image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning April 27, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“Give thanks for the Lord” Psalm 118

April 27th is Second Sunday of Easter. “Today’s Gospel might make us feel unsettled – and not only because, like Thomas, we sometimes struggle with doubt in our relationship with God. We may also feel uncomfortable with the invitation Jesus extends to us via Thomas, to touch the wounds of one another and to bring healing to those wounds. Thomas is preoccupied with his confusion of emotions. His reaction to the news of the resurrection is born out of his feelings of grief, fear, hurt, and anger. He challenges Jesus with a threat that, without seeing and touching the wounds, he will not believe. Jesus accepts the challenge, guiding Thomas to feel the wounds of the crucifixion. Thomas is overcome with joy. John vividly portrays Jesus’ wounds: Thomas’ hand can fit into Jesus’ side: his finger can fit into the wounds on Jesus’ hands. The fleshiness of this image is a gauntlet that gently, but insistently, challenges us to become bearers of Christ’s peace. John invites us to respond to Jesus, who is calling us out of our hurts and fears to what the second reading calls “a new birth into a living hope.” Today, let us celebrate the hope that resolves doubt and heals wounds. Let us celebrate with the same joy that made Thomas proclaim, “My Lord and my God!” Let us be, like the first disciples, a living hope to the world.” Louise McEwan, April Living with Christ, page 139. Loving God, give us a living hope so we can witness it to the world around us. Wish people around you a “Happy Easter” as we are still living in the Easter season!

April 27th is also Divine Mercy Sunday. a Roman Catholic solemnity celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, the Octave of Easter. It is originally based on the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy that Saint Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus, and is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church. This feast of Divine Mercy, as recorded in the diary of Saint Faustina, receives from Jesus himself the biggest promises of Grace related to the Devotion of Divine Mercy. In specific Jesus states that the soul that goes to Sacramental Confession (the confession may take place some days before), and receives Holy Eucharistic Communion on that day, shall obtain the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment. That means each person would go immediately after death to the heaven, without suffering in purgatory (nor hell). Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church grants a plenary indulgence (observing the usual rules) with the recitation of some simple prayers.

As well on April 27th two extraordinary popes are being canonized. Pope John XXIII will be known as St. John the Good and Pope John Paul II will be known as St. John Paul the Great. These two great men are being canonized on this day as devotion to Divine Mercy was actively promoted by John Paul II and he established the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday on April 30, 2000 after canonizing St. Faustina Kowalska.

April 29th is the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena. “Born in 1347, this well-known saint is the patroness of Italy, her country. Catherine was the youngest in a family of twenty-five children. Her mother and father wanted her to be happily married. But Catherine wanted very much to become a nun. To prove her point, she cut off her long, beautiful hair. She wanted to make herself unattractive. Her parents were very upset about this and scolded her frequently. They also gave her the heaviest housework to do. But Catherine did not back down. Finally, her parents stopped opposing her. Catherine became closer and closer to Jesus. One night, when many people of Siena were out in the streets celebrating, Jesus appeared to Catherine who was praying alone in her room. With Jesus was his Blessed Mother. She took Catherine’s hand and lifted it up to her Son. Jesus put a ring on Catherine’s finger and she became his bride. In Catherine’s time, the Church had many problems. There were fights going on all over Italy. Catherine wrote letters to kings and queens. She even went to beg rulers to make peace with the pope and to avoid wars. Catherine asked the pope to leave Avignon, France, and return to Rome to guide the Church. She told him it was God’s will. He listened to Catherine and did what she said. Catherine never forgot that Jesus was in her heart. Through her, Jesus helped the sick people she nursed. Through her Jesus comforted the prisoners she visited in jail.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, vol 1 pages 205, 207.

St. Catherine guide us in our efforts to make peace around us. Pray for peace in the Ukraine!

May 1st is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. “This is St. Joseph’s second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. …St. Joseph is a very important saint. He is the husband of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus. Today we celebrate the witness of Joseph’s hard work. He was a carpenter who worked long hours in his little shop. St. Joseph teaches us that the work we do is important. Through it we give our contribution and our service to our family and society. But even more than that, we follow God’s plan for us by carrying out the special work he has given us to do. That is why we want to try to always do our work carefully and well. Many countries set aside one day a year to honour workers. This encourages people to appreciate the dignity and importance of work. The Church has given us St. Joseph as a wonderful example to follow in doing our own work. In 1955, Pope Pius XII proclaimed that this feast of St. Joseph the Worker should be celebrated every year.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, vol 1 page 211. St. Joseph help us to appreciate that work well done is a gift. Every time you put a pen/cil to paper today, offer your effort to God.

May 2nd is the memorial of St. Athanasius. “Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly God. This was important because some people called the Arians were denying this truth. Even before he became a priest, Athanasius had read many books on Scripture and theology. That is why he could explain the faith so easily. This saint became the archbishop of Alexandria before he was thirty years old. For forty-six years, he was a brave shepherd of his flock. Four Roman emperors could not make him stop writing his clear and beautiful explanations of our holy faith. His enemies persecuted him in every way. Archbishop Athanasius was sent out of his own diocese five times. His first exile lasted two years. He was sent to the city of Trier in Germany in 336. A kindly bishop, St. Maximinius, welcomed his warmly. Other exiles lasted longer, Athanasius was even hunted by people who wanted to kill him. During one tense exile, monks kept him hidden from his enemies in the desert for six years. Once the emperor’s soldiers were chasing Athanasius down the Nile River. “They’re catching up to us!” cried the saint’s friends. Athanasius was not worried. “Turn the boat around,” he said calmly, “and row toward them.” The emperor’s soldiers shouted, “Have you seen Athanasius?” “You’re not far from him!” Athanasius’s friends shouted back. The enemy boat sped by them faster than ever, and the saint was safe. The people of Alexandria loved their archbishop. He was a real father to them. As the years passed, they appreciated more and more how much he suffered for Jesus and the Church. It was the people who stepped in and saw to it that Athanasius had some well-deserved peace. He spent the last seven years of his life safe with them. His enemies searched for him but could never find him….He remains one of the greatest, bravest saints of all time.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, vol 1 pages 212-213. May we have the courage to persevere in troubling times like you, St. Athanasius. Pray the words of the Apostles’ Creed with joy today.

Serving in the Love of Christ – a quote for the week
“The gratitude that we encounter helps us believe in the goodness of the world, and strengthens us thereby to do what’s good.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer

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 2.2: Examine a selection of Old and New Testament readings that reveal God as “Father”– “Almighty” and “creator of Heaven and Earth (Gen1) and use a variety of strategies to communicate their message (e;g; drama, retell, art). “I believe in God”: This first affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed is also the most fundamental. The whole Creed speaks of God. We pray to God the Father when we make the sign of the Cross. [CCC 199, 232] There are many passages in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures that reveal God as “Father.” It is not the only image of God but a popular one. The Jewish culture, as with the Christian culture, has patriarchy. The father is a significant person; the decision maker and protector of the family. In First Isaiah (before Babylonian exile) Isaiah is foretelling the coming of a righteous king – we understand this king to be Jesus but the Jews are still waiting for this Messiah who will be named “Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6] In Third Isaiah (after the exile) in a prayer of penitence we hear “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter.” [Isaiah 64:8] This line is part of the chorus of the song “Abba, Father” a simple song that could be used in class to teach this expectation. There are gestures to this song as well, I’d be happy to come and teach your class. In Matthew’s gospel God is referred to as “your Father in heaven” many times. [Matt. 5:16; 5:45; 6:6] God is also known as the “Almighty.” God has power that humans do not possess. God’s powers are not like super powers we see in superheroes. God’s power is not violent. God is also known as “creator of Heaven and Earth.” The first story of Genesis teaches us some truths about our Creator God. God created everything. God created order out of disorder. God created by plan, not by chance. God created everything good. God made the Sabbath special. [Gen. 1] These are the truths about our creator that our students should be blessed to know. Invite the students to draw a picture of God – who is Father, Almighty and creator of Heaven and Earth. Enact the creation story having God give the orders of what is created. I have some read aloud books that could be used to teach this expectation.

Grade Two BL 2.2 Describe the Creed as a summary of what Christians believe and highlight what the Creed reveals about God (God as One, God as a Trinity of Persons, God as Almighty, Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth; Jesus as the second person of the Trinity, Son of God, human and divine, suffered for our sins, died, rose and ascended into heaven, will come to judge; Holy Spirit as giver of life, proceeding from the Father and the Son, third Person of the Trinity i.e. one in being with the Father and Son). [CCC 232-278] This expectation is somewhat self explanatory. A creed is a summary of what any group believes. As Christians and Catholics we believe the oldest of the Creeds, the Apostles’ Creed and we believe a later, more developed Creed, the Nicene Creed. Highlight each of the beliefs above. God as a Trinity of Persons is a challenging concept because it is a mystery. We don’t understand it fully until we meet God in heaven. But with faith we believe that God is a community of love in the persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This belief is central to our faith and life. Every time we make the sign of the Cross we affirm that we believe in the Holy Trinity. [CCC 234] Jesus was fully human and fully God (divine) while he was on earth. And the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, one in being with the Father and the Son: the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the Father and the Son in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. [CCC 689]

Grade Three BL 2.3 Identify the many devotions to Mary that have developed in the Tradition of the Church and explain how the mysteries of the Rosary reveal Mary as Christ’s disciple (proclaims Christ’s life, suffering, death; resurrection and ascension of Jesus; unfold Mary’s virtues, her assumption and coronation in heaven.) [CCC 963-970) There are many devotions to Mary that have developed over time in the Church. There are special prayers that are directed to Mary to ask for her intercession: Memorare, Hail Mary, Hail Holy Queen, The Angelus, The Magnificat and the Rosary. Novenas to Mary have been prayed. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary – Mary was preserved from sin from the moment of her conception, in preparation to be the Mother of God. There are Mary’s 7 Sorrows: Prophecy of Simeon; Flight into Egypt; Loss of Jesus in the Temple; Meeting Jesus near Calvary; Crucifixion; Taking Jesus’ body from the Cross; and Burial of Jesus. There are Mary’s 7 Joys: The Annunciation; The Visitation; The Nativity; The Epiphany; The Presentation of Jesus; The Finding of Jesus in the Temple; and Mary’s Assumption. Feast Days of Mary: Mary’s Birthday is celebrated on September 8th, nine months after the feast of Immaculate Conception. We celebrate Mary, the Mother of God and Our Lady Queen of Peace on January 1st. It is a holy day of obligation for Canadian Catholics. Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated on February 11th. May 13th is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. May 31st is the feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. June 28th is the feast of Immaculate Heart of Mary. July 16th is feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. August 15th is the feast of the Assumption of Mary and August 22nd is the feast of Mary, Queen of Heaven. September 15th is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. October 7th is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. November 21st is the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. December 12th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Special Songs have been composed to Mary: Hail Mary: Gentle Woman; Salve, Regina; Ave Maria (many versions); O Sanctissima; Magnificat; Sing of Mary; Hail, Holy Queen, Enthroned Above (made popular by Sister Act); Immaculate Mary are probably the most popular ones.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
The Easter controversy was so tangled that some despaired of ever finding a solution. There was even scattered sentiment for returning to the custom of the church’s earliest days, when it was believed the Resurrection was sufficiently commemorated by the weekly Sunday. Of course that would not do as Easter came to be recognized as the central fact of the Christian faith and a feast of supreme importance. So the hunt for a solution continued. Eventually a lunar cycle of nineteen years was agreed upon, and that coordinated the Easter Sunday date, although not everywhere. Roman missionaries arriving in England and Ireland at the turn of the seventh century found the churches there following old Asian custom and observing Easter in the seventeenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan, irrespective of the day of the week on which the seventeenth occurred. In defending their position, the English and Irish churches appealed to the authority of St. John and St. Philip. The Romans insisted, however, on a Sunday observance of Easter, and the issue was settled in the Romans’ favour at the Synod of Whitby in 664. Still, it would be several years before Ireland would fall into line, and accept the Sunday rule. The issue was then settled, in the West at least, but not forever. In 1582 came the displacement of the Julian calendar by the more accurate Gregorian calendar, and once again Easter was being observed on different dates in much of the church. Eastern churches alienated from Rome declined to correct their calendars according to the Gregorian formula. Similarly, many countries were slow in adopting the new calendar – England and Ireland, for instance, not doing so until 1752 – with the result that in the West itself churches were observing Easter on a Sunday different from Rome’s. Date differences due to national policy ended as countries one by one accepted the Gregorian calendar. But with Eastern churches retaining the Julian calendar, the Easter Controversy was never tidied up into a neat, coordinated solution.”+John Deedy

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leadership for Equity at the School Level BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Effective school leaders interact with students frequently, fostering personal connections. They get to know students by name and engage them in conversations so they can know them better. They visit classrooms regularly and discuss assignments and daily lessons with their students. They listen to their students and look for cues that they understand the work and how it will be evaluated. They check on student well-being and are astute at noticing signs of distress or concern. They take a personal interest in all of their students.” Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 158.

Twenty-first Century Education > U.S. Olympian, Lolo Jones, saving herself for marriage – Inspirational Videos – Every intermediate and senior student should see this godtube video. It is honest and humble. > Precious Pups Pray Grace before they Eat. Very cute and primary and junior students would enjoy this video. 2.13 min. It is in Chinese but the students should just watch the dogs. > What is ThingLink? ThingLink helps you create and discover rich images. Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more! Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories. Follow image channels from your favorite bands, bloggers and friends. Your ThingLink interactive images form a channel that other users can follow. > 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 > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD! by Bernadette McCarver Snyder
“Stick Out Your Tongue
No, no…don’t stick out your tongue AT somebody…that’s not polite….BUT if you stick out your tongue and look at it in a mirror, you can see that it has little bumps on it. These are called “taste buds” and they let you taste the difference between the salty taste of a potato chip and the sweet taste of a lollipop or the difference between spinach and chocolate ice cream! Your tongue helps you eat by moving the food around so your teeth can chew it…and after you’ve chewed it carefully, your tongue helps you swallow it. AND your tongue helps you to talk! Now you know that is very important. Just try saying “I love lollipops” without moving your tongue! Aren’t you glad God made your tongue so you can taste and talk and lick your lips when they get dry? And aren’t you glad you have good manners and KNOW that it is NOT polite to stick your tongue out and make an ugly face? Only someone with BAD manners would do that! Right?” page 79

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?
CATHOLIC JEOPARDY : Do forget to give your answer in the form of a question.
Let’s change it up. Answer the questions!
1. When is Divine Mercy Sunday celebrated? Second Sunday of Easter

2. Jesus appeared to which saint and asked for a feast day dedicated to Divine Mercy? St. Faustina Kowalska

3. Which pope granted this feast day for the universal Church? Pope John Paul II

4. Jesus asked for an image of himself to be painted with what written message? Jesus, I trust in you.

5. When does the Divine Mercy Novena start? Good Friday

BONUS question: What two popes will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday? Popes John XXIII and John Paul II

1. The Ascension of Our Lord occurs ____________________ days after Easter.

2. What happened on this feast?

3. Is Ascension Thursday a holy day of obligation?

4. As Jesus ascended, who came to visit the apostles?

5. What did these visitors say?

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
On Easter Monday a friend and I went to see the movie “Heaven is for Real.” I had read the book about two years ago so I understood what the storyline was. The movie presents a true-to-life depiction of how people would respond to such an unlikely situation. Even people of faith can be unnerved by an experience that takes faith to believe. Why is that? Do we not really believe OR is it just so challenging for us that we are troubled by possibilities? Do we tend to be like Thomas and say until I can have that very experience I will not believe? It is a good movie for the whole family. Two thumbs UP!

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“Did you know that “Barbie’s” last name is Roberts?” Huh!

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