video Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning Feb. 9, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week: “You are the salt of the earth.”  Matthew 5:13

February 9th is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  “Centred on the image of light, today’s readings offer a rich meditation on the nature of discipleship.  Light is at once concrete, visceral and highly symbolic.  Light permeates our lives, its changes marking the passing of time.  Light energizes us, and its absence can disorient us.  Symbolically, light signifies life, creation.  Light is associated with God’s entry into time, into deeper relationship with us, and it represents both resurrection energy and the Spirit among us.  So light permeates spiritual history as well, expressing divine energy, presence.  Our intense response to light ensures that light serves as a powerful, evocative spiritual image as well.  Thus, the notion of light displacing darkness – used by both Isaiah and the Psalmist to describe the transformation possible through living justice, compassion, generosity, seeking blessing and freedom for all – is a metaphor for conversion leading to social change that resonates with us as we continue Jesus’ mission.  Light is physical energy, divine energy, spiritual energy… each life-giving, transformative.  Yet we too, Jesus tells us, are light for the world.  Transformed by the light of Christ that fills us, shapes us through love, we shine, reflecting the God that creates us, loves us, is the Light of our longing.  Let there be light!” Ella Allen, February Living with Christ, page 65 Loving God, during these lengthening days, help us to reflect your presence in the world.  Sit in the light today (if the sun is shining, sit in it) and enjoy it!

February 10th is the memorial of St. Scholastica.  “St. Scholastica and St. Benedict were twins born in central Italy in 480.  When they grew up, Benedict founded an order of monks called the Benedictines.  Scholastica wanted to dedicate herself to God also, so she began a community of nuns near her brother’s monastery of Monte Cassino.  Scholastica and Benedict decided that they would only visit each other once a year as a sacrifice to show their love for God.  They used to meet at a house near their monasteries.  When it was time to visit Benedict in 547, God let Scholastica know that it would be the last time they saw each other on earth.  Because of this, she wanted to stay and talk longer than usual, but her brother said no.  According to their Rule of Life, Benedict had to go back to his monastery at night, and Scholastica had to return to hers.  Since Benedict would not give in, Scholastica quietly turned to God in prayer.  All of a sudden, a terrible storm began.  Thunder crashed overhead, lightning lit up the sky, and rain poured down in sheets.  It was impossible to step out of the house!  Benedict asked in surprise, “Sister, what have you done?”  “Since you would not give me the favour I asked,” Scholastica calmly replied, “I asked God to give it to me, and he did.”  The brother and sister spent that whole night talking about God and heaven.  In the morning, after the storm had ended, they each went home.  Three days later, St. Scholastica died.  At the same time, in his own monastery, Benedict was praying.  He saw the soul of his sister flying up to heaven like a dove.”  Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, page 75, 77.  St. Scholastica, guide us today as we do our school work.  Inspire us to invite the Holy Spirit to enlighten us when we meet a challenging problem or idea.  Before you being working on your school work ask the Holy Spirit to sit with you.

February 11th is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.  “It was on February 11, 1858, that a beautiful Lady first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in the small town of Lourdes, France.  Bernadette had asthma and was often sick.  Her family was so poor that they were living in a cold, damp room that had once been a jail.  Even though she was fourteen, Bernadette still could not read or write.  She had a bad memory and never could remember her religious instruction lessons, but she loved God very much.  She tried to learn all that she could about God, and she tried even harder to please God.  The beautiful Lady Bernadette saw appeared in a grotto, a kind of natural cave carved into a rocky cliff.  She wore a white dress and a light blue sash.  A white veil covered her head and fell over her shoulders to the ground.  On her feet were two lovely golden roses.  Her hands were joined and a rosary hung from her right arm.  Its chain and cross shone like gold.  The lovely Lady encouraged Bernadette to pray the rosary.  The Lady appeared eighteen times to Bernadette.  She asked her to tell the people to pray, to do penance and to recite the rosary, especially for sinners.  At first, people did not believe that Bernadette was seeing a beautiful Lady at the grotto, because they could see no one.  But soon large crowds began to follow her to the site.  On February 25, the Lady pointed to a spot nearby and told Bernadette to scratch at the ground.  A spring of water began to flow.  This spring still produces 27,000 gallons of water each day!  During the last apparition, on March 25, 1858, Bernadette asked the beautiful Lady her name.  The Lady replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  Bernadette did not understand what this meant.  She hurried to tell her pastor.  The priest understood.  This name meant that the Lady was Mary, the Mother of God!”  Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, page 77-78  Our Lady of Lourdes send God’s healing power on those who need it this day.  Put a bandaid on your finger to remind you that today is the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.  Everytime you see the bandaid, ask God to heal someone you know who is sick.

February 14th is the memorial of St. Valentine.  “Valentine was a holy priest who lived in Rome in the third century.  When Emperor Claudius II banned Christianity, Valentine helped and encouraged the Christians who faced martyrdom rather than give up their faith.  It is said he even performed marriage ceremonies for Christian couples.  Then Valentine himself was arrested.  When he refused to give up his faith and worship the pagan Roman gods, he was put in prison.  According to one legend, the official who imprisoned him had a blind daughter.  Valentine cured her, and the official’s whole family became Christian.  When Valentine was condemned to death, he wrote a farewell letter to the girl and signed it, “from your Valentine.”  This could be where we get the custom of sending “Valentines” on February 14.”  Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, page 84  St. Valentine, inspire us to love everyone the way that Jesus would want us to love him/her.  Give a Valentine to someone who may not get any.

Serving in the Light of Christ – a quote for the week  “All his/her work is done in faithfulness” Psalm 33:4

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

Grade One BL 1.2:  Retell scripture passages that show how God formed a people who were his own (i.e. Israel) and demonstrated an understanding of the Old and New Testament as a collection of stories inspired by God and written by his people so that they can share their knowledge of God with others. [CCC nos. 50-73]  Jewish Scriptures [O.T.] – The Story of Creation(as it could be retold not simply read from the Scriptures):  God created everything, the sun, stars and moon, water, land, plants, flowers, trees, fruits, vegetables, animals and humans.  God created everything and asked humans to take care of everything. God blessed all that he made and called it good, so we would know that everything is good. The Story of Abraham (retold):  Just like everything else, humans started to multiply and fill the earth.  God asked people to live in a particular way and Abraham agreed to follow God’s way.  God made a special promise (covenant) to Abraham and his family; they became the “chosen people.”  The Story of Moses (retold):  Eventually Moses followed the same way as Abraham and he had a special friendship with God.  God helped Moses to lead his people who were in slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.  Moses received God’s Law (10 Commandments) on Mount Sinai and this became a set of guidelines by which the people came to live and serve God.  The chosen people became known as the “Israelites” when they settled into the Promised Land.  The Stories of the Prophets (could be retold separately or summarized):  However, there were challenges to face and God sent his people some Prophets, who spoke to the people to give them hope and knowledge that God still wanted to be in relationship with them.// Christian Scriptures [N.T.] – Eventually God sent his Son, Jesus to earth to teach us how to live lovingly.  Jesus lived and showed people how to love like God wants us to love.  These Scriptures were collections of stories about God and God’s friendship with his people.  He inspired people to write down the stories so we could have the stories to come to know God.  After we read the stories and know God we are able to share the stories with others so they can come to know God.  God wants to be everyone’s friend and God wants everyone to feel loved.

Grade Two BL 1.3Examine a selection of scripture passages to identify and describe that the mission of Jesus, the Son and the Holy Spirit is to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation (creation, redemption and sanctification – Matt. 16.27; 1Tim.1:15; John 14.6; John 3:5-6; Matt. 3:11; John 14:15-17; Luke 2:40) [CCC 232-278]  God tried to show the chosen people how to live a life of love and commitment, however, it did not work.  So God sent Jesus, the Son to show us it was indeed possible to live that way.  How did Jesus live differently than other Jewish people?  Jesus showed us that Laws (the rules, the 10 commandments) give us guidance about how to live. [Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.] John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, knew that Jesus was going to share a message of truth and goodness.  He believed that Jesus was God’s son. [Matt 3:11 – I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.]  John knew that the baptism that Jesus gave others was more important than the one he shared with people.  The rules are never more important than being loving.  Some people in Jesus’ time did not like his message because they believed that the Laws had to be followed strictly.  Jesus tried to explain how God wanted us to live.  The people decided that Jesus’ way of thinking and living was dangerous so they put him on trial, convicted him, and nailed him to the cross. [ 1 Tim 1:15 – Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner] When Jesus rose from the dead Jesus promised his followers that when he went to heaven he would send the Holy Spirit to be with us always. [Jn 14: 15-17 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.]  The Holy Spirit would guide us and help us to continue to know what God wanted.

Grade Three BL 1.3Explain what Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments of the Church reveal about the role and nature of the Holy Spirit (Holy Spirit as the breath of God, giver of life, Advocate, source of wisdom, councilor, gatherer of people, fount of all truth makes Jesus present in the Eucharist, teaches us how to pray.) [CCC 243-267; 687-780]

“Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. [Jn. 14:16-17]  At work since Creation,[Gen 1:2] having previously “spoken through the prophets,” the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth.”  The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father. [CCC 243]  At Sunday mass when we pray the Nicene Creed we say, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.”  The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity of God, and has always been.  The Holy Spirit is the ruah from the Hebrew word, which means breath of God.  When Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus [Jn. 3:5], Jesus says that no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  This is the Holy Spirit to which Jesus is referring, the ruah of God.  The Spirit teaches us how to pray as it says “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words”[Rom 8:26]  The Holy Spirit, the artisan of God’s works, is the master of prayer. [CCC 741]

“The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit: — in the Scriptures the Spirit inspired; — in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;

— in the Church’s Magisterium, which the Spirit assists; — in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ; — in prayer, wherein the Spirit intercedes for us; –in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up; — in the signs of apostolic and missionary life; in the witness of saints through whom the Spirit manifests holiness and continues the work of salvation.” [CCC 688]

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days

“THE COMING AND GOING OF NOVENAS   The word “NOVENA” derives from the Latin word for nine, novem, and historically designates a period of prayer spread over nine days or weeks. The practice is thought to have its origins in the nine-day interval between the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and over the centuries it took many forms.  In the Middle Ages, for instance, the rich and powerful would provide in their wills for a novena of Masses to be said on the nine days after their death.  Later, major feasts of the church, notably that of Christmas, were ushered in with novenas of preparation.  The novenas that today’s generations of Catholics came to know – novenas of petition or, more accurately, indulgenced novenas – were largely a nineteenth century innovation.  To be sure, in the seventeenth century Alexander VII indulgenced a novena in honour of St. Francis Xavier, but it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the first indulgenced novena was approved for the city of Rome – Clement XI acting on this day in 1713 in favour of a novena in preparation for the feast of St. Joseph.  But the approval was for one church only, that of St. Ignatius.  And so it was to be for years.  When novenas were approved, it was on a local basis only.  The universalization of novenas began early in the nineteenth century, in an effort to enrich the whole church with indulgences, not just pockets of it.  Soon there were no fewer than thirty-two indulgenced novenas, honouring such heavenly hosts as the Guardian Angel and the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.  St. Joseph had two, one memorializing his “seven sorrows,” the other his “seven joys.”  But going into the twentieth century, Mary was clearly the leader with no less than eleven.  Perhaps the most popular was the novena of the Most Holy Rosary.  In time, the novena passed from vogue, and maybe with cause.  Some had become exotic – like that to St. Hubert for cures against madness due to the bite of a mad dog or wolf.  Still novenas had their day, and they’re missed by many.” +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 #28 Media Prayer

Karl Barth, a significant twentieth-century Swiss theologian, recommended a “two-handed” approach in the Christian daily life, reportedly saying that one “should carry the Bible in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other.”  The Second Vatican Council’s Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (1965),…reiterates that the “Church exists in, not apart from, the modern world.”  Believers need to be informed and involved about daily events locally, nationally, and internationally.  By becoming aware of events reported in the media, these can become opportunities for prayer.  Immediate news of natural disasters often prompts a generous response and an outpouring of donations when we see other afflicted.  These images may also become a means for us to pray for those who have been adversely affected, as well as for the success of assistance and relief missions.  Political meetings in which important issues and topics are being deliberated may encourage us to pray for wisdom and divine guidance for those who hold public office.”  Paulist Press page 140-141

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Implementation Matters.   MANAGING DISTRACTIONS   One common complaint of leaders is education is that they spend so much time on things that are less important that they do not have time for the things they really care about.  Here are some suggestions for keeping the focus on what really matters:  1. Build the most important tasks into your schedule first,…and try to fit everything else around them to protect that time.  2.  Hold fewer and shorter meetings.  Eliminate discussion of things that can be communicated on paper [or email.]  Focus meetings on matters that require group discussion.   3.  Delegate.  If equity is a key priority, it has to take time, which means that something else will get less time and must be done by someone else, done more quickly, or to a lower standard.”  Breaking Barriers:  Excellence and Equity for All page 144-145.

Twenty-first Century Education> See What This Man Did With His Snow Shovel – Funny Video – 2.16 min > For anyone who heard Jean Clinton speak last week. 3.34 min. > Man Reunites with Gorilla that He Hand-raised > Inspirational Video – 4 min  5 years ago, conservationist Damian Aspinall released Kwibi, a lowland gorilla that he bonded with, in the wild in Africa. Now Damian is back in Africa looking for Kwibi who would now be much bigger and stronger. Will Damian find him? Will Kwibi attack him? > Our Father – Music Video 2.41 min

Joe Paprocki teaches us how to lead spontaneous prayer in a traditional Jewish style.  and > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

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

“The FBI Wants Your Toe Prints

You probably know all about fingerprints.  On TV, you might have seen the police taking a criminal’s fingerprints – and the FBI keeps a file of fingerprints to use in solving crimes all over the country.  It’s easy for them to identify anyone by fingerprints because one person’s fingerprints are different from every other person’s.  But did you know your fingerprints began to form even before you were born – with squiggles and lines and patterns all your own?  And did you know your TOE prints and hands are ALSO different from anybody else’s?  Yes, you are truly one-of-a-kind!  So wiggle your toes and waggle your fingers, stamp the bottoms of your feet and clap your palms of your hands – and thank God for making you such a special one-of-a-kind!” page 65

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? 

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

2.  Crossed keys are a symbol of  B.  St. Peter

3.  The first Christian martyr, a person who was killed for the faith, is  A.  St. Stephen

4.  Legend tells us that the saint who discovered the true cross of Jesus is  B.  St. Helena

5.  The famous Dominican brother from Peru who deliberately sought the lowest task but who also cured the sick is

C.  St. Martin de Porres


6.  The Bible says that in the desert John the Baptist ate   D.  locusts and wild honey

The Trivia game will return next week.

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

“The binary number system uses only the symbols of 1 and 0.”   Huh!

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