Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Prayer for the Pope Coloring Page & Papal Trivia

Today is the 11th Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis! This papal conclave was my first as a teacher, and I had recently switched from working at a public school to teaching at a Catholic school. I remember following Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and working to explain it to my students. We then followed the coverage together, and I looked all over for resources to teach them about the historic events. I made some things of my own and we watched videos of the cardinals gathering in Rome, and later the white smoke appearing above the Sistine Chapel and then meeting Pope Francis for the first time.

On this anniversary, I'd like to offer this coloring page for you to use with your children to pray for our pope! I wrote the prayer to be simple by meaningful, using kid-friendly language. Added to make it a coloring page are illustrations from Kortnee Senn, the talented illustrator from our book We Have a Pope.

Click on the image above or here to print the coloring page!

If you'd like another activity, try out this set of Papal Trivia:

Or you could grab a copy of We Have a Pope at The St. Paul Center here or it is also available on Amazon here.

Friday, March 1, 2024

March Radiant Roundup: St. Joseph, St. Patrick, and Holy Week!

Here's a list of ideas to help you and your kids have a holy and purposeful Lent and Holy Week, as well as celebrate some of the important March Feast Days like St. Patrick and St. Joseph!

Feast of St. Katharine Drexel: March 3rd

Feast of St. Patrick: March 17th
St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer Cards*

Bl. Josef and Wiktoria Ulma and Children: March 24th
Ulma Family Biographical Study* (7th & up) Editable/Google Classroom ready

Solemnity of the Annunciation: March 25th (Transferred to Monday, April 8th this year)

The Season of Lent
Lent: Ideas for 40 Days* (Round-up Post of Links)
What Lent Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
What the Triduum Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
Lent: Pray, Fast, Give Foldable* (Also in Spanish)
Lenten Prayer Challenge Board* (Also editable)
Lent Family Weekly Plan*- Pray with Sunday Gospels and Fasting/Giving using the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (editable)

Holy Week & The Sacred Triduum
Holy Week Family Retreat & Journal* (In English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese)
This post has ideas for each day of Holy Week, including a printable journal and clickable links to activities and videos.

Here's a list of great books for March:

And Stations of the Cross books for kids:

Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, pray for us!

March Books for Catholic Kids

March Catholic Kids Book List
Below are a few favorite titles that fit well with devotions and feast days this month! This list contains Amazon Affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you. I'd also love to encourage you to shop directly with the publisher or with your local bookshop, or try to request these at your local library! I'm sure I've missed some books that would be great for this month, so feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments! You can find my giant list of Catholic Kid Books by topic here.

The Month of St. Joseph

Saint Feast Days this Month
3/3- St. Katharine Drexel

3/17- St. Patrick

3/19- St. Joseph
See list above

3/25- The Annunciation
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Tomie de Paola

Book Lists By Month:
Click on the images below for book lists organized by feast days and devotions for each month:

Hands on Stations of the Cross (for one, or for a group!)

A long, long time ago (2012!) I posted a set of Resurrection Eggs (for the stories during Holy Week) that I made with our CCD program. A couple of years later, I also made a set of Way of Light Resurrection Eggs (for the stories during the Easter Season). We recently had a CCD family day focusing on the Stations of the Cross. Kids aged 5-14 participated, and I knew that the little ones would benefit from something hands-on before we went to the church to pray the Stations together. I thought about making a version of the Resurrection Eggs, but really wanted to make sure we were hitting all of the traditional Stations of the Cross- and then I remembered how my friend Bonnie prayed the Stations with her kids back when her now teenagers were toddlers. So, inspired by Bonnie Engstrom (who tells me she was inspired by Kate Wicker), I set up a symbol for each Station for the kids to collect, complete with artwork and a table tent explaining the meaning of the symbol.

You can certainly use this idea to make a hands-on set of the Stations of the Cross for your own home, but I wondered if maybe someone else had seen activities like this and wanted to be able to replicate it for a whole group. So I made sure that I used objects that were affordable on a larger scale and created printables using public domain images (or my own art) so that you would be free to print them yourself. 

I ordered simple cotton bags for the children to put each object in (fyi, I got 4x6 bags, but 5x7 would have been a better choice) and added a tag that they labeled "Stations of the Cross" and wrote their name (important since they will look exactly alike). Practically speaking, the set would be easier for preschoolers to use at home if they were in a box, rather than having them dump the bag out when you are planning on using them. But the bags were a simple and affordable way to package them for the activity at church, and then parents can always change up the storage when they take them home. The rock, nail, cross, and medal are also choking hazards for little ones, so if you are making these without parents present, it might be a good idea to give them a heads up before those items get lost around their house! ;)

Here is the list of objects according to each Station: (You can obviously switch these up based on supplies you have on hand or your own creative ideas!)

  • Station 1- Jesus is Condemned to Death- Rope for His arrest (piece of twine)
  • Station 2- Jesus Takes Up His Cross- Cross (small wooden cross)
  • Station 3- Jesus Falls the First Time- Bandage (I wrote a #1 on the bandaids, the kids stuck them on a purple card before putting in their bag)
  • Station 4- Jesus Meets His Mother- Miraculous Medal
  • Station 5- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus- Helping hand (image of a hand, but this would be a good one to trace and cut out your own hand)
  • Station 6- Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus- Veronica prayer card (block print made by me)
  • Station 7- Jesus Falls the Second Time- Bandage (Bandaid with #2)
  • Station 8- Jesus Meets The Women of Jerusalem- Tissue for the tears of the weeping women
  • Station 9- Jesus Falls the Third Time- Bandage (Bandaid with #3)
  • Station 10- Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes- Piece of cloth
  • Station 11- Jesus is nailed to the Cross- Nails (we added one large nail to reduce the chance of them falling on the floor and getting lost. Three large nails would be even better)
  • Station 12- Jesus Dies on the Cross- Crucifix (we used a picture, but adding a small crucifix would be great)
  • Station 13- Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross- Pieta image
  • Station 14- Jesus is Laid in the Tomb- Stone for the stone rolled in front of the tomb
I had some of these items already on hand- like the nails, stones, miraculous medals, twine, and cloth. I was able to print the images at our parish office, so I only needed to purchase the bags, crosses,  (affiliate links) and bandaids, which worked out to about $.60 a child, so quite inexpensive! We also gave every family a copy of this Stations of the Cross book to make it easier for them to pray at home.

We set up each Station in order and the children went down the line to collect their items. Parents walked with their younger children, and I loved listening to them read the name of the Station to their child while pointing to the art, and then read the description from the table tent with the short meaning of the object.

If you'd like to make these with a group, here are copies of all of the printables I made!

Station 6: Veronica (Also available for you as a print here)

You may also like this printable Prayer before a Crucifix card, which is a handy way to get kids involved in praying group Stations even when they aren't able to follow the book the congregation is leading: