This line, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" comes from Psalm 51, one of the seven penitential psalms. The imagery is accessible to young and old children alike. Since ancient times, the heart has been associated with feelings and emotions. Even though we are now aware of the brain's role, the sensation of a heavy heart or a sad heart is very real. Our brains just don't feel the way our hearts do. With Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine's Day falling so close together this month, these heart-inspired reflections and activities are a fitting way to start the Lenten season.
Download "February at a Glance"
K - 5
Explore the idea of clean hearts with these discussion starters. Then make a "Clean Heart Club" display to remind children of God's boundless mercy.
Download "Clean Hearts" (PDF)
6 and up
Heart soap carvings are a tactile symbol of the clean hearts that are the focus of this prayer service. Ivory brand works well for carving; straightened paperclips or "sharpened" popsicle sticks are good tools. Use a Q-tip dampened with hot water to smooth out rough surfaces.
Download "Prayer Service: Valentine's Day" (PDF)
Saint of the Month
February 18 - Blessed Fra Angelico. This holy man was named Guido de Piero as a child, but when he became a Dominican monk, his name was changed to Fra Giovanni (Brother John). Find out why that didn't stick.
Download "Blessed Fra Angelico" (PDF)
Explain to children the old beliefs of Candlemas and Groundhog Day being indications of the weather to come. Talk about a farmer’s need for predicting weather and how farmers of long ago did not have the scientific information they use today. On February 2, observe with the children what the weather conditions are, and record them on a calendar. Do this each day. Notice if the groundhog predicted correctly or incorrectly this year. Enjoy observing the small and large changes outside as winter gives way to spring. Encourage children to use descriptive words as they observe (e.g., that some branches are dark brown like coffee, others are a soft shade of green; describe the differences in texture of the snow on days with above and below freezing temperatures; observe buds on trees and note texture, size and color).
Lifelong Catechesis Corner
When have I been given a second chance? (Gospel for 3rd Sunday of Lent).
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