation that we celebrate on Easter – the Resurrection!

PLUS: Easter Story Cookies – A recipe and story in one! Help your children learn the story as you make special cookies that resemble the empty tomb! Resurrection Rolls – Yummy, easy, fun Easter morning breakfast with a message! And an Easter Coloring Book!

Get hold of this free Easter Mass and Season resource and don’t let go!

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What is Love?

What is Love?

As we can see from St. Paul, St. John, and Pope Francis, love is something far deeper. Love is not some “pie in the sky” concept. The Greeks beautifully divided love into 4 categories.

In this series, I explore those and see how we can apply them to our daily journey to True Love – God.

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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Family is so important that the Church made the first Sunday after Christmas the Feast of the Holy Family. This week we have a fun video and an easy activity you can do anytime. Learn some things about the people around you, and maybe start a new tradition or two! Bet you can’t get the song we start off with out of your head…

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Joy – Episode 21

Joy – Episode 21

JOY! Woohoo! We start off with a short rendition of that favorite kids’ Bible school song and then dive right in. Do you have Joy? You know it is different than happiness, right? Well, let’s talk about that and find out how, why, and where you have joy. It’s closer than you think! Afterwards, join us for Joy on our episode page: https://HolyOwnedAndOperated.com/joy-episode-21/

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