image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning April 13, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“Who is this king of glory?” Psalm 23

April 13th is the 6th Sunday of Lent and also referred to as Passion (Palm) Sunday. “Today’s readings encourage us to reflect on our gifts and how we use them for others and for the glory of God. Each of us could nod in agreement when Isaiah acknowledges: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher.” God has blessed each of us this way, Isaiah continues, so that we “may know how to sustain the weary with a word.” Our gifts are to be shared and life-giving. Paul encourages us to use our voices to confess that Jesus is Lord. We are called to emulate the total self-giving of Jesus in every gift, phone call, love note and message of concern we convey to those in need. The disciples used their voices to exclaim their innocence. Jesus used his to speak the words that would ensure his life among us. “Take, eat; this is my Body.” Then, taking the cup, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Don’t hold back and bite your tongue. Use it to speak a word of God. Use it to confess that Jesus is Lord! Use it as God does, to bless and create a way to continue God’s life among us and within us. Let us use our well-trained voices for the benefit of our neighbor and for the glory of God.” Sister Martha Alken, OP, April Living with Christ, page 87. Loving God, thank you for the gift of Jesus our brother and friend. Today move your palms with pride!
Holy Week follows Palm Sunday. Each day is special as it moves us toward the High Holy Days we call the Triduum.

Holy Thursday is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. “The Holy Thursday liturgy has always been a favourite of mine. The music, the candlelight, the Gospel embodied in the moving ritual of the foot washing, all contribute to a very sensory expression of our incarnational faith. The message of the Gospel seems straightforward: serve one another, following the example of Jesus. I think, however, there may be another lesson here, as expressed in Peter’s resistance to having his feet washed. Whether his protest springs from pride, embarrassment or some misguided sense of propriety, as is so often the case with Peter – and with us! – he means well but misunderstands. Many of us have watched sick or aging loved one gradually lose their independence, becoming reliant on the help of others. As someone who prides myself on my resourcefulness and coping skills, I admit it is difficult for me to seek or accept help when I need it. In some situations it may be more challenging to receive assistance than to offer it to others. Jesus’ instructions to “wash one another’s feet,” then, encompasses both service to others and the willingness to accept love and service when it is offered. Both roles demand openness and humility, the qualities Jesus models for us today. May we pray for the grace to become a community of compassionate service in whatever forms that may take.” Krystyna Higgins, Triduum Living with Christ, page 19.
Inspire us to serve you in a loving manner, Lord Jesus. Consider attending the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and have your feet washed if the opportunity is offered.

Ford Maddox Ford, Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet




Good Friday is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” Surrender lies at the heart of today’s liturgy. John’s Gospel makes clear that Jesus surrenders his life; it is not taken from him. He lays down his life for all. Just as the Father so loved the world that he gave his Son, so Jesus loves us and, out of love, surrenders to his Father and to those who would kill him. In supreme trust and sure confidence, he empties himself of glory. One of the most moving ritual gestures of the Church year is today’s Adoration of the Holy Cross. It is awesome to contemplate this symbol of Jesus’ surrender, even as we watch those who approach it: the elderly, families with babes, teens, the poor, the rich, the outcasts and the pillars of the Church. The cross is the great leveller. Before it, all our trappings of power are revealed as empty; all our pretence is stripped. We have nothing to bring – or lose–but ourselves. In this simple gesture, all surrender the burdens of the year, the losses, the pains, the fears, the defeats, the joys and the triumphs: their very selves. All come to the cross, its strong arms reaching out in tenderness, mercy and love to embrace and to save each one who approaches.” Bernadette Gasslein, Triduum Living with Christ, page 31. Humble us, Father of Jesus, that we may embrace the cross tenderly. Bring all your troubles to the Cross of Jesus, and leave them at the foot of the Cross.

El Greco, Crucifixion




Holy Saturday is the Easter Vigil of the Resurrection of the Lord. “As we begin tonight’s Easter Vigil liturgy, our hearts are stirred by the lighting of the new fire, and by having our candles lit to symbolize the risen Christ, Light of the World. The singing of the Exultet lifts our spirits, and we cherish hearing again the stories of our origins and ancestors in faith. Tonight’s Gospel invites us to go with the two Marys, so anxious to visit the tomb where Jesus is buried. Who would have expected that they would encounter an earthquake, the tomb stone rolled back, and angels appearing to say, “He is not here; he has been raised!” In fear and joy then run to tell the disciples, when suddenly they meet Jesus. Overwhelmed, they embrace his feet and worship him, their hearts telling them something wondrously new is happening. Easter is not about passively contemplating an empty tomb. It’s an invitation to encounter the risen Christ, to believe, to rejoice, and to share the Good News. By his resurrection, Jesus reaches out to all who are entombed in the world, setting every heart free from sin and death to embrace his gift of new life. Tonight, in faith and hope, let us renew our baptismal promises to the risen Lord, in whom death is no more; life is eternal. Let us celebrate in joy his spirit of love among us, transforming all humanity – indeed creation itself.” Rev. Michael Traher, Triduum Living with Christ, page 49 Holy Spirit, fill us with a renewed sense of beauty and truth. If you have never attended an Easter Vigil, consider this an Easter gift to yourself.

April 20th is Easter Sunday. “Christian churches around the world resound today with loud and cheerful alleluias to proclaim the greatest good news ever told in human history: Christ is risen from the dead! What makes our joy still greater is that, as Saint Paul puts it, we are “raised with Christ.” His resurrection opens up forever the future of humankind and of creation. Both our present and our future shine from the radiant light of Christ’s victory over death. Such radiant light first illuminated the women who went to Jesus’ tomb after the Sabbath and saw that the stone had been rolled away. At that very tomb, Mary Magdalene had an encounter with the Risen Lord. On the same day, the apostles were blessed when Jesus appeared to them, comforting them with the gift of peace and commissioning them to proclaim to the world the good news of his resurrection. As we celebrate this Eucharist, the Risen Lord is in our midst, and the paschal candle lit on this very day stands as a reminder of how the resurrection of Christ enlightens every moment and every aspect of our lives. Like Mary Magdalene and the apostles, we too, are commissioned to share the light, the peace and the joy that the resurrection of Christ has brought to our own lives. Let us sing – and bring other people to sing along with us – heartfelt and heart-filling alleluias.” Jean-Pierre Prevost, Triduum Living with Christ, page 95

Easter Morning, Edward Burne-Jones

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

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” Col 3:12


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 2.3 – Examine the passages in the Christian Scriptures that describe Jesus’ “resurrection appearances, ascent into heaven and being seated at the right hand of the Father”, where he will “judge the living and the dead” to unfold their meaning and significance in relation to God’s plan of salvation.

I would give the students the different passages and ask them to read what each one says about Jesus’ resurrection appearances. “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.” [Mt. 28:16-17] “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” [Jn 10:17-18] Jesus appears to the fearful disciples in the upper room. He shows them his hands and his side so that they will believe it is him. [Jn. 20:19-20]

He also appears at the tomb to Mary Magdalene. [Jn. 20:11-18] Jesus’ resurrected body looks different from his natural body because Mary does not recognize him. Neither do the disciples on the road to Emmaus. [Luke 24:13-35] Jesus’ resurrection is announced to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the tomb by an angel. They are invited to see where Jesus’ body lay before the resurrection and they are given instruction to go tell Jesus’ disciples that Jesus has been raised from the dead. While on the way to tell the disciples, Jesus appears to the Marys and they took hold of his feet and worshipped him. Jesus tells them to ask the brothers to meet him in Galilee. [Mt. 28:1-10] In the Acts of the Apostles it says “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” [Acts 1:3] Jesus’ ascent into heaven – “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” [Lk. 24:49-53] In Acts, Jesus’ ascension is described as “as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:6-11] Luke wrote both accounts. In Mark’s gospel it states, “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” [Mk. 16:19]Jesus being seated at the right hand of the Father where he will judge the living and the dead – In Matthew’s gospel there is a judgment scene of the nations. The Son of Man comes in his glory to sit on his throne to judge the sheep and the goats. Main judgment criteria: “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me!” [Mt. 25:31-46] As well, earlier in Matthew’s gospel Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” [Mt. 7:21] In Matthew’s gospel it is stated very clearly that the time of judgment is only known to God, so it is necessary that all followers are watchful. [Mt. 24] God’s plan of salvation will be made clear by God alone. It is enough for us to know that we need to be faithful and ready.
Grade Eight BL 2.2 –Using passages from the Christian Scriptures as evidence explain the significance and role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ and outline how this inseparable union of Christ and Spirit is found in the life of the Church.

“From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable. In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ’s coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel, “God with us” (Mt. 1:23) The Son of God was consecrated as Christ [Messiah] by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf. Ps 2:6-7). By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf. Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church. The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity’s communion with all people.” [CCC 742-747] Some passages I would give my students to view: Mt. 3:13-17; Mt. 4:1-11; Mk 1:7-8; Lk. 2:25-27; Lk. 3:21-22; Lk. 4:14-15; Lk. 4:16-21; Lk: 10:21; to see how the Spirit of God is active in Jesus’ life.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
THE EASTER CONTROVERSY Easter, the cornerstone of the Christian faith, the feast which Pope Leo I called festum festorum, the “feast of feasts” – so great a feast in fact that Leo said Christmas was celebrated only as a preparation for Easter. In the early church every Sunday of the year was regarded by many as a commemoration of Easter, the Resurrection of Christ, which they earnestly believed took place on a Sunday. At the same time, however, Easter is a movable feast; that is, one whose date may vary from year to year. Not being a fixed date that one can situate on a given calendar day, as with Christmas. …The dislocation should not startle; in the early church, Easter was a movable feast, was once widely observed on a weekday. This practice clashed with that of those who associated Easter with Sunday, and thus was seeded the contention known as the Easter Controversy. The controversy has three phases. The first involved Christians of Jewish descent (who held that the paschal fast ended on the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jewish people were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, with the Easter festival immediately following, whatever the day of the week) and Christians of Gentile descent (who, unfettered by Jewish traditions, identified the first day of the week with the Resurrection and accordingly wanted adjustments relative to moon phases so that Easter coincided with a Sunday.) Generally speaking, Christians of the West opted for the Sunday observance, but in the East the tendency was to follow the Jewish rule and mark Easter on the fourteenth day of Nisan, which again meant that Easter might occur any day of the week. Because of fixation with the number 14, those of the latter school were known as Quartodecimani. Polycrates, metropolitan of proconsular Asia, visited Pope Victor I in Rome in 197 to discuss the issue. Victor responded by excommunicating Polycrates and all who continued the Eastern usage.”+John Deedy TO BE CONTINUED

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leadership for Equity at the School Level COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP School leaders who are effective in closing achievement gaps must be courageous leaders. They must be willing to put students first and take risks to initiate change. To address inequities within their school, they must be prepared to have courageous conversations with their staff. To do that, they need to develop a professional climate of trust and respect within their schools, and a high tolerance for the truth. Many people will avoid courageous conversations because they can be uncomfortable and create conflict. Without these conversations, however, change will not happen. Schools will fall short of getting to the root of inequities and overcoming them.” Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 157.

Twenty-first Century Education > What does Mark Wahlberg pray for? 3.10 min
It reveals how he changed his life at 17. A very good interview. > Gospel > Dan Stevers 2.08 min > 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
“Pass the Salt
Is there a salt shaker on your kitchen table? Do you ever shake salt on something you’re having for dinner? Well, where do you guess that salt came from? Yes, of course it came from the grocery store – but where did it come from before that? Salt comes from the sea and in some places, there are layers of rock salt where seas dried up years and years ago so salt companies dig it up and break it up and ship it out. They have salt mines to do this just like they have coal mines and diamond mines. A long time ago, salt was so scarce it was almost as valuable as diamonds! But today, salt is plentiful and it’s not just used in kitchens – it’s also used in making glass, pottery, textile dyes, soap, etc. Aren’t you glad God put salt in the seas so it can be sprinkled on French fries and popcorn to make them taste so good? They just wouldn’t taste the same without that sprinkle of salt! Yum, yum.” page 76

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 HOLY WEEK by Pat Carter csj
1. The reading of the Passion happens on this day. What is Palm Sunday? What is Good Friday? (two possible answers)

2. This Jewish festival happens during Holy Week. What is Passover?

3. At this Mass, the washing of the feet takes place. What is Holy Thursday?

4. Abstinence from meat is a must on this day. What is Good Friday?

5. This celebration takes place when the sunsets on Holy Saturday. What is the Easter Vigil?

The Topic is EASTER by
1. The Octave of Easter is celebrated at this time.

2. The length of the Easter season.

3. The day that at the Easter season ends.

4. The liturgical colour worn by the priest during the Easter season.

5. The Easter candle is lit from this source.

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie Divergent. I have read the trilogy, so it was natural that I wanted to see the director’s interpretation of the dystopian novel. I was surprised how much of the plot I could forget in a year (a sign that I have hit 50.) The characters are well cast…does not hurt that every young person is very attractive, especially ‘Four.’ The setting is believable. The zip line scene is very exciting – and one I would never think of doing. All in all, I did enjoy the movie. I was very disappointed with the third book in the series so they may have seen the last of my movie dollars.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“Edmund McIlhenny created Tabasco sauce.” Huh!

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