Whew! Chocolate egg foils may still litter the kitchen, but the children survived the long Holy Week church services (maybe even got their feet washed?) and Lent is behind us for another year.
It may unfortunately be unrealistic to think that we Catholics, especially Catholic parents, have any energy to dive into the post-Easter period of mystagogy.
Having studied liturgy throughout my adult life, mystagogy, the last stage in the sacramental initiation process that leads new Christians into the mystery of Christ, has always intrigued and puzzled me. Deep down, I am a lover of ritual and symbol, so the whole concept of exploring the mysteries of our faith during the 50 days until Pentecost resonates for me. The Easter season is the apex of Catholic liturgical life. As much as we may want to rest and relish being one with the community that includes the newly baptized, there is little we can do to change the call to encounter the mysteries of our faith in the coming weeks.
So rather than fight it, here’s my idea for all those Catholic parents who need that post-Easter nap, but want to build on whatever awe and wonder Holy Week, Triduum, and Easter have built in their children: Spend the 50 days of Easter reading Catholic children’s books.
(Even if you don’t have children, try it. You’ll be amazed!)
Here are the titles we are highlighting this week at CatholicsRead. If you don’t see something here, explore the wider list of children’s books that we have curated at CatholicsRead during the past year.
Ascension has published a wonderful children’s book on prayer called Jesus and Me: Talking with My Greatest Friend by Melissa Kirking that will introduce your family to various styles of prayer and offer “prayer possibilities” to give your children the tools they need to talk with Jesus.
Have some visual learners in the family? Break open John’s miracle of the wedding feast at Cana with Catholic Book Publishing’s The Wedding Feast at Cana Puzzle. Alone or with family, add piece by piece to the puzzle and create your own 27″ x 19″ masterpiece.
A Miracle for Micah from Ascension takes place in Jesus’ time and place. Through the story of Micah and the forgiveness that he receives from Jesus, show your children what happens in the sacrament of Reconciliation and why forgiveness is so important. This storybook, written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam and beautifully illustrated by Gina Capaldi, is the perfect gift for First Reconciliation.
Can’t decide? Take a look at these seven new children’s books from Magnificat. Children will search for saints in colorful drawings, learn about St. Christopher with Tomie dePaola, be drawn closer to Mary, receive guidance for weekly prayer, find ways to deal with sadness, meet St. Hildegard, a woman who saw God in the beauty of creation, and join early Christians solving a mystery in Rome.
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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.