MISHAWAKA — Franciscan Music of Mishawaka has been selected to provide two books that will be used at the Youth Congress of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September. The two books, a 32-page coloring book and a 64-page storybook, are based on the spiritual classic, “Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi,” which was written around 700 years ago. These fanciful tales, abridged for children by Joe Higginbotham, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, and edited by Jill Boughton, will encourage young readers to imitate the love and virtue of the humble man who rebuilt the Church and forever changed the world. In addition to the World Meeting of Families, Scholastic Book Club has added the storybook to their catalog. Scholastic sells books to children throughout the country.
Higginbotham, the director of liturgy and music at St. Bavo Parish in Mishawaka and spokesman for Franciscan Music said, “We are honored to have two of our products chosen by the World Meeting of Families and Scholastic Book Club. Our goal is to offer inspiring music and books in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We want to make accessible the love, joy and goodness of St. Francis through materials based on Franciscan spirituality.” The books chosen contain engaging tales that capture these Franciscan traits. A special prayer to help the child engage from their heart follows each story.
Artist Andrea Pynaert, also of Mishawaka, has crafted warm and vibrant illustrations that make this an appealing coloring book or storybook for children of all ages.
Jennifer Farrell, a local first-grade teacher, said, “The children in my class look forward to getting their other work finished so they can take out their St. Francis coloring books and continue their artistic work. What a beautiful way to engage young children in the lives of the saints. The students in my class learned a great deal about this popular saint.”
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has said, “The books are excellent.”
Marsha Jordan, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said, “The Little Flowers of St. Francis Story Book and companion “Little Flowers of St. Francis Coloring Book” are both delightfully presented for young children to enjoy and be captivated by the story of St. Francis of Assisi. The animation of the characters and animals depicted will attract the attention of any young child, while presenting themes of faith, holiness and a love of Jesus by St. Francis.”
St. Francis of Assisi has always been one of the most popular saints. His simplicity, love of nature and call to peace has attracted many for generations, regardless of age, social standing or religious affiliation. The fact that the current pope has taken Francis’ name for the first time in history is of no small significance.
Over a million people are expected to gather in Philadelphia to hear Pope Francis address the nation and the world about the importance of the family in society. In a time where Franciscan spirituality is desperately needed, the Holy Father offers the world the answer for which it longs. Franciscan Music is hopeful that it can play a small part in supporting his effort.
These books and many beautiful CDs are available at FranciscanMusic.com or by calling 574-514-0395, or contacting a local Catholic bookstore.
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