Throughout the series, the main character, Caleb, grows in his relationship with Jesus through his adventures and reflections on what he sees and hears at Mass. What are three simple ways parents, teachers, and/or catechists can help their children grow in their relationships with Jesus?
First of all, teach your children how to take advantage of moments for prayer that happen every day. Bedtime prayer and meal prayers are important. But also: thanking Jesus for the beauty of nature, saying a prayer when you hear sad news or hear a siren go by, saying “hello” to Jesus present in the tabernacle—even if you don’t have time to stop and go in, just say it as you drive by a church. Children can learn to lead these prayers themselves.
Secondly, help them to understand and participate in the liturgy. This is a gradual process, but as Caleb discovers, it’s possible to little by little understand the Mass and become closer to Jesus through it. This includes listening to the Scriptures and reflecting on them outside the liturgy also.
Lastly, work hard to grow in your own relationship with Jesus. We are never finished with this. He is always calling us closer and deeper! When your children see you taking moments for prayer through the day, participating in the liturgy, etc., it will do more for their faith than any lessons or instructions.
Shepherds to the Rescue, Braving the Storm, and Danger at Sea are just the first three books in the series. What can you tell us about the next three books? Please keep spoilers to a minimum
In the next three books, Caleb and his siblings continue their adventures, each time hoping to see Jesus. They travel to Capernaum, Jericho, and finally, Jerusalem. In The Mystery of the Missing Jars, they meet the daughter of Jairus and solve a “whodunit.” In Courageous Quest, they hear the stories of Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus, and see some lives that are changed because of Zacchaeus’ conversion. In Discovery at Dawn, they team up with some local urchins whom they meet on the streets of Jerusalem at Passover time. I’m really excited about the whole series, but I think maybe the last two books are the best. At least, they made my editor both laugh and cry!
Each book in the series ends with an appendix titled Where Is It in the Bible? Can you tell us about that, and why you included it?
Where Is It in the Bible? contains the actual scriptural text for the stories included in the book. For example, inDanger at Sea, the text of Mark 9:33–37, Matthew 14:34–36, and Mark 4:35–42 is given, with brief introductions for each one. The first two texts deal with the stories in the time travel part of the book, and the last one is what Caleb hears at Mass in the last chapter. I know that when I was a kid, I would have skipped this section, at least the first time I read the book, so I figure most kids will do the same. But it’s possible that on a second reading, they might take a look at it. So, I wanted to include it for the readers who would be curious about the Bible stories behind the story, as well for parents and teachers.
Actually, all the stories in the series—whether in the time travel segments (with few exceptions), or the present-day liturgy segments—correspond with the readings for Year B of the liturgical year.
The first three books in the Gospel Time Trekkers series are available in multiple formats here!