Monday, August 1, 2022

August Radiant Roundup: Resources for the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Philomena, St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Assumption & Coronation, Back to School, and More!

August: The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Marian Medallion Circle Stickers* (print, color, and add to your new back-to-school folders and notebooks! These fit on 3" circle sticker labels, or you can print on full sheet label stickers and cut out, or just print on your favorite paper and glue/tape on!)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Coloring Pages* 
Immaculate Heart of Mary and Hail Holy Queen Prayer Cards*
Immaculate Heart of Mary Block Carving Print*
Holy Family Hearts Coloring Pages and Prayer Cards* 
St. John Vianney: August 4th
St. John Vianney Mini Study (Google Classroom Ready)

The Transfiguration: August 6th

St. Philomena: August 11th
St. Philomena Block Carving Prints:*
-prayer cards in color or black/white

St. Maximilian Kolbe: August 14th
Teaching about St. Maximilian Kolbe* (Cross curricular literature, writing, spelling, art, religion, and research unit) (4th-6th)

Assumption of Mary: August 15th
Queenship of Mary: August 22nd 
If you missed out on crowing Mary in May (or just love honoring Our Lady!), making a little Marian shine is a perfect way to celebrate her Assumption and Coronation! You also can crown your own statue of Mary with flowers or a homemade crown, and then pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary or sing a Marian Hymn.

Back to School

Print.Cut.Pray. Prayer Card ebook* (K-8th) Over 100 prayer cards and mini books
Little Prayer Books (K-8th) Storage solution for prayer cards
Favorite Prayers Printable Mini Book*

Friday, July 22, 2022

First Day of School Signs- Weave some Catholic identity into those back-to-school photos!

Can you believe that Back-to-School season is upon us?!? I know in some places, kiddos are back the first week of August. I've still got a few weeks until I'll have students in my classroom, but my mind is definitely spinning with all the things that need to get done between now and then. 

So many parents and teachers take photos of their kids on the first day of school- so I was thinking, why not infuse some Catholic identity into that tradition? We could use posters filled with symbols of our faith as a visible sign of prayer and blessing for the coming school year. Those images represent the importance of incorporating our faith in education, whether happening at home with parents as the primary catechist, at a Catholic school, or parish Religious Education. 

And these Back-to-School Signs were the fruit of that inspiration! Bold letters marking the "First Day of School" and lots of Catholic symbols in the background will hopefully make for great photo props for both parents and teachers. I made 20 different variations, hopefully hitting all the grade levels you might be looking for. They're black and white and sized at 8.5x11, making them easy to print at home or to make multiple copies of for a classroom.

I think these will look great in your Back-to-School photos, and would also make fun coloring pages for that first day! On the back the kiddos could write a prayer for the year, or you could ask them fun questions like their current favorite things, plans for the future, etc. Then tuck this in a folder and compare on the last day of school! (After typing that out, I was inspired to make you a template- so that's included below too!)

Know of my prayers for the coming school year for all of you- kids, parents, teachers, and catechists!

Click here for the printable with all 20 signs, then just print the grades you need:
Click here for the First Day of School Favorites page:

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

July Radiant Roundup

Happy July! We somehow find ourselves in the middle of the summer! If you are looking for some ways to learn, pray, and celebrate with your kids this month, here are a few ideas!

July: The Month of the Most Precious Blood
Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Use any of these activities to celebrate the gift of His Most Precious Blood, especially during the beginning of the Eucharistic Revival called for by the USCCB:
Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity Coloring Page Cursive*
Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity Coloring Page Manuscript*
Seeing Jesus in the Eucharist- Monstrance Art Project*
Reviewing the Eucharist Notebook Activity
Teaching About the Mass Activity Sheets* (2nd-8th)
Peg Doll Saints, church, and Mass Kit (Pre-4th)
Make Your Own Mini Mass Kit (Pre-4th)
Adoration with Kids Printables* (K-8th)
Favorite Books about the Mass (All Ages)
Order of the Mass Activity Cards* (4th-8th)
Using the Multiple Intelligences to Teach about the Mass* (all ages)
Mass Reflection Page Graphic Organizer* (2nd grade and up)
Mass Reflection Slides (all ages)

American Saints
As we celebrate the birthday of our country on July 4th, we can look to those who have gone before us as examples of holiness, asking their prayers for our nation.
American Saints At Home VBS (all ages) Tons of resources highlighting 14 holy men and women from the United States, with both printables and digital resources. (This is actually one of my very favorite collections I've made for the blog! Originally from the summer of 2020 when we were all looking for resources to use at home, I really think that we have a lot to learn from these incredible people- and TONS of them have July Feast Days!)
American Saints Research Project (6th-8th grade) Google Slides project, great for the classroom!

St. Junipero Serra: July 1st

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati: July 4th 
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati* Coloring pages and bulletin board

Venerable Augustus Tolton: July 9th (unofficial feast day)
My favorite graphic novel about his life is in this post!

St. Kateri Tekakwitha: July 14th

Our Lady of the Brown Scapular: July 16th

Bl. Stanley Rother: July 28th

Bl. Solanus Casey: July 30th

Praying for an End to Abortion
With the Supreme Court decision on June 24th no longer enshrining abortion as a constitutional right, we will continue to watch, work, and pray that abortion becomes not only illegal but unthinkable. I know that it will continue to be a top story during the month of July (and onward), so it might be a topic of conversation to discuss with your kids as appropriate according to their age. Even young kids can pray using this spiritual adoption prayer. I also highly encourage you to find ways to directly support moms and their children in your community- find a place to donate, volunteer, and advocate for.  Knowing the resources available in our communities helps us to be ready to respond when someone is in need. Two of my favorite places to regularly donate to are the Sisters of Life and Women's Care Centers. Both groups honor and uphold the dignity of both mother and child, providing support and resources while building relationships with the women they help. We also can be looking for opportunities to connect with a single mom or family who needs support in our town or parish that your family can walk alongside. Meals, babysitting, playdates- these acts of love matter.

Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of America and the Unborn, pray for us!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

June Radiant Roundup

Hello friends! Happy June, the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! There are so many beautiful feasts to celebrate this month, and I'm happy to share some ideas below. Whether you are looking for quick projects to beat summer boredom or need resources for a parish VBS, I hope you find tools to help your kiddos pray, learn, and celebrate!

Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: June 24th

Pentecost: June 5th
Gifts of the Holy Spirit Retreat* (editable calendar, printable prayer journal, recommended prayer, scripture, videos, and activities)
Who is the Holy Spirit? Resources* (editable google classroom assignment & paper version)
Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit Printables* (Scroll down in the post)

Ordinary Time Begins: June 6th

Mary, Mother of the Church: June 6th 
Mary, Mother of the Church Activities

Trinity Sunday: June 12th

Corpus Christi: June 19th

St. Peter & Paul: June 29th

And its's not a Feast Day, but most schools will be out for summer soon! If you are looking for a way to keep your teen or preteen growing and praying this summer, you could try this editable retreat plan!

Happy June! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Saturday, April 30, 2022

May Radiant Roundup

Can you believe that is is already May!?! So many things to celebrate during this time of year- I know I have been busy with Confirmations and First Communions, and my 8th graders are wrapping up their school year and looking toward graduation. May will fly by, but there are so many things to savor, including the continuation of the Easter Season, the month of Our Lady, and the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker just to name a few! Click below on any of the links to help you learn and pray this month.

The Month of Mary:
Marian Paper Dolls (2nd & up)
Favorite Marian Songs a playlist (all ages)

The Easter Season: 
50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days- Easy to share pdf with ideas for the whole Easter Season
Fifty Days of Easter* Post with collection of ideas for celebrating Easter
What Easter Looks Like * Coloring Page/Printable
The Sound of Easter: An Easter Playlist
Resurrection Eggs*
The Gospel in an Eggshell*

St. Joseph the Worker: May 1st

Good Shepherd Sunday: May 8th
While these activities are not exclusively about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, I think that Good Shepherd Sunday is a perfect time to teach about the parables:
More info on how to teach the parables* (ideas for all ages, printables for 6th & up)

St. Simon Stock: May 16th

Ascension: May 26th (Observed in some dioceses on Sunday, May 29th)
A great day to celebrate the Four Marks of the Church!* (K-3rd)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April Radiant Roundup: Ideas for Holy Week, Easter, and Divine Mercy Sunday

It's almost Holy Week! Here are some activities for your kids to celebrate the Sacred Triduum, the beginning of the Easter Season, and Divine Mercy Sunday!

Links take you to the original posts with all the details. Links with a * indicate free printables.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday April 10th- Easter Sunday, April 17th

What the Triduum Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
Holy Week Family Retreat & Journal* (In English, Spanish, and French, and with an editable schedule)
Best Stations of the Cross Books for Kids*

The Easter Season: April 17th-June 5th
50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days with 2022 Update* Easy to share pdf with ideas for the whole Easter Season
Fifty Days of Easter* Post with collection of ideas for celebrating Easter
What Easter Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
The Sound of Easter: An Easter Playlist
Resurrection Eggs*
The Gospel in an Eggshell*

Divine Mercy Sunday: April 24th
Divine Mercy Watercolor Art* (printable coloring page-2nd-6th)
Divine Mercy Melty Bead Craft* (printable pattern and examples-2nd-8th)
Pop Out Divine Mercy Chaplet* (Connection to Reconciliation-2nd-6th)

Praying that you, your students, and your families have a blessed Triduum and Easter Season!

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Best Stations of the Cross Books for Kids

Have you been praying the Stations of the Cross this Lent? This beautiful, traditional prayer is a rich and meaningful way to meditate on Our Lord's Passion while looking towards His Resurrection. I use the Stations of the Cross all throughout Lent in my classroom- we pray them together, the students make projects about the Stations, they write their own versions, and they lead them for the school. To help with their prayer and reflection, I've got a big basket with a huge variety of books about the Stations for them to use, and I'm always on the lookout to add more to the collection.  Because I teach junior high, a lot of the books are intended for an adult audience, but it is always great to find well made versions for kids.

In case you are interested in adding a new Stations of the Cross book (or two!) to your collection before Holy Week, I thought I'd give a run down of some of the best books I have for kids. I included quite a variety, because "the best" version is going to mean something different to everyone based on age of the kids and how you'd like to use it. Some of the details that you might consider:
  • Style of the illustrations
  • Reading level and length of the text for the prayer and reflection
  • Inclusion of Scripture or Scripture references
  • Text of prayers like the "We adore you, O Christ..." and Stabat Mater
  • Traditional Stations of the Cross or new Scriptural Stations
  • Designed for communal prayer or personal prayer
  • Affordability for having multiple copies for a group
  • Size and quality of the book
Two quick notes: 
-I did include a little * giving my top recommendations for certain uses. Those can be found at the bottom of the summaries.
-And one way that I adapt a lot of these books for communal prayer, even for our whole school, without having hundreds of books (...and not making photocopies... just say no to copyright violation, friends!) is to use one book as the reader script and then to give everyone a prayer card with the "We adore you, O Christ..." prayer so that they can more actively participate. I've got a free printable for that at the bottom of the post if you'd like to do the same.

In the links below, I've included some Amazon Affiliate Links. However, I always encourage you to consider shopping with the publisher, at a local Catholic book store, or directly from the author when possible!

  • Written by Jared Dees and illustrated by Ezekiel Saucedo
  • 5x8" 100 pages, black and white illustrations, paperback, regular weight paper
  • The book includes an Intro and four different sets of Stations of the Cross: a Five Minute Stations, Family Stations, School Stations, and Virtues Stations.
  • Jared knows kids and classrooms, and his understanding of both are apparent in this great collection of prayers for the Stations of the Cross. He acknowledges that while kids can have short attention spans, his goal was to be "respectful of their attention" in the way that the prayers are presented. Giving them meaningful prayers that connect to their lives in language they can understand, this book is going to get a lot of use in both homes and classrooms. 
  • If you can't tell from the post-it notes all over the book in the picture, I immediately put my copy to use for our all school Stations of the Cross a couple of weeks ago. They were simple for my 8th graders to lead and essentially no prep for me, but they were perfect reflections for the school kids. I had three separate teachers tell me later how great they thought they were- easy to understand and easy to relate to kids' lives. 
  • *Top recommendation for a resource for teachers and catechists.

The Way of the Cross
  • Written by Juliette Levivier and illustrated by Anne Gravier
  • From Ignatius Press here
  • 6.5x8.5", full color, hardback, glossy pages
  • Each Station includes a Bible verse and reference, longer story, and a 2-3 line prayer.
  • Also includes pages on the story of Holy Week, the tradition of the Way of the Cross, looking to the Resurrection, and how to pray. Each are very short and written with the young child in mind- these pages would be great to use to explain those traditions at their level.
  • Might be a little long to pray aloud a large group of younger kiddos (like in a classroom or church), but I can definitely see this being used with a family at home.

  • Illustrated by Tricia Dugat of Providential Co.
  • 5.5x8.5" full color, paperback, glossy paper, 30 pages
  • Tricia is one of my favorite modern illustrators, so I was so glad to add her interpretations of the Way of the Cross to my library!
  • Each Station includes an adapted Scripture reading and a one line prayer. The "We adore you, O Christ..." prayer is on each page, making it perfectly set up for leading the Stations aloud for a group.
  • This book is based on the Scriptural Way of the Cross, a list of events about Jesus' Passion from the Bible. It was first used by Pope John Paul II in 1991 and has since been approved for congregational use. The Scriptural Way of the Cross includes slightly different events from the traditional Stations, such as the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, Peter's Denial, and the Good Thief.  I love that the book helps tie together those important stories of the Passion of Jesus for the collective memory of the children who will pray with it. 
  • It would be good to note that it would change the way you would use the book if praying with the physical Stations in a Church- these will not match, but are perfect for private devotion with a class or family, or even for personal Bible study.
  • *Top recommendation for the Scriptural Way of the Cross, awesome for home or classroom.

The Stations of the Cross for Children
  • Written by Jerry Windley-Daoust and illustrated by Vicki Shuck
  • 5.5x8.5", full color, paperback, heavyweight paper pages
  • Each Station has a simple reflection and short prayer, and includes Scripture reference for the story.
  • Also has an "About this Book" and "Ways to Use" page for grownups, as well as optional prayers to include when praying the Stations.
  • This book follows the Scriptural Stations of the Cross book, which gives insight into the stories of Jesus' last days. Just a note that it will not match the traditional Stations used in church.
  • The illustrations are warm and they convey the emotions and sacrifice without being gory or scary, making them especially good for young children or kiddos that are more sensitive.
  • *Top recommendation for kiddos that need a gentler version of the Stations of the Cross.
  • Written by Regina Doman, illustrated by Chris Lewis
  • 8x6.5" full color, paperback, heavyweight pages
  • Includes a detailed illustration, Bible verse, reflection, short prayer, Prayer of Love to Jesus by St. Alphonsus Liguori, verse from Stabat Mater in English and Latin, and a sidebar with historical info and other details. The book closes with full text of Psalm 22.
  • With more mature illustrations from the awesome Chris Lewis of Baritus Catholic, I think that the content of this book is perfect for older kids and teens. Layers of meaning are embedded in both the pictures and text, making this book something that encourages deep reflection with each new reading. All of that info on each page might make it challenging to follow if praying with it in a group, but I think it is a wonderful resource for private prayer and reflection.
  • *Top recommendation for older kids and teens.

  • Written by Colleen Pressprich, Illustrated by Adalee Hude
  • 5x7", full color, paperback, heavyweight pages, 32 pages
  • Adalee Hude of Brightly Hude is another favorite modern artist, and I think that her illustrations are simple and sweet, perfect for younger kids.
  • This book includes the "We adore you..." prayer, a story, a few discussion/reflection questions, and a short closing prayer. The set up is ready made for leading prayers for a group.
  • I love the addition of the reflection questions- they would be perfect to ponder quietly, or even have kids use as journaling prompts.
  • *Top recommendation for something affordable to use with a group in school or classroom that is short and purposeful.

  • 4x6" heavy, full color cards that come in in a sturdy storage box
  • While not in book format, these wonderful cards are a perfect tool to facilitate praying the Stations of the Cross with your family, and then also provide art that you can keep on display.
  • They include kid friendly art on one side and a short reading and prayer on the reverse.
  • These are the Stations that I have on display in my classroom this Lent, taped up across one wall. I like their consistent color scheme and the prayers on the back are perfect for kids. As my students have been working on a Stations of the Cross project, these cards are frequently flipped over and referenced.
  • I really, really appreciate the connected Bible verses listed on each card. References to any Gospel passages tied to that story, as well as other passages from Scripture are included. This is a wonderful resource that expands the use of the cards to reading the story of the Passion directly from the Bible.
  • Also you can use code BOGNER20 to get 20% off these Stations Cards or Stations of the Cross ring (perfect for bringing to church!) or any item or subscription. The resources from Catholic Family Crate are wonderful- catechetical, attractive, easy to use, and well made. I am really, really impressed by their new Faith in a Year Memberships and all that is included!
  • *Top recommendation for families, especially since this one can be used in more than one way! Pray as a family, hang up as art, or bring along for your kids to use at a parish presentation of the Stations of the Cross.

  • By James Allen (The Liturgical Press)
  • 8.25x5.25", BW, paperback, regular paper pages
  • Includes a reader reflection in first person perspective of one of the figures at the Crucifixion and then a longer group prayer. I think the first person perspective can be a powerful way to think about the Passion for kids, but the shift each Station might be difficult for younger kiddos. The length of the prayers that are read aloud also would be a challenge for younger students.
  • Specifically designed for use with a group of school children, it also includes suggestions for use for the teacher/leader. It is nice to have a version intended for group prayer in a school setting.
  • ***Unfortunately, this one seems to be out of print, but is listed at the book seller above and you could look for it on on ThriftBooks, ebay, etc.

No Greater Love: Stations of the Cross for Young People
  • By Amy Welborn from Creative Communications
  • 4x5.5" full color, paperback, thinner paper pages
  • Short meditation, long prayer, one line Bible verse
  • Available in bulk- more info on this below.

By His Cross: Stations of the Cross for Young Catholics and Their Families
  • By Jerry Welte from All Saints Press
  • 4x6" full color, paperback, thinner paper pages
  • Longer reflection, short prayer
  • (From the 2021 catalogue, so I couldn't find a link for this one. Check out the 2022 option below.)

Bulk Books for Stations of the Cross with Kids
  • All Saints Press and Creative Communications are some of the only publishers that I've seen that offer affordable bulk discounts and have kids' versions of the Stations. However, all of the ones that I have in my classroom and the new 2022 ones that I'm linking below aren't really great for communal prayer- they have a longer reflection for each station, but do not have a leader/response part. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Journey to the Cross and Sample inside pages This one has good illustrations and does have a short line that could be used as a group prayer.
  • Step up Close to Jesus and Sample inside pages This one's reflections are a little longer, and also has a line at the bottom that could be used for group prayer.
  • (I'd love to see an affordable bulk booklet option for kids that is actually designed for communal prayer with a large group- Something in the $1/book range is what would be practical when buying for a whole school- If you know about an option, please comment below or send me an email!)
  • 5.5x7.5" 32 pages, full color illustrations, glossy paper, paperback
  • From Catholic Book Publishing
  • Includes a reflection, leader prayer, group prayer, line from Stabat Mater.
  • While admittedly the cover art a little dated looking, this little book has great age appropriate, child friendly language and is actually set up for communal prayer. I like that it has a traditional feel and includes the Stabat Mater on each page.

  • Written by Angela M. Burrin and illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio
  • 9.5x8.5", full color, hardback, glossy pages
  • Includes an intro to the Stations and how to pray pages, longer story for each Station of the Cross, a short prayer, and closes with traditional prayers for the Stations and prayer intentions. I really like the watercolor illustrations that are simple but have some beautiful details. This one definitely has more of a "storybook" feel that would be great for families.
  • ***Unfortunately, this one seems to be out of print, but you could keep an eye out for a used copy on ThriftBooks, ebay, etc.

Print Your Own Stations Book

If you are looking for a way to have an affordable set of Stations of the Cross that can be used by everyone in your family, classroom, or school this is the best printable set of Stations I've seen- it has everything needed to pray as a group. It is set up to print on 8.5x14" paper: Printable Stations Book 

Stations of the Cross Art & Activities
If you are just looking for Stations of the Cross art to hang up or use in a prayer space, or would like a hands-on Stations of the Cross activity for kids, these are some of my favorites:

Prayer Before a Crucifix Mini Shrines/Prayer Cards
One way that I've used some of the books above in large group (without having multiple copies) is by having one reader leading from the book and everyone else with this Prayer Prayer Before a Crucifix prayer card. This encourages their response and prayer with each Station, and then afterwards, they can fold it in half and stand up to make a little Mini Prayer Shrine. Feel free to use these with your own kids during Stations or as a little display for their desk or dresser during Holy Week!

Click here to print the Prayer Before a Crucifix mini shrines:

If you know of any other great Stations of the Cross books for kids, make sure to send them my way!