image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 19th, 2014


Sr. Pat Carter’s Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 19th, 2014

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.  “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” Psalm 40

 January 19th is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. “John the Baptist is the classic image of the [Hebrew Scriptures’] prophet. He comes out of the desert, he dresses in animal skins, he warns of death and destruction, he experiences visions. Early in the Gospel of John we meet this herald of the good news of salvation. He is completely dedicated to his life’s purpose, which is to point everyone towards Jesus Christ. His message is clear and unmistakable: The man right here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John does more than just point out that Jesus is the Son of God. He encourages his own disciples to become followers of Jesus and he dies for this truth. We can receive this Gospel as a history lesson or the account of a complex and fascinating character. At its heart, however, this scripture continues the mission of John the Baptist, pointing us to Christ today and calling us to recognize and follow him as the Lamb of God. Through our baptism and our continuing life of faith, we are all called and equipped to bear witness to the mercy and grace of God in Jesus Christ, in the places and conditions of our daily lives. That is our privilege as the followers of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. We are the heralds of the good news for today.” Marilyn Sweet, January Living with Christ, page 99. Holy Spirit of truth and goodness, when we get distracted, continue to point us to Christ in our continuing life of faith. When opportunity arises this week, follow John the Baptist’s good example, point someone to Jesus.

January 19th is also the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. “On January 19, 2014, the Church will celebrate the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The theme chosen by Pope Francis is “Migrants and Refugees: Towards a Better World”. In the conclusion of his Message, the Holy Father says to migrants and refugees: “Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your journey you will encounter an outstretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship! To all of you, and to those who have devoted their lives and their efforts to helping you, I give the assurance of my prayers and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.”

January 21st is the memorial of St. Agnes. “…Agnes was a beautiful young girl who belonged to a wealthy Roman family. She loved God very much and wanted to give her heart only to him. She chose Jesus as her spouse and would not marry anyone else. Because Agnes was rich and beautiful, many young Roman noblemen wanted to marry her. But she answered them all by saying, “I already have a husband in heaven – Jesus.” The young men became angry and reported Agnes to the governor, accusing her of being a Christian. This was in the year 304, when Christians were being put to death by order of the emperor Diocletian. Even though Agnes was only thirteen years old, she faced the governor bravely. She would not turn away from God. She would not burn incense to the idols. She wasn’t even afraid when the governor threatened to have her tortured. This made the governor so angry that he sent Agnes to the house of some evil women, so that they could lead her to sin. But Agnes remained pure and holy, trusting in Jesus, who made her strong. When Agnes was brought back to the governor, he ordered her to be beheaded. Agnes bowed her head before the executioner. She felt happy to give her life for Jesus, and she looked forward to being with him soon in heaven.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, vol. 1 pages 37,39. St. Agnes, help us to remain strong when we face temptations to do what is not right.

January 24th is the memorial of St. Francis de Sales. “Francis de Sales was born in his family’s castle at Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. Because he was born two months early, he was very weak as a baby. But he grew strong and healthy and was a very obedient and kind little boy. Francis’ mother taught him to pray. She read the lives of the saints to him, and took him with her whenever she went out to visit the poor. He received a very good education. …Francis’ world was opening up to him with many promises of a successful career. But he felt called to the priesthood. It was hard to persuade his disappointed father, but Francis followed God’s call and became a priest… He volunteered to go to Chablais to work as a missionary among many people who had left the Church and were very unfriendly toward priests. Even though some of these people tried to kill him, Father Francis continued working among them. His patience and kindness brought many back to the Church. In 1602, Francis was made bishop of Geneva, Switzerland. He worked very hard to bring unity back to the Church at a time when there were many problems. He opened schools, taught and preached. In 1604, Francis met a holy woman named Jane Frances de Chantal. (Jane later became a saint too.) He became her spiritual director, and in 1610 he helped her found the Order of the Visitation, a new order of sisters. Francis de Sales wrote many wonderful books about God and the way to become closer to him. In these books Francis taught that holiness is possible in everyday life, and that God calls us all to become saints.” St. Francis, help us to be kind and caring people like you were. St. Francis de Sales is known for the saying: “You can attract more bees with a tablespoon of honey than a gallon of vinegar.” Think about what this saying is suggesting to you.

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

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” Vincent van Gogh

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Believing ~ Hope Expectations for Primary Classes

By the end of grade 3, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Are curious and open to hearing the saving story of our Christian Faith;
  • Actively reflect on God’s Word as communicated through the passages of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures;
  • Stand in wonder and awe before God’s self-revelation in creation and in the mysteries of the Catholic Faith proclaimed in the Apostles’ Creed

Below is the expectation with a suggested explanation of how the scripture passage can be interpreted for the students.

Grade One: BL1.1 Examine a selection of Scripture passages to discover how God has gradually revealed his love for us:  first to Adam and Eve [Gen. 2.4-3 > God creates Adam and Eve and us in his likeness and God provides everything for us to take care of us.  God gives us the power to name all the creatures so we feel a sense of belonging and care for all of creation.  God wants us to have friends/partners so we are not alone.], then through his Covenant with Noah,[God loved Noah and saved Noah, his family and all the animals and plants from the flood.  Once the flood was over, God made a promise to Noah that there would never be a flood like that again, and he put the rainbow in the sky during rain showers to be a sign of his promise.  So the rainbow is a sign of God’s love for us.]   Abraham [God loved Abraham and called Abraham to be in a special relationship.  When Abraham and his wife were very old God made it possible for them to have a son.  It was the biggest gift God could have given them.  God also made a special promise to Abraham and Sarah that they would be the parents of a nation of believers.  God made the promise to Abraham even before Abraham and Sarah had Isaac, their boy.], Moses [God protects Moses when Moses is a baby and helps him to grow up in the Pharaoh’s family, then God calls Moses to help his people to escape from slavery in Egypt.  God gives Moses special powers to help him with his task of taking God’s people out of slavery.  Once the people are free God makes a special promise to be their God and their protector.  God gives Moses the Ten Commandments as a gift to keep the people in good relationship with him and with each other.  The people promise to obey God’s commandments to show their love to God.] and the Prophets: Isaiah [God says to us through the prophet Isaiah that he will never forget us and that he has us inscribed on the palm of his hand.]; Jeremiah [God says to use through the prophet Jeremiah that he has great plans of peace for us, wants to give us a future full of hope and he wants to be very close to us. God wants to listen to us.] and finally though the gifts of His own Son, Jesus through whom God’s full and definitive revelation is accomplished. [Jesus comes to show us how much God loves us.  Jesus wants to be the promise of God’s love to each one of us.]

Grade Two BL1.2 Examine scripture passages to identify the oneness of God [1 Cor. 8:4 – there is no God but one means that we have one God but three faces just like on dice there is one die but six different faces with a different number.  We believe in one God but our God has three faces/persons – God who is Father, God who is Jesus, and God who is Holy Spirit.]; [Isa. 45:5 – I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god.  God is telling us through Isaiah that there is no other God.  In Isaiah’s time there were people who believed in many, many Gods.  So God is telling the people that there is only one God to believe in.]; [Deut. 6:4 – Here, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  God is speaking to the people through Moses in this passage.  God has promised to be the God of the people.  The people have promised to be in relationship with this one God alone.]; [John 12:45 Jesus says “whoever sees me sees him who sent me.”  Jesus means that when we look at Jesus we also see the Father.]  You may want to use this as a group work activity.  Give each group a different passage and ask them what they think the passage means and then clarify with your own words.

Grade Three BL 1.2 Identify and explain what specific Gospel narratives reveal about the relationship of the Holy Spirit with God the Father, Jesus and the Church [John 14:15-17, 25-26 – In this passage Jesus says that he wants to be in relationship with us.  He asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to us to guide us and to help us.  The Holy Spirit lives in us and we are the Church because we love God and we follow the teachings of the Holy Spirit.]; [John 15:20-26 – Jesus warns us that if we believe in him/God and we live with the Holy Spirit as our guide that we may have struggles with others who do not believe.  Jesus tells us some people did not like him; some people may not like us because we believe in Jesus.]; [Rom. 8:26 – St. Paul tells us that when we do not know how to pray or what to pray for we can ask the Holy Spirit for help.  The Holy Spirit will help us to pray.  The Holy Spirit will help us individually or as a whole Church.]

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days

“THE VATICAN AS CITY-STATE…As a state, that of Vatican is miniscule – [110 acres] of land entirely surrounded by the city of Rome, and home to only about [840 citizens.]  Ah, but one of them is the pope, and that makes all the difference.  As religious leader to some [1.2 billion] Catholics worldwide, 18 percent of the world’s population, the pope is a person governments must conjure with, like him and his church or not.  More than 110 nations of the world have diplomatic relations with the Vatican, including a few that are Marxist.  On January 20, 1984, President Ronald Reagan re-established formal diplomatic ties between the United States and the Vatican after a hiatus of 117 years.  To be sure, beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt a series of presidents named personal representatives to the Vatican, but all were without portfolio.  Persuaded of the importance of the Vatican as a window on the world, President Reagan appointed an ambassador to the Holy See.  Not everyone liked the idea, for religious and constitutional reasons.  The White House told critics the step was taken to improve communications at a time when papacy and pope had become increasingly involved in international affairs.  The Reagan move restored an old tradition.  From 1779 to 1848, American consuls were posted to the Papal States.  In 1848 President James Polk upgraded U.S. representation to that of a mission, and resident ministers then were assigned until 1867, when the mission was closed after Congress cut off funds.  The action was based on reports that the papal government had ordered the American Protestant church in Rome to move outside the walls of the city.  The reports proved false, but the decision of Congress stood.  In 1951 President Harry Truman attempted to name a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, but there was a huge outcry from Protestants and “constitutionalists.””  +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 #27 Poetry and Songs

Poems and songs are repeated time and time again.  What is expressed in verses and lyrics tends to arise more from the inner workings of the human spirit.  Unlike prose that is clear-cut and informational, poetry and music have an abstract, elusive, symbolic, and hidden meaning, as well as a mysterious sense that prompts further reflection beyond the superficial level of simply listening to the words.  The 150 Psalms found in the Bible were originally composed as religious songs to be sung or as poetic expressions to be recited in prayer.  For this reason, the responsorial Psalms are often sung in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.  In this form of prayer, the words and phrases from the Psalms evoke images and thoughts about God and God’s relationship with humanity, such as “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23.1), …”I wait for you, O Lord, I lift up my soul (Ps. 25.1) and “Have mercy on me, God” (Ps 51.3).  Consider listening attentively to both the words of the Psalm as well as the response that you are singing.  You may even find yourself singing those words apart from the liturgy that you are attending.”  Paulist Press page 137-138.

 Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Implementation Matters   4. PROVIDE ONGOING PROFESSIONAL LEARNING.  It is important to include ongoing professional learning in the implementation strategy…  The notion of job-embedded professional learning is used today to describe professional learning within the context of one’s work…  The guidelines for professional learning established by the Ontario College of Teachers, for example, are based on research on the importance of self-directed learning to encourage reflective practice through ongoing professional learning…  Professional learning communities are an additional avenue to further growth and development… For resources about professional learning, see the Breaking Barriers website:”    Breaking Barriers:  Excellence and Equity for All page 141.

Twenty-first Century Education > Week by Week Time Lapse of our Pregnancy – 2.37 min. This is the Sherman family in the making.  It could be used for Family Life Theme Three as a video of the changes that happen during pregnancy.  The couple’s obvious joy and the lyrics of the song are beautiful to see. > presents How do we see God’s character and the Gospel in the Book of Ruth?  Would it not be wonderful if we could speak so joyfully about the Scriptures as does David Murray?  Let’s work on it. > Should Schools Teach Social Media Skills. “Aarti Shahani delves into the discussion of whether or not schools should invest their time teaching social media skills to students in an essentially market-driven networking climate. A concern raised in the article is how schools would even begin to stay on top of social media developments in their students’ lives in the first place. The article includes an audio file that goes a little more in depth into the story.” Posted by Ross Crocket  > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

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

“Where’s the Milky Way?

It could be the way to the refrigerator to get a glass of milk to go with your cookies or sandwich or chocolate cake.  OR it could be the way to the grocery to buy a candy bar.  OR it could be a waaay up in the sky where there’s a huge white “pathway” of thirty thousand million stars – a sparkly, shining band of light called the Milky Way.  God made the cows that give us milk and the stars that give us shining light at night and the ingredients used to make candy – but people milk the cows and make the candy and study the stars.  God and people working together make a dynamic duo.  That’s why there’s a saying, “There’s nothing that God and I can’t do – if we work together.”  What do you think YOU should do – milk cows, make candy, study stars?  OR go to school and study to learn all the stuff you’ll need to know so you can do lot of OTHER things?”  page 61

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?  RTJ’s creative catechist January 2014


  • 1.  What were Mary’s parents’ names?  Anne and Joachim
  • 2.  What was the name of the angel who visited Mary to announce the birth of Jesus?  the angel Gabriel
  • 3.  To whom was Mary betrothed?  Joseph
  • 4.  After the angel’s visit, whom did Mary visit?  Her cousins Elizabeth and Zechariah
  • 5.  What was the name of Mary’s cousin’s baby?  John the Baptist


  • 1.  Where did Jesus come from to get baptized?
  • 2.  Jesus was baptized in what river?
  • 3.  Who baptized Jesus?
  • 4.  After Jesus was baptized, what did he see?
  • 5.  What did the voice from heaven say?

BONUS question:  Why did Jesus get baptized with the baptism of repentance when he was without sin?

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

“The largest island in the Atlantic is Greenland.”   Huh!

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