image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 23, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“My eyes are always on the Lord.” Psalm 24

March 23rd is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. “Today’s Gospel, detailing the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well, is one of my favourites because the actions of Jesus exemplify beautifully his teachings. It opens with Jesus resting by the well. He speaks to a woman from Samaria, asking to share her vessel in order to drink some water. This simple action is key, because Samaritans and Jews did not get along. Drinking water from the same vessel would make Jesus ritually unclean; even speaking to her publicly would be discouraged, so he was breaking two cultural barriers. We learn that the woman has a scandalous past. Yet, when Jesus reveals himself as the Christ for the first time in this Gospel, it is to this very woman. The woman not only believes but becomes the first evangelist, bringing others from her town to Jesus. Jesus demonstrates the new way of life he wants for us. It is his most basic and difficult commandment: to love another as he loved us. It’s easy to love someone I can relate to – I may even be willing to die for that person. But what about my version of the Samaritan woman? Jesus challenges us to truly live as Christians. We are reminded that everyone is worthy of God’s love, no matter what your past – all are welcome.” Saskia Sivananthan, March Living with Christ, page 117. Jesus show us who are Samaritan woman is so we can mirror your love to her/him. Ponder this Gospel passage today!

March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation. “Nine months before Christmas, we celebrate the moment in which our Lord Jesus Christ became man and began to grow as a baby in Mary’s womb. We read about the Annunciation (the announcement of the coming of Jesus) in the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38). When the time had arrived for God’s Son to come down to us from heaven, God sent the Archangel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth where Mary lived. The archangel entered Mary’s little house and said, “Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with you, and you are blessed among women.” Mary was surprised to hear the angel’s words of praise. “Do not be afraid, Mary,” continued Gabriel. Then he told Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus the Son of God and our Saviour. Mary understood what a great honour God was giving her. She answered, “I am the handmaid of the Lord!” Mary knew, too, that as the mother of Jesus, she would have many sorrows. She knew she would have to suffer when her Son suffered. But with all her heart, she said, “Let everything happen as you have said.” At that very moment, Mary became the Mother of God.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 page 147. Mary, inspire us to pray for unwed young mothers who choose to give their babies for adoption. Pray Mary’s prayer today.

March 29th is Earth Hour Blue. Throughout the world people will turn off their lights and sit in the dark for one hour from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Go to the website to see different ways to celebrate this global event.

Serving in the Love of Christ – a quote for the week
“May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you.” Dan 6:16

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 BL 2.2 – Summarize the Church’s teaching on the meaning and significance of Christ’s death (buried, descent into Hell) and resurrection on the third day and describe how these events are celebrated in the Church’s tradition (i.e. Liturgical Season, sacraments, etc.) [CCC 571-658]

“The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.” [CCC 571] “The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free all from the slavery of sin. Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received,” St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant. Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.

After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus and then to the apostles.” [CCC 601] “’By the grace of God’ Jesus tasted death ‘for every one.’ In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only ‘die for our sins’ but should also ‘taste death,’ experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God’s great Sabbath rest after the fulfillment of our salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.” [CCC 624] Jesus’ death is celebrated on Good Friday. After he died he was placed in the tomb and lay there until after the Sabbath (which is all day Saturday until sundown). In the Apostles’ Creed we confess that Christ descended into Hell at every Sunday mass. “Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned (those who chose to go to hell), not destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him (who died before Jesus died).” [CCC 633]

“The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the Christian Scriptures; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross.” [CCC 638] There are many accounts in the Gospels about Jesus’ resurrection. “The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life.” [CCC 654] In the Eucharist we celebrate in memory of Jesus’ last supper on earth with his apostles. The bread becomes his body and the wine becomes his blood. Just before Eucharist is distributed, the priest takes a small piece of bread and drops it into the chalice of wine to signify that Jesus’ body and blood are reunited in his resurrection. In Baptism, we are freed from sin and death by entering the waters of new life in Jesus.

Grade 8 BL 2.1 – Identify in the Jewish Scriptures evidence of the active presence of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit is portrayed at the moment of creation and in the lives of God’s Chosen People.
In the story of Genesis it tells us from the very beginning of creation that “the Spirit of God was moving over the water.” [Gen 1:2] God’s spirit is present from before the creation of the universe ; “the Spirit of God; or the power of God; or a wind from God; or an awesome wind” Break Through! The Bible for Young Catholics page 4 When Moses is trying to organize the Chosen People in the desert God asks him to choose seventy leaders to help him. Moses assembled the seventy and placed them around the Tent of God’s presence.

“Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to [Moses. God] took some of the spirit God had given to Moses and gave it to the seventy leaders. When the spirit came on them, they began to shout like prophets,… Two of the seventy leaders, Eldad and Medad, stayed in the camp and had not gone out to the Tent. There in the camp the spirit came on them, and they too began to shout like prophets.” [Numbers 11:24-26]

So God’s spirit is given to large groups and sometimes it is given to one person at a time. Such is the case in Exodus when the Lord said to Moses, “I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with my power. I have given him understanding, skill and ability for every kind of artistic work…” God’s Spirit is a creative spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, knowledge, courage, understanding, right judgment, reverence and awe in the presence of God. In Isaiah 11:2 it foretells of Jesus’ coming when it says “a new king will arise from among David’s descendants. The spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom and the knowledge and skill to rule his people.” [Isa 11:1-2] Again in Isaiah, the Lord promises to “pour out my spirit on your children and my blessing on your descendants. They will thrive like well-watered grass,” Having God’s spirit is a blessing on all who have it. {Isa 44:3-4]

When Jesus is in the synagogue in Nazareth he asks for the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He is given this scroll and he reads it aloud to all present, “The Sovereign Lord has filled me with his Spirit. He has chosen me and sent me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to announce release to captives and freedom to those in prison. He has sent me to proclaim that the time has come when the Lord will save his people and defeat his enemies. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn.” This is Jesus’ mission and ministry while on earth. [Isa 61: 1-2] The prophet Isaiah proclaims the Lord’s goodness to Israel, God’s Chosen People, “I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love; I praise God for all God has done for us….” But the people rebelled against God and “made his holy spirit sad. …But then they remembered the past , the days of Moses, and they asked,…Where is the Lord, who gave his spirit to Moses?” So the people returned to the Lord. [Isa 63:4-7]

David becomes king as the Lord sends Samuel to anoint him. “Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the spirit of the Lord took control of David and was with him from that day on. …The Lord’s spirit left Saul, and an evil spirit sent by the Lord tormented him.” [1 Sam 16:13-14] The prophet Micah denounces Israel’s leaders because they do not act with justice. Micah tells them, “But as for me, the Lord fills me with his spirit and power, and gives me a sense of justice and the courage to tell the people of Israel what their sins are.” [Micah 3:8]

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
The Way or Stations of the Cross, the devotional exercise which traces Christ’s passion and death from the palace of Pilate to Calvary and burial, must be accounted yet another casualty of post-Vatican II Catholicism. The Stations were once one of the most popular of Lenten devotions, but they were not exclusive to the season. They were said year-round too. Many’s the knee that bent before the fourteen stations before Mass, during Mass and on visits to church, back when churches were routinely open all day long. The Stations of the Cross are still said, but not anywhere near the numbers saying the Our Father and Hail Mary and meditating station to station as of old. Actually, as a devotional exercise, the Way of the Cross is of relatively recent vintage. The erection and devotional use of the stations did not become general before the end of the seventeenth century, though in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reproductions of the holy stations were being erected as shrines to keep fresh the memory of the scenes of Christ’s passion and death, and as devotional aids to the large numbers of Christians who would never have the means or physical strength to make a Holy Land pilgrimage themselves. Tradition says that it was the Virgin Mary who inspired the devotion of the Way of the Cross by making daily visits to the scenes of Christ’s painful walk to death, pausing for prayer at spots along the way hallowed by special incidents. If so, her example was a long time exerting itself, for it was not until the fifteenth century that Mary’s via crucis was adopted for the faithful into a devotional way of the cross, at least as known in the modern sense. It was the Franciscans who were the primary promoters of the devotion, largely due to the coincidence of their being entrusted in 1342 with the guardianship of the holy places. The latitudes are greater today, but in 1731 Clement XII decreed that only Franciscans could erect Stations of the Cross. There were the instruments; the fruits followed, for a time.” +John Deedy To be continued next week

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leadership for Equity at the School Level STRATEGIC OPERATIONS Strategies for effective staffing include the following:
• Identify opening early and plan for turnover in order to build a diversified staff that reflects the school community.
• Use surveys to ask staff their intentions and aspirations so that possible vacancies can be planned for.
• Determine the skills needed within the school and fill openings strategically. (For example, Do we have staff that are qualified to teach science and math? Do we have teachers who are talented in music and art? Which subject areas require further attention?)
• Develop a recruitment message that stresses your commitment to equity to market your school or district to potential candidates.
• Use professional networks and contacts to find staff that will meet your school and district needs.
• Get training in effective interview and selection techniques, and in equitable employment practices.”
Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 154.

Twenty-first Century Education > A profound story of remembrance, forgiveness and fidelity. 5.56 min A truly inspirational video about a wife and her hero husband. > Did Jesus think of himself as divine? A good video for teachers or high school students about Jesus. 3.59 min This professor of biblical studies distinguishes between the Son of Man and the Son of God while answer the above question. > Visual presentation of the titles of Jesus. 2.08 min > 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

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD! by Bernadette McCarver Snyder
“What Is the Magic Number?
Here’s a math trick you can try on a grownup – or on anyone who knows how to multiply. Your friend won’t know – but you will – that the magic number is 99. Tell him or her to pick any number from 1 to 100 – but DO NOT let him/her tell you what the number is. Then tell him/her to multiply the number by 99. Suppose he/she picks 33. He will multiply that by 99 and get 3,267. Now tell him to add the numbers of his ANSWER. S/he’ll add 3 + 2 + 6 + 7. Now, without knowing what number he/she picked, you can tell him that the answer is 18. So how did you know that? Because whatever number he picks, the answer will always be 18. Try it and see. Now you know the magic number is 99. But what is the magic word? It’s please. Try it and see!” page 72.

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

1. The name of Joseph’s father. What is Jacob?

2. The name of Joseph’s wife. What is Mary?

3. The time that the angel appear to Joseph. What is two times in his dreams, one before he was going to dismiss Mary from their betrothal and secondly just after Jesus was born to ask him to take the baby and mother into Egypt?

4. This is what the angel said Jesus would do. What is save his people from their sins?

5. This is what Joseph did when he awoke from his angelic visit. What is he took Mary into his home as his wife?

The Topic is SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION by rtjcreativecatechist Feb/Mar 2014 edition

1. This happened on the solemnity of the Annunciation.

2. This is the name of the angel who visited Mary.

3. This is the date that the solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated.

4. These were the first words the angel spoke to Mary.

5. This was the last thing Mary said to the angel.

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
One of my colleagues in the Curriculum department recently said she would be interested in movie reviews done by a Sister. So here I go and it just happens to be a religious movie.

I recently saw the movie Son of God. I was surprised that such a movie would be shown in Cineplex Theatres.
It is a good portrayal of Jesus’ life. What is unique about it is that it highlights the evangelist John’s perspective. Most movies show Jesus’ life and ministry from the perspective of one of the synoptics (Matt, Mark and Luke). Roma Downey (from “Touched by an Angel” fame) and her husband produced this movie and Roma plays the role of Mary later in the film. I heard from someone that key character is referred to as “the Hot Jesus” because of his good looks. An interesting thought. I think Jesus’ goodness would have made him truly attractive by any standards.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“In Russia a grandmother is called a babushka!” Huh!
I thought a babushka was a head covering? Shows you want I know? Pat

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