image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 5th, 2014


Sr. Pat Carter CSJ

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” Psalm 72

January 5th is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. “I’ve often pondered whether the wise men were surprised by what they found at the end of their journey.  They had left behind homes and safety and comfort, spending months following the star.  And for what?  To finally meet a mighty king living in a magnificent palace?  Not even close.  Instead, they found a child lying helpless in his mother’s arms, living in the humblest of dwellings.  Yet somehow the magi were able to see beneath the child’s poverty and vulnerability to recognize the one whom they had sought.  It makes me wonder how many times God comes to us in ways that may at first seem unexpected or even contradictory.  While I certainly expected to feel God’s presence in the birth of my child, I had no idea that I would sense that same presence when I sat with my mother as she took her final breaths.  The feast of the Epiphany challenges us to be seekers as the wise men were seekers, to search for God and recognize God’s presence wherever and whenever God chooses to reveal himself.  When we discover one way God is present to us, wonderful!  But we need to keep looking, always and everywhere, for other ways too.  Today we journey forth into the New Year with the magi as our guides, always seeking and always searching for God’s presence in the unexpected.” Teresa Whalen Lux, January Living with Christ, page 45.  Holy Spirit, help us to follow the spirit of the Magi as we search for the ways that God wants to be present to us this week.

January 6th is the last day of the Christmas season.  Sing one last carol today!

January 7th is the memorial of St. André Bessette.  “Known to millions simply as Brother André, Alfred Bessette was born in St-Gregoire, Quebec, in 1845.  Orphaned by the age of 12, he was unschooled, small and sickly.  In 1870 he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross.  For the next 40 years, he was porter at the Collège Notre-Dame on Queen Mary Road in Montreal, where he excelled at hospitality.  In the course of his duties, he welcomed the sick and afflicted, and it was his habit to pray with them through the intercession of Saint Joseph.  He gained a reputation throughout the city and, as he was credited with extraordinary favours and with healings, more and more people came to the college to seek out the ‘Miracle Man of Montreal.’  Possessed of a deep love for Saint Joseph, Brother André erected a statue of the saint on the mountain across from the college.  Then, assisted by lay friends in 1904, he built a wooden chapel on the mountain.  Over the years, the chapel grew into a basilica.  Today, Saint Joseph Oratory welcomes more than two million visitors each year.  Its founder lived to be 91, was declared blessed in 1982, and canonized on October 17, 2010.”January Living with Christ, 2014, pages 164-165.  St. André teach us how to pray for and with the sick.  Say God bless you to anyone you see that is feeling sick today.

January 8th is the memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort.  “Saint Raymond is particularly noteworthy for his contribution to canon law, the laws and regulations governing the Church.  Born in 1175 in Peñafort, Spain, Raymond was a professor of philosophy by the age of 20, and then went on to study law.  He became an archdeacon in 1219 and a Dominican priest in 1222, travelling throughout Spain preaching to Moors and Christians.  In 1235, having been confessor to Pope Gregory IX, he was appointed Archbishop of Tarragona, resigning soon after because of illness.  Raymond was responsible for the organization of papal decrees, which became the basis for his original code of canon law.  His writings were often used as guidelines for the administration of the sacrament of penance (reconciliation).  A contemporary of Thomas Aquinas, he encouraged Thomas to write the Summa Contra Gentiles.  While master general of the Dominicans, Raymond revised the order’s constitution; his revision was in effect until 1924.  He died at Barcelona on January 6, 1275 and was canonized in 1601.  He is the patron saint of lawyers, including canon lawyers.” January Living with Christ, 2014, page 165. Spirit of God, help us to follow the rules so our lives are well ordered.  Be obedient today especially to your parents.

Serving in the Light of Christ – a quote for the week

“Every act of love is a work of peace no matter how small.”  Blessed Mother Teresa

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days

“A HOLY DAY, BUT A MOVABLE ONE…Today, Feast of the Epiphany, is one of the church’s official holy days of obligation.  The fact escapes many North American Catholics, because here the observance is transferred to Sunday, which means the feast can be observed anytime between January 2 and 8.  Not so everywhere.  In Italy, for instance, this is not only a holy day, but a day on which La Befana, an old lady similar to Santa Claus, brings children their Christmastide gifts.  Some years ago, the Italian Parliament, seeking to reduce the number of national holidays, persuaded the church to move the observance of Epiphany to Sunday, as in [North America.]  There was a huge uproar and such lack of cooperation by the people that government and church had to abandon the experiment.  Epiphany means manifestation, and that’s the key to the feast.  The Epiphany commemorates the manifestations of the divinity of Christ – in the adoration of the baby Jesus by the Magi, and in his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist.  In the Western church the Magi element long enjoyed the greater emphasis, but with the tighter incorporation of the Magi story into that of Christmas, the baptism element began to come more to the fore.  There’s a logic to this.  The feast is of Eastern origins, and the manifestation or declaration of Christ’s divinity in his baptism is an emphasis that has been present in the Eastern church since the feast’s adoption between 380 and 430.” +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

In praying with an icon, it is important to set it up so it stands by itself and you can look on its shape and configuration.  Ask what it represents, what mystery it invites us to contemplate, what its most important symbolic images are.  Famous icons – like the portrait of Our Lady of Perpetual Help who is holding Jesus for us to see, or Andrei Rublev’s depiction of the three angels who visited Abraham – have elaborate symbols that take us away from an emotional response in order to proclaim the truths of faith in the Incarnation and the Trinity.  In each case, we look beyond the feeling the icon creates and ask what its implication is for our lives.” Paulist Press page 136.

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Implementation Matters   2. SELECT A LEAD PERSON   Things get done in schools when someone cares enough about them to do the follow-up.  Official leaders such as superintendents or principals are vital to this effort.  Everyone in the organization watches the people at the top to see what they really care about and whether their actions are consistent with their talk.  Senior leaders need to give significant time and energy to the equity priorities.  At the same time, one or two lead people need to be designated on any issue considered a priority so that more attention can be given the [project] than the principal or superintendent will have time for.  For any key priority, a school should have a lead person who is constantly thinking about what is needed to move the priority forward.  Who that lead person is depends on the specific setting.  Superintendents and principals can usually identify people who are well suited to take on this leadership role.  It may be someone in an administrative position or, in a school, may be one or two teachers.  The main thing is to know that someone is living and breathing attention into the equity goals of the schools and reminding other about them.” Breaking Barriers:  Excellence and Equity for All pages 140-141.

Twenty-first Century Education > Why We Celebrate New Years – 2.36 min

The celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of another is the perfect time to focus on the very real need all Christians have to leave the past behind and to press on to the future. > A Life of Integrity – Inspirational video 1.15 min

A great little reminder of the biblical principles that we should follow to live a life of integrity.  We are to lead by example and having integrity is a great way to start. > I Once Was Lost (Amazing Grace) – Inspirational video

2.11 min  Several people recite the words to Amazing Grace, but insert their personal struggles and victories.  No actors were used, all the people and the stories are real.  What would you say?  and www.carfleo.wordpress,com > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

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

“Snap, Crackle, Pop!

The minute you walk into the movie, you can smell it…mmmm…popcorn!  The minute you put a package of it in the microwave at home, you can hear it start making funny kerpluck noises…mmmm…popcorn!  But what makes those dried little yellow corn kernels pop?  God put a surprise in each of those tiny kernels – a tiny drop of water!  When you heat the corn, the water turns into steam and it wants to escape.  Now you know steam is powerful because it is strong enough to run a steam engine – so the steam blasts its way out and presto!…the little yellow corn kernel turns into a delicious white cloud and you have popcorn.  The next time you have popcorn, think about God’s surprise and say a little prayer to thank God for making such a fun food!”  page 60

WHAT’S YOUR CATHOLIC IQ?  by Page McKean Zyromski

Catholic Jeopardy

Be sure to give your answer in the form of a question.


Year of Faith

  • For 200 points – This pope declared the Year of Faith. Who is Pope BENEDICT XVI?
  • For 400 points – The meaning of Porta Fidei. What is the DOOR OF FAITH?
  • For 600 points – The first day of the year of faith was also the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.  What was the SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL?
  • For 800 points – This day also marked the 20th anniversary for this important teaching resource.  What was the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?
  • For 1000 points – This feast day marked the closing of the Year of Faith.  What was the FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING?


  • For 200 points – This is the liturgical name for Christmas.  What is the NATIVITY OF THE LORD?
  • For 400 points – This is the meaning of the word crèche.  What is MANGER?
  • For 600 points – These liturgical prayers are said December 17-23.  What are the O ANTIPHONS?
  • For 800 points – This is the liturgical colour used during Christmas.  What is WHITE?
  • For 1000 points – This is the day when the Christmas season ends.  What is the FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY?
  • BONUS question – This is the day of the feast of St. Andrew.  What is NOVEMBER 30th?

WHAT’S YOUR CATHOLIC IQ?  by Page McKean Zyromski

1.  The sign in the sky that led the wise men to Jesus was

A.  a full moon                       
B.  an eclipse of the sun                      
C.  a star in the East                              
D.  a huge, white cloud

2.  The wise men did not return to King Herod to tell him where the newborn king was because

A.  they were warned in a dream and went home another way
B.  Joseph told them not to
C.  Mary was suspicious of Herod
D.  their camels were too tired

3.  The Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s is the feast of

A.  Pentecost                           
B.  the Holy Family                                
C.  the Ascension                                    
D.  Baptism of Jesus

4.  When Jesus was still a baby, Joseph and Mary took him all the way to Jerusalem to

A.  visit relatives 
B.  buy him new clothes                     
C.  present him in the Temple        
D.  show him the city

5.  After Jesus was born, King Herod

A.  went to find Jesus                                                                                 
B.  sent rich gifts to Bethlehem
C.  ordered his soldiers to kill all children in Bethlehem two years old or younger
D.  ignored the whole thing

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…?  Are you one who will?

“A dromophobiac is afraid to cross a street.”   Huh!

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