image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 2, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“The Lord of hosts is the king of glory.” Psalm 24

February 2nd is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. “When I was in high school, I learned how Shakespeare used the technique of foreshadowing in his plays. The chorus at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, for example, or the witches’ chant at the beginning of Macbeth, more than hinted at the coming drama in those plays. In today’s Gospel there is a sense of foreshadowing as well. Jesus was presented by his parents in the temple as part of the purification rite of the observant believers of his day. It seems a lovely tradition to designate as holy to the Lord a family’s first-born. But the encounters with Simeon and the prophet Anna shocked both parents – and foreshadowed the young boy’s future path. These holy people were able to point to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, and they also revealed just what that might mean. According to Simeon’s canticle, Jesus was liable to upset the current order. He was “destined for the rising and falling of many.” His teaching and witness would be “a sign that will be opposed.” And those who love Jesus would suffer, as Simeon told Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” The challenge in our own faith lives is to accept to love and follow Jesus – even if our journey of faith might demand our purification, or even include sacrifice and suffering with him.” Joseph Gunn, February Living with Christ, page 35

Dear God help us when we begin to complain about small inconveniences and discomforts to take a step back to consider that others experience far greater challenges. In accepting to love and follow Jesus we may experience sacrifice and suffering with him. Teach us to support and encourage one another when the suffering comes our way. The Presentation of the Lord is similar to people bringing their children to the Church for baptism. This week let us celebrate our baptism in a meaningful way.

February 2nd is also the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. Give a high five to a sister, brother or religious priest you may know! Say a prayer for an increase of vocations to religious life and priesthood.

February 3rd is the memorial of St. Blase
. “St. Blase lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he came from a rich family and received a Christian education. As a young man, Blase became a priest and they bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, which is now modern Turkey. With all his heart, Blase worked to make his people holy and happy. He prayed and preached. He tried to help everyone. When the governor, Licinius, began persecuting the Christians, Blase went to live and pray and do penance by himself. He became a hermit. In his solitude, wild animals that were sick or hurt would come to him, and he would heal them. One day some hunters found Blase and brought him to the governor. Blase was sent to prison to be beheaded. On the way, people crowded the road to see their beloved bishop for the last time. He blessed them all, even the non-Christians. Just then, a poor mother rushed up to him. She begged him to save her child who was choking to death on a fishbone. The saint whispered a prayer and blessed the child. He worked a miracle that saved the child’s life. That is why St. Blase is called upon by all who have throat diseases. On his feast day, we have our throats blessed at Mass. We ask St. Blase to protect us from all sickness of the throat. When he was in prison, Bishop Blase brought many people to believe in Jesus. … He was [martyred] in the year 316. Now St. Blase is with Jesus forever.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 page 63-64. St. Blase bless my throat and keep me safe from choking. When you put your scarf on to go outside, remember St. Blase.

February 5th is the memorial of St. Agatha. “Most of what we know about St. Agatha is based on legend. Agatha was a beautiful Christian girl from a wealthy family in Sicily. She lived in the third century, a time when the emperor Decius was persecuting the Christians. While she was still young, she dedicated her life to God, vowing not to get married. The governor heard of Agatha’s beauty and brought her to his palace. He wanted to make her do sinful things. But she was brave and would not give in. “My Lord Jesus Christ,” she prayed, “I belong only to you. Help me to be strong against evil.” Then the governor tried sending Agatha to the house of a wicked woman. He hoped the woman would convince Agatha to do sinful things. But Agatha had great trust in God and prayed all the time. She kept herself pure. She would not listen to the evil suggestions of the woman and her daughters. After a month, Agatha was brought back to the governor. “You are a noblewoman,” he said kindly. “Why have you lowered yourself to be a humble Christian?” “Even though I am a noble,” answered Agatha, “I am a slave of Jesus Christ.” “Then what does it really mean to be noble?” the governor asked. Agatha answered, “It means to serve God.” When he realized that Agatha would not agree to the evil he wanted her to do, the governor became angry. He had Agatha [punished.] As she was being carried back to prison she whispered, “Lord, my Creator, you have protected me from the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my soul.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 page 66-67 St. Agatha, help us to choose right when we are faced with temptations. If you feel tempted in the next few days to do something wrong, pray to St. Agatha for the strength to choose right.

Serving in the Light of Christ – a quote for the week
“The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and their faithfulness.” 1 Sam 26:23

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Believing ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

By the end of grade 8, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:
+Recognize in the saving story of the Christian faith God’s call to holiness;
+Appreciate the authority of the Magisterium in the interpretation of scripture and its message for contemporary Christian living;
+Actively reflect on Sacred Scripture as a means to grow in understanding and practice of the Catholic faith;
+Proclaim with confidence a belief in the mysteries of the Catholic faith, the Creed.

Grade Seven: BL1.3 Explain why the Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures. “The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures ‘because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Saviour.’” [CCC 125]

Jesus is God become human. He comes to us to teach us how to live and how to love. So the Gospels [the word means Good News in Old English] help us to come to know Jesus and his way of life and his way of loving. If one reads the Gospels with an understanding of the Jewish traditions and culture of the time, one sees how unique Jesus’ way of including everyone in his personal circle of care and friendship. It is ultimately Jesus’ way of living and loving that brings him to the Cross. He threatens the traditions and culture of the Jewish authorities. He asks them to live the spirit of the Mosaic Law not the letter of the Law. So they think they need to destroy him and they do.
Grade Eight BL1. Explain the theological connection between the books of the [Jewish scriptures] and the [Christian scriptures] (Christ fulfills the promise of the Covenant) and distinguish between the three stages of formation of the gospels (the life and teaching of Jesus, the oral tradition and the written gospels). [CCC 120-130]

The Jewish Scriptures tell the story of the Jewish people from beginning of the earth and the universe to Abraham to Moses to the prophets in order to prepare all people for the coming of Jesus, who is the Messiah that fulfills the Jewish prophecy. Both sets of Scriptures are of great value as they tell the whole story of God’s loving care and guidance of the chosen people (the Jewish people) to our present day relationship with the Jesus of the Christian Scriptures.

It is possible to distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels: 1. Jesus lived and taught as a human on earth. The four Gospels teach us about Jesus’ life and ministry. 2. The oral tradition. The apostles and disciples continued to keep the messages, lessons and Good News about Jesus alive by sharing their personal experiences with others. Some of these people were Jewish and some were Gentile. Some lived in the Holy Land and some lived further away. The apostles and disciples thought that Jesus would come back soon so they continued to tell the stories orally. 3. The written Gospels. Paul started writing letters to support his fledging communities. Jesus did not come back as soon as the apostles and disciples thought. Some of the apostles and disciples were dying. It was thought that the stories, lessons and messages of Jesus needed to written down. These Gospels were inspired by the Holy Spirit so “the honest truth of Jesus would be recorded.” [CCC 126-3] Mark’s gospel was composed first, then Luke and Matthew, then John. Each Gospel was written for a particular community.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
“THE CANTICLE OF SIMEON – One of the great canticles of the Christian Scriptures – the first of the three so-called “Evangelical Canticles” – is associated with [this Sunday’s] feast. It is the Canticle of Simeon, better known as the Nunc Dimittis from its opening words in the Latin Vulgate. A canticle quite simply is a sacred song that draws its text from the Bible, and some are so moving as to pass into the common prayers of the faithful. Such it is with the Nunc Dimittis. The Nunc Dimittis ranks in solemnity with the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat, and the Canticle of Zachary, the Benedictus. The setting is known to most everyone, Mary has gone to the Temple for her ritualistic purification, and she has along with her son, her first born, whom she will present at the same time to the Lord as an offering. At the temple is a just and pious old man named Simeon, who has been awaiting the “consolation of Israel,” the Holy Spirit having told him that he would not die until he had seen the “Anointed of the Lord.” Inspired by the Spirit, Simeon was present in the Temple when Mary and Joseph arrived with Jesus for the customary ritual of the law. Simeon took the child Jesus in his arms and blessed the Lord in the immortal words of the Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32):
Now you can dismiss your servant, O Lord, according to your word in peace.
Because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all
peoples to see: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of your
people Israel.

The Canticle of Simeon receives great prominence in [Sunday’s] liturgy for the feast of the Lord’s presentation. It is also incorporated into the church’s daily prayer life as part of compline, where it is preceded by the responsorial phrase familiar to most Catholics: In manus tuus, Domine, commendo spiritum meum… “Into your hands O Lord, I commend my spirit.”” +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

While already-written poetry and songs are opportunities for prayer and reflection, many of us have an inner artistic ability and a yearning to compose our own poetic verses and lyrics. Instead of carefully written prose, poems and songs allow a more free-form way to express ourselves. You may consider creative ways to express your innermost thoughts, feelings and thoughts in a prayer to God similar to what the Psalmist did. In this artistic form of expression, there is no one right way or wrong way to compose words that flow from your heart. These are your words and your way of praying. As St. Damascene noted: “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” (CCC #2559). Since prayer is an activity that involves the mind and heart, the popular image of using both the right and left sides of the brain, balancing the logical and the creative sides of ourselves, should also apply to praying.” Paulist Press page 138-139

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Implementation Matters. COMMUNICATE OFTEN A frequent failure in school improvement efforts comes from lack of communication. The people leading the effort are intensely involved and forget the others in the organization are not. In today’s electronic world, all staff can be sent regular emails or other updates on how things are going. Doing this keeps everyone informed, reminds them regularly of how important equity is, and helps establish a common culture. Communication does not happen only through vehicles such as email or newsletters. It is also embedded in the day-to-day interactions among people. Communication has to be two-way. While the leaders need to talk to the whole organization about what is happening, it is equally important for them to listen to and get feedback from others.” Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All page 143-144.

Twenty-first Century Education> Bullies Called her the ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’ but She’s Not Letting That Define Her > Inspirational Video – 13.11 min
Lizzie Velasquez is small in size, but big on motivation. Once called the “Ugliest Woman in the World” by bullies, she chose not to let her syndrome define her. Her positivity in the face of adversity will inspire you! > Everyone Should Hear What This Woman’s Response to an Atheist > 1.05 min What would you say to someone who didn’t believe in God’s existence? This woman’s response is flawless!> Sweetest Brother Says His Life Would be Nothing without his Sister > 2.25 min This little boy’s sister has physical disabilities, but he wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, at 1:50 he gets quite emotional about just how much he loves her. This video will have you crying along with this sweet brother!!!> This is What Makes Dogs and Cats So Different – Don’t Miss the End. 1.10 min Very Funny video!
Joe Paprocki teaches us how to lead spontaneous prayer in a traditional Jewish style. > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD! by Bernadette McCarver Snyder
“Nighty-Night? When you play hard or work hard, you get verrrry tired and your body needs to rest. When you get soooo tired, you may not breathe as deep as you usually breathe so your body goes on alert and tries to make up for that by making you take a big gulp of air all at once. And do you know what happens then? You yawn! Did you ever yawn when you are sleepy or maybe just when something is booooorrring? It’s not polite to yawn when something is boring, but sometimes you just can’t help it. It’s REALLY not polite to yawn in somebody’s face so if you just HAVE TO yawn, you should politely put your hand over your mouth, please. Whether you’re sleepy or bored, isn’t it great that God made your body so it keeps check on you and sends a gulp of air to your brain when you forget to breathe deeply enough? If you’re bored, maybe you just aren’t paying attention but if you’re yawning because you’re sleepy, it’s time to take a nap or go to bed so your body can get the rest it needs. When you’re growing, you need LOTS of sleep – at least 8 hours every night – so you can KEEP growing and get up to play hard or work hard tomorrow. Are you tired and sleepy now? Are you yawning? Well, then….nighty-night!” page 64

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? Pat Carter csj
The topic is MAGISTERIUM (a challenging quiz this week)

1. On what matters can the Pope speak infallibly? On matters of faith and morals
2. What is the Curia? The Curia is the central administration of the Church.
3. When was the last Ecumenical Council of the Church? The Second Vatican Council from 1962-1965
4. Who is our local representative in the Magisterium? Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe
5. What is the English name of the Declaration of Lumen Gentium? Light of the Nations – The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.

The topic is SAINTS from What’s your Catholic IQ? by Page McKean Zyromski

1. The sixteenth-century Spanish nobleman who founded the Jesuits and is the patron of retreats is
A. St. Ignatius Loyola B. St. Stephen of Hungary C. St. Valentine D. St. Mark

2. Crossed keys are a symbol of
A. Gregorian chant B. St. Peter C. King David D. “Keep Out”

3. The first Christian martyr, a person who was killed for the faith, is
A. St. Stephen B. St. Maximilian Kolbe C. St. Thomas More D. St. Polycarp

4. Legend tells us that the saint who discovered the true cross of Jesus is
A. St. Nicholas of Myra B. St. Helena C. St. Catherine D. St. Charles Lwanga

5. The famous Dominican brother from Peru who deliberately sought the lowest task but who also cured the sick is
A. St. Ignatius of Antioch B. St. Ambrose C. St. Martin de Porres D. St. John Vianney

6. The Bible says that in the desert John the Baptist ate
A. meat and potatoes B. thistles C. yogourt D. locusts and wild honey

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“The capital of Monaco is Monaco.” Huh!

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