Activity archive

Pentecost Sunday – 19 May – Welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate God the Holy Spirit coming to the Apostles. We celebrate this feast every year, 50 days after Easter Sunday. It is an important feast for Catholics, and also for many other Christians throughout the world. In many countries across Europe, it is celebrated as “White Sunday” or “Whitsunday”.

What does “welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts” mean? Our First Reading shares the story from the Acts of the Apostles (one of the books in the New Testament), and tells how everyone who was with the apostles was “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

God the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of all Christians. As Catholics, we receive the Holy Spirit in a special way during the sacrament of Confirmation, but He is with us throughout all our lives – because God is with us, always.

Pope Francis has said the Holy Spirit “shows us the right path during all situations of life”…so to welcome God the Holy Spirit into our hearts is to be open to the love and the teaching of God. And that is something each and every one of us can do.

What can we do as a family? You might like to do something in honour of the Holy Spirit throughout the week. During Pentecost, people who spoke different languages were able to understand one another – you can use this website as a family to learn how to say “I love you” in 100 different languages! If you like arts & crafts, you can use this activity to make a dove (a symbol of the Holy Spirit) from a paper plate. Or, if you like baking, you could bake a red velvet cake as a way to celebrate Pentecost.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of Pentecost. You might also like to pray through song – this beautiful hymn “Holy Spirit, Lord of Love” asks the Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill us with His love and life.

7th Sunday of Easter – 12 May – Celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with joy

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On Thursday this week, we celebrated the feast of the Ascension, when Jesus ascended (rose up) body and soul into Heaven. The Ascension took place 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus, and was witnessed by the apostles.

Why should we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus with joy? Along with the Resurrection, Jesus ascending into Heaven was another sign that he is God the Son. And before Jesus ascended, He promised that he would send God the Holy Spirit – another feast that we will celebrate very soon.

Celebrating the Ascension with joy is a way for us to say – like the apostles – that we too believe in Jesus, that we trust in Him, and that we are inspired to follow His example in our daily lives. And we also celebrate with joy because we believe that one day, we too will be in Heaven with Jesus.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to choose a family activity that you can complete as a celebration of the Ascension of Jesus – it could be a meal, a dessert, watching a film together, going for a walk, or something else that everyone can enjoy together.

What we can all do is pray! One of the best ways that we can celebrate is to come to Mass together as a family. You might also like to pray this prayer that we have written for our parish families.

6th Sunday of Easter – 5 May – Honouring Mary in the month of May

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Since the 13th century – that’s nearly 700 years ago! – Catholics have used the month of May as a special month in the year to honour Mary, Our Lady the mother of Jesus. Mary is a wonderful example of always being open to answer the call of God throughout her life, and responding ‘Thy will be done’ – not just to being the Mother of God, but in all her thoughts and actions.

What does “honouring Mary” mean? To honour someone means to “regard them with great respect”. This is not the same thing as worship – we only worship God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).

We love and respect Mary because she was the Mother of God the Son – Jesus. God chose Mary out of all the women in all of history to be His Mother. And Mary loved Jesus, raised Him, taught Him, and served Him.

Mary is a great example to us of how to love God with all our hearts, and minds, and strength. And so we use the month of May to show that love for her, and to ask her to help us love God as she did.

What can we do as a family? We’ve found this story-telling video for you to watch as a family, which tells the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. You might also like to discuss as a family what you can do during the month of May for Mary – you could visit the statue of Our Lady in the church after Mass or put flowers next to a picture of Mary, if you have one in your home.

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is our way of talking to God. This week, you might like to pray the Hail Mary as a family – it is inspired by the Gospel of Saint Luke, and is also used in the Angelus and the Rosary (which you can also pray, if you would like to!). The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has a beautiful Full of Grace series on their website featuring the Hail Mary in a different language for each day in May – see how many languages you can pray the Hail Mary in this month!

5th Sunday of Easter – 28 April – Working for God

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? This coming Wednesday, 1 May, is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. Saint Joseph was the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. He was a craftsman – a carpenter – and he taught Jesus his profession. Many countries around the world celebrate 1 May as “Labour Day”, a day to celebrate all workers, and especially those whose work involves physical labour – such as carpentry, farming, food processing, waste collection, trucking and construction work.

What does working for God mean? During his life, Saint Joseph served God through his work as a carpenter, and by caring for Mary and Jesus. Whether we are students or solicitors, teachers or truck drivers, artists or accountants…all of us can use our work as a way of serving God. Our work can be a kind of prayer! And we are also called to “work for God” in our efforts to love Him, and those around us.

What can we do as a family? You might like to watch this video together as a family to learn more about Saint Joseph’s life. And then you could have a conversation about what working for God means, and consider the small things that you can do – as children, as parents, and as a family – to work for God in your own lives, just like Saint Joseph did.

What we can all do is pray! Anything that we do for God is a kind of prayer. This week, we encourage you to use your work – your schoolwork, homework, housework or professional work – as a way of praying to God. And we have also written this prayer for our families to pray together this week.

4th Sunday of Easter – 21 April – Answering the call of the Good Shepherd

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, a day when as Catholics we are encouraged to reflect on the role of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd and to pray for vocations – for people to answer God’s call to become priests and members of religious orders.

What does “the Good Shepherd” mean? A shepherd is someone who takes care of their sheep – and a good shepherd works hard to watch over and care for the sheep in her or his care.

Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd – one who would take care of all the sheep, and search for the ones who were lost, and bring them to safety. Jesus cared for us so much that He chose to die for us.

The men and women who serve God through a vocation – to become a nun, a priest, or a monk – also care for us, through their actions and their prayers.

And we are called to care for others too, whether our family and friends, or for the world around us. Tomorrow is Earth Day – a day to consider the gift of nature that God has given us, and how we care for our planet. That’s a vocation we all share!

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to discuss as a family how you can be a good shepherd for each other, and for our world. You might like to consider random acts of kindness that you can do for others, and small things – like recycling, working in the garden, or a simple act of green from the Earth Day team – to care for our planet.

And you may like to contribute to the annual collection for the Priest Training Fund, which pays for the priestly formation of men for the Catholic priesthood, and the ongoing enrichment and formation of our ordained priests. There are currently 49 men studying at Allen Hall seminary, 13 of whom are from our own Diocese, and your donations either at Mass or online will help them in their preparation for the priesthood.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we offer you two prayers! The first is a special video prayer that CAFOD have created – with the words of Pope Francis – reflecting on how we can love and serve others and our world. The second is a prayer we have written that you can pray together a a family, asking God to inspire people to answer His call.

3rd Sunday of Easter – 14 April – Understanding the scriptures

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel reading shares one of the times that Jesus appears to the Apostles after His Resurrection. He explains how the writings of the Old Testament are fulfilled – completed – in Him, and then “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”.

What are the Scriptures? Scripture is a Latin word that means “writings”. This word is used as a description of the holy writings of the Bible – both the Old and the New Testaments. As Christians, we believe the Bible is inspired by God – that God guided the people who wrote the Bible, and that every part of the Bible includes a message that God wants us to understand.

What does “understanding the Scriptures” mean? When we love someone, we listen to them, and we understand what they say to us, especially when they want to tell us something important. We don’t have Jesus physically here with us the way that the Apostles did, but God speaks to us through the Bible, and Jesus particularly speaks to us through the New Testament. So when we make an effort to listen and understand scriptures, we are listening to God’s message to us.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage our families to listen closely to the Gospel reading during Sunday Mass together. Then, we invite you to have a conversation about what understanding the Scriptures means. You might like to share your favourite Bible stories with each other or discuss a particular part of the Bible that you have questions about. And you can watch this short video to understand more about why the Bible is important to us.

What we can all do is pray! The Bible contains God’s message to us. And prayer is the way that we talk to God. So we’ve written this prayer for our families this week, to ask God to help us understand the Scriptures.

Divine Mercy Sunday – 7 April – Giving thanks for the mercy of God

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, which we have celebrated for the past twenty-four years on the Sunday following Easter Sunday every year.

What is Divine Mercy Sunday? Divine Mercy refers to God’s love for the Children of Israel (the Jewish people) and for all of mankind. It comes from a Hebrew word,  which in the Bible can be translated as “great mercy”, “goodness”, “loving-kindness” and “steadfast love”.

Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, received visions of Jesus, who asked her to paint the vision of His merciful divinity being poured from his Sacred Heart and specifically asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter Sunday, so that all of us would take refuge in Him.

Saint Faustina was canonised (declared to be a saint) in 2000, and in that same year Pope John Paul II (who is also a saint) instituted the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to come to Sunday Mass together as a family and give thanks for the mercy of God. You might like to have a conversation together as a family about the different ways that God has shown his goodness and love to you. And you can also complete this colouring page, which shows the image of the Divine Mercy of Jesus.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families to pray together this week, reflecting on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Easter Sunday – 31 March – Celebrating our salvation

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Easter Sunday, which marks the completion of Holy Week.

Why is Easter important? Holy Week is the most important celebration we have in the Catholic faith, and at Easter we remember how Jesus rose from the dead, opening Heaven to all of us so that we can be with him forever.

Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us, to save us from original sin. His resurrection shows His divine nature as God the Son, and His victory over sin and death for all of us.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to celebrate Easter together as a family by going to Easter Mass together. The Easter Masses are offered for the intentions of our parish family, and it’s a wonderful moment to thank God for all who contribute the skills and talents He has given them in our celebrations of this most Holy Season.

You may also like to have a conversation about the people who loved Jesus (Our Lady, Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and others), and how happy they must have been to learn of His Resurrection. And we encourage you to do something special to celebrate Easter – whether it’s eating Easter eggs or hot cross buns, watching a movie together, preparing a special meal, or having dessert.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families to celebrate Easter this week.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 24 March – Preparing for Easter

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, which is completed with the celebration of Easter.

Why is Holy Week important? Holy Week is the most important celebration we have each year as Catholics – it’s even more important than Christmas!

On Palm Sunday (today), we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem before Passover, and our Gospel reading reflects all the events of Holy Week.

On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper, when Jesus gave the Apostles a lesson in how they should serve by washing their feet; then He instituted the Holy Eucharist, and then suffered His Agony in the Garden.

On Good Friday, we follow the sufferings of Jesus, remembering how He carried His cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, and how he was crucified and died to save all of us from our sins.

On Holy Saturday, we begin Easter at the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening – we celebrate how Jesus rose from the dead, opening Heaven to all of us so that we can be with him forever.

What does “preparing for Easter” mean? Preparing for Easter means celebrating Holy Week – not just today, on Palm Sunday, but all throughout the week. It is a way for us to share in the sufferings of Jesus, to accompany Him in our hearts and minds, and to be filled with joy at His resurrection.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to prepare for Easter together as a family . You might like to complete these special Easter colouring pages, to join our Family Stations of the Cross service at 10:30am on Good Friday. And you can have a conversation together as a family about the meaning of Easter.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially this week, and invite you to pray it together as a family as you prepare for Easter.

5th Sunday of Lent – 17 March – Serving Jesus like Saint Joseph

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? This Tuesday, 19 March, is the feast of Saint Joseph, who was the foster father of Jesus, and the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Joseph has been honoured since the time of the early Christians and in 1870, Pope Piux IX named Saint Joseph as the patron of the Catholic Church.

What does “serving Jesus like Saint Joseph” mean? During his lifetime, Saint Joseph wasn’t rich or famous. He was a father, and a husband. He was a carpenter, and his hard work supported Jesus and Mary. He was a refugee, taking his family to Egypt in order to escape from King Herod. He was a man of faith, who believed the message of God’s angel to him that Jesus would save the Jewish people.

Our First Reading today – from the Book of Jeremiah – is a message from God, which says: “This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts.”

Saint Joseph is one of those who had God’s Law written in his heart. And he followed God’s Law in his ordinary life by trying each and every day to be a good father and husband, to love and serve Jesus and Mary. For us, serving Jesus like Saint Joseph means also carrying God’s Law in our hearts, by loving those around us, and thinking of Jesus in everything that we do.

What can we do as a family? We invite our families to have a conversation this week about Saint Joseph. Each person can share one of the ways that they think Saint Joseph served Jesus in his life, and then you can talk together as a family about what you can do to serve Jesus in your own lives. When you are together in church, see if you can find the window showing St Joseph holding the baby Jesus and say a prayer to thank God for choosing St Joseph to look after His Son Jesus. (St Joseph’s wooden statue is covered with a purple cloth until Easter.)

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially this week, and invite you to pray it together as a family.

4th Sunday of Lent – 10 March – Honouring our mothers, and the women in our lives

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Mothering Sunday, a day when we remember and celebrate mothers. This special day started hundreds of years ago in the Middle Ages, inspired by the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare (rejoicing) Sunday. Just two days ago – on 8 March – we also celebrated International Women’s Day….so this week is a great opportunity to honour all the women in our lives.

What does honouring mothers – and women – mean? The concept of honouring someone is to think about and treat them with respect and admiration, and to give special recognition to them.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite our families to do something special for Mothering Sunday – whether for a mother, grandmother, aunt, or a woman in your life who is special to you as a family. You might like to make a card, organise a family activity, or a special meal or dessert. We also invite families to have a conversation about what it means to honour women – whether family members, or women generally – and to treat them with respect.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially this week, and invite you to pray it together as a family. You might also like to pray the Holy Rosary together one day this week, as a way of honouring Mary, who is Mother to us all.

3rd Sunday of Lent – 3 March – Reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s First Reading – from the Old Testament – shares the story of how God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people, as a way of guiding them on how to live a good life. As Catholics, we follow these same Ten Commandments too – though there are times when we all freely choose to do the wrong thing, and don’t follow the guidance that God has given us. Reconciliation – also known as Confession, or Penance – is God’s way of helping us put things right.

What does listening to Jesus mean? We don’t get to see and listen to Jesus physically the way that the apostles did. But there are many ways that we can listen to Him. We are lucky to have the Gospels, which are a record of Jesus’ life, and include His teachings. By following these teachings, we are listening to Jesus. We will also be guided by Jesus when we pray – because prayer is a special kind of conversation with God. And we can hear Jesus saying “Love one another as I have loved you,” and see Him in those around us.

What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Reconciliation is one of the seven Sacraments we receive as Catholics. We think about the things we have done (examination of conscience), share them with the priest in the confessional (act of confession), receive God’s forgiveness through the priest (absolution) and follow the priest’s suggestions for trying to do things better in the future (act of penance).

Why is reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation important? Pope Francis explains, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation “it is Jesus who waits for us, who listens to us, and who forgives us”. As we continue our Lenten journey this year, reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a wonderful way to bring ourselves closer to Jesus, who died on the cross for us so that all our sins might be forgiven.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite our families to have a shared conversation about the times you have forgiven each other, and the sense of peace and love that it has given you. Then consider together how experiencing the Sacrament of Reconciliation can provide that same sense of peace and love with God. You might even like to go as a family and take turns receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation yourselves.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer to help our families reflect on the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week in the context of Lent.

2nd Sunday of Lent – 25 February – Listening to Jesus during Lent

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel reading tells us of the Transfiguration, when Jesus was transfigured in front of the apostles Peter, James and John, and Moses and Elijah appeared before them. A voice came from Heaven saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favour. Listen to him”. So this week is a great chance to follow the words of God the Father, and listen to Jesus.

What does listening to Jesus mean? We don’t get to see and listen to Jesus physically the way that the apostles did. But there are many ways that we can listen to Him. We are lucky to have the Gospels, which are a record of Jesus’ life, and include His teachings. By following these teachings, we are listening to Jesus. We will also be guided by Jesus when we pray – because prayer is a special kind of conversation with God. And we can hear Jesus saying “Love one another as I have loved you,” and see Him in those around us.

What can we do as a family? We encourage our families to reflect together on today’s Gospel reading. Then, perhaps, you might like to choose one night during the week to have a conversation over dinner as a family about the different ways you are working to listen to Jesus. One way you can listen to Jesus together as a family is to use this Lenten calendar from CAFOD which provides daily reflections and prayers.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for all our families to ask God to guide us this week in listening to Jesus as we continue our Lenten journey.

1st Sunday of Lent – 18 February – Beginning Lent

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Earlier this week (on Ash Wednesday) we began Lent. Lent is a time of 40 days that we use each year to prepare for Easter – when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus. Lent gives us a chance to focus on what Jesus did for all of us, and how by His death and resurrection, He freed us all from original sin.

How is Lent observed? Traditionally, there are three main ways that we observe Lent as Catholics:

Prayer – we are encouraged to pray for ourselves, and for others, throughout Lent
Fasting – during Lent, we make a special effort to give up food or other things that we like
Almsgiving – we can also give our money, time or effort to those who are less fortunate than we are

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to share a family conversation about how you can observe Lent together. To get your discussion started, we offer you this message from Pope Francis, which suggests a different way of fasting – rather than fasting from food, it suggests a way to “fast” from negative actions and emotions.

You may also like to join CAFOD’s Family Fast Day, which takes place on Friday 23 February and help thousands of women and men around the world face the same question: without a way of getting enough food throughout the year, how do you make sure your family can eat today and tomorrow?

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is one of the three ways we observe Lent. You might like to use this prayer, which reflects on the beginning of Lent, and has been written especially for families.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 February – Praying for the sick

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Why is this our activity this week? In 1992, Pope John Paul II (who is now recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church) announced that every year on 11th February – which is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – we would celebrate World Day for the Sick as a day for “prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ”.

Why is it important to pray for the sick? When people are sick, we can and should care for them. We can take them to the doctor, or to the hospital, and we can follow the instructions that we are given to try and help them get better.

And we should also pray for them – to ask God to help them recover, and to give them the courage to face their illness with hope. This can be very hard, and so our prayers are very important.

This month, Pope Francis has announced a special prayer intention to pray for the terminally ill, for people who are not going to get better from their sickness.

It can be difficult for us to understand God’s plan when we learn that someone who is sick will not get better. And that’s OK. But we should remember that God walks with us in the suffering we encounter in this life. His very name is Emmanuel – God with us.

God will never leave those who are sick alone. And He wants us to keep them company as well – with our presence, with our care for them, and with our prayers.

Important as it is to pray for the sick, we should also pray and give God thanks for all those who work to bring healing and care to the sick, visit them and bring them communion, as well as asking Him to keep them strong and loving in their service.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to pray together for those who are sick, including the terminally ill, and for all those who care for them. You might like to use this prayer that we have specially written for all our parish families this week.


5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 February – Looking for Jesus

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Why is this our activity this week? Today is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s Gospel, Jesus has started His ministry – teaching the people around him – and his disciples come and say to Him “Everyone is looking for you.” We want to be like the people who are looking for Jesus.

What does looking for Jesus mean? For the people who lived at the same time as Jesus, looking for Him was easy – they could see and hear Him right in front of them! For us it’s harder – we can visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in our churches, and we can pray to Him in our hearts. But another way of looking for Jesus is to see Him in others, and to see His love and kindness in the good deeds that we – and those around us – can do.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage our families to reflect together on how they have looked for Jesus throughout the week. This could be making (and noticing!) acts of kindness towards each other within your family, or talking about those who are caring for us – our teachers, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, shop assistants and postmen and women – and also those who are supporting the Soup Run and our other parish ministries.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer about looking for Jesus, which you can pray together as a family throughout the week.

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 28 January – Seeing one another in the life of the Church

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Why is this our Family Room activity today ? Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time…and it is also Racial Justice Sunday, a day that is set aside by all the Christian denominations in the United Kingdom – including our Catholic Church – to further the journey towards racial justice. This year’s theme for Racial Justice Day is “Seeing one another in the life of the Church”.

Why is this important? Bishop Paul McAleenan (an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Westminster and the Lead Bishop for Racial Justice) explains more in a message he has written for Racial Justice Sunday:

“In the history of the Church, there have been those who looked at the society in which they lived, and responded to what they saw. They looked, made a decision based on what they saw, and acted. Alert and sensitive as they were to the commandments of Christ, when they saw justice being denied to someone because of their racial origin or colour, they were prompted to act. Their actions of opposing racism, promoting equality and justice, became their life’s work. Following this path, sometimes they encountered hostility, rejection, and attempts to overturn what they were doing.

However, they persevered and became instruments of change, agents of progress, and some are acknowledged as saints of the Church. There are many, many saints in the Church. Each is different. Each chose to follow a particular aspect of the person of Jesus.

Some saw Jesus as a teacher and devoted their lives to teaching. Some followed Jesus as one who loved the sick, and opened hospices and hospitals. Others saw Jesus as the friend of the poor and gave witness to that. Among the saints are those who remembered the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right. They shall be satisfied.” And then they spent their lives working that everyone would be treated justly, with fairness and without discrimination.”

Who are some of the saints who devoted their lives to the pursuit of racial justice? As Bishop McAleenan has written, there are several saints – people the Catholic Church recognises as being holy and close to to God – who devoted their lives to the pursuit of racial justice. Some of those saints include:

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation and reflect on Bishop McAleenan’s message to everyone for Racial Justice Sunday. You might like to choose one of the saints we have have shared, and learn more about their lives, and how they served God by promoting equality and justice. And you can use these colouring sheets, which have several of the saints we’ve shared with you.

What we can all do is pray! Our prayer this week has been written especially for Racial Justice Sunday – we encourage you to pray it together as a family during the week.

A note for parents: Discussing concepts like justice, racial injustice and racism can be complicated and daunting for parents. You can find some great suggestions on how to start these conversations with younger children in this video.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21 January – Following the call of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today ? Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Five years ago Pope Francis announced that each year this would be the Sunday of the Word of God, devoted to the “celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”.

Jesus is sometimes called “The Word made Flesh” – not only being and teaching the Word of God but daily bringing it to life by his actions. So as the “Word of God”, He calls everyone to bring His teachings to life…from the apostles – as we hear in today’s Gospel Reading when Jesus calls Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John while they are fishing by the Sea of Galilee – to each and every one of us today.

What does “following the call of Jesus” mean? Jesus calls us to love and serve Him. He also said that whatever we do for others, we do for Him. So we can follow the call of Jesus by being “peace bringers” (as we shared in last week’s activity) in the way we are kind to others and help those in need.

What can we do as a family? Each Mass includes the Liturgy of the Word, when we listen to readings from the Old and the New Testaments, and to the Gospel. Today is a chance for us to reflect on how “through the proclaimed biblical readings in the liturgy, God speaks to his people and Christ himself proclaims his Gospel.”

We invite you to have a conversation as a family, and discuss how you can follow the call of Jesus as the Word of God. You might like to share your favourite Bible readings with each other. Or you could have a family discussion reflecting on how Jesus is called “the Word”, and how He taught God’s message during His time here on earth.

What we can all do is pray! This prayer reflects on the importance of the Word of God in all our lives – we encourage you to pray it together as a family during the week.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14 January – Praying for peace

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Why is this important today ? Today is the 55th World Day of Peace, also known as Peace Sunday. Today, there are at least 13 conflicts around the world that are classified as ‘wars’ and over 150 ‘armed conflicts’ happening within or between nations. It is reckoned there are today more conflicts than at any time since the Second World War.

Each year the Pope writes a World Peace Day Message. This year, Pope Francis wrote Artificial Intelligence (an important new technology that many countries, governments and companies are using) and peace. You can read Pope Francis’ full message for the 54th World Peace Day here.

What can we do as a family? It can seem like there is little we can do as a family to bring peace to our world. But we can – even in every little things. So this week we invite you to have a conversation together about how you can be “peace bringers” in your ordinary lives: by being kind to each other, by forgiving those who hurt us, and – more than anything – by praying.

What we can all do is pray! We invite all our parish families to pray this prayer together to thank God for the peace we do have, and to ask for peace in our world – for our family, our friends, and those who need it most.

Epiphany – 7 January – Giving thanks for the gift of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today ? We are near the end of the Christmas season, a time that we use each year to remember the birth and early life of Jesus. The Christmas season starts on Christmas Day (Jesus’ birthday), and finishes with the Baptism of Jesus, which we will celebrate on Monday (8 January). Today is the feast of the Epiphany, when we remember the Three Wise Men, or Three Kings – remembered in Christian tradition as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar – who followed the star to find the baby Jesus and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honour Him. So this is the perfect time to give thanks for the gift of Jesus in our lives.

What does “giving thanks for the gift of Jesus” mean? God could have saved us in many different ways – because God can do anything! Out of all the possible ways, though, God chose to become a Man. God the Father chose to give us the gift of his Son, Jesus, to be a human being like us. To be hungry, and tired, and lonely, like we can be. To laugh, and make friends, and have a family, like we do.

When we give thanks for the gift of Jesus, we not only thank God for creating us, and and saving us. We also give thanks that Jesus chose to be a human being like us, so that we could have the story of His life to inspire us and to be an example of how we can live. And we give thanks because Jesus “the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, has made him known” – has made God known to all of us, so that we can love and follow Him.

What can we do as a family? Like the three different gifts of the Wise Men, there are many different ways we can give thanks for the gift of Jesus in our lives. We can go to Mass together as a family and say a prayer at the crib. We can read today’s Gospel reading, which tells the story of the Three Wise Men. We can pray a special blessing before we eat a family meal – as thanks for the food we have to eat, as well as for Jesus. We can do something kind for someone else, because Jesus said “whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me”. And we can be thankful for Jesus by taking a minute to be thankful not only for His life, but for all the good things that God has given us.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer together as a family as a way of giving thanks for the gift of Jesus.

Holy Family – 31 December – Celebrating the Holy Family

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Why is this our Family Room activity today Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. We celebrate this special day every year on the first Sunday after Christmas.

As Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “The Holy Family went through many problems that have always been experienced by families: homelessness, poverty, doubt, confusion, persecution, exile, occupation of their land by a foreign army, heavy laws imposed by corrupted leaders, etc.  The fact that it kept its dignity and became the ideal family for all Christians depended on the harmonious relationship and love between Joseph to Mary and Jesus.”

What does “celebrating the Holy Family” mean? To “celebrate” something is to give importance to it, often by planning a gathering, a special meal, or an enjoyable activity. We celebrate the Holy Family because we are grateful that God chose to become human out of love for each any every one of us…and because Jesus chose Mary and Joseph to be His parents, and to have a family like each one of us. The Holy Family is an example to all of us of how we can love and serve God within our own family.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation together about the Holy Family. Think back on the Family Room activities we have celebrated throughout Advent – these were all about Joseph and Mary preparing for the arrival of baby Jesus into their family. Look at your crib (if you have one), and consider the Holy Family who are the centre of our Christmas celebrations. And, in this week following Christmas, make time to have a special family meal together, in celebration of the Holy Family and your own family too!

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer together as a family. Ask God, and the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to watch over your own family, and to help you love and support each other as they did.

Christmas Day – 25 December – Celebrating the birth of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Christmas Day, the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today Jesus chose to become a human being, to be born as a tiny baby in Bethlehem, out of His infinite love for each and every one of us.

What does “celebrating the birth of Jesus” mean? To “celebrate” something is to give importance to it, often by planning a gathering, a special meal, or an enjoyable activity. We celebrate the birth of Jesus because we are grateful that God chose to become human out of love for each any every one of us…and because Jesus chose Mary and Joseph to be His parents, and to have a family like each one of us.

What can we do as a family? This year, we invite you to make celebrating the birth of Jesus part of your Christmas celebrations. You can do this by saying a special prayer before you eat together, or by singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus during the day…you might even like to put a candle in your Christmas pudding! You can sing carols – special Christmas hymns – together (here is a Christmas playlist we’ve specially created for our parish families). And of course, the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus is to go to Mass as a family together.

What we can all do is pray! We offer this prayer for our families here at St. Peter-in-Chains to pray together on Christmas Day. Ask God, and the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to watch over your own family, and to help you love and support each other as they did.

Fourth Sunday of Advent – 24 December – sharing the peace and goodwill of God with others

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Christmas is now only a few sleeps away!. As we continue our preparations for this Christmas, we remember that it is often described as a “season of peace and goodwill”, and we reflect on how we can share the peace of God with others – to be, like Saint John the Baptist from today’s Gospel reading, “a witness to testify to the light”.

What does this mean? A witness is a person who sees something take place, and who gives testimony – like in court where we have to be truthful. In the context of our Catholic faith, when we witness, we declare our faith in Jesus – not just through our words, but also through our actions. And that means not just talking about the peace and goodwill (kindness) of God, but also acting on His behalf to those around us.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can share the peace and goodwill of God with others as you prepare for Christmas. As you put up your crib (if you haven’t already done so), think of what the innkeeper did for Mary and Joseph – he didn’t have room in his inn, but he let them stay in his stable. Think of those who are homeless, or refugees. What can you do for them? You might consider buying a hamper or present for a poor family – you can use the Caritas Advent Giving Calendar. Or you can donate to the Soup Run during the Christmas period, or to Cafod.

What we can all do is pray! We can always pray for others – even those whose names we don’t know. This week, we invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light all four candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to help your family share His peace and goodwill with others during the Christmas season.

Third Sunday of Advent – 17 December – joyfully opening our hearts to Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known as Gaudete or Rejoicing Sunday. This week, we are invited to consider how this season has helped us “come to realise that so great is Jesus’ love for us that He became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with Him.”

What does this mean? Jesus loved us so much that He chose to born as a human person. Not a rich and powerful person, but a tiny baby, born in a stable and surrounded by farm animals. God’s love and generosity should fill our hearts with joy – the joy we have when we experience something very special.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to do small things to joyfully prepare for Christmas. Put up your Christmas crib, if you haven’t already done so. Write Christmas cards to your loved ones. Play Christmas hymns in preparation for the birth of Jesus (you can use this St. Peter-in-Chains Christmas playlist for inspiration, if you like). And talk about how you can share the joy of Christmas with others, whether that’s by using the Caritas Advent Giving Calendar, or by doing something else you’ve discussed as a family.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light three candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to fill the hearts of all your family with joy as you prepare for Christmas.


Second Sunday of Advent – 10 December – preparing for the Lord with hope

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Our Gospel reading today talks about how we need to “Prepare the way of the Lord”, and our First and Second readings also reflect on being ready for God when He comes.

What does this mean? When we prepare for a special visitor to our homes, we will often clean the house, put on special clothes, and sometimes buy or make something nice – a cake, or biscuits, or other special food. Today’s Readings are about preparing our insides, rather than our outsides – preparing our hearts for Jesus, who will be born on Christmas Day.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can prepare for the birth of Jesus. Think about Mary and Joseph, who travelled to Bethlehem, and about how they would have prepared for that long journey. Start (or keep) using the Caritas Advent Giving calendar. And remember that this week, you can light the second candle of your Advent wreath!

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light two candles of your Advent wreath this week. Ask God our Father to bless everyone in your family with hope during this Advent season.

1st Sunday of Advent – 3 December – Beginning Advent

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the four weeks we use as Catholics to prepare for Jesus’ birth at Christmas.

Why is Advent important? Saint John Henry Newman explained Advent in one of his homilies as: “a time of waiting, a time of joy”. And Pope Francis describes Advent as a time of “preparing to welcome not a fairy-tale character, but the God who calls us, involves us, and before whom a choice is imposed”.

When we go on holidays, we prepare by getting our clothes ready, choosing the toys we want to take, packing our suitcases, and maybe choosing presents if we are going to visit family and friends. We get ready for Christmas by planning where we are going to spend it, doing our Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents. But the most important part of Christmas – which we should also prepare for – is the birth of Jesus, and Advent helps us get ready to welcome Him into our hearts and lives.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to make your very own Advent Wreath as a way of preparing for Christmas. Advent Wreaths are circles made out of evergreen leaves and foliage, with four candles that are lit over the four weeks of Advent as a symbol of the light that the birth of Jesus brings to all of us. Traditionally, an Advent Wreath has three purple candles and one pink one, but you can use any colours that you like. You can also put a fifth candle, usually white, in the centre which is lit on Christmas Day itself. On the first Sunday one candle is lit, on the second two, on the third Sunday we add the pink one and on the last Sunday light all four. So you can light the first candle this week – just once, or each evening as a family.

Another way of preparing for Christmas is to think about how we can serve Jesus by serving others. the Caritas Advent Giving Calendar or giving Christmas presents to children in need through the CARIS Haringey charity.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light the first candle of your Advent wreath.

Christ the King – 26 November – Serving Christ our King 

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Why is this our family room activity today? Today we celebrate the Feast of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of the Universe’ and in the Gospel, Jesus tells his followers what they and we need to do in order to serve and please Him and so win a place in His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

What does this mean? Last Sunday we heard a parable, a simple story, about how God generously pours out His gifts or talents on us and how we should use them to serve everyone. Today we hear Jesus telling us directly that, when we care for the needy – the thirsty, the hungry, the stranger, the poor, the sick and those in prison, we are caring for Jesus Himself and He will reward us with a place in His Kingdom, a place in Heaven. Jesus is telling us that it is the things that we actually do with the talents he has given us that will please Him.

What can we do as a family? As a family, we invite you to talk about what you can do that will please Jesus. Perhaps you already do things like giving food or volunteering for our Parish Soup Run, donating to local Food Banks, shopping or keeping in touch with someone who is frail, befriending someone who is lonely or with a disability. What else can you think of that you can practically and realistically do? As we start preparing for Christmas, you could consider using the Caritas Advent Giving Calendar or giving Christmas presents to children in need through the CARIS Haringey charity. Whatever you choose, once you have had your family talk about what you are doing or what you could do, make a list and put it up somewhere that everyone can see it!

What we can all do is Pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray together on this feast of Christ the King, asking Jesus to rule our hearts and our lives.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19 November – Using our talents to serve God and others

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Why is this our family room activity today? Today’s Gospel reading is about a man going on a journey, who gives talents (money) to each of his servants. When he returns, he rewards the servants who used their talents wisely.

What does this mean? The story that Jesus tells is a parable, a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson. The lesson in this story is that God gives each of us different “talents”, or gifts. Some people will be lucky enough to have many talents, others may have only one. The most important thing is not how many talents we have, but rather what we do with them, and how we use them to serve God and those around us.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation together as a family, considering the gifts that God has given each one of you. Discuss how you can use your gifts – your “talents” – as a way of showing God how much you love Him, and to care for others.

What we can all do is Pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family, asking God to help you see and use your talents and gifts.


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12 November – Commemorating Remembrance Sunday

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Why is this our family room activity today? Every year on the second Sunday in November, we commemorate and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom – all the British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

Why is “Commemorating Remembrance Sunday” important? Hundreds of thousands of men and women – here in the UK and in all the countries of the Commonwealth – have served to protect each and every one of us, so that we can live in peace and safety. They have fought in war, and also acted as peacekeepers and support. Some of these men and women died to protect us. Others were injured, physically, mentally or emotionally, as a result of their service.

We use Remembrance Sunday each year as a way of honouring these men and women – their lives, their service, and their sacrifice – and also as a reminder that our own lives can bear witness to their sacrifice by working in little ways to bring peace, love and understanding to our family, our friends, and those around us.

This year, we are particularly encouraged to remember and honour the service of others. The act of defending and protecting the nation’s democratic freedoms and way of life is rarely without cost to those who serve. Physical, mental or emotional injury or trauma; the absence of time with loved ones; or the pressures that come from serving, highlight why the Remembrance of service is so important.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to have a conversation together as a family about Remembrance Sunday, and the sacrifice that so many women and men have made. If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to share the names of family and friends who have died with us, so that our whole parish can pray for them throughout the month of November. And you may be interested in some of the special Remembrance Sunday ideas that the British Legion have suggested.

What we can all do is Pray! We have written this prayer for our parish families to pray together this Remembrance Sunday.


31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5 November – Celebrating the service of priests

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd – one who would take care of all the sheep, search for the ones who were lost, and bring them to safety. Jesus cared for us so much that He chose to die for us.

Jesus first called Saint Peter and the apostles, and then thousands of others since – to the priesthood. These men also care for us through their actions and their prayers. Priests dedicate their whole lives to serving God by serving the people of God: each and every one of us.

While some priests are members of religious orders (which follow particular spiritualities), most are diocesan priests – priests who are associated with a geographical group of parishes, or communities, overseen by a bishop.

Our church is part of the Diocese of Westminster, which covers all of London, parts of Surrey, and all of Hertfordshire. We are one of more than two hundred parishes in the diocese, and all these parishes and the people in them – more than 400,00 Catholics in total – are cared for by just 366 priests.

How do priests serve? Diocesan priests – normally known as parish priests, like Father David – celebrate Mass for their parish families each Sunday. They also celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and Marriage. As we mourn the deaths of members of our Parish family, our priests celebrate their lives and help us pray for their souls and for their loved ones in Funeral and Memorial Masses. They share the Sacrament of the Last Rites with those who are seriously ill. They visit children in schools, and parish members who are ill at home or in hospital. And they provide spiritual guidance and support to those who need it.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to celebrate the service of priests by having a family conversation about the priests who have supported your family – those who celebrated the Sacraments with each of you (Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage) and those who have supported you in your lives. You might also like to make a family donation to help the sick and retired priests of our diocese – priests who have looked after us for many years, and now need our support.

What we can all do is Pray! More than anything else, what we can do is to pray for our priests – for those who are retired, and those who are ill, those who are serving us right now (especially Father David), and for those who are considering a vocation to the priesthood as well. We have written this prayer, which we invite you to pray together as a family.


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 29 October – Honouring all Saints

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Why is this important today? This week, on Wednesday 1st November. we will celebrate the feast of All Saints, a day when we honour all the saints, known and unknown, throughout all of history. We have celebrated this feast since the 9th century – for more than 1,000 years!

Each and every one of us is part of the Communion of Saints – a special term that we use to describe all Christians, living and dead, who, by being baptised, are united with Jesus and with each other. Jesus shared our human state while on earth and it is our hope and belief that, when we die, we will share His glory in heaven.

We are all called to be Saints – to love God and those around us, and to live by the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

Who are the “Saints”? As Catholics, we recognise specific people as “Saints”, those who The Church considers to be examples to us because of their love for God, and their efforts to serve Him and all humanity in their own lives.

Saints are not people who were perfect; as Pope Francis wrote, Saints “may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones [who] amid their faults and failings kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord”.

Every time we come to St Peter’s we see the images of 6 modern Saints on the window of the porch. Every day, we share some of the Saints on our parish X (fermerly Twitter) account – ancient and modern, women and men, laypeople, religious and priests, those who were very poor, as well as queens and kings. We have shared Saints from all around the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, North & South America, and Australia.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a family conversation about Saints. You can share your favourite Saints with each other – they could be people whose life inspires you, or possibly the Saints that you were named after. If you don’t have a favourite, you can learn more about some of the Saints here.

November is also a month when we remember especially our relatives and friends who have died who we call the Holy Souls. You can fill in this sheet with their names and, as you do, talk about the people who were ‘saintly’ or particularly special to you. You can then bring the list to church and give it to Fr David. Your list will be be put in front of the altar and everyone listed there will be prayed for every day in November.

What we can all do is Pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together to honour the Saints. And during November you can include a prayer for all the Holy Souls on your list as part of your family prayers.


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 22 October – Praying for the Church Synod

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On Wednesday 4 October, which was also the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, Catholic bishops, priests, religious and lay women and men from all over the world gathered in Rome for a Church Synod to discuss and pray about “synodality”.

What is a Synod? The word “synod” is derived from two Greek words: syn, meaning together, and hodos, meaning road or way. It is a word that we use in the Catholic Church to describe a religious meeting or assembly coming together. The first formal recorded meetings of church leaders can be traced back to the mid-second century. In modern history, synod assemblies have been held once every three or four years and last for one month. This synod is exploring the way in which all members of the church participate in the church and its mission.

Why is praying for the Synod important?

This meeting is part of a four-year process started by Pope Francis, with all 1.3 billion Catholics invited to contribute. In 2021, individual parishes – including our parish of St. Peter-in-Chains – were invited to share their thoughts with their diocese. Then, in 2022, bishops and other people met together in each country to combine these thoughts and suggestions, and to send them to Rome. Now – in October 2023 and a year later in 2024 – two meetings of bishops, priests, nuns, brothers and laypeople are meeting together in Rome to discuss what all the different countries have shared.

These meetings are very important. The people who are participating will be reflecting on the thoughts of people from all over the world. There is a lot of information for them to review and understand, and then a lot of work to reflect on how they can listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church and asking her to be and to do. So it is very important that we pray for everyone who is involved in this meeting – which will last until 29 October.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you as a family to pray a special prayer, called the “Adsumus Sancte Spiritus”. We think that this prayer was written by Saint Isidore of Seville more than 1,500 years ago. It has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, and it is being used at the Synod of Bishops right now in Rome. We ask you to pray this prayer for everyone who is participating in the Synod of Bishops, for Pope Francis, and for everyone in the Church all over the world.


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15 October – Praying the Rosary for peace

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On Saturday 7 October – which was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and also a special holy day in the Jewish faith – people who are part of a terrorist organisation called Hamas attacked and killed at least 1,300 Israeli people, and took many hostage. Since then, more than 1,400 Palestinian people have been killed by the retaliatory air strikes the Israeli government has used to defend itself.

The lands where Jesus lived and died – which we call the Holy Lands – have been a place of conflict for many years, and these attacks have increased this conflict terribly. More than 1 million Palestinian people have been told to leave their homes in Gaza so that they are not affected by the actions that the Israeli government has said they need to take to defend their country. There is no electricity or water for these people, and there is very limited food.

Other governments around the world are trying to help, but this is a very difficult situation. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is the Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem, has asked all Catholics around the world to fast and pray the Rosary for peace especially on Tuesday 17 October, saying: “This is the way we all come together despite everything, and unite collectively in prayer, to deliver to God the Father our thirst for peace, justice, and reconciliation.”

What is the Rosary? The Rosary is a series of prayers – Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be – that we pray together in groups that are called mysteries, which each reflect on a moment in the life of Jesus. We pray different mysteries on different days of the week:

    • On Monday & Saturday we pray the Joyful Mysteries, reflecting on the Incarnation and early life of Jesus
    • On Thurday we pray the Luminous Mysteries, reflecting on the time of Jesus’ pubic ministry
    • On Tuesday & Friday we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries, reflecting on the suffering and death of Jesus for all of us
    • On Wednesday & Sunday we pray the Glorious Mysteries, reflecting on what happened during and after the Resurrection of Jesus

Catholics around the world have prayed the Rosary for hundreds of years, and Our Lady has appeared to many people – including Saint Dominic, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and the children of Fatíma and Medjugorje – and encouraged them to pray the Rosary “to obtain the end of the war and peace in the world”.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you pray together as a family for peace – in the Middle East, in Ukraine, and all over the world. You can watch this video to learn more about the Rosary, and consider this guide with suggestions for how you can reflect on the life of Jesus as you pray. If you want to, you can also consider following Cardinal Pizzaballa’s request for people to fast (eat less food than usual as a sacrifice) and give some of the money you save to CAFOD, which has worked across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank for decades, and is currently working to support people’s basic needs inside Gaza and the West Bank. You can also pray this prayer that has been written by CAFOD for peace in the Middle East.

A note for parents: While discussing current events can be complicated and daunting for parents, child experts share that it is important – particularly in today’s era when many children will hear or see things through friends or their own social media activities. This article provides insights from different experts, and a supporting guide for children by age group.


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8 October – Praying in Prisons Week

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Every year in the second week of October, the Christian community in the UK prays for the needs of all those affected by prisons. Today is the beginning of Prisons Week, which will last until 14 October.

What is Prisons Week? Originally founded in 1975 by Bishop Victor Guazzelli as a Catholic initiative in the UK to pray for prisoners and their families, today Prisons Week is for and seeks to focus attention on prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, those working in the criminal justice system and the many people who are involved in caring for those affected by crime on the inside and outside of our prisons.

Why is praying in Prisons Week important? Prisons Week is a time to think about how we as individuals, as a Church and as communities are serving those affected by imprisonment. Prisoners, people with convictions, and their children and families often find themselves on the margins of our society. Yet Jesus challenges us with His words: “I was in prison and you came to me”. You can learn more by watching this video.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to watch this video, which reflects on Prisons Week through the concept “Look up”. You might like to have a family conversation, to discuss what you are thankful for as a family, to consider those who are in prisons, those who are victims of crime, and those who work for the criminal justice system. You might also like to donate a charity that works with those in prison, such as PACT or Redemption Roasters.

What we can all do is pray! You might like to pray this prayer together as a family, which was written for Prisons Week. The Prisons Week charity has developed a prayer guide for the entire week that you might also like to share together as a family. And October is the monthly of the Holy Rosary – in fact, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was earlier this week (on Friday 7 October), so you may like to pray the Rosary one day as a family, with the special intention of Prisons Week.


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1 October – Joining the CAFOD Family Fast Day to support those in need

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? This coming weekend (from 6-8 October), CAFOD is hosting a Family Fast Day as a way for us to support people around the world who are dedicating their lives to protecting God’s creation.

What is CAFOD? CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, part of one of the largest aid networks in the world. They fund emergency food packages, health kits and other support to the most vulnerable people in many countries all over the world.

What is the CAFOD Family Fast Day? Several times each year, CAFOD invites families to have a simple meal – a little less than what they usually eat – and then to give the money that we save as a donation to help people in need, supporting them with food, necessities, and especially with medical care. You can learn more about the CAFOD Family Fast Day by watching this short video developed by CAFOD.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to participate in CAFOD’s Family Fast Day. This means eating a simple meal in solidarity (a word that means “connection”) with poor families all over the world. Then, you can donate what you save (the money you didn’t spend on a fancy meal) to help CAFOD continue their life-saving work. You can make your donation using one of the special envelopes we have in our church, or online.

What we can all do is pray! Did you know that fasting – voluntarily choosing not to eat food – is a type of prayer? In addition to your fasting, this week we invite you to pray this prayer together, which has been written specially by CAFOD.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 September – Giving thanks for our guardian angels and all angels

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? This Friday, 29 September, is the feast day of the archangels Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael.

What are angels? Angels are spiritual beings who are the servants of God. Angels do not have physical bodies, so we can’t see them. Drawings of angels show them as humans – but with wings! – because it helps us imagine what they look like. The word “angel” comes from the Greek word ??????? or angelos, which means “messenger”. This is because angels have often acted as the messengers of God to humankind.

Who were Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael? Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphel are three archangels – a kind of angel. All three of these angels are mentioned in the Bible.
Saint Michael is mentioned several times, and in the Book of Revelation, he does battle with the devil. He is considered to be the leader of the armies of God. He is the patron saint of banking, of grocers, and of police officers.

Saint Gabriel is the angel who visited Our Lady, and told Mary that she was going to be the mother of Jesus. This was the most important message of all time, and so Gabriel is the patron saint of messengers, including postal workers, diplomats, and those who work in radio and television broadcasting.

Saint Raphael is an angel who is mentioned in the Book of Tobit (from the Old Testament), where he accompanied Tobit on a long journey and healed an old man of blindness. He is considered the patron saint of travellers, nurses, physicians and all medical workers.

What are “guardian angels”? Every single one of us has a guardian angel. This is an angel who watches over us all the time, for all of our lives. Our guardian is angel is ours alone – we don’t share them with anyone else. If you think about it, that means there are many, many angels! We can’t see our guardian angels, but they are with us in the happiest and the saddest moments of our lives. They pray for us, and intercede for us to God.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation together as a family about angels. You might like to read some stories from the Bible that include angels. And we also encourage you to discuss your guardian angels – if you haven’t already done so, you can even choose a name for your guardian angel, and share it with the other members of your family so you can all pray for each other, and ask your guardian angels to watch over you.

What we can all do is pray!This prayer is very old. It first appeared in a prayer book that was written in by Saint Anselm in the 12th century, but it may have first been written by Saint Malchus, who died in 390 AD. It has been prayed for at least one thousand years, and this week we invite you to pray it together as a family.

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17 September – Celebrating Evangelii Gaudium Sunday

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Evangelii Gaudium Sunday, which we celebrate as Catholics each year. It is a day when we are invited to celebrate the beauty of our faith and our commitment to witness to the fullness of life in Christ – to help everyone to know and love God.

What does Evangelii Gaudium mean? Evangelii Gaudium is a Latin phrase that means “the Joy of the Gospel”. It is the name of one of the first writings of Pope Francis after he became our Pope in 2013. In that document, he invited the Catholic Church – all of us – to be joyous in proclaiming our faith, and to seek new ways of understanding the faith and reaching out to others. This is often described as “mission”.

What is “mission”? Mission is an old word (originally from Latin mittere, “to send”) that means an important assignment or calling. In the Gospel, we read that Jesus sent out His followers or ‘disciples’ to share the Good News he had given them. In the context of our Catholic faith, “mission” describes our calling to share the teachings of the Gospel with others in the same way. We often use the term “missionary” to describe people who travel to other countries for this purpose but Pope Francis frequently reminds us that we are all called to be ‘missionary disciples‘ wherever we are.

What does “sharing our faith” mean? Most of us are not called by God to be missionaries and travel to far-away countries! Even so, “mission” is something that God calls all of us to do: to share our faith with those around us. This could mean many things…it could be having a conversation with someone at school about preparing for your First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, or Confirmation. It could be speaking up in RE when your teacher asks the class a question. It could be helping to clean our church, reading at Mass, or being an altar server, an acolyte, or joining the choir…and it’s even smiling at other people during Mass on Sundays.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to discuss as a family what you can do to share your faith with others, and then choose things to do throughout the week. One of these things could be to share faith as a family – by reading some of the Bible, or by saying prayers before the meals you eat together. At the end of the week, you might like to organise a special dinner and celebrate the different ways you shared your faith. We also recommend watching this video as a family, which explains more about what Evangelii Gaudium Sunday means.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families this Evangelii Gaudium Sunday, and we invite you to pray it together as a family this week.


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10 September – Praying for teachers and learners on Education Sunday

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Education Sunday, a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone in the world of education that has been celebrated by people of all faiths in England and Wales for more than one hundred years. Education Sunday is organised by Churches Together in England (CTE) – an organisation that includes the Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Quaker churches. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the gift of education that we receive, and to thank those who teach us. This year’s theme is “The Armour of Light”.

What does this theme mean? This year’s Education Sunday takes place at a time when the world around us looks very dark and cold. Skyrocketing prices are pushing people across the country quite literally into the cold and dark, as they have to make a choice between eating or heating. Many children and young adults in education more than ever need concrete support to cover basic needs like food. In addition, many young people are experiencing mental health problems, including anxiety caused by the war in Ukraine and the worsening impacts of climate change.

Despite all of these challenges, as Christians we have hope – because of Jesus, and the salvation that He brings for all of us. We put on armour (literally, protection), but instead of it being made of metal, it is made of light – of the hope and faith that Jesus gives to us. And in turn, we consider how we can bring this light and hope to children and young adults in education.

What can we do as a family? This week, spend some time together sharing as a family. What have you learned over the summer holidays, about yourselves and each other? What do you want to learn this year at school? Parents, what learning hopes do you have for your children? We also encourage you to make a list of all the people who are involved in your education. Throughout the week, take a moment to thank the people on your list – if you know them, you can thank them in person! And say a prayer for them that they can be an armour of light for everyone they work with and teach.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we encourage you to pray together as a family for all teachers and learners. You can use this prayer, which is based on a prayer written by Churches Together in England (CTE).

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 3 September – Joining the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On 1 September, Pope Francis asked all Catholics to join a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. For the next month – from now until the feast of Saint Francis on 4 October – Christians around the world are encouraged to pray and engage in community events in order to deepen our relationship with God, our neighbours and the earth.

What does “caring for creation” mean? Different Christian faith leaders around the world have created a video you can watch that explains what the “care for creation” means, and also this year’s theme: Let justice and peace flow. Caring for creation means being mindful of what we use: Do we sometimes waste things? Are we making an effort to re-use, donate or recycle what we no longer need? It also means caring for each other, because we are all part of God’s creation: What things can we do to care for those who are less fortunate than we are?

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to have a conversation about what things you can do together as a family in the coming month to care for creation. You could organise a clean-up at home, and then donate the things you don’t need to a local charity or your local recycling centre. You could consider contributing to a local food bank, or helping at a local charity. You could also write a family letter to your local council or Member for Parliament about policies that help those in need, like those who are homeless or are refugees.

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is another way that we can all care for creation. CAFOD has created nine prayers – a novena – based on the writings of Saint Francis, who had a great love for all of God’s creation. We invite you to use this novena throughout the coming month as a way to pray together as a family. You can also pray together with this prayer we have written for our parish families.

August 2023 – Celebrating our summer adventures with God

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? School holidays have started! And just like our families will be enjoying a break from school, our Family Room team are taking a break as well. So this week’s Family Room activity is designed to last for the whole month of August.

What does “celebrating our summer adventures with God” mean? God has given us everything – our lives, our families, our teachers, our friends…and our holidays too! And just like we might be looking forward to visiting those we love during our holidays, God is our friend, who loves spending time with us, and wants to share an any adventures we have throughout the summer.

What can we do as a family? We’ve found this wonderful range of activities that you can do as a family throughout the summer holidays – there are many great suggestions of things to do, read, watch, and play together. And there’s also a Psalm walk – a guided walk you can take together as a family to enjoy the summer and reflect on the gifts God has given us.

What we can all do is pray! When we have adventures, it’s always lovely to share them with others…either by inviting them to join us, or by telling others all about what we’ve done, and how much fun we had. Going to Sunday Mass as a family is a lovely way to share your adventures with God, and to thank Him for all the good things you experience during your summer holidays. We’ve also written this prayer for you to pray together as a family throughout the summer holidays.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23 July – Celebrating World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? A few years ago, Pope Francis created a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, and it is being celebrated today, Sunday 23 July. It is held on the nearest Sunday to the Feast of Saints Ann and Joachim (Wednesday 26th July) who were the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus’ Grandparents. The theme for this year is taken from Saint Luke’s Gospel, and is “His mercy is from age to age.” When Pope Francis created this World Day, he wrote a letter to all grandparents and the elderly. In it he said that the voice of the elderly is “precious, because it sings the praises of God and preserves the roots of the peoples.”

What does this mean? A “World Day” is a time that everyone all around the world is invited to consider and celebrate a certain group of people. Pope Francis explained that the theme for this year’s celebration is meant to remind everyone that the Holy Spirit “accompanies every fruitful encounter between different generations: between grandparents and grandchildren, between young and old” and that “God wants young people to bring joy to the hearts of the elderly, as Mary did to Elizabeth, and gain wisdom from their experiences.”

What can we do as a family? As the Pope says, we should cherish the elderly and recognise that there’s no retirement age from the work of proclaiming the Gospel and handing down traditions to grandchildren. We should recognise and give thanks for that handing down. This week, we invite you to reflect as a family on how you can “bring joy to the hearts of the elderly”. You could visit your grandparents or an elderly person who is part of your life. If that isn’t practical, you could make a video or phone call and tell them about your week; or to say hello to one of the elderly members of our parish family when you come to Mass. And make sure you give a big smile to any elderly people in our community if you pass them on the way to school, or the shops, or the park.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for all our parish families to pray in celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 16 July – Being rich soil for the seed of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? In this week’s Gospel Reading, Jesus tells a “parable” (a story) about a farmer who sowed seeds on his earth. Some fell on a footpath, some among thorns, and some on good soil, and grew wonderfully.

What does the parable mean? Jesus often shared His teaching in parables, and then explained the deeper meaning to His disciples. In this parable, Jesus is the sower. The seed is His teaching. And the different places where the seed lands are the different types of people, who receive His message in different ways. This children’s video does a great job of helping us to understand the parable.

Why do we want to be “rich soil”? When Jesus explained the parable to His apostles, He said that “the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest”.

We want to be the ones who are rich soil, because this means we will receive the teachings of Jesus and understand them. We will work to live our lives the way that Jesus wants to. And we will share His message with those around us – through our words and through our example – in a way that helps them to find Jesus in their lives as well.

In the past few weeks, our Family Room activities have reflected on different saints: Saint John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus), Saint Peter (our first pope) and Saint Paul. We’ve also prayed for Pope Francis, who is the head of the Catholic Church. These are all people who received the teaching of Jesus in the “rich soil” of their lives, and worked to follow His teachings, and share His love with others. That’s how we want to be too!

What can we do as a family? We encourage our families this week to have a conversation about how you can be “rich soil” for the teachings of Jesus. All soil needs water, and fertiliser, and for us this means receiving the teachings of Jesus regularly. The best way of doing this is going to Sunday Mass together as a family. Other ways to be “rich soil” include paying attention in RE class, saying grace before meals, or before bed-time.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for our parish families about being rich soil for the seed of Jesus in our lives.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9 July – Praying for seafarers

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the second Sunday in July, and every year, people across the globe celebrate the role seafarers play in our daily lives, and pray especially for them.

What is a “seafarer”, and why are they important? Seafarers are the people who work on any type of marine (sea) vessel. Much of what we use in our every day lives – not just the fish we eat, but other food, the clothes we wear, the furniture we have in our homes, and the energy we use – comes from the sea. Working or travelling in the ocean can sometimes be very dangerous, and it is often very lonely. This video gives some idea of their life.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a family conversation about seafarers, and other people we don’t always see or know, who work to bring us the things that we appreciate in life. You might also like use these activity sheets. They’ve been created especially for Sea Sunday by Stella Maris, a Catholic organisation that was originally founded in Glasgow one hundred years ago!

What we can all do is pray! We have written this special prayer for Sea Sunday, which we invite you to pray this week together as a family. We also invite you to come to Mass this Sunday and to pray especially for seafarers and their families.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2 July – Praying for the Pope

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Earlier this week – on Thursday – we celebrated the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Saint Paul was an apostle (even though he didn’t meet Jesus while He was alive), and helped to spread the word of Jesus during the early days of the church. Saint Peter was one of the twelve apostles who followed Jesus, and was also the first Pope of the Catholic Church. And so this week, we want our Family Room activity to be about praying for Pope Francis, who is our current Pope.

Why is praying for the Pope important? When Jesus made Saint Peter the first Pope, He asked him to “feed my sheep”. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we – everyone in the world – are his sheep. Jesus was asking Saint Peter to feed his people spiritually, by guiding them and caring for their souls. This is a really big and important job, and often it can be a difficult one.

So we pray for Pope Francis – who is our current Pope – to ask God to watch over him, and to help him with the very important work that he has to do in caring for all of us. Pope Francis is 86 years old, and he has been in hospital several times in the past few years, so we also pray for his health.

What can we do as a family? You can learn more about Pope Francis by watching this children’s video of his life. Parents, you might also like to have a conversation about the Pope and the role that he plays in the Catholic Church.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray for Pope Francis together.

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25 June – Giving thanks for the gift of family

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Yesterday was the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. Jesus grew up with Mary and Saint Joseph as His family, but He also had cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents – just like you! We know more about Saint John the Baptist than most of Jesus’ extended family, and you can learn more about him by watching this children’s video.

Why is this important? Just like God chose Jesus’ family, He has also chosen the family that we have. Our family is truly a gift – even if we don’t always agree with each other or get along. In Hawaiian, the word for family is “Ohana”, which means “no one is left behind, or forgotten”. Each of us has our own journey through life, including our journey of faith. God has given us our family to help us to love one another, be supported, and also ultimately to be with us in Heaven when we die.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to reflect on the gift that is your family together. You might like to each write a note to the other members of your family, sharing one thing that you love about them. You could organise a family gathering – a picnic, if the weather is still lovely, or a special meal together. And you might also like to contact some of your extended family – your cousins, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles, as a way of giving thanks to God for the gift of them in your lives.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray together as a way of giving thanks for the gift of family, and to pray for each other.

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 June – Following the call of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel Reading tells the story of how Jesus called his twelve disciples – also known as the twelve apostles – to spread His message, and shares the names of each of them.

Why is this important today? All of us are called to follow Jesus, and to share His message with the people in our lives, through our witness (speaking about our faith about Jesus) and our example (trying to be like Jesus each day). Learning about the twelve apostles can help us to think about how we can follow Jesus in our own lives.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a family conversation about how each one of us can follow the call of Jesus. See if you can remember all the names of the twelve apostles together as family! When you go to Mass together on Sunday, you might like to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and spend a few moments in front of the tabernacle in prayer. If you do this at St. Peter-in-Chains, you will see the painting of the Last Supper with Jesus and his twelve apostles at the bottom of the tabernacle altar.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for our parish families.

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – 11th June 2023 – Celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus (et Sanguis) Christi. This has been a feast day since 1264 – that’s for nearly 900 years!

Why is this important today? There are accounts of Jesus words at the Last Supper in the first three gospels, and today at Mass we hear in the Gospel of John how Jesus said “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is m flesh for the life of the world.”

Just as Jesus said, as Catholics, we believe that Holy Communion is not a symbol, or a memorial, but is really and truly Jesus Himself. This means that we truly welcome Jesus into our hearts and minds when we receive Holy Communion, and it also means that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist in our churches – in the tabernacle, which at St. Peter-in-Chains is in the left hand side chapel near the front of the church.

What can we do as a family to celebrate the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? This week, we invite you to talk together as a family about how much Jesus loves us, and how he created this way to be with us – as spiritual food, to bring continuing life to us. You might like to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – to spend a few moments in front of the tabernacle in prayer. You can do this before or after Mass or perhaps on the way to school. And you might also like to complete these activities.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus.

Holy Trinity Sunday – 4 June – Celebrating the Most Holy Trinity

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of the Most Holy Trinity – a special feast day celebrating our belief as Christians in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Why is this important? Believing in the Holy Trinity is an important part of our Catholic faith. God is infinite, and as humans – even as adults – we can struggle to understand how there are three persons in one God. This video provides some useful explanations.

What can we do as a family to celebrate the Most Holy Trinity? This weekend, you might like to complete some games and activities together, as a practical way of better understanding how the Holy Trinity can be three Persons in one God. Going for a walk together and looking for a three-leafed clover is another thing you might like to do as a family. You could also celebrate the Holy Trinity as part of a special meal, such as using tri-colour pasta, Neapolitan ice cream, or triple chocolate anything!

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. You might also like to pray through song – this beautiful hymn “Trinity Song” prays to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost Sunday – 28 May – Welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Since the 13th century – that’s nearly 700 years ago! Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate God the Holy Spirit coming to the Apostles. We celebrate this feast every year, 50 days after Easter Sunday. It is an important feast for Catholics, and also for many other Christians throughout the world. In many countries across Europe, it is celebrated as “White Sunday” or “Whitsunday”.

What does “welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts” mean? Our First Reading shares the story from the Acts of the Apostles (one of the books in the New Testament), and tells how everyone who was with the apostles was “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

God the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of all Christians. As Catholics, we receive the Holy Spirit in a special way during the sacrament of Confirmation, but He is with us throughout all our lives – because God is with us, always.

Pope Francis has said the Holy Spirit “shows us the right path during all situations of life”…so to welcome God the Holy Spirit into our hearts is to be open to the love and the teaching of God. And that is something each and every one of us can do.

What can we do as a family? If you come to St. Peter’s for Mass, we invite you to look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the banners we have displayed inside our church. At home, you might like to do something in honour of the Holy Spirit throughout the week. During Pentecost, people who spoke different languages were able to understand one another – you can use this song as a family to learn how to say “hello” in 15 different languages! If you like arts & crafts, you can use this activity to make a dove (a symbol of the Holy Spirit) from a paper plate. Or, if you like baking, you could bake a red velvet cake as a way to celebrate Pentecost.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of Pentecost. You might also like to pray through song – this beautiful hymn “Holy Spirit, Lord of Love” asks the Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill us with His love and life.

7th Sunday of Easter – 21 May – Honouring Mary in the month of May

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Since the 13th century – that’s nearly 700 years ago! – Catholics have used the month of May as a special month in the year to honour Mary, Our Lady, the mother of Jesus. Mary is a wonderful example of always being open to the call of God throughout her life, and responding ‘Thy will be done’ – not just to being the Mother of God, but in all her thoughts and actions.

What does “honouring Mary” mean? To honour someone means to “regard them with great respect”. This is not the same thing as worship – we only worship God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).

We love and respect Mary because she was the Mother of God the Son – Jesus. God chose Mary out of all the women in all of history to be His Mother. And Mary loved Jesus, raised Him, taught Him, and served Him.

Mary is a great example to us of how to keep the Lord’s commandments, which we explored in last week’s activity – how to love God with all our hearts, and minds, and strength. And so we use the month of May to show that love for her, and to ask her to help us love God as she did.

What can we do as a family? We’ve found this story-telling video for you to watch as a family, which tells the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. You might also like to discuss as a family what you can do during the month of May for Mary – you could visit the statue of Our Lady in the church after Mass or put flowers next to a picture of Mary, if you have one in your home.

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is our way of talking to God. This week, you might like to pray the Hail Mary as a family – it is inspired by the Gospel of Saint Luke, and is also used in the Angelus and the Rosary (which you can also pray, if you would like to!). The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has a beautiful Full of Grace series on their website featuring the Hail Mary in a different language for each day in May.

6th Sunday of Easter – 14 May – Keeping the Lord’s commandments

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

In the Old Testament, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, for him to share with the Jewish people. These are often the commandments that we think of, and of course, they are very important. They teach us what to do (love God, our parents, and our neighbours) and what not to do(steal, lie, be jealous of others).

But when Jesus taught His disciples, He explained the commandments differently. He said that we should “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength” and also to “love your neighbour as yourself”.

What does “keeping the Lord’s commandments” mean? Keeping the commandments of Jesus means to love God more than anything else, and to love those around us – our family, our friends, our fellow students and teachers and work colleagues – as we love ourselves. This can seem quite difficult! But love is in the little things. It’s in saying “please” and “thank you”, in sharing what we have (our toys, our food, and our time), and in showing how we care by giving someone a hug, or spending time with them…even God, who we can spend time with by going to Mass.

What can we do as a family? We encourage you to go to Mass together this week as a family as a way of showing your love for God. Then, you might like to spend the week doing little things out of love for God and those around you. At the end of the week, we invite you to share a family meal together and share some of the things that you have done with each other…you might be surprised at what other members of the family have done for you!

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our families to pray this week, and we invite you to pray it together as a family throughout the week as one of your family activities.

5th Sunday of Easter – 7 May – Praying for King Charles III

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On Saturday this week, King Charles III’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey in London. During the ceremony, the King was crowned alongside Camilla, the Queen, in a historic moment in the life of our nation, which was a time to reflect on our history, celebrate who we are and look to our future.

Why is praying for King Charles important? King Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ruled for more than 70 years, and made a promise of lifelong service to all her people. Shortly after her death, the king said: “that promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”

We often pray at Mass for the leaders of our government, and leaders all over the world – including Pope Francis, who is the leader of our Catholic Church. And so it is right that we also pray for King Charles III, because being a king (or a queen) is a very big responsibility.

What can we do as a family? We encourage you to go to Mass together this week as a family, and while you are there to pray especially for King Charles III, that he is a good ruler of the United Kingdom and all the countries of the Commonwealth, and to pray for all of his family.

We also encourage you to participate in The Big Help Out on Monday 8th May, which is being organised by The Together Coalition and a wide range of partners such as The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups from across the United Kingdom. The aim of The Big Help Out is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation Weekend.

What we can all do is pray! We have written a prayer especially for our families to pray this week for King Charles III.

4th Sunday of Easter – 30 April – Answering the call of the Good Shepherd

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, a day when as Catholics we are encouraged to reflect on the role of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd and to pray for vocations – for people to answer God’s call to become priests and members of religious organisations.

What does “the Good Shepherd” mean? A shepherd is someone who takes care of their sheep – and a good shepherd works hard to watch over and care for the sheep in her or his care.

Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd – one who would take care of all the sheep, and search for the ones who were lost, and bring them to safety. Jesus cared for us so much that He chose to die for us.

The men and women who serve God through a vocation – to become a nun, a priest, or a monk – also care for us, through their actions and their prayers.

And we are called to care for others too, whether our family and friends, or for the world around us. We were reminded of this just last week on Earth Day – a day to consider the gift of nature that God has given us, and how we care for our planet. That’s a vocation we all share!

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to discuss as a family how you can be a good shepherd for each other, and for our world. You might like to consider random acts of kindness that you can do for others, and small things – like recycling, working in the garden, or a simple act of green from the Earth Day team – to care for our planet.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we offer you two prayers! The first is a special video prayer that CAFOD have created – with the words of Pope Francis – reflecting on how we can love and serve others and our world. The second is a prayer we have written that you can pray together a a family, asking God to inspire people to answer His call.

3rd Sunday of Easter – 23 April – Sharing our faith

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus meets two of His disciples, who are traveling to a town called Emmaus. This is after Jesus died and rose again from the dead, and at first His disciples did not recognise Him. Instead, they walked with Jesus, and He taught them as they journeyed together. It was only after they reached their destination that Jesus “took the bread and said the blessing…and their eyes were opened and they recognised him but he had vanished from their sight.”

How are we like the disciples on the road to Emmaus? Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, sometimes we do not recognise Jesus in the small moments of our lives. But He is always there with us, caring about our journey through life. There are also times we might find it hard to keep our faith. But Jesus is always there for us and teaching us – and He encourages us to share our faith with others too. When we come to Mass it is also rather like the disciples’ Emmaus journey – we hear the Holy Scripture explained to us and, in the broken bread of Holy Communion, we recognise that Jesus is there present with us.

What does “sharing our faith” mean? There are many ways we can share our faith. It could be having a conversation with someone at school about preparing for your First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, or Confirmation. It could be speaking up in RE when your teacher asks the class a question. It could be reading at Mass, or being an altar server, or joining the choir…and it’s even smiling at other people during Mass on Sundays.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to discuss as a family what you can do to share your faith with others, and then choose things to do throughout the week. One of these things could be to share faith as a family – by reading some of the Bible, or by saying prayers before the meals you eat together. Another way could be praying together in front of the Blessed Sacrament – if you look carefully, you will see that one of our paintings next to the tabernacle at St. Peter-in-Chains is of the disciples as they journey to Emmaus with Jesus! And at the end of the week, you might like to organise a special dinner and celebrate the different ways you shared your faith.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families, and we invite you to pray it together as a family this week.

Divine Mercy Sunday – 16 April – Giving thanks for the mercy of God

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, which we have celebrated for the past twenty-three years on the Sunday following Easter Sunday every year.

What is Divine Mercy Sunday? Divine Mercy refers to God’s love for the Children of Israel (the Jewish people) and for all of mankind. It comes from a Hebrew word, which in the Bible can be translated as “great mercy”, “goodness”, “loving-kindness” and “steadfast love”.

Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, received visions of Jesus, who asked her to paint the vision of His merciful divinity being poured from his Sacred Heart and specifically asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter Sunday, so that all of us would take refuge in Him.

Saint Faustina was canonised (declared to be a saint) in 2000, and in that same year Pope John Paul II (who is now also declared to be a saint) instituted the feast of Divine Mercy Sunday.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to come to Sunday Mass together as a family and give thanks for the mercy of God. You might like to have a conversation together as a family about the different ways that God has shown his goodness and love to you. And you can also complete this colouring page, which shows the image of the Divine Mercy of Jesus.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families to pray together this week, reflecting on Divine Mercy Sunday.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: You can use this week’s Family Room activity as a way to reflect on how the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a very real way that God shows us His mercy, always giving us a second chance, and a way of making things right with Him.

Easter Sunday – 9 April – Celebrating our salvation

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Easter Sunday, which marks the completion of Holy Week.

Why is Easter important? Holy Week is the most important celebration we have in the Catholic faith, and at Easter we remember how Jesus rose from the dead, opening Heaven to all of us so that we can be with him forever.

Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us, to save us from original sin. His resurrection shows His divine nature as God the Son, and His victory over sin and death for all of us.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to celebrate Easter together as a family at Mass on Easter morning. Then you can complete these special Easter colouring pages. Perhaps, instead of an Easter Egg hunt, you can try and use the internet to find out how Hot Cross Buns – the cross on top, the spices and the fruit inside – connect with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Likewise, try and find out why we have Easter Eggs and why they are hollow! You could also have a conversation about the people who loved Jesus (Our Lady, Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and others), and how happy they must have been to learn of His Resurrection. And we encourage you to do something special to celebrate Easter – whether it’s watching a movie together, preparing a special meal, or having dessert.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families to celebrate Easter this week.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 2 April – Preparing for Easter

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, which is completed with the celebration of Easter.

Why is Holy Week important? Holy Week is the most important celebration we have each year as Catholics – it’s even more important than Christmas!

On Palm Sunday (today), we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem before Passover, and our Gospel reading reflects all the events of Holy Week.

On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper, when Jesus gave the Apostles a lesson in how they should serve by washing their feet; then He instituted the Holy Eucharist, and then suffered His Agony in the Garden.

On Good Friday, we follow the sufferings of Jesus, remembering how He carried His cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, and how he was crucified and died to save all of us from our sins.

On Holy Saturday, we begin Easter at the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening – we celebrate how Jesus rose from the dead, opening Heaven to all of us so that we can be with him forever.

What does “preparing for Easter” mean? Preparing for Easter means celebrating Holy Week – not just today, on Palm Sunday, but all throughout the week. It is a way for us to share in the sufferings of Jesus, to accompany Him in our hearts and minds, and to be filled with joy at His resurrection.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to prepare for Easter together as a family . You might like to complete these special Easter colouring pages, to join our Family Stations of the Cross service at 10:30am on Good Friday or to virtually experience this special Stations of the Cross for Children together.  And you can have a conversation together as a family about the meaning of Easter.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially this week, and invite you to pray it together as a family as you prepare for Easter.

5th Sunday of Lent – 26 March – Believing in Jesus as the resurrection and the life

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel Reading tells the story of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus who was very sick. His sisters Martha and Mary sent Jesus a message, asking Him to come and heal their brother, but Lazarus died before Jesus came. When Jesus did arrive, He comforted Mary and Martha. He told them, “I am the resurrection and the life”. And Martha believed Jesus, and replied “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world”. Then Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus was buried. He prayed to God the Father, and then He called: “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus rose from the dead, and left the tomb.

What does it mean to believe in Jesus as “the resurrection and the life”? Two weeks ago, our Family Room activity was all about accepting Jesus as our Saviour. As Christians, like Martha, believing in Jesus as “the resurrection and the life” means that we believe in Him – we believe that Jesus is God the Son, who died on the Cross to save us all from our sins, and who rose from the dead. We believe that Jesus gives us the gift of eternal life – that because of His sacrifice, when we die, our souls will be with Him in Heaven.

Each year, we use the time of Lent to remember the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the Cross, and to prepare to celebrate His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The things we do during Lent – our prayers, our fasting, our little sacrifices, and doing things for others – are all ways that we show Jesus how we believe in Him as the resurrection and the life of the whole world.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to reflect as a family on today’s Gospel Reading. You might like to watch this video, which is a short children’s film of the story of Lazarus. We also encourage you to use the prayer we have written this week as a way to discuss as a family how you can follow the example of Martha and Mary in believing in Jesus as the resurrection and the life of the world.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for the families in our parish to pray together this week, and for the rest of Lent.

4th Sunday of Lent – 19 March – Letting God restore our souls in Lent

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Psalm is “The Lord is My Shepherd”. The psalm is very old – it was written before Jesus was born! – and some of the words may be hard to understand. This video provides a useful explanation for children. The most important thing to know is that the psalm describes the happiness we can find when we have faith in God, because of the way that He takes care of us and “restores our souls”.

What does this mean? To “restore” or “revive” is to “bring back” something. Just like our bodies can get tired, our souls can too. We can experience this tiredness of our souls as sadness, or anger, or even as a disinterest in God. And just like sometimes we don’t realise how tired, or hungry, or thirsty we are until we’ve had a chance to rest and sleep and eat, we don’t realise that we’ve been missing God until we open ourselves to His love.

Each year, the season of Lent – which we are in now – is a new opportunity for us to open ourselves to God’s love, and to “revive” and “bring back” our love for Him.

The psalm describes God as our shepherd because God takes care of all of us, just as a shepherd takes care of their sheep, and saves them from harm. And God wants to restore our souls because He loves us, and always wants us to be happy.

What can we do as a family? In last week’s Family Room activity “accepting Jesus as our Saviour”, we invited you to have a family conversation, and to choose some things you could do together as a family during Lent. Revisit that conversation this week, and talk about the things that you can do to let God restore our souls. This week is also a wonderful opportunity to think about random acts of kindness that you can do for the different people in your family, to help restore them, and bring a smile to their faces. You might like to do something particularly special for your mothers and grandmothers, because today is also Mothering Sunday!

What we can all do is pray! This week, our prayer is a hymn – a special song that has been written based on the psalm “The Lord is My Shepherd”. We invite you to listen to it together as a family…and to sing along as well.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a great opportunity to talk with your child about how the sacrament of Reconciliation is a very special way that Jesus gives us to restore our souls, and to make peace with God.

3rd Sunday of Lent – 12 March – Accepting Jesus as our Saviour

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel Reading shares the story of how Jesus met a Samaritan woman by a well while he was traveling with his disciples. This woman had made some mistakes in her life, but Jesus did not judge her. Instead, He revealed Himself to her as the Messiah, the Saviour that God had promised. And the Samaritan woman believed Jesus, and told everyone she knew that He was the Saviour of the world.

What does it mean to accept Jesus as our Saviour? When Christians refer to Jesus as the Saviour, they are referring to the belief that he gave up his own life on the Cross at Easter to save humans from their sins. The name Jesus in Hebrew is ‘Yeshua’, which translates as ‘the Lord saves’. Accepting Jesus as our Saviour is an act of faith. It is saying in our hearts and our minds – and to other people, like the Samaritan woman – that we believe in everything Jesus taught, and that, in His great sacrifice for us on the cross, he saved us from all our sins.

We can show that we accept Jesus as our Saviour in many different ways, including:

    • Showing we are truly sorry for our sins by each receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession)
    • Attending Mass together as a family
    • Praying together as a family
    • Showing kindness to others without expecting recognition or reward
    • Using the CAFOD Lenten calendar as a way of expressing our faith

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite our families to have a shared conversation about how Jesus is our Saviour. You might like to agree together on one thing you can do during the week to express your faith a a family – you can take one of the suggestions from our Family Room activity, or think of something new together!

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for the families in our parish to reflect on this week’s Family Room activity.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: This Family Room activity is a wonderful way to discuss accepting Jesus as our Saviour with your children as they prepare to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. You may also like to use this video from Pope Francis, which reflects on Reconciliation as a sign of God’s love and mercy.

2nd Sunday of Lent – 5 March – Listening to Jesus during Lent

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Why is this important today? Today’s Gospel reading tells us of the Transfiguration, when Jesus was transfigured in front of the apostles Peter, James and John, and Moses and Elijah appeared before them. A voice came from Heaven saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favour. Listen to him”. So this week is a great chance to follow the words of God the Father, and listen to Jesus.

What does listening to Jesus mean? We aren’t lucky enough to hear the words of Jesus directly. But we can listen to his words in the Gospel at Mass. We can hear Him in the silence of our hearts when we pray. And we can hear Him saying “Love one another as I have loved you,” and see Him in those around us.

What can we do as a family? We encourage our families to reflect together on today’s Gospel reading. Then, perhaps, you might like to choose one night during the week to have a conversation over dinner as a family about the different ways you are working to listen to Jesus. You can also continue using the Lenten calendar from CAFOD that we shared last week, and contribute to CAFOD’s Family Fast Day – this was on Friday 3 March, but you can still take part if you would like to!

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for all our families to ask God to guide us this week in listening to Jesus as we continue our Lenten journey.

1st Sunday of Lent – 26 February – Beginning Lent

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What is Lent, and why is it important? Lent is a time of 40 days that we use each year to prepare for Easter – when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus. Lent gives us a chance to focus on what Jesus did for all of us, and how by His death and resurrection, He freed us all from original sin.

How is Lent observed? Traditionally, there are three main ways that we observe Lent as Catholics:

Prayer – we are encouraged to pray for ourselves, and for others, throughout Lent
Fasting – during Lent, we make a special effort to give up food or other things that we like
Almsgiving – we can also give our money, time or effort to those who are less fortunate than we are

Why are we praying especially for peace? Peace is one of the gifts that Jesus gave to us. But many parts of our world do not have peace. We pray during Mass for the places that are suffering from conflict – Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and most recently the Ukraine. Praying for peace is one way of using Lent to focus on what Jesus did for us, and the peace He wants all of us to have.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to have a family conversation about how you can observe Lent together. You might like to use this Lenten calendar from CAFOD, which provides daily reflections and prayers you can share as a family. Or you can consider this message from Pope Francis, which suggests a different way of fasting – rather than fasting from food, it suggests a way to “fast” from negative actions and emotions.

You may also like to join CAFOD’s Family Fast Day, which takes place on Friday 3 March, and help children like Dristy, who lives in Bangladesh.

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is one of the three ways we observe Lent. You can pray any prayer that you like, including this prayer we have written for our parish families as we begin Lent.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19 February – Sharing the kindness and mercy of God

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Why is this our family room activity today? The Psalm at Sunday Mass this week has the response “The Lord is kind and merciful”, which we thought is a lovely inspiration for our Family Room activity.

What is a Psalm? A Psalm is a very old song – one that was written before Jesus was born! There are a total of 150 Psalms in the Bible, and we listen to one of them each Sunday at Mass, between the First and the Second Readings. We often sing them, just like the Jewish people who wrote them thousands of years ago would have sung them.

Why are kindness and mercy important? Kindness is the virtue, or quality, of being friendly and generous to others. Mercy is showing compassion or forgiveness to those who have wronged us. God shows His kindness to us in many ways – from having food to eat, and clothes to wear, and a house to live in, to the beautiful world around us. And God’s greatest gift of mercy was sending His only Son, Jesus, to teach us how to live good lives, and to save us by dying on the Cross for us.

Some people do not have a lot of the ordinary things we do, and it can be difficult to understand how God lets war (like the one in Ukraine), natural disasters (like the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria) or poverty (which is affecting many people here in the UK) happen. But these are moments when God calls us to share His kindness and mercy with other people – to share the blessings in our lives as best we can.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to have a conversation as a family. What can you do to share God’s mercy and kindness with other people? Could you consider giving a donation to CAFOD or Caritas? Do you have things at home you could donate to a charity shop or a food bank to help those in need? And what little things can you do to show kindness to each other as a family?

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray together this week, asking God to help us share His kindness and mercy with others.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12 February – Bringing peace out of love for God

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Why is this our family room activity today? For the last three weeks, our Gospel Readings have been taken from chapter 5 of the Gospel of St Matthew, which many people describe as the “Sermon on the Mount”, because it describes teachings that Jesus gave while sitting on a hill. In this week’s Gospel, one of the lessons that Jesus teaches is:

What does this mean? These words of Jesus can be a little difficult to understand, so we have re-written them using everyday words:

If you are bringing your offering to the altar (as the Jewish people in the time of Jesus did) or coming to Mass on Sunday (as Catholics do today), and you remember that you’ve had a fight with someone in your life (a family member or a friend), then you should go and reconcile (make peace with) that person, and then come back to be close to God.

What does Jesus really mean? Sometimes in our lives, things can happen that make us sad or angry. Sometimes we are so upset that we can’t concentrate on anything else, or be happy about other, good things that are around us. If we’ve had a fight with someone in our family, it can make us distracted at school. If we’ve been told off by our teacher, we can be too upset to play with our friends during lunch break. This can happen to grown-ups too, when they have a hard day at work.

At first, it might seem like Jesus is saying we shouldn’t go to Mass if we’ve ever had an argument with someone! But of course this isn’t true. To understand what Jesus really meant, we need to understand a little more about offerings in the time of Jesus.

When Jesus was alive – and before the Romans later destroyed it – it was traditional to bring an offering – food, drink, or an animal to be sacrificed – and place it on the altar at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew word for these offerings is Karbanot, which translated literally means “to draw near,” and indicates the primary purpose of offerings: to draw us near to God.

Two weeks ago, our Gospel Reading was the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus listed all those who are “happy” – not human happiness, but the happiness that comes from loving and serving God. These are often called the Beatitudes, and one of them is translated in English as: Happy are the peacemakers: they shall be called sons and daughters of God.

In French, the wording is a little bit different – instead of “peacemaker”, the term is translated as “peace bringer”…because God is peace, and love, and all the other virtues…and those who bring the peace of God to others are the children of God.

Just like being unhappy in our lives can prevent us from connecting with the people that we love, it can also prevent us from connecting with God – from being able “to draw near” to Him. What Jesus is explaining in this teaching is that we need to work on our human relationships, to “bring peace” to those in our lives, so that we can in turn work on the very most important relationship we have: our friendship with God, who is our loving Father.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to have a conversation as a family. Discuss the meaning of the words in today’s Gospel Reading, and also the deeper message that Jesus is giving us. How can you help each other within your family to “bring peace” to those around you out of love for God?

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray together this week, asking God for help to bring His peace to everyone.

A note for parents: The concept of reconciliation with others can also be used to discuss the Sacrament of Reconciliation with children. Just as we reconcile – make peace with – those around us, so too does the Sacrament of Reconciliation give us a special way to make peace with God.

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5 February – Walking, praying and working together for racial justice

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Why is this important today? Today is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time…and it is also Racial Justice Sunday, a day that is set aside by all the Christian denominations in the United Kingdom – including our Catholic Church – to further the journey towards racial justice. This year’s theme for Racial Justice Sunday is “Walking, praying and working together”. The theme reflects the the role each of us must play in promoting the mission of Christ and His Church, and was inspired by Pope Francis’ visit to Canada in July 2022 when he spoke about looking towards a future of ‘Justice, healing and reconciliation’.

Why is Justice important? We believe that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God. Justice helps us figure out what is fair, what is right and what is wrong…and then to do (or act) in a fair and right way. Justice is so important that, as Catholics, we consider it to be one of the “cardinal virtues” – the most important qualities for a good life. This is because when justice is working, everyone feels like they are being treated fairly. Justice is not just something that is “out there”, it is something that we need to practice everyday! How?

      • Respect all people, even if they are different from you
      • Help others if they are being treated unfairly
      • Think what is best for everyone not just what is best for you
      • Include others in your activities; don’t ignore people
      • Be honest and fair in all that you do

What can we do as a family? Sometimes we might think that what we do is too small to make a difference…but each small, positive action that we take has the potential to add up together to actions that can change the world!

This week, we encourage all our families to discuss what small actions you can take together as a family to support justice, especially racial justice. You might like to watch the reflections on walking together, praying together and working together that have been inspired by this year’s theme, and then discuss them as a family.

You might also like to reflect on how Jesus describes us in today’s Gospel as “the light of the world” – how can we be a light, an example, and an inspiration to others in the way that we work for racial justice?

What we can all do is pray! Our prayer this week has been written especially for Racial Justice Sunday – we encourage you to pray it together as a family during the week.


A note for parents: Discussing concepts like justice, racial injustice and racism can be complicated and daunting for parents. You can find some great suggestions on how to start these conversations with younger children in this video.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 22 January – Considering the Lord as our light and salvation

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Why is this important today? Today’s Psalm is “The Lord is My Light and Salvation”. The psalm is very old – it was written before Jesus was born! It is a beautiful poem that is also an expression of faith in God and His loving mercy.

What does “The Lord is my light and my salvation” mean? Light is very important to us. Without it, nothing would grow or live on our earth – we would not have plants, trees or animals. There would be no food to eat. At the time this psalm was written, there was no electricity…so the only light there was came from the sun, or from fire. By saying that God is our light, the person who wrote this poem was saying that God is as important to us as light – that we cannot live without Him.

The word “salvation” comes the Latin word salvare, which means “to save”. The Jewish people (who wrote this psalm) believed that God saved them many times throughout history – from floods, war, famine and much more. God used people like Noah, Abraham and Moses to bring His salvation to the Jewish people. And ultimately God sent His only Son, Jesus, to save all of us forever through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation as a family about the ways God is your light and salvation – both through the stories and teachings of the Bible, and also in the ordinary moments of your lives. You might like to start with the prayer that we have written for our families this week, and use it as a starting point for your discussion.

What we can all do is pray! We have re-written today’s psalm as a prayer for that you can pray together as a family. And you might like to also sing this hymn together, which is based on today’s psalm.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15 January – Celebrating Peace Sunday

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Why is this important today? ? Every year, we celebrate Peace Sunday in January, and Pax Christi England and Wales (a Catholic peace movement), shares the Pope’s World Peace Day message with all of us. Each year the message is different, and this year the message is called ‘No one can be saved alone. Combatting Covid-19 together, embarking together on paths of peace’. You can more about Peace Sunday and this year’s theme here.

What can we do as a family? ? Pax Christi has developed some fun activities for children especially for Peace Sunday, which are designed around the three themes of this year’s Peace Sunday:

    • Celebrating difference
    • Thinking about what peace is and how we build it
    • Celebrating the gift of creation

We invite you to also have a conversation as a family about these themes, and consider how you can act on them together.

What we can all do is pray! Pax Christi have written a special prayer for Peace Sunday that you can pray together as a family.

A special note for parents: Pope Francis has chosen this theme, inviting us to “recognise that we belong to a greater community, and open our minds and hearts to universal human fraternity”. You can read Pope Francis’ message for Peace Sunday here.

Baptism of Jesus – 8 January – Giving thanks for the gift of Baptism

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Why is this important today? Today is the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. This is traditionally considered the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and for this reason marks the end of the Christmas season – so today we take down the crib and our Christmas tree (if you haven’t done so already!).

Baptistry window showing the Baptism of Jesus

What is baptism? Baptism is the very first sacrament that we receive as Catholics – it is how we are welcomed into the family of God, and the communion of saints.

What can we do as a family? Watch this video together as a family, and reflect on your own baptisms. This is a wonderful opportunity to look at family videos and photographs, and see the people who celebrated your welcoming into the Catholic Church. You may also like to bring out your baptismal candles – if you have them – and light them as part of a special family meal together.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer for our families to pray together as a way of giving thanks for the gift of Baptism.

Mary, the Holy Mother of God – 1 January – Celebrating Our Lady

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. We use the word “solemnity” to describe the most important days in our Church calendar – including Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Catholics have celebrated how Mary is the mother of Jesus since the earliest days of Christianity, and having the first day of the year – January 1 – specifically set aside to celebrate Mary as the Mother of God was re-introduced by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1969.

Why is “celebrating Our Lady” important? Last week, we learned that to “celebrate” something is to give importance to it, often by planning a gathering, a special meal, or an enjoyable activity.

We celebrated Christmas – the birth of Jesus – because we are grateful that God chose to become human out of love for each any every one of us. And this week, we are celebrating Our Lady – the mother of Jesus – because without her, we would not have Jesus in our lives. Her acceptance of God’s will meant that Jesus was born as a man, and was able to grow up, and teach the apostles, and die on the Cross to save us from our sins. Mary very literally made Christmas possible…not just the first Christmas, the night Jesus was born, but every Christmas ever after as well.

What can we do as a family? We invite you as a family to celebrate Our Lady today. You can do this by going to Mass together – you might like to say a special prayer in front of the statue we have of Our Lady in the Marian chapel at St. Peter-in-Chains before or after Mass. You can also do a special family activity for Our Lady – going for a walk together, having a special meal, or praying the Rosary together.

What we can all do is pray! We offer this prayer for our families to pray together this week as a way of celebrating Our Lady.

Christmas Day – 25 December – Celebrating the birth of Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Christmas Day, the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today Jesus chose to become a human being, to be born as a tiny baby in Bethlehem, out of His infinite love for each and every one of us.

What does “celebrating the birth of Jesus” mean? To “celebrate” something is to give importance to it, often by planning a gathering, a special meal, or an enjoyable activity. We celebrate the birth of Jesus because we are grateful that God chose to become human out of love for each any every one of us…and because Jesus chose Mary and Joseph to be His parents, and to have a family like each one of us.

What can we do as a family? This year, we invite you to make celebrating the birth of Jesus part of your Christmas celebrations. Of course, the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus is to go to Mass as a family together. You can also celebrate by saying a special prayer before you eat together, or by singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus during the day…you might even like to put a candle in your Christmas pudding! You can sing carols – special Christmas hymns – together.

What we can all do is pray! We offer this prayer for our families here at St. Peter-in-Chains to pray together on Christmas Day. Ask God, and the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to watch over your own family, and to help you love and support each other as they did.

Fourth Sunday of Advent – 18 December – sharing the peace and goodwill of God with others

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Christmas is very close now! As we continue our preparations for this Christmas, we remember that it is often described as a “season of peace and goodwill”, and we reflect on how we can share the peace of God with others – to be like Saint Joseph in today’s Gospel Reading, who “did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him”.

What does this mean? When Saint Joseph did what the angel told him, he was declaring his faith in God – not just through words, but through his actions. We are all called to be like Saint Joseph, and to show our faith through the little things we do each day. Saint Joseph took care of Mary, and of Jesus when He was born in Bethlehem. In this last week before Christmas – before Jesus will indeed be Emmanuel “God with us” – we can try to be like Saint Joseph and take care of those around us.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can share the peace and goodwill of God with others as you prepare for Christmas. As you put up your crib (if you haven’t already done so), think of what the innkeeper did for Mary and Joseph – he didn’t have room in his inn, but he let them stay in his stable. Think of those who are homeless, or refugees. What can you do for them? If you have been following our Advent Giving Calendar, now is the time bring the gifts you have collected to a local Food Bank; or you might consider buying a hamper or present for a poor family. Or donating to the Soup Run during the Christmas period. Or donating to Cafod.

What we can all do is pray! We can always pray for others – even those whose names we don’t know. This week, we invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light all four candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to help your family share His peace and goodwill with others during the Christmas season.

Third Sunday of Advent – 11 December – joyfully opening our hearts to Jesus

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known as Gaudete or Rejoicing Sunday. Our Second Reading – taken from the Letter of Saint James – says “do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon”. Christmas is only two weeks away! And we can use these two weeks to keep preparing our hearts to welcome Jesus on Christmas Day.

What does this mean? Jesus loved us so much that He chose to born as a human person. Not a rich and powerful person, but a tiny baby, born in a stable and surrounded by farm animals. God’s love and generosity should fill our hearts with joy – the joy we have when we experience something very special.

What can we do as a family? This week, we encourage you to do small things to joyfully prepare for Christmas. Put up your Christmas crib, if you haven’t already done so. Write Christmas cards to your loved ones. Play Christmas hymns in preparation for the birth of Jesus. And talk about how you can share the joy of Christmas with others – there’s still time to mark off some items on the Caritas Advent calendar, and you might also like to consider writing a Christmas card for a refugee who will be in detention over Christmas.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light three candles of your Advent wreath. Ask God to fill the hearts of all your family with joy as you prepare for Christmas.


Second Sunday of Advent – 4 December – preparing for the Lord with hope

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Our Gospel reading today talks about how we need to “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand” and says we need to “Prepare a way for the Lord”. Our First Reading – from the Book of Isaiah – describes how Jesus will be “a sign for the nations”, and our Second Reading – from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans – explains that Jesus chose to be born and died on the Cross for us “to get the pagans to give glory to God for his mercy”.

What does this mean? All our readings at Mass today speak in different ways about preparing for the coming of Jesus. When we prepare for a special visitor to our homes, we will often clean the house, put on special clothes, and sometimes buy or make something nice to eat – a cake, or biscuits, or other special food. Today’s Readings are about preparing our insides, rather than our outsides – preparing our hearts for Jesus, who will be born on Christmas Day.

What can we do as a family? Have a conversation as a family about how you can prepare for the birth of Jesus. Think about Mary and Joseph, who travelled to Bethlehem, and about how they would have prepared for that long journey. Remember that this week, you can light the second candle of your Advent wreath! And you can also keep marking items off your Caritas Advent Giving Calendar.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light two candles of your Advent wreath this week. Ask God our Father to bless everyone in your family with hope during this Advent season.

1st Sunday of Advent – 27 November – Beginning Advent

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the four weeks we use as Catholics to prepare for Jesus’ birth at Christmas.

Why is Advent important? Saint John Henry Newman explained Advent in one of his homilies as: “a time of waiting, a time of joy”. And Pope Francis describes Advent as a time of “preparing to welcome not a fairy-tale character, but the God who calls us, involves us, and before whom a choice is imposed”.

When we go on holidays, we prepare by getting our clothes ready, choosing the toys we want to take, packing our suitcases, and maybe choosing presents if we are going to visit family and friends. We get ready for Christmas by planning where we are going to spend it, doing our Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents. But the most important part of Christmas – which we should also prepare for – is the birth of Jesus, and Advent helps us get ready to welcome Him into our hearts and lives.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to make your very own Advent Wreath as a way of preparing for Christmas. Advent Wreaths are circles made out of evergreen leaves and foliage, with four candles that are lit over the four weeks of Advent as a symbol of the light that the birth of Jesus brings to all of us. Traditionally, an Advent Wreath has three purple candles and one pink one, but you can use any colours that you like. You can also put a fifth candle, usually white, in the centre which is lit on Christmas Day itself. On the first Sunday one candle is lit, on the second two, on the third Sunday we add the pink one and on the last Sunday light all four. So you can light the first candle this week – just once, or each evening as a family. You can find out more about the origins and symbolism of the Advent Wreath here. We also invite you to use this Caritas Advent Giving Calendar as a way of starting your Advent journey, remembering that God calls us to love not only our own family, but every single person in the world, and especially those who are in need.

What we can all do is pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together as a family each time you light the first candle of your Advent wreath.

Christ the King – 20 November – Serving Christ our King to build His Kingdom

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Why is this our family room activity today? Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Christ, through Peter the first Pope, established the Church to build His Kingdom on earth as we recognise each time we pray the Our Father “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Today is also World Youth Day when we recognise and celebrate young people as a gift in our local church communities and affirm their contribution to building God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Why is serving Christ our King important? God made each and every one of us, to love and serve Him. And Jesus, who is God the Son, died on the Cross for us, to save us from our sins and so that we can be in Heaven with Him for all eternity – just like the “good thief”, who Jesus promised in today’s Gospel “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. And just like the good thief, we are called to serve Jesus, in small ways each and every day. Pope Francis has said “Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying ‘yes’ to God. In Him we find joy!”

What can we do as a family? This week we invite you to have a conversation as a family about what you can do to serve Jesus. But the talk needs to lead to action, to doing something. Perhaps you already do things like giving food or volunteering for our Parish Soup Run, donating to local Food Banks, shopping or keeping in touch with someone who is frail, befriending someone who is lonely or with a disability, giving time or money to help the homeless or refugees…. What else can you think of that you can practically and realistically do? When you have talked about what you are doing or what you could do, make a list and put it up somewhere that everyone in your family can see it!

What we can all do is Pray! In the world today, it is not always easy to stand up and do the right thing – this is when we need to pray.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 13 November – Commemorating Remembrance Sunday

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Why is this our family room activity today? Every year on the second Sunday in November, we commemorate and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom – all the British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

Why is “commemorating Remembrance Sunday” important? Hundreds of thousands of men and women – here in the UK and in all the countries of the Commonwealth – have served to protect each and every one of us, so that we can live in peace and safety. They have fought in war, and also acted as peacekeepers and support, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these men and women died to protect us. Others were injured, physically, mentally or emotionally, as a result of their service.

We use Remembrance Sunday each year as a way of honouring these men and women – their lives, their service, and their sacrifice – and also as a reminder that our own lives can bear witness to their sacrifice by working in little ways to bring peace, love and understanding to our family, our friends, and those around us.

The daily news from Ukraine reminds us that war is not something from the past but is very real today in Ukraine and other parts of the world where there are conflicts. We also see that it is not just soldiers who suffer, get injured and killed, it is also civilians like ourselves. And it reminds us that all of us need to work and pray to bring an end to conflict and to bring justice and coming back together and forgiveness (reconciliation) for those involved in war.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation together as a family about Remembrance Sunday, and the sacrifice that so many women and men have made and continue to make.  You may be interested in some of the special Remembrance Sunday ideas that the British Legion have suggested. You could also find out about the work of Pax Christi – the Peace of Christ – a Catholic organisation which is based on the gospel and inspired by faith. Their vision is of a world where people can live in peace, without fear of violence in any form. Pax Christi is rooted in Catholic Christianity but is open to all who share its values and work.

What we can all do is Pray! We have written this prayer for our parish families to pray together this Remembrance Sunday.


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 6 November – Praying for all souls

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Why is this our family room activity today? November is the month that we traditionally remember and pray for “all souls” – all the souls of those who lived before us and have died, most especially our family and friends.

What is a “soul”? Everything that lives on this earth – plants, animals and humans – has a life-span, a time that they are alive physically. As Catholics, we believe that as well as our physical bodies that live and die we also have a “soul” that lives forever. Our “soul” cannot be seen or touched, but it is our spirit, our personality, the thing that makes each one of us “ourself”. It is what makes us unique and very special in the eyes of God and in the eyes of those who know and love us.

Where do our souls go after our bodies die? Because our souls last forever, they cannot die. Our Catholic faith teaches us that after our life here on earth ends and our body dies, our soul will go to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell.

Heaven is where God is, and means being with Him always, filled with His love and mercy.

Hell is the absence of God – it is choosing to be separated from God forever. And since God is love, Hell means being separated from love and hope and happiness.

Purgatory is when we finish preparing to join God in Heaven if we don’t mange it completely during our earthly life. Imagine getting ready to go to your best friend’s party but the taxi arrives early to collect you. You would have to wait while someone helps you finish making sure you look your very best for the party. Purgatory is the time where the prayers of family and friends finish getting us ready to meet Jesus in Heaven.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to spend some time together as a family remembering your loved ones who have died – share good memories with each other and pray for them together as a family. If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to share with us the names of family and friends who have died. You can then bring the list to church and give it to Fr David. Your list will be be put in front of the altar so that our whole parish can pray for them throughout the month of November.

What we can all do is Pray! We invite you to use this prayer together to pray for all souls, and especially for your loved ones who have died.


A special note for parents: The concept of a soul can be difficult for children – particularly young children – to understand. One thing that can help you explain is if your child has a favourite toy. Ask your child, “How, are you and your toy the same?”. Help them answer (legs, arms, a head, a body, etc.), and then ask, “How are you different?”, (ability to speak, breath, love, hate, think, etc.). Then tell them that this is how God made you. He put something in you that you can’t see or touch but it makes you special. It’s one of the ways that God made you like Him. You can’t see or touch God because He is a spirit, but you know He loves you and takes care of you.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 30 October – Honouring all saints

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Why is this important today? This week, on Tuesday 1st November. we will celebrate the feast of All Saints, a day when we honour all the saints, known and unknown, throughout all of history. We have celebrated this feast since the 9th century – for more than 1,000 years!

Each and every one of us is part of the Communion of Saints – a special term that we use to describe all Christians, living and dead, who, by being baptised, are united with Jesus and with each other. Jesus shared our human state while on earth and it is our hope and belief that, when we die, we will share His glory in heaven.

We are all called to be Saints – to love God and those around us, and to live by the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

Who are the “Saints”? As Catholics, we recognise specific people as “Saints”, those who The Church considers to be examples to us because of their love for God, and their efforts to serve Him and all humanity in their own lives.

Saints are not people who were perfect; as Pope Francis wrote, Saints “may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones [who] amid their faults and failings kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord”.

Every time we come to St Peter’s we see the images of 6 modern Saints on the window of the porch. Every day, we share some of the Saints on our parish Twitter account – ancient and modern, women and men, laypeople, religious and priests, those who were very poor, as well as queens and kings. We have shared Saints from all around the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, North & South America, and Australia.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a family conversation about Saints. You can share your favourite Saints with each other – they could be people whose life inspires you, or possibly the Saints that you were named after. If you don’t have a favourite, you can learn more about some of the Saints here.

November is also a month when we remember especially our relatives and friends who have died who we call the Holy Souls. You can fill in this sheet with their names and, as you do, talk about the people who were ‘saintly’ or particularly special to you. You can then bring the list to church and give it to Fr David. Your list will be be put in front of the altar and everyone listed there will be prayed for every day in November.

What we can all do is Pray! We invite you to pray this prayer together to honour the Saints. And during November you can include a prayer for all the Holy Souls on your list as part of your family prayers.


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23 October – Celebrating World Mission Sunday

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Why is this important today? Today is World Mission Sunday. It is the one time in the whole year when the global Church – everyone who is Catholic, all over the whole world – comes together in celebration and support of mission. This year’s theme is ‘You shall be my witnesses’, taken from the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.

What is does World Mission Sunday do? This day is an opportunity for us to reflect on, and pray for, the world of all missionaries – people of faith who work to help others. World Mission Sunday is organised by Missio, which is the Pope’s charity for world mission, helping local missionaries to work alongside global communities that are poor or in need, regardless of their background or belief.

This year, we are encouraged to be inspired by those who are working to empower local communities through education, particularly in Ethiopia – you can learn more about Missio’s efforts here.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to watch the video we’ve included in our Family Room activity together as a family and use it to reflect on World Mission Sunday. You might also like to make a family donation to support Missio’s work, if you can.

What we can all do is pray! We pray you to use this prayer together as a family this week. October is the monthly of the Holy Rosary, so you may also like to pray the Rosary one day this week as a family, praying especially for missionaries all over the world.


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 16 October – Praying with persistence

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Why is this important today? In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable – a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson – about a widow who convinces a judge to support her through her persistence in asking him for justice. In the time of Jesus, justice was given by individual judges. Often, people would pay money for a judge to listen to them before anyone else. The widow didn’t have money, so she had to find another way to make the judge listen.

What is persistence? Persistence is a word that means “to continue steadfastly” or “to keep going, even through difficulties or opposition”. It means not giving up, even when it seems that we will not be successful.

Why should we pray with persistence? Many of us have been taught we need to be like the widow in the parable, praying with persistence to God and never giving up, even if we don’t get the answer we want straight away. And if we only imagine God in human terms, this makes sense – because that God must be powerful and authoritative, just like a judge, in control and ruling over us.

But Jesus – who told this story – is much more like the poor widow. His mother, Our Lady Mary, was an unwed teenager when she said to God “Thy will be done”. Mary and Joseph were poor all their lives, and when they fled to Egypt they – and Jesus – were refugees. And of course, Jesus was arrested, tried and executed as a common criminal on a cross.

God is not the uncaring judge afraid of no-one and without respect for life.

God in Christ is the widow who comes to us from the bottom, who cries to us for justice, who calls us to respect and love and care for people, for those around us in need.

Jesus tells us of a world “where the first shall be last and the last shall be first”, where forgiveness and mercy are valued, where the poor and homeless (like Lazarus, who was in our Gospel reading a few weeks ago) are welcomed and loved and cared for by God in Heaven.

God is not just the one granting justice, but also the one seeking justice. God is not just listening to our cries, but is crying out to us, calling us to see the Kingdom of God right here and right now. God never gives up on us, and He challenges us never to give up on Him.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation as a family about praying with persistence. Mums and Dads might like to share an example – your own, or someone you know of – about praying with persistence, and of being more like the poor widow and Jesus, who never give up.

What we can all do is pray! You might like to pray this prayer together as a family, which we have written especially for our parish families. And October is also the monthly of the Holy Rosary, so you may like to pray the Rosary one day as a family for a special intention you all share.

Note: several elements of this week’s Family Room activity were inspired by a post from The Millennial Pastor website. It is well worth a read.

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9 October – Praying in Prisons Week

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Every year in the second week of October, the Christian community in the UK prays for the needs of all those affected by prisons. Today is the beginning of Prisons Week, which will last until 15 October.

What is Prisons Week? Prisons Week was founded by Bishop Victor Guazzelli in 1975. Since then, the Prisons Week group has prepared resources to enable the Christian community to pray for the needs of all those affected by imprisonment.

Why is it important? Prisons Week is a time to think about how we as individuals, as a Church and as communities are serving those affected by imprisonment. Prisoners, people with convictions, and their children and families often find themselves on the margins of our society. Yet Jesus challenges us with His words: “I was in prison and you came to me”.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to watch this video, which reflects on Prisons Week through the concept “What are you thankful for?”. You might like to have a family conversation, to discuss what you are thankful for as a family, to consider those who are in prisons, those who are victims of crime, and those who work for the criminal justice system. You might also like to donate a charity that works with those in prison, such as PACT or Redemption Roasters.

What we can all do is pray! You might like to pray this prayer together as a family, which was written for Prisons Week. The Prisons Week charity has developed a prayer guide for the entire week that you might also like to share together as a family. And October is the monthly of the Holy Rosary – in fact, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was earlier this week (on Friday 7 October), so you may like to pray the Rosary one day as a family, with the special intention of Prisons Week.


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2 October – Joining the CAFOD Family Fast Day to support those in need

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? This week’s family room activity involves almsgiving (which was the focus of last week’s activity) and the other two ways that Jesus taught us to love God: prayer and fasting. Friday 7 October is CAFOD’s Family Fast Day, and we are inviting all the families in our parish to join and support those in need.

What is CAFOD? CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, part of one of the largest aid networks in the world. They fund emergency food packages, health kits and other support to the most vulnerable people in many countries all over the world.

What is the CAFOD Family Fast Day? Twice each year, CAFOD invites families to have a simple meal – a little less than what they usually eat – and then to give the money that we save as a donation to help people in need. This year, the money will be going towards those who are threatened by the global food crisis. This is a crisis created by other disasters: climate change, coronavirus, and conflict in Ukraine, which all mean that food prices are skyrocketing. All around the world – including here, in the UK – families are finding it harder than ever to put food on the table.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite all our families to learn more about the CAFOD Family Fast Day by watching this short video developed by CAFOD, and then to participate in the Fast Day on 7 October and give the money you save to CAFOD, so that they can continue their work to help those who need it the most.

What we can all do is pray! Prayer is the third way (along with fasting and almsgiving) Jesus taught us that we can love God and be close to Him. Praying for those who are in need is another way of caring for them, and this prayer has been written by CAFOD for all of us to pray together.


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25 September – Caring for those in need

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus tells a parable – a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson – about a rich man who lived a very comfortable but selfish life, and a poor man named Lazarus, who sat outside the rich man’s house because he was homeless and didn’t even have food to eat. Both of these men died, and the poor man went to Heaven, while the rich man “was in torment”. This parable fits really well with Sunday also being World Day of Refugees and Migrants.

The message of the parable is that it is no good just coming to church for Mass if we don’t put into practice in our daily lives the teaching we hear in the readings and the homily (sermon).

Why is it important to care for those in need? We see stories in the news about migrants and refugees, people who have to leave their homelands because of war or poverty – often taking great risks trying to reach this country in little boats crossing dangerous seas. The stories we hear in the news are often very negative with migrants often being seen as a problem – yet they, like us, are made, we believe, in the image and likeness of God. And Jesus as a baby was a refugee when Mary and Joseph had to escape with Him to Egypt! When migrants and refugees manage to reach a new country, they often need help to start a new life.

Jesus talked many times about the importance of almsgiving (giving money and time to help the poor) as well about the importance of prayer (talking with God) and fasting (going without food and other things as a sacrifice for love of God).

Alms is a word that means “merciful”. It originally comes from Ancient Greek. Almsgiving literally means “giving mercy”, and is a word to describe giving money, food or other material goods to the poor. As Father David said in his homily at Mass last Sunday, almsgiving is important even in difficult times. It is a way we can trust God to take care of us, as we help care for others, believing that God will provide for us in response to our faith, and will give us what we need.

What can we do as a family? When we hear about the things that cause people to leave their homes to try and find a better life for themselves and their families – escaping war, poverty, discrimination – it is easy to feel that nothing we can do will help, but that should not stop us from trying to make a difference where we can however small it may seem – a smile can make a difference to someone!

So, we invite you to discuss as a family how you can care for those in need – which may well include migrants and refugees. You could support the CAFOD/DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal, help our Soup Run, or donate to a Food Bank (there are further details for all these things on our parish website).

What we can all do is pray! Along with fasting and almsgiving, prayer is one of the three ways Jesus taught us that we can love God and be close to Him. Praying for those who are in need is another way of caring for them, and we have written this prayer for our parish families to pray this week.


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 September – Celebrating Evangelii Gaudium Sunday

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is Evangelii Gaudium Sunday, which we celebrate as Catholics each year. It is a day when we are invited to celebrate the beauty of our faith and our commitment to witness to the fullness of life in Christ – to help everyone to know and love God.

What does Evangelii Gaudium mean? Evangelii Gaudium is a Latin phrase that means “the Joy of the Gospel”. It is the name of one of the first writings of Pope Francis after he became our Pope in 2013. In that document, he invited the Catholic Church – all of us – to be joyous in proclaiming our faith, and to seek new ways of understanding the faith and reaching out to others. This is often described as “mission”.

What is “mission”? Mission is an old word (originally from Latin mittere, “to send”) that means an important assignment or calling. In the Gospel, we read that Jesus sent out His followers or ‘disciples’ to share the Good News he had given them. In the context of our Catholic faith, “mission” describes our calling to share the teachings of the Gospel with others in the same way. We often use the term “missionary” to describe people who travel to other countries for this purpose but Pope Francis frequently reminds us that we are all called to be ‘missionary disciples‘ wherever we are.

What does “sharing our faith” mean? Most of us are not called by God to be missionaries and travel to far-away countries! Even so, “mission” is something that God calls all of us to do: to share our faith with those around us. This could mean many things…it could be having a conversation with someone at school about preparing for your First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, or Confirmation. It could be speaking up in RE when your teacher asks the class a question. It could be helping to clean our church, reading at Mass, or being an altar server, an acolyte, or joining the choir…and it’s even smiling at other people during Mass on Sundays.

What can we do as a family? We invite you to discuss as a family what you can do to share your faith with others, and then choose things to do throughout the week. One of these things could be to share faith as a family – by reading some of the Bible, or by saying prayers before the meals you eat together. At the end of the week, you might like to organise a special dinner and celebrate the different ways you shared your faith. We also recommend watching this video as a family, which explains more about what Evangelii Gaudium Sunday means.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our parish families this Evangelii Gaudium Sunday, and we invite you to pray it together as a family this week.


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 September – Praying for Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? On Thursday 8 September, Queen Elizabeth II died after serving as Queen of the United Kingdom and the 14 countries in the Commonwealth realms for more than 70 years. Her son Charles has become the next king and will be known as King Charles III.

Why is praying for Queen Elizabeth important? For most of us, Queen Elizabeth is the only monarch we have ever known. When she was twenty-one years old, she said “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”…and she kept this promise, in service to us all, and to God. She was a person of deep faith. In 2016 she shared that “Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.”

As Catholics, we believe in God’s promise of everlasting life – that there is a life after death with God in Heaven. And so we pray for Queen Elizabeth, in thanks for her many years of service, and that she may be with God in Heaven, with our family and friends who have died, and where we also hope one day to be.

Why is praying for King Charles important? We often pray at Mass for the leaders of our government, and leaders all over the world – including Pope Francis, who is the leader of our Catholic Church. And so it is right that we also pray for King Charles III, because he is our king, and because being a king (or a queen) is a very big responsibility. We also pray for him – and for all his family – because he has just lost his mother, who he loved very much.

What can we do as a family? We encourage you to go to Mass together this Sunday as a family, and while you are there to pray especially for Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. Parents, if you would like to have a conversation with your children about the life of service that Queen Elizabeth II led, and her example of faith, this article may be of help to you.

What we can all do is pray! We have written a prayer especially for our families to pray this week Queen Elizabeth II and for King Charles III.


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 September – Giving thanks for the gift of Father Sean

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? As many of you already know, this is Father Sean’s last weekend as our parish priest here at St. Peter-in-Chains. Father Sean has been the shepherd of our parish flock for nearly 13 years. For those in our families who are children, he is the only parish priest you have ever known.

Why is Father Sean leaving St. Peter-in-Chains? Our church is part of the Diocese of Westminster, which covers all of London, parts of Surrey, and all of Hertfordshire. We are one of more than two hundred parishes in the diocese, and all these parishes and the people in them – more than 400,000 Catholics in total – are cared for by 366 priests. Priests are assigned to a particular parish for a period of time, and will be “assigned” to several different parishes across the diocese throughout their life. We are very lucky to have had Father Sean for nearly 13 years, which is much longer than assignments normally are!

Why is it important to “thank God for the gift of Father Sean? As our parish priest, Father Sean has celebrated Mass for our parish family each Sunday. He also celebrated the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Marriage many times – including for many of us! He has helped us bid farewell to members of our parish family in the celebration of Funeral and Memorial Masses. He has shared the Sacrament of the Last Rites with those who are seriously ill. He has visited all the children in our schools, and our parish members who are ill at home or in hospital. Father Sean has given his whole life to the service of God as a priest, and for the last 13 years, he has shared the gift of his life, his ministry and his vocation with us…so of course we should thank God for him!

What can we do as a family? If you can, come to Mass this Sunday to pray especially for Father Sean, and to thank him in person for his time with us as our parish priest.

What we can all do is pray! We have written this prayer especially for our families to pray for Father Sean, and we encourage you to pray it together this week as a family.


August 2022 – Celebrating our summer adventures with God

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? School holidays have started! And just like our families will be enjoying a break from school, our Family Room team are taking a break as well. So this activity is designed to last for the whole month of August.

What does “celebrating our summer adventures with God” mean? God has given us everything – our lives, our families, our teachers, our friends…and our holidays too! Many of us are looking forward to having adventures and visiting those we love during our holidays. God is our friend, who loves spending time with us, and He wants to share in the adventures we have throughout the summer.

What can we do as a family? We’ve found this wonderful range of activities that you can share as a family throughout the summer holidays – there are many great suggestions of things to do, read, watch, and play together.

What we can all do is pray! When we have adventures, it’s always lovely to share them with others…either by inviting them to join us, or by telling others all about what we’ve done, and how much fun we had. Going to Sunday Mass as a family throughout the holidays – even when you are travelling – is a lovely way to share your adventures with God, and to thank Him for all the good things you experience during your summer holidays.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: Several of the “Pray & Reflect” suggestions in the family activities we’ve shared build on the in-person class we held in May, including praying the Rosary and sharing favourite Bible stories as a family.

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 July – Learning from Jesus how to pray

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? In today’s Gospel Reading, one of his disciples says to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus responds by praying the Our Father – also known as The Lord’s Prayer, because it is the prayer of Jesus, who is Our Lord and Saviour.

What is the Our Father? The Our Father is one of the most well-known prayers in Christianity. We pray it during Mass every Sunday – and at every Mass! We also pray it as part of the Holy Rosary. And it can be prayed on its own. In fact, the Our Father is prayed not only by Catholic Christians, but by every Christian denomination (group) – Anglican, Orthodox, Baptist, Evangelical and other Protestant faiths.

What is the message of the Our Father? The Our Father prayer praises God, and also asks God the Father for several things. As we ask God for things, the Our Father prayer also calls us to live differently.

“Hallowed be Thy name” – we ask that all people, including ourselves, appreciate and respect God.

“Thy kingdom come” – we ask that God will bring His kingdom to earth, as Jesus promised when He was here with us

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven” – we ask for help for everyone, not just ourselves, to do God’s will in their own lives

“Give us this day our daily bread” – we ask for the things that we need in life, especially food. We also recognise that “our daily bread” – the basics that we need to survive – are gifted to us all together, not separately to each individual…we are called to share what we have with others.

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us” – we ask for forgiveness when we make bad decisions, and also that we may forgive others who have hurt or offended us through their own bad decisions. We also acknowledge the need to work on our relationships with God and with each other so that we can live in peace.

“And lead us not into temptation” – we ask God to help us make the right choices, and to avoid the wrong choices in our lives

“But deliver us from evil” – and we ask God to deliver (to rescue)  us from evil, from bad things that may happen to us, or difficult circumstances we may experience.

What can we do as a family to celebrate the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? This week, we invite you to pray the Our Father as a family – as part of Sunday Mass, or at home during the week – and then to reflect on the different parts of the prayer together.

What we can all do is pray! You can pray the Our Father as we pray it during Mass. You may also like to pray following this video from CAFOD, which has the Our Father in English, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Welsh, Lingala (Niger) Tagalog (Philippines) and Shona (Zimbabwe). It reminds us that we belong to one global family, and we are all in need of our daily bread.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a good way for parents to explain how we entrust our lives and our loved ones to God our Father, and to thank Him for His many gifts to us – including the gift of all the Sacraments, particularly First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17 July – Learning from Mary and Martha

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Gospel Reading tells the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha – the older sister – welcomed Jesus into their home. While Jesus was teaching, Mary sat and listened to him, while Martha was busy taking care of Jesus and the other visitors.

Martha came to Jesus and complained that Mary was listening, while she (Martha) was doing all the work. Instead of asking Mary to help her sister, Jesus explained to Martha “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

What was Jesus teaching Martha? At first glance, it can seem that Mary – and Jesus – were being unfair, letting Martha do all the work. But Jesus’s message to Martha is a very important one. We can get busy in our lives, with chores and work and entertaining. But it’s important that these things don’t prevent us from spending time on the most important things of all: spending time with God, and with each other.

How can we learn from Mary? We can learn from Mary by following her example of choosing to spend time with God – even when we could be easily distracted by all the other things we have to do. While we aren’t lucky enough to spend time with Jesus in person (as she did), we can use Mary’s example in making time to go to Mass on Sundays, and to spend time in prayer.

What can we learn from Martha? While Jesus taught Martha to think differently about how to spend her time, there are still important lessons to learn from her example as well! Martha was the one who welcomed Jesus into her home – her generosity is an example to all of us. And when she had a problem, Martha took it to Jesus. We can all learn from her, by taking our problems to Jesus, and asking Him to help us solve them, just as Martha did.

What can we do as a family? ? This week, we invite you to learn from both Mary and Martha by celebrating Mass together as a family on Sunday. You might also like to have a family conversation about the different ways you can learn from Martha and Mary this week.

What we can all do is Pray! We have written this special prayer, which we invite you to pray this week together as a family. Psalm to write this special prayer for Sea Sunday, which we invite you to pray this week together as a family.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a good way for parents to explain that children will welcome Jesus into their hearts when they receive First Holy Communion in a very similar way to how Martha welcomed Jesus into her home, and that celebrating the Mass is our way of listening to Jesus (like Mary did) and bringing our troubles to Him (as Martha did).

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10th July 2022 – Praying for Seafarers

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the second Sunday in July, and every year, churches across the globe celebrate the role seafarers and fishers play in our daily lives, thank them for their important work, and pray especially for them.

What is a “seafarer”, and why are they important? Seafarers are the people who work on any type of marine (sea) vessel. Much of what we use in our lives every day – not just the fish, but other food we eat, the clothes we wear, the furniture we have in our homes, our TVs, phones and the electronic gadgets we use and the coal and oil we rely on for energy – is transported across the sea. Working or travelling in the ocean can sometimes be very dangerous, and it is often very lonely.

During the last few years, many seafarers struggled even more because of COVID, and were stuck in their ships at sea for months and months. Thousands of seafarers are currently affected by the war in Ukraine. Ships and seafarers of many nationalities have been affected by the fighting, and Ukrainian seafarers around the world are waiting anxiously for news of their loved ones, who have become refugees. You can learn more about this here.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a family conversation about seafarers, and other people we don’t always see or know, who work to bring us the things that we appreciate in life. You might also like to use these colouring sheets. They’ve been created especially for Sea Sunday by Stella Maris, a Catholic organisation that was originally founded in Glasgow one hundred years ago!

What we can all do is Pray! We have taken inspiration from today’s Psalm to write this special prayer for Sea Sunday, which we invite you to pray this week together as a family.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: Many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen, and our I Belong book includes several stories of Jesus helping them to catch fish. You can use these stories as another way of reflecting on Sea Sunday together as a family this week.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 3 July – Missionaries – Spreading God’s Good News

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? We have chosen our activity this week for 2 reasons. Firstly, in the Gospel, Jesus sends out 72 of His followers or disciples in pairs to start to spread His Good News among the people in the towns and villages He is to visit – and they come back rejoicing! Secondly, at St Peter’s this Sunday, Fr David Pember will be talking to us about his work and the work of his fellow missionaries, The Spiritans, or Holy Ghost Fathers spreading the Good News of Jesus.

Why is spreading God’s Good News important today? We would not be Catholic Christians today in Britain without the early missionaries such as St Augustine, St David, St Columba, St Patrick and (maybe) St Andrew the Apostle, who brought God’s Good news to these islands and converted people to Christianity. Through the centuries, there have been missionary orders of religious sisters, brothers and priests, like the Spiritans, who continue this work of bringing God to new places and new people. And, in our own time, Pope Francis regularly reminds us that we are all ‘Missionary Disciples’ with the job of bringing the love and joy of Jesus to the people we meet.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to come and listen to Fr Peter talk about the work of the Spiritans at Mass on Sunday and then have a conversation as a family about the things that perhaps you can do to show others how wonderful it can be to be a follower of Jesus. As it says in Sunday’s Psalm:

“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.”

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written to help you ask for Jesus’ help to be a Missionary Disciple.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: This week’s Family Room activity is a great complement to Chapter 11 (To love and to serve), which reflects on our mission as Christians to love and serve God beyond the Mass.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26 June 2022 – Loving our neighbour as ourselves

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today’s Second Reading is from a letter that Saint Paul send to the Galatians (the people of Galatia, which today is part of Turkey) many, many years ago.

Saint Paul wrote letters to Christian communities in many different places. When these letters arrived, the communities would sit and read them together, and consider them – a little bit like when Cardinal Nichols writes us a letter, and Father Sean reads or plays a recording for all of us in church.

In this particular letter, Saint Paul reminds the Galatians to “Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Why is this important today? Just like the Cardinal’s letters give us things to think and pray about, Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians gave them suggestions on how to love God, and to love each other. And his words are a good message to us as well!

Our neighbours are those who live close to us – literally our “next door neighbours”. But they are also the people who are part of our lives – our friends, classmates, teachers, bus drivers, shop owners, fellow parishioners, and colleagues.

Father Sean often talks about how we are all made in the image of God, from His infinite love for us. By loving our neighbours, we are loving God, and we are also recognising how special each person is, and how much God also loves them.

It is also really important to read and think about all the words. We are told not just to “Love your neighbour” but to “Love your neighbour as yourself. To love our neighbours as much and in ways that we would want to be loved ourself.

What can we do as a family? This week, we invite you to have a conversation together as a family about how we want to be loved and then about how we can love our neighbours. You might like to consider whether you can write a card for one of your neighbours, make something to give them, or do something small like take out their bins or just say hello and smile at them!

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially about loving our neighbours.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: Chapter 11 (To Love and To Serve) of The “I Belong” book also has some wonderful suggestions about how to love our neighbours, and to live

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – 19th June 2022 – Celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus (et Sanguis) Christi. This has been a feast day since 1264 – that’s for nearly 900 years!

Why is this important today? As Catholics, we believe that Holy Communion is not a symbol, or a memorial, but is really and truly Jesus Himself. This means that we truly welcome Jesus into our hearts and minds when we receive Holy Communion, and it also means that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist in our churches – in the tabernacle, which at St. Peter-in-Chains is in the left hand side chapel near the front of the church.

There are accounts of Jesus words at the Last Supper in the first three gospels, but today we hear what Paul wrote to the Corinthian community to remind them of the meaning of the Eucharist. However, it is essentially the same in each: Jesus speaks the words of transformation, the body and blood of Christ given as a sacrifice for us is to be remembered in sharing bread and wine. And in today’s Gospel – the feeding of the 5000 – we are reminded again of the generosity of Jesus in feeding everyone and also how He uses His followers, His disciples, to carry out His will for us.

What can we do as a family to celebrate the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? This week, we invite you to talk together as a family about how much Jesus loves us, and how he created this way to be with us – as food, to bring continuing life to us. You might like to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – to spend a few moments in front of the tabernacle in prayer asking Jesus to show us how we can carry out His will in our lives. You can do this before or after Mass or perhaps on the way to school. And you might also like to complete this colouring-in page.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: We encourage all our families with children who are preparing for First Holy Communion to reflect on today’s feast day, and to discuss the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with each other. Chapter 10 (Body of Christ) of The “I Belong” book has several sections that can support you in these conversations.

Pentecost – 5th June 2022 – Welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? Today is the feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate God the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples, including Mary the mother of Jesus, who were gathered in prayer. We celebrate this feast every year, 50 days after Easter Sunday. It is an important feast for Christians throughout the world and it is also considered to be the Birthday of the Church. In many countries across Europe, it is celebrated as “White Sunday” or “Whitsunday”.

What does “welcoming the Holy Spirit into our hearts” mean? Our First Reading shares the story from the Acts of the Apostles (one of the books in the New Testament), and tells how everyone who was with the apostles was “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

God the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of all Christians. As Catholics, we receive the Holy Spirit in a special way during the sacrament of Confirmation – which Bishop John celebrates with our young candidates on Saturday evening, but He is with us throughout all our lives – because God is with us, always.

Pope Francis has said the Holy Spirit “shows us the right path during all situations of life”…so to welcome God the Holy Spirit into our hearts is to be open to the love and the guidance of God.

What can we do as a family? If you come to St. Peter’s for Mass, we invite you to look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit displayed on the banners we have displayed inside our church. At home, you might like to do something in honour of the Holy Spirit throughout the week. During Pentecost, people who spoke different languages were able to understand one another – you can use this website as a family to say “I Love You” in 100 different languages! If you like arts & crafts, you can use this activity to make a dove (a symbol of the Holy Spirit) from a paper plate. Or, if you like baking, you could make a red velvet cake to celebrate our birthday as the Church at  Pentecost.

What we can all do is pray! This week, we invite you to pray this prayer we have written especially for the feast of Pentecost. You might also like to pray through song – this beautiful hymn “Holy Spirit, Lord of Love” asks the Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill us with His love and life. And please pray that our young people who received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday evening will always welcome the Holy Spirit into their lives.

A special note for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion families: Chapter 1 (In the Name of the Father) of The “I Belong” book includes the story of the baptism of Jesus, which is another time in the Gospels that the Holy Spirit appeared. This is a great conversation starter about how God the Holy Spirit blessed Jesus at His baptism, and then returned to bless the Disciples – and all of us – at Pentecost.

7th Sunday of Easter – 29 May – Celebrating the Ascension of Jesus with joy

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Why is this our Family Room activity today? ? On Thursday this week, we celebrated the feast of the Ascension, when Jesus ascended (rose up) into Heaven.

Why should we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus with joy? The Ascension of Jesus into heaven is the third of the four main events of the Easter story that show how Jesus saved us or became our ‘Saviour’. The first two events which we celebrated at Easter were Jesus’ death and His resurrection which took away our sins and offered us new life with our sins wiped away. The third event is the Ascension where, by rising up and returning to His Father and our Father in heaven, Jesus opened a path for us to follow to be with Him, we hope, after we die. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus promised his followers that he would send them and us the Holy Spirit to be our inspiration and guide in life – and we will celebrate that, the fourth event, next Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost.

So the Ascension of Jesus gives us a hope of a life eternal with God in Heaven and that should fill us with great Joy!

What can we do as a family? In our parish we have a group of older parishioners called the Life Ascending Group who meet regularly to help its members grow in faith, prayer and love. The Ascension is the Group’s feast day and they will be serving refreshments for everyone on Sunday morning to celebrate. So, if you can, why not go to Mass together and be part of our parish family this Sunday and then join our Life Ascending Group in the Parish Rooms afterwards and join with them in their celebration.

What we can all do is pray! One of the best ways that we can celebrate is to come to Mass together as a family. You might also like to pray this prayer that we have written for our parish families.

6th Sunday of Easter – 22 May – Praying for Peace

Click to find out more Why is this our Family Room activity today? In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus tells the apostles that he is going to send them the Holy Spirit. And He gives them the gift of peace. He says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Why should we pray for peace? Jesus promised us peace. But our world is troubled. In Ukraine – and in other places too – we do not have peace today, and there are many families who are impacted by war and violence. Sometimes we can be sad because we feel that we cannot do anything to help – but we can always pray!

And there are so many people who need our prayers – the families who are caught up in conflict, the governments who m