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


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.  “For God alone my soul waits.”  Psalm 62

March 2nd is the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  “Jesus does not seem to be a person who worried a great deal.  He lived his life on the principle of trusting his heavenly Father, and he tried to teach his followers to do the same.  Jesus does not deny the reality of human needs, but forbids making them the object of anxious care and, in effect, becoming their slave.  Disciples may have legitimate concerns for material goods, but if those concerns are filled with insecurities and fears, and cause new forms of enslavement to wealth, they will inevitably lead people into slavery to two separate masters.  At the heart of all of our concerns must be the powerful reality of the kingdom of God.  In that new reality, there is no storing up of things, but sharing in such a way that all have what is necessary to live.  The kingdom is the new way of life together, in which each person feels responsible for others.  This way of seeing the kingdom helps us to understand better the parables of the birds and the flowers, because for Jesus, Divine Providence passes through this new way of being and acting.  All of our trials and tribulations, our pains, frustrations and anxieties are not in vain.  The next time we get that fearful feeling that our life is for the birds, let us take heart, and have a bit more courage and confidence in the Father’s care.”  Thomas Rosica, CSB, March Living with Christ, page 35.  Dear Jesus, teach us to trust God’s goodness so that we may live the peaceful life you enjoyed.  Think about your Lenten plan for this year.

March 5th is Ash Wednesday.  This is a universal day of fasting and abstinence from meat.  Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.  “The law of abstinence from meat binds those who are 14 and older; the law of fasting binds those from 18 to 59 years of age.  Parents and educators are reminded of their duty to introduce children gradually to the understanding and practice of penance.  Adult example will be the greatest influence in this matter.”  Ordo Note 29, page 50-51 Holy Spirit, inspire us to know how best to focus our efforts this Lent.  Look at to see their Lenten calendar.

March 7th is World Day of Prayer which “is observed annually on the first Friday in March.  It is an invitation for Christians to pause and pray together ecumenically and recalls our Christian responsibility to be sensitive to the signs of the times so that we might bring a more authentically Christian dimension to the concerns of our world, our country, our community.  Sponsored by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada and its national counterparts around the world, it is celebrated in approximately 165 countries.  …This day can be an opportunity for moving toward a more important role for prayer in the life of our Christian community.”  Ordo page 153  We pray to grow stronger ecumenically.  Say a prayer for the women in poor countries.

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 1.3:  Recognize in a selection of scripture passages that Jesus is the “Word of God become human” to communicate God’s love and forgiveness.  God loved the world so much that God sent his son to us.  God needed a special mother for his son so he sent the angel Gabriel to ask Mary to be Jesus’ mother.  Mary said Yes!  So the Holy Spirit put Jesus into Mary. [Luke 1:26-38]  God wanted Jesus to have a strong family.  Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was pregnant at the same time as Mary.  Mary was younger so she went to spend some time with her cousin.  Elizabeth’s baby was a special baby too.  His name was John, and the Holy Spirit put John into Elizabeth too.  These two mothers waited for their babies together and helped each other.  [Luke 1:39-45] Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd.  Shepherds were folks who took care of sheep.  They spend all day and all night with their flock, protecting them from wolves and helping them to grow strong and healthy.  Jesus says that he is willing to put himself in harm’s way for his sheep, his people, just like a good shepherd does.  [John 10:11-18]  Jesus also told a parable about the Prodigal Son.  The prodigal son leaves his father and brother with his inheritance.  He squanders the money living a bad life.  Then he decides to go home to ask his father to hire him as a worker because his workers eat well and have shelter.  But when the prodigal returns home, the Father is waiting longingly for him and he rejoices when he comes home.  Jesus says that this is a story about how God waits longingly for us when we need forgiveness.  God is longing to offer us forgiveness when we need it, all we need to do is ask.  This parable also teaches us about how to respond when someone we know receives God’s forgiveness.  We should rejoice for their good fortune and not be jealous or angry.  [Luke 15:11-32]  A good shepherd would do almost anything to keep the flock safe.  If one of the sheep got lost, the shepherd would search until he found the lost one.  The sheep would know the sound of the voice of their shepherd.  Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Sheep to teach us about how much God loves us.  When we are lost, God looks for us.  God sent Jesus to help us know how much God loves us. [Luke 15:3-7]  Jesus is the Word of God become human to teach us about God’s love and forgiveness.  The Gospels are the inspired story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Grade Two BL 1.4:  Demonstrate an understanding of the Trinity as a central belief of Christianity yet a mystery that inspires wonder and awe and can never be understood by reason alone.  When we pray we can begin with the Sign of our Faith, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” When we are baptized we are signed with the cross several times.  Our faith rests on the Trinity.  [232] The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life.  It is the mystery of God, the source of all being.  We have one God in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)  This is something that we believe because we have faith.  It does not make sense with our minds alone, we cannot understand this mystery except we believe it is true.  It is amazing and awesome!  So every time you make the Sign of the Cross you are showing you believe in the Trinity of God.

Grade Three BL 2.1: Examine a selection of gospel passages to identify the meaning of disciple and explain why Mary’s life is a model of discipleship.  Mary’s life is a model of discipleship.  Jesus said that whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother or sister.  So a disciple does the will of Jesus’ father.  When God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to ask if she would be Jesus’ mother, Mary said Yes!  [Mt. 12:50; Luke 1:26-38]  The angel Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby boy even though she was older.  Mary goes to Elizabeth to support her during her pregnancy.  Mary proclaims the Good News to Elizabeth who proclaims Mary as Blessed and Mother of God.  [Luke 1:38-45]

In response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary prays a now famous prayer called the Magnificat.  This prayer praises God. Disciples praise God. [Luke 1:46-55]  When Mary and Joseph leave Jerusalem following Passover, they assume twelve year old Jesus is with the caravan.  Eventually they realize that Jesus has been left behind.  When they search for him, they find him in the Temple speaking with the teachers.  This is only one of the challenges of Mary’s discipleship.  [Luke 2:49-50]

Mary followed her son and was present when he healed and did amazing things for people.  She was also present when he was crucified to the Cross.  She was one of the three faithful women at the foot of the Cross [John 19:25-27].  Even though she must have been broken hearted and grieving after Jesus’ death, she stays with the disciples to support the community.  Mary is one of the disciples gathered at Pentecost.  [Acts 1:13-14]  Recently there was a book purchased as part of the Catholic Education Week books that could be used as a read aloud to support this lesson.  The book’s title was Mary, Mother of Jesus by Mary Joslin (CEW Day 3 2012)  Also Mysteries of the Rosary by Michael O’Neill McGrath (CEW Day 3 2012) could be used.  If your school did not purchase the CEW books that year, check other schools who may have one or both of these resource books.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days


“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek,

for they shall inherit the land.

Blessed are they that mourn,

for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice,

for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart,

for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they shall be called the children of God.

LENT is also a time for prayerful meditation, and what thereby could be more appropriate than the Sermon on the Mount and, most especially, the section of the sermon containing the Beatitudes?  The Beatitudes are more hortatory than admonishing, and thus singularly suitable for meditative purposes – even apart from Lent, for that matter.  They speak of the happiness that is possible on earth and in heaven for those who live by their precepts; they embody the substance of God’s law and the rule of evangelical perfection – along with promises of specific rewards for particular good works performed.  The Bible does not tell us where the sermon was delivered, except for its being on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee.  It was probably near Capharnaum, and likely at an early stage in Jesus’ public life.  Matthew devotes three chapters to the Sermon, the Beatitudes appearing in chapter 5:3-10.  Luke also records the Beatitudes in somewhat different form, 6:20-22.  Luke registers four Beatitudes, Matthew eight.  It is Matthew’s version that is the more familiar to most Christians, and so it is rendered here.” +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

Based upon what we have seen, heard, or read, both the “good” and the “bad” news communicated via media offer two important ways to pray:  1.  Thanksgiving – prayers of gratitude in which we give thanks to God.  2.  Intercessory – prayers in which we ask for God’s guidance and help in daily life along with praying for the needs of others and the world.”  Paulist Press page 142   Let us be mindful of the people of Ukraine as they struggle for democracy.

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Leadership for Equity at the School Level STRATEGIC OPERATIONS It is critical to a school’s success that principals be instructional leaders.  It is also important that they are strategic in the operation of their schools.  Principals who are strategic managers are intentional in their assigning of staff, in the allocation of resources, and in timetabling and scheduling.  While many of these functions are constrained in various ways by [staffing] policy and collective agreements, principals need to work within these parameters to make the right choices for their school in order to achieve equity goals.  The effective principal works in and around these policies to build the best staff for the school.”  Breaking Barriers:  Excellence and Equity for All, page 153.

Twenty-first Century Education Bring Jesus Christ to the young church through digital media. Inspiring and soul-satisfying AMAZING videos about images of faith, love and hope  A unique Lenten calendar for Intermediate and Senior students…only revealed each day.  and  The best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade A  video to inservice teachers and others involved in education today.  The video tells the stories of LGBTQ students and parents, teachers and others.  It really gives you something to think about.  Please do not show this video in your classroom.  It is intended for use by teachers to hear the stories and to check our bias in relation to this group of students.

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

“Workers on the Wing

All the colourful birds – the red, blue, yellow, etc. – are SO pretty that you might think God made them just to decorate the trees and the sky.  They DO decorate the world but God ALSO gave them another job to do.  If you have a garden, some bugs can be good for it but some can destroy it by chewing up flower petals and leaves or sucking sap from stems.  And that’s when the birds go to work.  Chickadees, wrens, woodpeckers, purple martins, and cardinals are just a few of the birds who gobble up destructive bugs and cutworms and mosquitoes so that your garden can grow and bloom – and so you won’t get so many mosquito bites.  If you have work to do today, act like the birds and sing while you work, with a silly little song like this…  In the sky, in the tree, Birds as pretty as can be… Workers on the wing, singing…ring-a-ding, ding!”  page 68.

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? 

CATHOLIC JEOPARDY :  Do forget to give your answer in the form of a question.

The topic is RECONCILIATION created by Sister Pat Carter

1.  The prayer that sinners say admitting their sorrow.  What is an Act of Contrition?

2.  The reason a priest cannot say anything to anyone about what is shared in confession.  What is the Seal of the Confessional?

3.  The act that the penitent does to show reconciliation.  What is Penance?

4.  The one who acts as God in forgiving sins of the penitent.  Who is the priest?

5.  Part of Eucharistic liturgy when sinners pray for forgiveness.  What is the Penitential Act?

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

“Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made from veal. ”   Huh!

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