Sunday, April 30, 2017

Celebrate Our Lady of Fatima with Prayer

Yesterday, two of my children and I were able to participate in part of a Holy Hour while making a visit to view the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the relics nearby.

We had hoped to also attend a Mass and children's blessing with the relic of a piece of the holm-oak tree on which Our Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima and some relics of Jacinta and Francesco, but due to commitments in our own parish, we could not.  However, it is likely that we will be blessed with that experience another time, since the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is scheduled to visit other area churches in the future.

Visit with the Fatima Statue Yourself

If you'd like to visit with the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima yourself,
check the schedule or request a visit for your local church, school conference, prayer group, or hospital chapel.  The beautiful Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is currently scheduled to visit many locations throughout the United States in the current months, continuing its long tradition of doing so.
In fact, the statue has been traveling throughout the world for 70 years!

In 1947,
blessed by Pope Pius the XII blessed the statue before it made its first pilgrimage in order to celebrate and commemorate the 30th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to the children in Fatima.  Since then, the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima has spent time at the United Nations and also traveling throughout the world.

In the Massachusetts Area?  

If you'd like to enjoy a family-friendly event in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, the 75th Anniversary of Family Rosary, and the 25th Anniversary of Servant of God Patrick Peyton's death, join Holy Cross Family Ministries on June 3 for a faith-inspired interactive skit, a shared meal, and powerful family prayer experiences.

We have enjoyed other family days of prayer at the Father Peyton Center and have no doubt the upcoming one will be great, too.  It is always a blessing to celebrate faith together as a family there.

Stay up to date on the Family Prayer: Strength and Unity event at the Holy Cross Family Ministries Facebook page.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Enjoy Geography, History, and Faith on DVD {A Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” Review}

As soon a my oldest saw the preview clip for Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” on the Drive Thru History® website, he asked, "Can we review it?"  

He commented that Dave Stotts, the host of the series, seemed funny, that the filming looked "awesome" with its combination of beautiful panoramas and "cool moving paintings", and that learning about the Gospels from the video series sounded fun.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

In a nutshell, my son was right!

We were delighted to receive the DVD series in the mail, and soon after the kids finished commenting, "Ooo, that's cool," over the way the 3 CD's sat in the inside covers of a full color study guide book, we popped the first DVD right into our computer.  

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Then, throughout Lent and continuing on through the beginning of this Easter season, the kids and I enjoyed episode after episode of the series.

I appreciated that:

  • Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, although geared for 5th graders and up, was suitable for all of my children (ages 6 and up).  It made great family viewing, capturing our attention with humor and stunning scenery while delivering facts and backed by Scripture and other historical documents.  
  • Dave Stotts has a quirky sense of humor that made watching history fun.  All three of my children loved Dave's humorous comments and the visual humor that he sometime included in the episodes, too. 

  •  Accuracy is valued.  The series is based on history, not controversial opinions.  Facts are presented with references the Bible is quoted with Scripture references.   
  • The videography is stunning.  Truly, the filming and editing seemed flawless, the soundtrack compelling, the narration easy to understand, and the scenery breathtaking.  The children often commented on the beauty of the on-location filming and liked the paintings and images used, too.

Entertaining, informative, and, at times, truly fascinating, 
Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” has been a hit in our home!  Viewing the series seemed perfectly timed for Lent and Easter, but, really, can - and in our home, will continue to be - enjoyed at any time of the year. 


A Fabulous Virtual Field Trip

To produce 
Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”Dave and his crew traveled to over 50 ancient sites in Israel in a trusty old Land Rover in order to bring the story of Jesus alive. The result was a beautifully filmed documentary series that allows you to be an armchair traveler as you walk you through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in a factual way that mixes accounts from the first four books of the New Testament - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - with citations from ancient writings and other historical accounts.

Eighteen episodes, which total about nine hours of viewing time, bring you on a virtual field trip laced with quirky humor and packed with geography, archeology, art, history, and - of course - faith, learning about:

  • The Historical Landscape
  • The Announcements
  • Jesus is Born
  • Jesus Grows Up
  • Jesus Starts His Ministry
  • Jesus Returns to Galilee
  • Jesus Begins His Miracles
  • Jesus Teaches with Authority
  • The Sermon on the Mount
  • Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
  • Jesus Travels North with His Apostles
  • A Final Trip to Jerusalem
  • Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
  • The Last Supper
  • The Trail of Jesus
  • The Crucifixion of Jesus
  • The Resurrection of Jesus
  • Who is Jesus? 

The DVD set also included a beautifully illustrated, 118 page study guide which contains:
  • quotes
  • summaries
  • pictures from Dave's journeys
  • additional Bible readings
  • study questions for you to use with your family or in a group setting
  • "Side Roads" sections which give more historical information.

The Kids' Thoughts

When I asked my six-year-old what he thought about Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, he said:

I like it all!  I like how funny the guy is.  He talked about football and Hail Mary's, and he bbq'd something in his car...
I got to see ruins of temples and house and boats...

Drive Thru History The Gospels

There would be a boat that Jesus was fishing in and I saw apostle's houses, and I saw the temple.  And, I learned that they put paper in the cracks of the wailing wall.  I never knew why it was called the wailing wall.
The videos are good, good, good, and funny.  People that like humor, faith and history should watch them.  I want to watch them again - every day.

My nine-year-old daughter said:

I like the series.  It was cool.  I got to see ruins without actually going to the places.

I did not like that they did not use actor more though.  I liked the scenery, but would like more reenactments, because it's hard to imagine when you just see a house.  The art helped, but I think it would be cool if there were more actors.

I liked the car-b-q and how he was in a fishing boat when he was telling us about Jesus fishing.  I liked being able to see the places Jesus was.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I would recommend this series to people who like history and would like to learn about Jesus. I knew a lot about Jesus before, but I learned history and facts, like that some of the places mentioned in the Bible have been discovered recently (when there were lower water levels.)

I also like that the DVD case is a book.  It's cool.

My 11-year-old son said:
I really like it.  The guy is really funny.  He is always making jokes.  For example, he says "safety first" but walks next to mines, makes jokes about football, cooks his food in his car, and just has a sense of humor.

I like how his car is really old.  It looks so funny.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I also like the series, because he's at the places where Jesus lived.  It shows what things actually looked like.  Things looks kind of like what I thought they would , but Peter's house, the boats, and some other things look different than I how I imagined.

I learned that there were actually two times when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. I had not known about the gentile one at all.  I thought it was cool that Jesus made seven extra basket, because seven related to the gentiles and 12 for the twelve tribes of Israel.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I liked the filming, too.  The place looks so cool that it almost looks fake.  I also like how they made the paintings move.  The music at the beginning and end of each segment is cool, too.  It is exciting and makes me want to watch more.  I just like it so much.

I like how the study guide helps you find the places you were on in the DVD, because it is split into parts, - one part for each part of the DVD, and I honestly think it is smart because you can keep a bookmark in a book, but cannot literally put one in a DVD.  The photos and paintings in the guide - and in the film - are beautiful.  I like looking through the guide.

I would recommend this series to anyone.  I want to watch it again all in one sitting, but Mommy would not let me, because it is nine hours long.

Learn More 

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Want to know if Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” would be a great fit for your family?  Access a FREE EPISODE on the Drive Thru History® website.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Find beautiful images, teaching, and video clips at the 
Drive Thru History® blog.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

Read what 100 Homeschool Review Crew families though about 
Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” by through the banner above.

Drive Thru History

View clips
 of other 
Drive Thru History® series which are based on the Holy Land, American History, and Ancient History.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sensing the Saints from Divine Mercy Sunday through St. Catherine of Sienna's Feast Day

This week is chock full of fabulously famous feast days - as well as a few lesser known ones - which make it easy to weave plenty of sensory-smart faith experiences into life and learning.

Since learning about and celebrating the saints is an avocation of mine, I was excited to take time over the past few days to browse books and websites about saints whose feast days are this week and, then, to brainstorm ideas for sprinkling saint-connected activities into each and every upcoming day.  In case you like doing the same, I thought I'd share the fruits of my labor.  (Not that it was really labor to put these ideas together.  For me, it is fun, fun, fun to do!)

Divine Mercy(the Sunday after Easter) and St. George (4/23)

Without question, Divine Mercy Sunday is a day to spend some extra time before or after Mass chatting about Divine Mercy and, perhaps, praying the chaplet

In our family, it is also a time to get our taste buds in on the celebration.  This morning, my daughter helped us make a simple breakfast to remind us of the Divine Mercy image:  a heart-shaped piece of french toast with red and blue berries streaming from it.

{Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate ones} 

Over breakfast, we prayed and 
read "St. Mary Faustina Kowalska: A Hero Finds Hope in Mercy" in our Loyola Kids Book of Heroes. We also chatted a bit about the Divine Mercy image that St. Faustina saw and about the history of the original painted image.

Later, we followed up on our breakfast chat by letting the children choose between beginning to listen to The Neces
sity of Divine Mercy or 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy in our minivan while on the way to an event.  They chose the former, which will be our travel time listening for the early part of the week.

Then, this evening, viewed the trailer for The Original Image of Divine Mercy: A Documentary (and all want to see the whole thing!)

Before that, though, we took a side step into honoring today as the traditional day for celebrating St. George.

For dinner, my daughter helped me create a reprise of some of 
dishes we enjoyed last year with friends.
This year, our table looked like this:

After grace and reading "St. George" from the Picture Book of Saints, the children dug in with their sword picks.  Meanwhile, I continued reading "St George, Martyr" from In His Likeness and "Saint George" from Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year - of which give more factual accounts of St. George than the typical St. George and the dragon legend.

I particularly liked how in
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year, the dragon story was explained symbolically with the dragon standing for wickedness and the lady for holy truth.  There was also a reflection which stated:

We all have some "dragon" we have to conquer.  It might be pride or anger or laziness or greediness or something else.  Let us make sure we fight against these "dragons", with God's help.  Then we can call ourselves real soldiers for Christ.

Since my children were all busy stabbing our food dragon when I read this reflection, we gave it only cursory thought.  Later in the week, I think we may revisit the idea, then.

Speaking of revisiting, we will also likely revisit some other St. George readings we've enjoyed in past years as reading later in the week, since we opted to read some American history at bedtime.  So, ready in our book basket are:

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (4/24)

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen is a new-to-us saint, so we'll likelyread excerpts about him from
In His Likeness and Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year.  We may also listen to brief audio about him on the Franciscan Media website or view this short homily about him on YouTube:

Then, after reading about St. Fidelis in Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year, we'll think about this idea, from page 182 of the book:

It is a great honor to be able to help others come back to Jesus, back to the Church.  Let us try, by prayer, good example and kind words, to be real apostles.

Most likely, we'll then pause to pray for the conversion and reversion of specific friends and family and will also chat about ways we might proclaim our faith without fear

We may also consider what Pope Benedict XIV said at St. Fidelis' canonization about how he:

"...practiced the fullness of charity in bringing consolation and relief to his neighbors as well as strangers... comforted widows and orphans... was always helping prisoners...showed constant zeal in visiting and comforting the sick..." and tirelessly preached the Catholic faith.

Undoubtedly, this will inspire proprioception and vestibular input as we move about the house gathering things for the needy or take a walk to go visit and help some neighbors.

We may also do some copywork using quotes from St. Fidelis:

It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.

Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.

St. Mark (4/25)

St. Mark's feast day will bring more prayer, reading, learning, picture study, and reflection to our home, as well as gustatory delight!  Much like last year, we'll likely enjoy eating a vegetable dip winged lion.

We may even share a luncheon with friends, to include a "quill" penne and "martyr red" tomato dish inspired by one described at Catholic Cuisine and a gluten-free recipe at Vega-licious.

Among our readings may be:

Our Lady of Good Counsel and Venerable Nano Nagle (4/26)

We received a cute little Our Lady of Good Counsel peg doll in a Marian Peg Doll Swap I participated in, so she will grace our table from the earliest hours of the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel along with an Our Lady of Good Counsel prayer card. 

Then, in the evening, we'll add some blue
 and white candles and a blue and white breakfast-for-dinner meal to the table (in honor of Our Lady), which we will enjoy as I read about Our Lady of Good Counsel in Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and, perhaps, online at  Augustinian Friends and Tradition in Action.  A picture study or art creation may be in order, too, depending on how exhausted we are from a busy day we already have scheduled.

If we do happen to have energy, we may also focus on another new-to-me Venerable Nano Nagle, who you can hear about here if she is new to you, too:

If that happens, for fun, after reading about Nano as a child, we might just go outside for some great "heavy work" climbing trees and take some late lessons outside, too, as inspired by hearing about hedge schools.

We also might pray a prayer I found in a pdf at Presentation Primary Listowl's site and chat about the idea that "the pattern of (Nano's) life was the movement from action or service to contemplation and back again to action or service" as described at the Nano Nagle website.

St. Zita and St. Peter Canisius (4/27)

Thursday is previously scheduled to be a busy day here, too. However, it won't be too busy to do some housework cheerfully and prayerfully, to set aside alms for the poor, and to have some bread (and maybe even make some ) in honor of St. Zita, who we will read about in More Once Upon a Time Saints and, also, perhaps in the story The Saint-Maid of Lucca at the Baldwin Project and the pdf at The Real Presence.

We might also read about St. Peter Canisius in 
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and at Aquinas and More, along with seeing if the children can figure out which line from the Hail Mary is not from the Bible, but is attributed to St. Peter Canisius and also, perhaps, reviewing some extra catechism together in honor of the saint.

St. Peter Chanel and St, Louis de Montfort (4/28)

On Friday, the kids have their final parkour class for this school year, where they will be facing literal challenges to hurdle over. After that, we will read about St. Peter Chanel in 
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and/or watch a clip about him on Catholic Online.  Then, we'll chat about how seeming failures, hurdles, and challenges can turn out to be huge successes with God's good graces.

I may also have the children color an image of St. Louis de Montfort as we talk about  Marian Consecration and begin reading St.Louis de Montfort: The Story of Our Lady's Slave

St. Catherine of Sienna (4/29)

Finally, the week will close with learning about St. Catherine of Siena.  

I may ask my oldest to follow St. Catherine's example by writing to political leaders, as inspired by Church Pop.  Likewise, I may have the children color an image from Catholic Playground while we listen to any one of the following readings in whole or in part:

We might also 
go through items to find some more to donate as St. Catherine was known for giving things away to the needy.

Most certainly, as our week unfolds further, my children and I won't get to every idea I have listed here and may also end up hopping down different saint-inspired bunny trails.  However, I am certain that we'll enjoy sensing the saints in one way or another every day.

I pray you have a richly blessed week and can enjoy some of these ideas, too!  I'd also be grateful if you'd share favorite resources, recipes, and readings related to any of this week's saints or any upcoming ones.  Thank you and God bless!


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