Here are a few excellent resources for personal and family devotions, brought to you by Ave Maria Press.
Sacred Reading for Lent 2016, from the Apostleship of Prayer, is a pocket- or purse-sized version of the full-year edition of Sacred Reading. It runs from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday and contains the Gospel for the day, followed by prayer prompts in the Lectio Divina prayer method. Down-to-earth and simple to use, this book takes the mystery out of this prayer process. It’s priced at only $1.75–a bargain, considering all that is contained in the book.
Stations of the Cross with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus by William Prospero, S.J., is a unique take on the age-old Lenten devotion. I know many people who pray this devotion year-round, and these meditations can be used in either private prayer or a group Stations of the Cross prayer service. The meditations include quotes from Scripture and the Saints, and are focused on the Eucharist, bringing home the truth of Jesus’ bodily sacrifice on the Cross and in the Eucharist. This book sells for $5.95.
Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis: Prayers, Reflections and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is the Lenten resource I needed when my kids were younger! It’s ideal for families with school-age children and could be used in elementary-school classrooms as well as in the home. For each day of Lent, this book contains:
- a quote from Pope Francis (from homilies, General Audiences, letters and addresses, and even Twitter)
- a Parent Reflection to ponder in advance of praying together as a family
- a short Family Prayer to pray together (this would work well at the breakfast table)
- a short story from Pope Francis’ life
- suggestions for fasting and almsgiving, focused on Pope Francis’ exhortation to keep mercy in mind
- a concluding prayer, including a special intention and a full-day focus
The Parent Reflections in this book are classic Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle: quietly encouraging and deeply faithful. Throughout the book, the fasting and almsgiving prompts are often accompanied with concrete ways to help both children and adults achieve those spiritual goals.
This book is not tied to the 2016 calendar, so the purchase price of $3.50 is a true bargain for a prayer book that can be used in Lenten seasons for years to come.
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is available from Our Sunday Visitor.