image Catholic Culture Update for the week of December 8, 2013

Catholic Culture Update for the Week Beginning December 8, 2013

From Sr. Pat Carter CSJ

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” Matthew 3

December 8th is the 2nd Sunday of Advent. “As we approach the wonderful feast of Christmas, the peace that is part of our Christmas prayer often seems only a dream. Even in today’s Gospel, John the Baptist, announcing the coming Messiah, speaks of destructive fire and the wrath that is to come. John is trying to prepare his listeners for the one who is coming, and reminds the crowd that we are known by our lives and actions. He calls on his listeners to look at their lives and repent, to make the changes needed to welcome the Christ. The kind of life John encourages his audience to live is seen in the first reading, which sounds like a more positive note. Isaiah looks to a time when there will be peace, when all creatures will live in harmony and what we call paradise will reign. How this will come about is not clear, but Isaiah tells us it will happen when truth prevails and integrity rules. This places the responsibility for peace at the feet of each one of us. Isaiah calls us to live in truth and integrity, to be true children of God, people who make God visible to others. This is the Advent preparation that will bring the peace of Christ to the world. It is living our baptismal faith, recognizing that each of us is responsible for building community, for bringing God to birth in our world.” Barbara Bozak, CSJ, December Living with Christ, page 55. Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths, see the salvation of our God. Plant seeds of peace thorough today.

December 9th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. “Our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned seriously by disobeying God. We call this first sin “the fall.” Because of it, everyone since Adam and Eve is born into the world with original sin. We are all children of our first parents. Therefore, the whole human race is marked by their first sin. But God gave the Blessed Virgin Mary a marvelous privilege. Because she was to be the mother of Jesus, she was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without this original sin. God preserved Mary from all sin, including original sin, in view of Jesus’ redemptive act on the cross. There was never the slightest sin in our Holy Mother. That is why in one of the Church’s favourite hymns we sing: “You are all-beautiful, O Mary, and there is no sin in you.” This great privilege of our Lady is called her Immaculate Conception. In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed to the whole world that there was no doubt at all that Mary was conceived without sin. For years later, she appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes. When St. Bernadette asked the lovely lady who she was, Mary joined her hands, raised her eyes toward heaven, and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 2 pp 288-289 Pray a Hail Mary today to honour Mary.

December 12th is the National Day of Prayer to First Nations People and the memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “December 9th is the memorial of St. Juan Diego. Today, we celebrate Mary’s appearance on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. The heavenly visitor came to her people on December 9, 1531. Juan was a fifty-five year-old convert to the Catholic faith. He was going to Mass when our Lady stopped him as he was making his way down Tepeyac Hill. Mary asked him to go to the bishop. She wanted a great church built on the very spot where she was standing. The poor man was overwhelmed. He wanted with all his heart to do what the lady commanded. But how could he approach the bishop? How could anyone believe such an unusual request? Juan Diego went to the bishop. The bishop, not sure if he should believe this amazing story, thought of a way to handle the situation. “Ask for a sign,” he told Juan. Before granting the Lady’s request, the bishop wanted proof. Early on the morning of December 12, Juan Diego was hurrying along the path. His uncle was dying and he was going for the priest. Mary met Juan and told him that his uncle was better. (Juan found out a little later that his uncle had been cured at that moment.) The Lady wanted Juan to go back to the bishop to ask him to build a church. Juan told Mary that the bishop had asked for a sign. Mary sent Juan into the rocky area nearly and told him to gather the roses that were there. Juan was puzzled. It was winter and the bushes were bare. But Juan followed Mary’s instructions and was surprised to find that there really were roses – beautiful roses! Juan picked them all and went to the bishop. He carried them carefully in his tilma, or cloak. In the bishop’s house, he let down his cloak and the beautiful roses fell to the floor. Juan smiled and then realized that something else was capturing the bishop’s attention. He followed the bishop’s eyes, where were riveted to his cloak. There on his tilma was a beautiful image of Mary, exactly as she had appeared on Tepeyac Hill. The bishop had received his sign, and Mary would have her church. Today a great church, called a basilica, marks the spot where Our Lady of Guadalupe came to her people. Our Lady of Guadalupe was named the patroness of Mexico by Pope Benedict XIV.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 2 pp 294-296

December 13th is the memorial of St. Lucy. “It is believed that this beloved saint lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century, the daughter of noble and rich parents. Her father died when she was still young. Lucy was a lovely girl, and more than one young noble sought her hand. Her mother arranged for her to marry one whom she thought would make a good husband for Lucy. But the girl would not consent. Lucy had secretly promised Jesus that instead of getting married, she would belong to him alone. She thought of a way to explain her wishes to her mother. She knew her mother was suffering from …bouts of bleeding. She convinced her to go with her to the shrine of St. Agatha and pray for her recovery. When God heard their prayers and cured her mother, Lucy told her of her vow to be a bride of Christ. Her mother was convinced and, out of gratitude for her cure let Lucy follow her vocation. But the young pagan to whom she had promised Lucy was furious. In his bitter anger, he accused Lucy of being a Christian. He threatened her with the frightening torture of being blinded. But Lucy was even willing to lose both her eyes rather than belong to anyone but Jesus. …Jesus rewarded her for her heroic love. He worked a miracle and restored her eyes, more beautiful than ever. A pagan judge tried to send the saint to a house of sinful women. He hoped that Lucy might be tempted to give up her faith in Christ. But when her enemies tried to carry her away, God made her body so heavy that they could not budge her.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 2 pp 297-298

Serving in the Light of Christ – a quote for the week
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything.” Thomas Merton

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education
Believing ~ Hope Expectations for Primary Classes
By the end of grade 6, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:
• Reflect on the saving story of our Christian faith and how we are to respond to God’s gift of salvation;
• Cherish the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as an encounter with God, and Christ Jesus as the living Word of God at the heart of the gospels;
• Actively seek to find the face of God in Scripture, in God’s creation, particularly in the face of the other;
• Proclaim with confidence a belief in the mysteries of the Catholic faith, the Creed.

Grade Four: Describe the Canon of the Catholic Bible as two distinct yet related Testaments (Old/Hebrew and New/Christian) consisting of 73 books and identify the various forms of literature found in the Bible (e.g. narratives, wisdom saying, psalms-prayers, moral teachings, parables, the life and ministry of Jesus – Gospels) and explain how the literary form influences how we read and interpret scripture. [CCC 74-141] A canon is “a list of literary works which are considered to be permanently established as being of the highly quality.” Oxford English Dictionary. The word Bible came from the Greek word ‘biblion’ which meant book. The Bible is a book with two main sections: The Jewish scriptures (= sacred/holy writings) and the Christian scriptures (= sacred/holy writings.) Sometimes people refer to these two sections as the Old Testament and the New Testament because the Old Testament came first and the new one came after the first so it is newest. These words don’t really apply anymore because both sections were written down a very long time ago.
The Bible is really a library of books. It contains 73 books. There are many different forms of writing in the Bible. [see powerpoint on different forms of literature in the Bible attached to this CCU] When we read a fairy tale we know it is not a true story. The story of the Three Pigs did not really happen. However, when we read this story we can learn some truths. For example, if a big wind comes upon a house made of straw, it may fall down; but the same wind may not be strong enough to make a brick house do the same. So it is with different types of writings in the Bible. We may not believe them literally but we may understand that they contain truth to help us live our lives. So when we interpret scripture we need to know what type of writing we are reading before we interpret it.
Grade Five: Through an examination of selected biblical passages, find evidence of the origin of the Church (i.e. its identity and role) in the Old Covenant. God gathers the People of God when God calls Abram to leave his land and go to a new land. God says to Abram “I will make of you a great nation…”[Gen. 12:2] and God makes a covenant with Abram, “He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars,…so shall your descendants be. [Abram] believed the Lord,” [Gen. 12:2, 15:5-6] The covenant is a sacred binding promise. God made a covenant with Abraham and Abraham made a covenant with God. So originally Abraham’s descendants become God’s people and their role is to worship God and to live in relationship with God. Unfortunately over time God’s people fall out of relationship with God. God calls upon Moses to free them from slavery in Egypt and to bring them to the Promised Land. While at Mount Sinai Moses is given the Ten Commandments to help the Israelites to live out of their covenant with God. God says, “Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. …you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.” [Ex. 19:5-6; Dt. 7:6] However, over time the people forget about their covenant with God and God calls the people to renewal of the covenant through the prophet (one who speaks for God) Isaiah saying “In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, …and many peoples shall come and say, Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord …that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths…” [Is. 2:2-5] And many years later, the prophet Micah is given the same words to speak to God’s people. [Mic. 4:1-4] The people continue to fail in holding their part of the covenant so God promises a new Covenant to come. [Is. 1:2-4; Jer. 2; Jer 31: 31-34; Is. 55:3] This is a promise of something new, a new Covenant that will come to all people through the birth of Jesus.
Grade Six: Examine a selection of biblical passages that reveal the link between sin, grace, conversion and mercy in God’s plan of salvation. In the Scriptures we can come to understand how sin came into the world. In the beginning God created all things good. God invited humans into a love relationship. God created everything humans could need to live and be content. God invited us to enjoy our humanity and allow God to be God (knowing everything.) However, humans at some point decided that they wanted not only to be like God being created in God’s image but they wanted to be God in knowing all things. So sin is created, that which separates us from God, puts space between us and God. [Gen 1-3; Is 59:2; Rm. 3:23] However, God still loved us and wanted to be God in our lives and so grace and mercy is given to us by God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” [Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7] Jesus eventually comes as the source of salvation. He shows us God’s love and that conversion and mercy are part of God’s plan of salvation as given in the beginning. [Jn. 1] “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” [Rm. 5:8; Rm. 4:12]

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leithwood et all. (2004) state, “School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning” (p.5)… District and school administrators have the power to influence the day-to-day actions of staff and students. They need to use their influence to instill a sense of urgency within their district and schools to improve achievement for the students who are struggling, and to put in place the systems and processes that will lead to better results. District leaders, principals, and teacher leaders have key roles to play in developing equitable and inclusive schools. They need to work collaboratively, build on one another’s strengths, ask the tough questions, and develop policies and practices that will help all students achieve. They need to be willing to question the status quo and advocate for every student.”
Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All page 136-137.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
“A CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE OUT OF RUSSIA IN A LOG CABIN IN THE REMOTE Ontario of Combermere, one of the century’s most remarkable laywoman died on December 14, 1985. She was Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Russian-born but a large player in the golden age of Catholic social action on this continent. Her influence was especially strong in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, as she went from platform to platform across the United States thundering in Catholic settings against racism, and berating Catholics for their segregated parishes, schools, religious orders and lay societies. “Don’t you know that the Catholic Church is just a front for capitalism, and that all their talk about the poor is hypocrisy,” she would exclaim. Her crusade spawned Friendship House, an inter-racial movement based on social justice through nonviolence and simple living, with houses in Harlem and impoverished quarters of Toronto, Chicago and Washington, among other cities. Her disciples lived among the poor and sought to bring the witness of Christ to people who felt they were ignored by the church. To escape “growing internal tensions” in her movement, she moved in 1947 to Canada with her husband, the famed Chicago journalist Eddie Doherty. There she founded Madonna House, a training centre for the lay apostolate, and organized a new lay community that today claims twenty-one mission houses. Her husband preceded her in death by ten years, but before dying became a priest of the Melkite Rite. The two had pledged themselves to a celibate relationship in 1955. Catherine de Hueck Doherty’s life divided two radically different apostolic experiences – first, one of social activism; then one of withdrawal in the spirit. It was a curious evolution, but it gave her an impact in two worlds. Her name was often breathed with that of Dorothy Day, but she also had enormous impact on Thomas Merton, acknowledged in The Seven Storey Mountain.” +John Deedy

28 Different Ways to Pray
“As Jesus taught us by His word and example, daily prayer is essential for all Christians. Our individual prayer life follows the rhythm of our daily life. ……Way #26 Using Icons and Art for Prayer
The use of the Eastern Church’s tradition of icons is slightly different. An icon is not intended to be a highly realistic painting or one filled with emotional impact. It is painted to lack the roundedness of real figures and without the perspective of depth, in order to keep it from being an image or likeness of God, as forbidden by the first commandment in Exodus 20. There are also strict rules that, of the Trinity, only Christ may be rendered in full human form, but never God the Father or the Holy Spirit, because Christ was the incarnate and risen savior among us. Despite these constraints, an icon is a portrait of a person or persons, with much attention on the face. Although icons often seem fixed and wooden as they stare out at the believer, each is intended to invite us into the mystery behind the face or scene and to find the presence of God there. We are not asked to feel the emotion of the moment, but to become aware of the divine grace that worked in the person or scene that is painted. For this reason, the eyes in an icon are often larger than usual so that we can see into the soul behind the surface of the painting.” Paulist Press page 134-135.


Twenty-first Century Education > 30 Apps Perfect for BYOD classrooms
“Katie Lepi from Edudemic gives us a list of 30 terrific BYOD apps in the following article. She’s also kind enough to provide a Symbaloo to explore in her article that will take you straight to the apps themselves, so go have some fun!” by Ross Crockett > The Biggest Lie Students Tell Me and How to Turn it Around. “José Vilson is a middle school math teacher and coach, and he believes in possibility. As children, many of us (including myself) were brought up with a portion of the academic intelligentsia of our school days making us more aware of our weaknesses than our strengths. In many cases we were raised with mindsets of limitation rather than possibility. That’s why Vilson believes that his students speak a falsehood when they proclaim ‘I can’t.’ His mission is to turn that thinking around in them, and he tells us how it can be done in the following article he wrote for Edutopia.” by Ross Crockett > Leave A Legacy > 4.19 min.
Resolving any conflict is a hard thing to do well, especially within your own family. Ultimately though, pursuing conflict resolution is an opportunity to glorify God, serve others, and create Christ-like transformation in our own lives. > Digital Advent resources for every grade and every division > a great activity for everyday of advent…a digital Advent calendar for Intermediate and Senior students – Adults may really enjoy the challenges offered. Maybe the whole staff want to live advent together by viewing this resource before heading to Lunch together. > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD by Bernadette McCarver Snyder

“What Are “Noble” Metals?
The word noble describes something that is excellent, impressive and has outstanding qualities. Noble metals are all that and they also resist chemical changes so they are known as “chemically inactive – especially toward oxygen.” Some of the noble metals are gold, silver, platinum, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and mercury. You probably don’t see iridium or osmium around your house but you may have seen mercury – in a thermometer or a barometer. Mercury is silvery looking and is sometimes called quicksilver and it’s often used in scientific instruments. When you have a cold or the flu, the doctor may take your temperature by putting a thermometer in your mouth. It may be a digital thermometer or it may be a glass tube that has mercury in it and numbers on it – and if you have a fever, the mercury will get warm and rise up the tube to show the number that indicates how high your temperature is – and how sick you are! For years, the noble mercury has done a noble job of measuring temperatures so doctors will know how to treat someone with a fever. If you ever had a fever, be sure to take all your medicine – even if you don’t like the taste of it – so you can get out of bed and go out and have some noble fun! But today, why don’t you say a prayer of thanks for all the noble doctors and nurses who work very hard to help sick people get well.” Page 58

WHAT’S YOUR CATHOLIC IQ? by Page McKean Zyromski
CATHOLIC Who Wants to be A Millionaire? – Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?
1. Starting on the first Sunday of Advent many families and parishes light candles B. on an Advent wreath
2. Jesus’ cousin was born six months before Jesus. This cousin’s name was B. John the Baptist

3. The name of the angel who came to announce Jesus’ birth to Mary was B. Gabriel

4. The word for Christmas in French is A. Noël

5. A Jesse Tree A. shows the family tree of Jesus who was descended from David, Jesse’s son

BONUS question:
The number of Sundays of Advent is A. four

1. The name Emmanuel means
A. “Holy God, we praise thy name” C. “God is with us”
B. “Saviour of the Universe” D. “Hark, the herald angels sing”

2. The custom of having a Nativity scene at Christmas began
A. with Francis of Assisi C. at a cave in Nazareth
B. in England D. with Hallmark

3. An important belief of Christianity – the teaching that the Son of God became a man and was born of the Virgin
Mary – is called
A. infinity B. the Incarnation C. Extreme Unction D. the Intercessions

4. The word the Bible uses for the wise men in the Christmas story is
A. Caesar Augustus B. Magi C. geniuses D. scribes

5. When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the Temple as a baby, the two people who witnessed it were named
A. Peter and Paul B. Simeon and Anna C. Simon and Jude D. James and John

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.” Huh! 35 Weird Facts You Never Heard Of

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