image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 16, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”  Matthew 17

March 16th is the 2nd Sunday of Lent.  “At moments of birth and death, the veil separating this life from eternal life becomes thinner than normal.  In the intensity of the moment we see clearly that life is a precious gift for which we are called to be thankful.  These concentrated moments focus us, and we recognize what is truly important in life.  I imagine that every encounter with Jesus while he walked this earth had that same potency.  In his presence, people could see, hear and feel the infinite, and it invited them to be fully alive.  In the moment described in today’s Gospel the veil is swept aside, and earth and heaven are momentarily one.  God speaks a message to Jesus, but it is a message that God wants all of us to hear and live from: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”  There have been too many times in my life when I tried to initiate change by voicing my criticism of someone, hoping that when they heard my harsh words they would see that I was right and alter their behavior.  I now know that what people really need from me are words that help them to believe they are beautiful and loveable.  They need a reassuring hand on their shoulder and to hear, “Don’t be afraid. I will walk with you on the journey.”  Joseph Vorstermans, March Living with Christ, page 89.  Dear Jesus, help us to see that the veil between heaven and earth is in our imaginations and that you are as present to us as our next breath.  Let us live in that knowledge.  Look at the beauty of a baby, child or elder and listen carefully for God’s voice, “This is my Beloved with whom I am well pleased.”  Look at

March 17th is the feast of St. Patrick.  “It is believed that St. Patrick was born in fifth century Britain to Roman parents.  When he was sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland.  There he was sold as a slave.  His owner sent him to tend his flocks of sheep on the mountains.  Patrick had very little food and clothing.  Yet he took good care of the animals in rain, snow and ice.  Patrick was so lonely on the hillside that he turned often in prayer to Jesus and his mother Mary.  His life was hard and unfair.  But Patrick’s trust in God grew stronger all the time.  Six years later, when he escaped from Ireland, Patrick decided to become a priest.  After years of study and preparation, he was ordained.  After some time he was made a bishop.  Now what Patrick wanted more than anything else was to return to Ireland and bring the light of faith in Jesus to the Irish people.  It was while St. Celestine I was pope that Patrick went back to Ireland.  How happy he was to bring the Good News of the true God to the people who once had held him a slave!  Right from the start, Patrick suffered much.  His relatives and friends wanted him to quit before the people of Ireland killed him.  Yet Patrick kept on preaching about Jesus.  He traveled from one village to another.  He seldom rested, and he performed great penances for those people whom he loved so much.  Before he died, the whole nation of Ireland was Christian.  In spite of his great success, St. Patrick never grew proud.  He called himself a poor sinner and gave all the praises to God.  In his Confessio, Patrick wrote about his work of spreading the faith among the Irish.  Most of what we know about his life comes from this writing.  Patrick died in 461.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 pages 133, 135.  St. Patrick, teach us how to live as humbly as you did.  Do something good today in memory of St. Patrick and give God all the credit.


March 19th is the feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary.  “Joseph was a good Jewish man in the family line of the great King David.  His family was originally from Bethlehem in Judea, but Joseph himself was a poor carpenter living in Nazareth.  Joseph was Mary’s husband and Jesus’ foster father.  It was his great privilege and joy to take care of God’s own Son, Jesus, and his mother, Mary.  Joseph was happy to work for his little family.  He loved Jesus and Mary very much.  Whatever the Lord wanted him to do, St. Joseph did at once, no matter how difficult it was.  He was humble and pure, gentle and wise.  Jesus and Mary loved him and obeyed him because God had placed him at the head of their family.  Joseph is not mentioned in the Gospel once Jesus began his ministry.  This is probably because he had died by this time.  We can imagine what a beautiful death St. Joseph experienced, with Mary and Jesus there beside him.  For this reason, St. Joseph is prayed to as the protector of the dying.  St. Teresa of Avila chose St. Joseph as the protector of her Carmelite Order.  She had great trust in his prayers.  “Every time I ask St. Joseph for something,” she said, “he always obtains it for me.”  Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church.  Pope Leo XIII named him as a model for fathers of families.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 pages 138-139. St. Joseph is also the patron of Canada.  St. Joseph, inspire us to be obedient to our parents and elders.  When you eat bread today, remember St. Joseph.

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.  Let us do a small act to celebrate the diversity that is close to us.

Serving in the Love of Christ – a quote for the week: “serve God faithfully with all your heart;” 1 Sam 12:24

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Believing ~ Hope Expectations for Junior Classes

By the end of grade 6, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Reflect on the saving story of our Christian faith and how we are to respond to God’s gift of salvation;
  • Cherish the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as an encounter with God, and Christ Jesus as the living Word of God at the heart of the gospels;
  • Actively seek to find the face of God in Scripture, in God’s creation, particularly in the face of the other;
  • Proclaim with confidence a belief in the mysteries of the Catholic faith, the Creed.

Grade 4 BL 1.3  Identify and describe using examples, the central teaching role of the Magisterium (i.e. Pope and College of Bishops) and role of Bible in the life of the Church, Christian families and Catholic school communities (e.g. Liturgy of the Word within the Mass – proclamation of readings and the Gospel, signs of reverence toward the Bible, personal prayer and reflection in reading the Bible, and its use in the teaching of religion about the nature of God, Jesus Christ and Christian living). [CCC 74-141]

The apostles were given the role to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  The apostles were followed by the Pope and the bishops.  The Pope and the College of Bishops (all of the bishops together) are the Magisterium.  The Magisterium has the central teaching role in the Church.  “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone.  Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.  This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” CCC 85

“Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant.  It teaches only what has been handed on to it.  At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully.  All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.” CCC 86 The Bible is central to the life of the Church, to the life of Christian families and to Catholic school communities.  The Bible is the source for the Liturgy of the Word within the Mass or simply within a para-liturgical celebration.  The readings should be proclaimed so they may stir the hearts of those who hear them.  The Bible is a special book.  We ought not place anything upon it.  We process the book of readings into the Church at Mass time.  The Bible can be a source of readings for personal prayer and reflection.  It is the Word of God.  When we want to teach about the nature of God, Jesus Christ or how we are to live a Christian life we can use the Bible as a reliable source of inspired knowledge.

Grade 5 BL 2.1 Examine a selection of biblical passages to find evidence of the practice of professing one’s faith (i.e. the rule of faith) and to unfold why it was important for the early Church to profess the mysteries of our faith; e.g. to promote conversion in others.

St. Paul professes his faith freely and helps non-believers to become believers.  In his first letter to the early Church in Corinth, he impresses upon the people that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures.  Then he tells the Corinthians that Jesus appeared in his resurrected body to Peter, the apostles and to more than five hundred people at the same time.  St. Paul tells the people about these mysteries to promote conversion in the people of Corinth.  [1Cor. 15: 3-6]  In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, a young man, Paul says “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed:  He was made visible in the flesh, attested by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the pagans, believed in by the world, taken up in glory.”  The “he” that Paul is speaking about is Jesus.  Jesus is the central person of our faith.  [1Tim 3:16]  In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he states: “Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’” [2Tim 2:8]   Jesus is the Good News that we must proclaim to those who do not yet believe.  It is his resurrection from the dead that frees us all from our sins.  Paul also states in his letter to the Romans “If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.  By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved.”  [Rm 10:9-10]  It is essential that we confess what we believe, Jesus raised from the dead.  Not only Paul, but St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, invites us as he invited the early Church, to proclaim that “God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that.” [Acts 2: 29-37, 41-42] We proclaim that idea with our lips but we must also proclaim that by how we live as followers in Jesus’ Gospel of love.  Our lives may be the only Gospel some people witness.  Our lives can be an example to others so that they might question why we live as we live.

Grade Six BL 2.1  Distinguish the Mysteries of Jesus’ Infancy and Hidden Life (Incarnation, Visitation, Circumcision, Epiphany, presentation in the temple, flight into Egypt, at home in Nazareth) from the Mysteries of his Public Life as revealed in the Gospels (Baptism, Temptation, Transfiguration, Paschal Mysteries) and link them to the celebrations of the Liturgical Seasons. [CCC nos. 512-570]

“Concerning Christ’s life the Creed speaks about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension).  It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus’ hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning the Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life.  “All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.”  [CCC 512]  The Incarnation is the mystery of Mary’s yes come to fruition.  The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth is the first time that Jesus’ presence in the world is welcomed by Elizabeth and her baby John in her womb.  At the Circumcision, Jesus is given the name that Gabriel had spoken for the baby. The Epiphany tells us that wise ones from faraway places came to pay homage to Jesus as a king.  The presentation in the Temple two holy people in the temple celebrate Jesus’ coming.  Both Simeon and Anna rejoice in the Messiah’s arrival and their prophecies tell of Jesus’ future.  The angel warns Joseph in a dream about Herod’s plot to kill Jesus so the couple and their newborn take exile in Egypt.  When it is safe, the Holy Family returns to Nazareth.  All of this is a fulfillment of the promise made by God that a Messiah would come.  We celebrate all of this during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas.

Most of Jesus’ time on earth is not mentioned in the scriptures.  It is like the life of all of us, ordinary.  We celebrate a liturgical season of Ordinary Time.  Ordinary comes from order, or being numbered.  Most of our lives are lived from one week to the next.  The next time we hear about Jesus in the gospel it is about the mysteries of his public life.  He goes to John and is baptized in the Jordan.  John is perplexed because Jesus does not require a baptism of forgiveness of sins.  But Jesus asks him to baptize him so he can be a witness.  Jesus moves into the desert to prepare for his public life.  In the desert he is tempted by the devil three times.  Jesus comes from the desert into ministry and calls followers, the apostles to become fishers of people.  They form a band of disciples and learn from Jesus how God wants us to live and love.  Jesus teaches them through his words and miracles.  Jesus takes three of the apostles to the Mountain to witness his Transfiguration, but on their descent asks them not to share what had happened until he had been raised from the dead.  As Jesus’ life becomes more problematic for the chief priests and elders a plot is designed to silence Jesus.  We then move into the mysteries of Holy Week, the Passover in the Jewish tradition.  All of these mysteries are acknowledged and taught during the Holy Week celebrations, especially during the Triduum.  Jesus’ resurrection is our reason to celebrate Easter.  His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost conclude the Easter season and we move back to Ordinary Time.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days


In Western Christianity nothing so clearly identities the Catholic Christian than the sign of the cross.  Eastern Christians, Orthodox and Uniate, use the gesture, which traces the cross from forehead to breast and shoulder to shoulder to the words, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.”  But Protestants have largely abandoned the act.  The sign of the cross is one of the earliest ways by which the Christian expressed the faith, though in apostolic times, when persecution was rife, the sign often had to be used surreptitiously by the believer to escape detection.  The believer would then track a small sign of the cross on the forehead with the right thumb or a finger, and perhaps continue on to the lips and breast.  As Christianity developed, the sign of the cross took on symbolic meanings and aspects of a liturgical art.  The sweeping sign, from forehead to breast to shoulders, appears to have resulted at least indirectly, from the fifth-century Monophysite controversy over the two natures of Christ.  The sign of the cross fortified the concept of a Trinity and the dual nature of Christ, human and divine.  But how precisely was the sign of the cross to be self-administered?  Some argued for the cross to be signed with two fingers (thumb and forefinger or thumb and middle finger) to typify the two natures and two wills of Christ.  Some preferred a signing with three fingers displayed (first three) and two (ring and little fingers) folded back to the palm – the three fingers denoting the Trinity and the two fingers the two natures of wills of Christ.  This last is the form commonly used in the East to this day, with a left cross from shoulder to shoulder.  Latin Christians, on the other hand, use a right cross (per the mid-nineteenth-century instruction of Leo IV) and keep the signing hand open.  How come the latter?  Maybe mere convenience, being for some less awkward.  Whatever the reason, the open palm was in use in the West since long before the close of the Middle Ages.” +John Deedy

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

“Leadership for Equity at the School Level STRATEGIC OPERATIONS  Attention must be paid to the diversity of schools when assigning staff.  Every effort should be made to have staff members who reflect the diverse backgrounds of the community.  Achieving this requires specific efforts to find and reach out to a candidate who might not otherwise think of the school or district.  When promoting staff, it should be abundantly clear that the staff advocates for all students, that they embrace diversity, and that they are passionately committed to achieving equity of outcomes.”  Breaking Barriers:  Excellence and Equity for All, page 154. – 5TH Grade Boys Stand Up For Their Friend Against Bullies – What to You See How – 1.52 min

Twenty-first Century Education > Adorable Baby and Awesome Dad Share their Hilarious Workout Routine – Cute video – 1.34 min  Puts me in mind of what Jean Clinton told us about the need to look directly into the eyes of babies. > 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.  > 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

“Which Is Scariest Lightning or Thunder?

Lightning LOOKS exciting and even pretty sometimes – but it is very dangerous.  Thunder SOUNDS very scary, but it’s just loud.  Strange as it may seem, the little raindrops in a cloud have charges of electricity in them.  Some of the charges are positive and some are negative.  When a group of raindrops with positive charges run into a group with negative charges, they send off a spark or flash of electricity – and that flash across the sky is what we call lightning.  The lightning can flash across a cloud or from one cloud to the other or from a cloud to the earth.  And that’s when it is very dangerous – when lightning strikes something or someone on the ground.  The lightning is very hot so it can burn a building or kill a person.  And since it IS hot, it heats up the air around it as it travels through the sky.  That hot air moves so fast it bumps into the colder air around it, and then goes BANG – and that’s when you hear a clap of thunder, a noise that gets your attention but can’t hurt you.  Do the charged-up raindrops sound like two boys or two girls or two grownups who might run into each other – when one thinks positive about something and the other thinks negative?  They might send off sparks too and even get into a fight – and that’s when it’s dangerous and somebody can get hurt.  You would never get mad enough to get into a fight would you?  It’s always better to try to make friends instead of thunder.”  page 70-71.

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 SACRAMENT OF THE SICK created by Sister Pat Carter

1.  The priest blesses the sick person with this substance.  What is the Oil of the Sick?

2.  The time when the sacrament of the sick is offered.  When is anytime it is required, or some parishes set a routine time so folks who are anticipating surgery can be blessed before admitted to hospital?

3.  The number of people who can receive the sacrament of the sick at one time.  What is as many as required or one at a time?

4.  This is the offering of eucharist before one dies and is often confused with sacrament of sick.  What is viaticum?

5.  The place where the sacrament of the sick is offered.  Wherever the sick and the pastor can meet?  It can be in church or in hospital or at home at the bed of the sick person.

SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH by rtjcreativecatechist Feb/Mar 2014 edition

1.  The name of Joseph’s father.

2.  The name of Joseph’s wife.

3.  The time that the angel appear to Joseph.

4.  This is what the angel said Jesus would do.

5.  This is what Joseph did when he awoke from his angelic visit.


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

“Charcoal is the cooking fuel that is produced when you heat wood without oxygen.”   Huh!

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