Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning April 6, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Give me justice, O God.” Psalm 42


April 6th is the 5th Sunday of Lent.  “Today’s Gospel tells us that after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.”  Does it take a miracle of such magnitude to believe in the redeeming power of God?  How many miracles fill our lives, yet we fail to grasp what is happening?  To capture the significance of the moment, perhaps we need to put aside our analytical minds and see with our imaginations.  The mystics used imagination to see a world shot through with the redeeming power of God.  They were able to see and experience it because they surrendered to God.  God put God’s spirit within them, and placed them, as Ezekiel tells us, on their own soil.  The mystics faced ridicule and persecution, yet they continued to use their imagination.  They were saved from fear, doubt and anxiety by experiencing the redeeming power of God.  Can we dare to imagine a soil of our own?  What is that soil for you?  Is it a soil of justice and peace, free of fear?  Is it a soil where you feel connected?  Look again at the world in which you live and see the miracles leading you to that soil. Come to the table, draw strength from the Eucharist – and dare to imagine.” Anthony Chezzi, AprilLiving with Christ, page 53.  Help me, dear God, to see the soil of my life as a playground of the Holy Spirit.  Dare to imagine, play hide and seek with God today.

April 7th is the memorial of St. John Baptist de la Salle.  “John Baptist de la Salle was born in Rheims, France, on April 30, 1651.  His parents were from the nobility.  John was used to elegant living.  But he was a prayerful boy, too.  He loved Jesus and his Church.  In fact, he was studying to become a priest when both his parents died.  John had to leave the seminary and go home to take care of his brothers.  But while he was teaching and training them, John kept on studying too.  His brothers turned out to be fine young men.  When their studies were completed, John Baptist was ordained a priest.  At that time, the nobles, like Father John Baptist’s family, had the chance to be well educated.  But the common people remained poor and ignorant.  They had no opportunity to go to school.  Father John Baptist felt very sorry for the children of the poor.  He decided to do something about their situation.  He began to open schools for them.  To provide teachers, he started a new order, the Brothers of the Christian Schools.  Although Father John Baptist also taught the children himself, he spent most of his time training the teaching brothers.  For them he wrote a rule of life and a book explaining the best way to teach.  Father John Baptist was one of the best educators of all time.  He believed in teaching in the language of the people, not in Latin, as others did.  He grouped the students into classes.  He stressed the importance of silence while the lesson was being taught.  After a while, the brothers opened more schools.  They taught the sons of the working people and nobles, too.”  Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 pages 167-168.  St. John Baptist de la Salle, teach us to value our education and to work hard so we do well.  Today, when you meet a challenge, keep at it!

 April 11th is the memorial of St. Stanislaus.  “St. Stanislaus was born near Kracow, Poland, in 1030.  His parents had prayed for thirty years for a child.  When Stanislaus was born, they offered him to God because they were so grateful to have him.  When he grew up, Stanislaus went to study in Paris, France.  After his parents died, he gave all the money and property they had left him to the poor.  Then he became a priest.  In 1072, Stanislaus was made the bishop of Kracow.  Bishop Stanislaus won the love of all the people.  He was an excellent preacher, and many people turned to him for spiritual advice.  They especially appreciated the way he took care of the poor, the widows and the orphans.  Often he served them himself.  Poland’s king at the time was Boleslaus II.  He was cruel and was living in a sinful way.  The people were disgusted with his lifestyle and were afraid of him.  Bishop Stanislaus first corrected him privately.  The bishop was kind and respectful.  But he was honest, too, and told the king that what he was doing was wrong.  The king seemed sorry, but soon fell back into his old ways.  He committed even more shameful sins. The bishop then had to put him out of the Church.  King Boleslaus flew into a rage at that.  To get revenge, he ordered two of his guards to kill Stanislaus.  Three times they tried, and three times they failed.  When the king heard this, he was angrier than ever.  He himself rushed into the bishop’s chapel and murdered Bishop Stanislaus as he was celebrating Mass.  It was April 11, 1079.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol. 1 pages 174-175.  St. Stanislaus, thank you for the many lessons you taught by how you lived.  Tell your parents that you love them when you go home today!


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

“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” Eph 4:2


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 Four BL 2.1 – Examine a selection of scripture passages to unfold the promise of eternal life and the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I would do this as treasure hunt.  What are the promises of eternal life that we can discover by reading the scripture passages?  Promise 1 – Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  Those who believe in Jesus, even those we die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in Jesus will never die.  (John 11:25,26)  Promise 2 – My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  (John 10: 27,28)  Promise 3 – Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.  (John 6:27)  Promise 4 – Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.  (John 5:24)  Promise 5 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  (John 3:16)  Promise 6 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)   Basically all of these passages unfold the promise of eternal life – life with God forever.

The nature of the Kingdom of Heaven is taught by Jesus through parables (stories used to teach a spiritual or moral lesson).  The parable of the Sower is about people who hear the word of God and understand it.  The seed takes root and bears fruit (differing amounts of fruit).  So the Kingdom of Heaven is a place where those present will feel rooted and able to bear fruit.   The parable of the Unforgiving Servant teaches us that the Kingdom of Heaven is a place where God generously forgives our sins.  God also expects us to forgive the sins of others.  This is why we pray in the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  In the parable of the Wedding Banquet, the message is a bit more challenging to discern.  God invites everyone to the Kingdom of Heaven just like the King invites everyone to his son’s wedding feast.  But everyone knows that to attend a wedding, they have to dress in their best clothes and the one who ignores this part of the invitation, is escorted out.  We may be surprised by who we meet in the Kingdom of Heaven (the good and the bad alike) because everyone will be invited and we will not know who fully accepts the invitation until we get there ourselves. The parable of the Ten Bridesmaids is another challenging lesson.  The lesson is that we must be prepared to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when it is our time to enter.  We must live in readiness.  We do not know when our days will be complete so we must live in readiness like the wise bridesmaids who were prepared with enough oil.

Grade Five BL 2.2 – Compare the professions of faith found in the Apostles’ Creed to those of the Nicene Creed to identify Catholic beliefs that are professed in only one of the two Creeds.  I would print off the two Creeds on separate sheets of paper.  I would ask the students to work in groups with the Creeds.  Invite the students to highlight the parts in the Creeds that are professed in only one of them.  I will attach another attachment with the answer so it does not lengthen the Catholic Culture Update.  Always important to know that the Apostles’ Creed is the oldest Creed and the other one developed because of the need to clarify beliefs in the Church.

Grade Six BL 2.2 – Through an examination of the account of the Incarnation in Scripture, identify the role of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and describe the meaning and significance of the Incarnation (i.e. the Son of God became human). [CCC nos. 461-494]  I would read the two accounts of the Incarnation in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels.  Invite the students to identify the role of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.  Matthew’s account of the Incarnation is 1:18-25.  “the child conceived in [Mary] is from the Holy Spirit.”  Mary remains a virgin in the process.  God’s Son becomes human through the help of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  In Luke’s gospel the birth of Jesus is foretold in the Annunciation.  Mary is asked if she will allow Jesus to be born of her.  She is told that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of the Most High will overshadow her.  It is a challenge to put into words the significance of the Incarnation in a meaningful way.  In the Creed we summarize the significance of the Incarnation in the words “He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary.”  All of God wanted to be in a deeply physical way connect to our humanity.  One person was able to help God make that happen.   “The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love.” [CCC 458] “The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness.”  [CCC 459]

“The Word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature.” [CCC 460]


A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days


One of the tactful innovations of the pontificate of John XXIII was his addressing of encyclicals not exclusively to Catholics or some sub-group within Catholicism, but to persons of good will throughout the whole world.  It began with Mater et magistra in 1961, and it continued with Pacem in terris, which was issued on April 11, 1963.  Pacem in terris –“Peace on earth”—was John’s great human-rights encyclical, the encyclical in which he addressed the dignity of the individual and order between peoples, from the family to the community of nations.  There was not a base left untouched.  John XXIII denounced racism, defended the right of the individual to worship according to conscience, urged an end to the arms race and a ban on nuclear weapons, and finally supported the concept of a world body “endowed with a breadth of powers, structure and means” to solve problems of worldwide dimensions, the last being interpreted as a ringing endorsement of the United Nations.  The encyclical was extraordinary in scope and had an unparalleled impact on world opinion for the refinements of understanding it brought to issues once approached so one-dimensionally by Rome.  For instance, there was John’s distinction between communism as an atheistic creed and communism as a social, political and economic reality which was part of the historical order and had to be cooperated and contended with as such.  It was the church’s first serious concession to “co-existence” in an ideologically pluralistic world.  Pacem in terris did not appeal to hard-liners of the Curia and capitalist world, who argued that in trying to speak to everyone John diluted the Christian case and muddled issues he sought to clarify, including human rights and the dignity of the individual.  But many more received the encyclical as a blessed breath of fresh air.  John died less than two months after issuing the encyclical.  Pacem in terris was thus something of a last will and testament.”+John Deedy  We will be celebrating John XXIII’s canonization along with JPII on April 27th.  Stay Tuned.


Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools

Leadership for Equity at the School Level INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP  Schools that are closing achievement gaps regard improving achievement for all students as a whole school responsibility.  Principals empower their staff to work together to develop instructional strategies that will improve learning for students who are struggling.  They ensure that there is a relentless focus on improving instruction and achievement.  They take all excuses and distractions off the table so that staff can make student learning “job one.”  Instructional time is maximized by eliminating interruptions.  The goal in their schools in continuous improvement.  They make academic press the top priority.  They ensure that all students receive a rigorous and engaging curriculum.  They move staff forward in their belief that all students will achieve at a high level, and they instill in their students the belief that they will be successful in their academics.  Effective leaders find ways to enable their staff to collaborate to determine what is working and what is not.”  Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 156.


Twenty-first Century Education > Bono: Who is Jesus? 2.46 min  > What he prays for might astound you. > Lent – 2.46 min > Christ’s death on the cross is both history’s biggest sacrifice and greatest injustice, the ultimate act of love by Love Himself. Preparing our hearts to fathom our Savior’s sacrifice is what Lent – and this video, with music by The Brilliance – is all about. > a Canadian based website for Catholic teachers of Religious Education (my new fav) > 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

“Have You Got Any Sense?

Well, of course you do.  You have FIVE senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.  You see with your eyes, hear with your ears, smell with your nose, taste with your tongue, and touch with your skin.  All of these five “senses” work with your brain to help you figure out what’s happening!  Some people think that brain of yours is like a computer, but they’re wrong.  God made your brain much smarter and gave it lots more imagination than a computer.  Of course, YOU have to use your senses and log on to your brain to keep it working as well as it should, every day in every way.  Which of your brain “programs” will you call up today… one to help you write or draw or pray or dream?  Daydreaming or talking to God or having an adventure by traveling in your imagination – these are things that your computer is definitely not programmed to do.”  page 75


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 EARTH HOUR by Pat Carter csj


1.  Use Your Power!  What is this year’s Earth Hour theme?

2.  8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in local time zone  When is Earth Hour happening all over the world?

3.  March 29th, 2014  What day is Earth Hour happening?

4. World Wildlife Federation  What group started Earth Hour?

5.  Sydney, Australia 2007  When and where was Earth Hour initiated?


BONUS question

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

What is the mission of the Earth Hour?


The topic is HOLY WEEK by Pat Carter csj

1.  The reading of the Passion happens on this day.

2.  This Jewish festival happens during Holy Week.

3.  At this Mass, the washing of the feet takes place.

4.  Abstinence from meat is a must on this day.

5.  This celebration takes place when the sunsets on Holy Saturday.


Movie Blog by Sister Pat

At last the movie American Hustle is available on Shaw PPV.  I missed it when it was in the theatres and have waited until now to see what all the talk was about.  When I started to watch the show I thought it was going to be fluff and superficial.  The cast is superb and the costumes brought me back to my childhood (at least the ones without the cleavage to the navel – I don’t remember that part of the anatomy getting so much exposure in the 70s.)  At one point I had an AHA moment.  When someone is pretending to be someone else (maybe unconsciously), and they do it for a long time, lines can become blurred and they may become confused about who they really are.  So much in our culture can encourage a kind of hustle mentality, for example, disguising the signs of aging, dressing for a role/position, speaking in certain ways, that people may struggle to know who they really are until midlife and that is when there can be a crisis.  I recommend the movie.  It is a layered story that can be appreciated as pure fluff or as a journey of discovery.


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

“Seeds are missing from a navel orange!”   Huh!


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