Printable Feast of the Immaculate Conception Lesson Plans and Crafts

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception falls on Dec. 8 or 9. It's one of the Catholic Church's six recognized Holy Days of Obligation in the liturgical calendar. For 2013, it's not an obligatory day, but here are Free Printable Feast of the Immaculate Conception Activities: Lessons and Crafts

Free printable Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Craft

'And a shoot shall spring forth from the stump of Jesse: a branch out of his roots.' Isaiah 11:1. This Biblical passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah is foretelling the coming of a new branch in the family tree of King David. Jesse was the father of David. David was the king of Israel during her Golden Age. After Solomon, David's son died, the kingdom fell to quarreling and heathen practices. The two kingdoms finally split and ultimately were carried off into slavery by a succession of eastern rulers from Assyria, Babylon, Media and Persia.  Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Craft

Free Printable Jewish Calendars, Hebrew Gregorian Calendar Converters

Calendars help us mark time, but not everyone follows the same calendar. The Jewish calendar dates time differently than the western Gregorian calendar. Here are free printable Jewish calendars and calendar converters. Calendars are marked with Jewish holy days. You can print monthly calendars for each month of the Jewish year. You can also print calendars cross-referenced with the western Gregorian calendar. Jewish holy days correspond to many Christian Catholic feasts.   Free Printable Jewish Calendars and Hebrew Gregorian Calendar Converters

Kids who are taught Empathy Learn Generosity too

I just called Number One Son (chronological, no favoritism). I had to nag him to confirm if he'll be flying with us to New Orleans to see his sister and also to find out when he and girlfriend would come for Thanksgiving. Then I found out he isn't coming. He's going to New York to help at a homeless shelter. Here's more about how to teach kids empathy, awareness of poverty and holiday generosity. My Generous Big Little Boy

All Saints Day Holy Day

November 1 is All Saints Day in the Catholic and Orthodox Christian church. Some protestant denominations observe it too. All Saints commemorates the lives of cannonized saints and blesseds who have gone before us and on whose intercession we rely for help (kind of like asking a family member to pray for you).  Here's more on this most sacred of holy days.All Saints Day Blessings and Wishes

Gift Suggestions for Children's Missions, Charities

During Lent, we Catholic practice charity, prayer, penance and fasting. Advent is a lesser penitential season and those same virtues are observed. Many of us give to children's charities, like Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child, or church giving trees.

It might seem obvious what gifts are best for kids. But I always remember the "The Waltons" Christmas special. The children received 'missionary barrel' gifts and Elizabeth got nothing but a broken doll. I cried my eyes out as she lovingly held that destroyed doll. I didn't understand why wealthy people would send a broken toy. But packing up gifts for a sister parish in Haiti, I found people still do that, alas. Some donated toys were damaged, others just weren't suitable.

We were pleased by the generosity, but disappointed by the lack of care some showed. We had to go out and buy gifts to supplement those that weren't usable. This gift list is written to clarify what children in overseas and domestic missions can use and what may not be appropriate. Top 10 Gift Ideas for Children's Missions and Charities

Until Lent, 2014, Here are Catholic Activities

I generally don't update seasonal blogs on the off seasons. For ordinary time and other church feast seasons, I have another blog, Catholic Activities. This blog has Bible activities, Catholic parenting and family tips, homeschool and parochial school lesson plans, printable religious crafts, prayers, devotions and more. I have links to activities on rosary, the Blessed Mother, Jesus, the trinity, stations of the cross, saints, mass readings, devotions, liturgical calendar, magisterium, sacraments, church history, social justice and lots more. I also have a blog called The Advent Season with appropriate advent activities. Come visit me and have a blessed church year. AMDG. 

Free Easter Printables, Crafts, Devotions, Prayers, Games for Catholics

Easter is the major feast day in the Catholic church. For forty days of Lent we've fasted, prayed and journeyed with Our Lord in His walk to Golgotha. Lent is like an inward spiritual pilgrimage that takes place amid our everyday lives. Children in the Catholic faith take part in this journey as well. Some are making first reconciliation and are preparing for first Holy Eucharist. At the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, catecumens and candidates will be welcomed into the Church. Many will be baptized. The new Easter candle is lit for the first time. The sacred oils are blessed on Holy Thursday. The parish priest renews his vows of ordination. The Holy Eucharist is placed in repose for the three days of the triduum in a solemn and lovely pageant.

These are only a few of the awesome and significant events we Catholics celebrate in at Easter and the Holy Week preceding it. Children see, hear and celebrate many wondrous experiences at Eastertide. Some may be new or unremembered from last year. Here are several websites for you to print free Easter materials for your students or children to explore the lovely symbolism and ritual of Easter in the Catholic Church.  Read more

Cheap, Homemade, Safe Easter Egg Dyeing, Recycled Decorations

Waited till the last minute to buy Easter egg dyeing kits for the kids? Now you have to pull a rabbit out of a hat (pun intended) and come up with your own egg decorations. Take it from this mom of four--been there, done that. Never fear--super DIY mom is here! Here are homemade Easter egg decorations using recycled and on-hand materials. And best of all--they're cheaper and safer than store-bought egg coloring kits! Cheap, Homemade, Safe Easter Egg Dyeing, Recycled Decorations

Free Printable Easter Triduum Coloring Pages: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday

For Catholics, lent is the holiest season of the church year. It follows the temptation by Satan of Jesus in the desert. During this time, we fast, pray and give alms in imitation of Christ's suffering and in reparation for our sins. Lent ends with Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. From there, we follow the way of the cross (via dolorosa) as stations of the cross. In the last three days of Lent, called the Easter or paschal triduum. "Paschal" refers to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The Easter Triduum begins at sundown on Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. It continues through Good Friday, Easter Vigil or Holy Saturday and on to Easter Sunday. Here are free printable coloring pages to help children explore the paschal mysteries of Christ's Easter Triduum.   Free Printable Easter Triduum Coloring Pages

Diet-Friendly, Vegetarian Rice Recipes

As a Catholic mom, I fast during lent and on Fridays by serving and eating meatless meals. I'm also dieting and have had success eating vegetarian. Rice is a great non-meat food source, but gets a bad rap for being high in starch and calories. Here are rice recipes that give you the most nutritional bang with the lowest caloric intake. I've written these recipes to meet other religious dietary restricitions. Recipes of Asia gives a guide. Islamic halal, non-kitniyot Jewish kosher. Kitniyot foods, like rice, are sometimes restricted by Jews, particularly Ashkenazi, during Pesach or passover. To observe kitniyot, quinoa could be substituted for rice. AISH says this is okay. These recipes follow eastern Ahimsa practices (except for the recipe with tuna). They can be made vegan by using soy for dairy or fish or by omitting. For all recipes, use brown or white jasmine rice (white has fewer calories). Diet-Friendly, Vegetarian Rice Recipes

Free Printable Rosary Prayers, Blessed Virgin Mary Coloring Pages

In May we Catholics and Orthodox celebrate our Blessed Mother Mary. Our Lady shows us to pray the rosary; the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. Here are free printable coloring pages and devotional activities of Mary, and the rosary. The rosary, given to us by Mary, Mother of God, helps us to focus our minds and hearts on her Son Jesus. Free Printable Rosary and Blessed Virgin Mary Coloring Pages and Devotional Activities 

Free Printable Lent Activities, Calendars, Worksheets

 One way that has always helped our family in our Lenten practices is the Catholic Relief Services lenten calendar. Each day is marked with a scripture verse and a prayer intention. Each week is devoted to a different country in great need in our world church. Listed on the calendar is information about the country, culture and people and a simple recipe from that country.  Free Printable Lent Activities

Almsgiving Game, Activity for Lent

In the gospels, Jesus tells a story about a man who gave each servant a certain number of talents (money in those days). He instructed them to find ways to make his investment grow. The man wanted to see how his servants would use the money he gave them. He gave out sums of 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000 based upon his trust in each servant. The servants who were given the larger amounts each doubled theirs, but the third servant hid the money in the ground because he was angry with his master. The master was pleased with the first two and gave over to them all the money they had made. The master took the third servant's sum away and rebuked him for his vengeful spirit. The 1,000 was given to the other servants.

Each year our priest uses this passage as an object lesson. He gives out envelopes with amounts of $10 and $20. Whoever accepts the envelopes must come up with creative ways to make the money grow. As each envelope is returned, the person must tell what she did with the money. The money is donated to our sister parish of St. Simon and St. Jude at Morne Hopital in Haiti. Over the years that Fr. Bill has done this, we've heard numerous creative ideas. Here they are Almsgiving Lenten Activities

Free Printable Catholic Saints Coloring Pages for Ash Wednesday

In honor of Ash Wednesday here are Catholic saints coloring pages. I've just found a lovely blog today, called Waltzing Matilda, that features a whole collection of free printable Catholic saints organized in order of the Catholic liturgical and saints feast day calendar. Print these free coloring pages for All Saints' Day. This blog features beautiful hand drawn images. Waltzing Matilda has over 65 free printable saints coloring pages, all lovingly designed by the author of this blog. She makes these printables available free of charge to all homeschoolers, families, individuals, religious groups, churches and schools. She asks that people link to her blog, not the individual pages. I'm delighted to share links for these free printable saints coloring pages. Free Printable Catholic Saints Coloring Pages for All Saints Day

Free Printable 2016 Lenten Calendars

Our Lenten journey in the Catholic church begins on Ash Wednesday and follows Jesus Christ for forty days of suffering in the desert, up to Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. In 2016, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February, 10. Here are free printable Lenten calendars to help your experience of Lent.  Read on for Free Printable Lenten Calendars

Free Printable Lent Activities from Operation Rice Bowl

For Catholics and Orthodox Christians, Ash Wednesday begins the season known as Lent. Lent is a penitential liturgical season of the church calendar. As we prepare for Christmas during Advent, in Lent, we prepare for Easter. With prayer, fasting and almsgiving (the three penitential virtues), we ready our minds and hearts for the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. With the imposition of the ashes, we are reminded--"turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel." We think of ways to follow this admonition by practicing spiritual virtues.

Many people confuse the purpose of lent; they talk about what they or someone else is "giving up for Lent." There is the practice of fasting, but it's not just about giving up. Sometimes fasting means doing rather than not doing something. We always taught our children that while we may fast or give up meat, sweets, candy or pop as a physical fast, it's important to think of spiritual ways to fast. One of my besetting sins is selfishness. So at Lent, I try to make a better effort not just to 'give up' selfishness, but also to be more selfless. Do I succeed? Yes and no. But we don't call them lenten practices for nothing. We are practicing prayer, fasting and sacrifice.  Here are activities to help. Free Lenten Printables

Bible Almsgiving Activity for Lent

In the gospel, Jesus tells a story about a man who gave each of his servants a certain number of talents (money in those days). Catholic teachers, parents, homeschool families--use this parable in your lent devotions with an easy almsgiving activity. Here's the conclusion of the parable plus lesson plans to accompany.

In the Bible story, the master instructed his servants to find ways to make the investments he gave them grow. He wanted to see how his servants would use the money. He gave out sums of 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000 based upon his trust in each servant. The servants who were given the larger amounts each doubled theirs, but the third servant hid the money in the ground because he was angry with his master. The master was pleased with the first two and gave over to them all the money they had made. The master took the third servant's sum away and rebuked him for his vengeful spirit. The 1,000 was given to the other servants. Read  more Bible Almsgiving Activities for Lent