image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 30, 2014

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Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“The Lord is near to broken hearts.” Psalm 34

March 30th is the 4th Sunday of Lent. “‘We see what we want to see,’ the saying goes. In other words, we usually think ‘inside the box.’ Such is the case with the Jewish authorities in today’s Gospel. They consistently attempt to discredit the miracle of the young man born blind rather than offer support, let alone celebrate his healing. This response is not only what is deemed appropriate, it is also what is thought to be real and true. Truth is found only within the realm of the expected – ‘inside the box.’ Jesus, however, follows the love of his Father. Thus, during his mission among us, he consistently steps ‘outside the box,’ freeing us from the fear that restrains us all. Only love can cast out that fear, leading us to accept what is given, even though it might be unexpected or challenging. The healing of the young man born blind is the sixth of seven key signs in John. As these signs accumulate, we are lead deeper into an understanding of the remarkable and engaging Son of Man. Not only does Jesus become attractive beyond our expectations, he also calls us to a love beyond our imaginings. Love casts out fear, leading us out of blindness to see things we’ve never seen before. What a wonderful metaphor for Lent, a journey which leads us further and further out of blindness into the light of resurrection.”Jerome Herauf, March Living with Christ, page 145.

Loving, healing God, give us new sight, clearer vision of what is important and true. Ponder what fear keeps you and your thoughts ‘inside the box.

April 1st is the memorial of St. Avril of Place des Arts, France. “April was a very mischievous character also trying to make people laugh and smile. He would look for sad faces in the crowd and do something foolish that would cheer and make those faces more joyful. When asked why he spent his time in such fanciful activity he said he was a fool for Christ. St. April did not live a long life but his legacy continues when on the first of April everyone becomes a fool and maybe even a fool for Christ.” Saints for Young Lip Readers vol 1 page 157.

St. Avril, help us to be joyful everyday and to find ways to lift the spirits of those with heavy hearts. Without malice, make someone laugh today.

April 2nd is the memorial of St. Francis of Paola. “Francis was born in the tiny village of Paola, Italy, around 1416. His parents were poor but humble and holy. They had prayed to St. Francis of Assisi for a son. When their baby was born, they named him after the saint. When Francis was old enough, he went to a school taught by the Franciscan priests. When he was fifteen, he asked for and received his parents’ permission to become a hermit and spend his life for God alone. After this, Francis went to live in a cave. In 1436, two of his friends joined him. They built a monastery, and Francis wrote a rule of life stressing charity, humility and penance. He added a vow of fasting and abstinence from meat. In this way Francis and his community hoped to set an example for so many Christians who at that time did not take their Lenten obligations of fasting and avoiding meals of meat on certain days seriously. …Everyone loved Francis. He prayed for them and worked many miracles. He told his followers that they must be kind and humble. He himself was the best example of the virtues he preached.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 pages 158-159 St. Francis remind us of our Lenten promises and inspire us to follow them with renewed zeal. Take a moment to recall your Lenten promise and begin/continue to live it.

April 4th is the memorial of St. Isidore of Seville. “Isidore was born around the year 560 in Cartagena, Spain. His two brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, were bishops who became saints. His sister Florentina, a nun, also became a saint. Isidore was taught by his older brother Leander. Little Isidore thought Leander was just about the meanest person in the whole world because Leander always made him student and do his homework. But the day came when Isidore realized that Leander had really been a wonderful friend. He taught Isidore that we can do so much good for Jesus’ Church when we take our education seriously. Leander became bishop of Seville, and when he died around the year 600, Isidore took his place. Isidore was bishop of Seville for thirty-seven years. He continued Leander’s work of bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the Visigoths. Isidore was an organizer, too. He was asked to direct two important Church meetings called Councils. The first was held in Seville, Spain, in 619. The second Council took place in Toledo, Spain, in 633. These Councils helped the Church become more united. Isidore is considered one of the most learned men of his times. He understood the importance of a good education. He founded schools to train priests. These were similar to the seminaries we have today. Isidore also wrote many works on theology, astronomy, geography, and history, as well as some biographies. Besides Spanish, he could speak and write in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Isidore led a strict life and shared what he had with the poor. There was a constant stream of people at his door from morning till night. They came from all over the country because they knew he would help them.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 pages 162-163

St. Isidore, remind us to take our education seriously so we can be as learned as you were. Today encourage someone as they are learning something new.

Serving in the Love of Christ – a quote for the week

“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church.” 3 Jn. 1:5

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 2.1 – Identify the various images of God the Father that Jesus presents in the Gospels and describe what those images tell us about God and how he shows his love for us (e.g. merciful/forgiving father – God is Love/Charity – PERFECT – Lord of Heaven and Earth) There are many images of God. There are many images/facets of God the Father. Jesus knowing the Father as Son is best suited to explain his Father. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father figure is an image of God the Father. The attributes of this father are: loving; willing to allow his son to exercise his free-will (gives Son his inheritance even though the Father may suspect that this will not end well); looking for his son after he leaves and is gone for a while (recognizes his son on the horizon returning to him); forgiving (of the son who went away and of the son who is angry of the younger son coming home and being feted). This father is merciful. [Lk 15:11-32] The image of God as the shepherd that searches for his lost sheep, leaving the 99 in the pasture defies logic (would you not want to stay with the 99 should something happen to them). However, each one of us (sheep) is so precious to God that God would be inconsolable with grief should he lose one so he must go out searching for the lost one. [Lk 15:3-10] The image of God as shepherd is a bit jarring too, as shepherds were not the most appealing characters in the towns and cities of Jesus’ time. They slept with their sheep so they smelled like their sheep, not a good thing. So Jesus’ use of this image helps relate God to those who were listening who did not come from the establishment. John’s whole Gospel is about God’s love for us. In John 3:16 this theme is stated for the first time with the famous words “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” In this Gospel we learn about God as a loving God, a God of abundant charity and generosity. [Jn 3:16] In Matthew’s Gospel we hear about a God who is perfect. God being God implies that God is perfect (the source of all being). But in Matthew’s gospel we are encourage to be like God in striving to be perfect. This is not striving to never make mistakes but being perfect means being loving. [Matt 5:48] Jesus calls God his Father, Lord of heaven and earth. [Matt 11:25-29] God created all things so he is the Lord of all that he has created. Jesus thanks his Father for showing us all that we need to know to live a good and holy life. Jesus wants us to know his Father like he knows his Father. We are so lucky Jesus is our friend.
Grade Two BL 2.1 – Demonstrate an understanding of the basic characteristics of our Christian faith (belief in the One God also means belief in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; faith is trust in the truth and goodness of God; God’s plan for us is a gift from God freely given and freely received; faith and reason work together to enlighten our understanding of God; listening to God’s Word nourishes faith). [CCC nos. 151-165] The basic characteristics of our Christian faith are found in the creed. In the Creed the belief in the Trinity is implied as belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit separately stated. One God in three persons. The whole of God could not be contained in one person. Faith is the belief in things unseen. We do not see God face to face until we meet him in heaven, but we believe in the truth and goodness of God because we experience it through the truth and goodness of others. God has a plan for each of us. This plan is a gift from God freely given to us if we freely receive it. We can reject the gift God gives us, if we choose to. Faith and reason (our ability to think) work together to assist us in our understanding of God. God gives us faith (theological virtue) and God gives us reason (in our capacities to think, question, discern) so we can come to know God better. Listening to God’s Word (the Scriptures) helps us to grow in our faith. The ARISE program is an example of how listening to God’s Word helps us to grow in our faith. We listen and share about the Sunday gospel story to help us to come to know God better.
Grade Three BL 2.2 – Examine the teaching of the Church to explain why Mary is called the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. [CCC nos. 963-970] Mary is called the Mother of God because she said yes to God in her willingness to carry Jesus as her baby in her womb. She gave birth to Jesus just like our mothers’ gave birth to us. Jesus was the Son of God so Mary is the mother of God.[CCC 969] Mary supported Jesus in his mission while he was on earth. She was his first follower. Mary’s role in the Church is not separate from her role as Jesus’ mother. So we refer to Mary as the Mother of the Church. Mary wanted her Son’s mission to be a success and so she supported and prayed for the success of the Church. [CCC 964]

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS continued
The Stations of the Cross did not arrive in a tidy, neat package. For centuries the stations varied widely in number and designation; in a few places there was even another name for the devotion. At Neuremberg, for instance, the stations numbered seven and the devotion was known as the Seven Falls, after the representations by artist Adam Krafft, which depicted Christ either prostrate or sinking under the weight of the cross. In other places the stations varied from as few as nine to as many as thirty-seven. The Diocese of Vienna set the number at eleven, only five which correspond to today’s stations. No one knows for sure how the church finally arrived at fourteen stations, though it seems likely the number was decided by devotional writers of the Middle Ages rather than actual devotional practice along the Hoy Land’s via crucis itself. It was Clement XII who, in entrusting the devotion to the Franciscans, fixed the number at fourteen. Again, that was in 1731. The fourteen are as follows: (1) Jesus is condemned to death; (2) Jesus takes up his cross; (3) Jesus falls the first time; (4) Jesus meets his afflicted mother; (5) Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross; (6) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; (7) Jesus falls the second time; (8) Jesus comforts the women of Jerusalem; (9) Jesus falls the third time; (10) Jesus is stripped of his garments; (11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; (12) Jesus dies on the cross; (13) Jesus is taken down from the cross; (14) Jesus is laid in the tomb. There is some modern opinion that the Way or Stations of the Cross is liturgically and psychologically incomplete because it ends without reference of the Resurrection. Some thus propose a fifteenth station for meditation upon the Resurrection; other argue that this is unnecessary, as the place of Jesus’ entombment was also the place of the Resurrection, and therefore meditation on the one can be extended to the other. Discussion on the point seems largely academic, however, with the devotion gone into such an eclipse.”+John Deedy

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leadership for Equity at the School Level INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP Research has found that higher achieving school principals exerted strong instructional leadership. Principals who are effective instructional leaders
• lead by example
• set high expectations for all staff and students
• develop and maintain a strong focus on instruction and learning
• value and protect instructional time, eliminating distractions
• provide opportunities for staff collaboration and job-embedded professional learning
• frequently observe in the classroom in order to mentor and coach teachers
• use data to inform school decisions
• mobilize resources to improve teaching and learning.
Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 155.

Twenty-first Century Education
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WG76DWNX&utm_source > Debbie Griffith – Invisible Love of God for You. 2.14 min

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KL7YLPNX&utm_source > Skit Guys > Grace 3.49 min – In this conversation between Jesus and Peter, grace is illustrated when Jesus forgives the unforgivable.

www.4catholiceducators.com > a Canadian based website for Catholic teachers of Religious Education (my new fav)

www.faithit.com > Inspiring and soul-satisfying AMAZING videos about images of faith, love and hope

www.bustedhalo.com > a unique Lenten calendar for Intermediate and Senior students…only revealed each day.

www.carfleo.org > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD! by Bernadette McCarver Snyder
“Who’s Got the Furcula?
The next time you have a chicken or turkey dinner at your house, instead of asking for the chicken wing or the turkey leg, you might want to ask for the furcula – because that’s the wishbone! There’s an old superstition that if you get the wishbone (the forked front bone that is shaped like a V), you can choose somebody else to hold one side of the bone while you hold the other side – and then you both make a wish and pull. When the wishbone breaks, whoever holds the biggest half will have their wish come true. Of course, that’s just an old superstition. If you really wish for something, the best way to get it is to pray for it and work for it. If you wish for better grades in school, the only way to get them is to pray for help and then work as hard as you can. If you wish for a pony or your own jet plane to take you to school, well…that may take even more than prayer and hard work!” page 74

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 THE ANNUNCIATION by rtjcreativecatechist Feb/Mar 2014 edition

1. This happened on the solemnity of the Annunciation. What is Mary was asked if she would be the mother of Jesus?

2. This is the name of the angel who visited Mary. Who is the angel Gabriel?

3. This is the date that the solemnity of the Annunciation is celebrated. What is March 25th (9 months before Christmas)?

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

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

The topic is EARTH HOUR by Pat Carter csj

1. Use Your Power!

2. 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in local time zone

3. March 29th, 2014

4. World Wildlife Federation

5. Sydney, Australia 2007

BONUS question
6. Interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
I saw the movie Muppets Most Wanted on Friday night. I am always a bit hesitant to view a movie that is a sequel but the trailers looked good and the movie did not disappoint. Of course, it is a plot of good versus evil, and good wins. Kermit’s hopeful, humble manner endears him to the prison guard played by Tina Fey and she is hysterically funny. There are so many well-known faces in the cast it is a who’s who of Hollywood. The vaudeville style of the movie is typically of the old time Muppet’s weekly TV show. There are a lot of bombs going off but no real violence. I recommend this as a movie for children to see with their parents; both will be laughing at different scenes but will have an equally great time.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“St. Avril/April is a fiction composed from the warped mind of Sister Pat Carter. April Fools!” Huh! RandomTriviaGenerator.com

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