I will post more Lenten activities as we progress through the 40 days. These activities and resources today are for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
St. Blaise -- February 3
● St. Blaise is the patron against troubles of the throat, veterinarians, and wild animals. He is one of the Fourteen Helpers.
● Here is a child appropriate bio.
● For a page to color, go here.
Prayer to St. Blaise for protection, particularly from afflictions of the throat.
O glorious St. Blaise, who by your martyrdom left to the Church a precious witness to the Faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend — without concern for human respect — both by word and example, the truth of that same Faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. You miraculously restored a little child who was at the point of death because of an affliction of the throat. Grant us your mighty protection in similar misfortunes. And, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification, together with faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which keep us from offending almighty God. Amen.Sunday's Gospel
This Sunday's gospel is the Beatitudes. There is much to be learned about the Beatitudes and children, in particular, are eager to learn them. They easily apply to our daily lives, and children should be taught to look for the Beatitudes in the day-to-day experiences.
● I have a poster of the Beatitudes at the bottom of our basement steps -- where the children go frequently to play and sometimes to school. I am amazed at how they have learned them by passive attention. Use a word processing software to make your own posters. Put one Beatitude on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, back it with a colored construction sheet, and post the collection in a gathering on a wall in your home.
● For an excellent explanation of the Beatitudes, especially for older children, go here.
● For some beautiful pictures of the real "Mount of the Beatitudes," go here.
● This online exercise is to click on the first part of the Beatitude to see the second part. Scroll down for the next one.
● For a coloring page of Jesus preaching The Word, go here. Here is another for older children.
● A matching activity.
● Here is an online Jigsaw Puzzle.
● Here is a Beatitudes Word Search.
● And here is a Crossword Puzzle.
St. Agatha -- February 4
St. Agatha is the Patron of bell-founders; breast cancer; breast disease; against fire; earthquakes; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wet-nurses.
A St. Agatha quote:
When Agatha was arrested, the legend says, she prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.” And in prison: “Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my spirit.”and a prayer:
Dear Virgin and Martyr, whom the Church recalls in her liturgy, you heroically resisted the temptations of a degenerate ruler. Subjected to long and horrible tortures, you remained faithful to your heavenly Spouse. Saint Peter, we are told, gave you some solace and so you are invoked by nurses. Encourage them to see Christ in the sick and to render true service to them. Amen.
● A child appropriate bio here.
● Since St. Agatha is the patron against fire, take today to teach your children about fire safety and check test all the smoke detectors in the house. Light a candle at dinner and say the Prayer to St. Agatha.
Ash Wednesday/ Lent -- February 5
● Take the opportunity today to explain to your child where the ashes for Ash Wednesday come from. Here is a good explanation for you.
● Talk about Fasting and Abstinence. From domestic-church.com: "Tell (your children) you are going to eat no meat that day. Ask them for help in coming up with some menu ideas: macaroni and cheese, pasta with meatless tomato sauce, scrambled eggs and toast, soup and grilled cheese, rice and bean casserole. (Caution: Avoid Salmon Loaf. Ugh!)
Explain how fasting means limited eating and no snacking. This applies to those over 14, healthy and non-pregnant or nursing. Fasting means only a minimum of foods between meals, this food should be essential type food and not junk food! Children can become quite vigilant with each other, and you, once they understand what fasting is all about."
● Start a Lenten Sacrifice Jar.
● Talk about Almsgiving and determine if you will collect coins for the poor. Who will you give your money to?
● Talk about making a personal sacrifice during Lent. Personal sacrifices help us to prepare our hearts for Easter. Some families give up a special treat. Others try to do something special. I, personally, don't think it matters, as long as it is a sacrifice.
● Say a special prayer each night during Lent. Some families use Psalm 91 -- you can read part and your children can read part. Or add an Act of Contrition each evening to the nighttime prayers:
Act of Contrition
My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and because I love Thee I repent sincerely for having ever offended Thee. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to Thee.
● For an Ash Wednesday coloring page, go here and click on "Ash Wednesday coloring page."
● A Lenten Word Search can be found here (click "Lent").
● Here you will find an audio Stations of the Cross for children (click "Praying the Stations").
● To download colorable Stations of the Cross, click Prayer-StationsG2.pdf.
● For more ideas for beginning Lent, go here.