image Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning May 25, 2014


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth!” Ps. 66

May 25 is 6th Sunday of Easter. Understandably, Jesus may have been reluctant to have the conversation with his disciples that we hear in today’s Gospel. Previously, when he had wanted to share with them what was going to be asked of him – and them – they had resisted hearing and accepting this truth. How would they receive this news? Jesus perseveres, however, in preparing his apostles for what is to unfold. In this passage, he readies them for life without his physical presence. He will no longer be there in person to journey with them, teach them and encourage them in the mission they have taken on in his name. They will be taking his message to the world without him. But Jesus does not leave them abandoned. He assures them that his Father will send the Spirit of truth to guide them and support them. Jesus reminds them that this Spirit is not a stranger to them; this same Spirit already resides within them because they believe. They can trust this Spirit, who will continually challenge them to be faithful to what Jesus shared with them. We have this same assurance today. The same Spirit of truth that guided Jesus’ first disciples guides us today, calling us to that same faithfulness. It is our turn to trust this Spirit at work in us as we bring Jesus’ message to our world.” Connie Paré, May Living with Christ, page 115. Jesus, help us to hear the whispers of your Holy Spirit, that we may be guided and supported.
Think about someone who you love and is no longer with you. Send them happy thoughts and goodness!

May 26 is the memorial of St. Philip Neri
. [He] “was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was “Good little Phil.” He was always so cheerful and friendly that everyone he met loved him. Philip went to Rome as a teenager. He studied theology and philosophy for three years and was a good student. Above all, Philip was a very active Christian.
He lived simply and worked hard. But he also did much good for the people around him. He helped poor children. He donated his time to the sick. He was a friend to people who were troubled and lonely. In fact, he reached out to everybody he could for the love of Jesus. Philip helped start an organization of lay people to take care of needy pilgrims. That ministry gradually continued as a famous hospital in Rome. The priest who guided him realized that Philip was doing so much to help the Christians of Rome become fervent again. But it was obvious that Philip had the call to be a priest. He was ordained in 1551, at the age of thirty-six, and quickly became sought after as a confessor. He was available for the sacrament of Reconciliation for several hours every day. The lines of people who came to him grew longer. But Father Philip was never in a hurry. He never ran out of patience and gentleness. People began to notice that he could read their minds at times. He could also in some circumstances predict the future. The Lord even worked miracles through him. But all Philip wanted to do was bring Jesus to the people. To avoid their admiration, he acted silly once in a while. He wanted people to laugh and forget that they thought he was holy. Philip was making a difference in Rome. He founded a society of priests called the Oratorians, and the whole city was renewing its faith and devotion. Once he started to think about being a missionary to far-off lands. He was very impressed by the life of St. Francis Xavier, who had died in 1552 at the gate of China. Philip had been a priest for just one year at the time of St. Xavier’s death. Should he leave Rome and volunteer for the missions? A holy Cistercian monk told him, “Rome is to be your mission land.” In fact, Father Philip had become known as “the apostle of Rome.” Philip spent the last five years of his life offering the sacrament of Reconciliation to the people. He died at the age of eighty in 1595. St. Philip, you taught us the way to be really happy is to put God and other people first in our lives. Help us to live this lesson!” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 pages 254-256 Find a really good joke and share it with your friends and family today.

May 30th is the memorial for St. Joan of Arc. “Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d’Arc, her father, was a hardworking farmer. Her mother was gentle and loving. She taught Joan many practical things so that Joan could later say, “I can sew and spin as well as any woman.” Joan loved to pray, especially at the shrines of our Blessed Mother. But this honest little peasant girl was to become a heroine. One day while Joan was watching her sheep, St. Michael the Archangel, the patron of her country, told her, “Daughter of God, go save France!” For three years she heard the voices of saints calling her to action. When she was sixteen, she began her mission. At that time, there was a war going on between France and England. It was called the Hundred Years’ War. England had won so much French land that the king of England called himself the king of France, too. The real French king was weak and selfish. He thought that the French armies would never be able to save the country. After being examined by many priests and experts to make sure that she really was seeing visions of the saints and really had been given a special mission to carry out, Joan received permission to lead an army into the French city of Orleans, which the English had almost captured. In her white, shining armour, this young teenager rode with her banner flying above her. On it were the names of JESUS and MARY. Joan was wounded by an arrow in the great battle of Orleans, but she kept on urging the men in her army to victory. At last they won! Then Joan and her army went on to win more and more battles. The English armies had to retreat. After the victories, Joan’s time of suffering began. She was captured and sold to the British. The ungrateful French king did not even try to save her. She was put in prison and falsely charged as being guilty of witchcraft and heresy (denying or doubting a truth of the Catholic faith). After an unfair trial Joan was burned at the stake on May 29th, 1431. Joan was not even twenty, yet she went bravely to her death. The last word on her lips was “Jesus.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 pages 260-262 St. Joan d’Arc inspire in us the same courage you had to speak the truth. Be grateful for those who defended the faith so we might have the freedom to believe!

May 31st is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “When the archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the mother of the Saviour, he also told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby. Elizabeth was an older woman. Mary knew that she would appreciate some help. So she started out at once on the journey to Elizabeth’s house. Mary’s trip was long and dangerous. Riding on a donkey, it was uncomfortable too. But that didn’t stop her. Mary reached her cousin’s house and greeted Elizabeth. At that moment, God revealed to Elizabeth that Mary had become his mother. Elizabeth asked joyfully, “How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary remained humble. She quickly gave all the credit to God. She exclaimed: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid, and holy is his name.” What graces the Blessed Mother brought to the home of her cousin! St. John the Baptist, while still hidden in his mother’s womb, was cleansed of original sin. Zachary, Elizabeth’s husband who had become mute for doubting the angel of God, was able to speak again. And Elizabeth was filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Mary stayed three months at her cousin’s home. With great kindness and love, she helped Elizabeth. It was a wonderful time for them both.” Saints for Young Readers for Every Day vol 1 pages 262-263 Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us, sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen+ Visit someone you love today!

Serving in the Love of Christ – a quote for the week
“One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” Archibald Rutledge

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 2.3 Connect the Church’s belief in the resurrection of the Body and life everlasting to belief in the Communion of Saints and the practice of praying to and for those who have died. When Jesus rose from the death on Easter Sunday the belief in the resurrection of the Body and life everlasting was established. Jesus told us that he was going to prepare a place for us where we would be with him forever. While praying the Creed every Sunday we say “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” This is part of the Apostles’ Creed which is the oldest Creed in the Church. The Communion of Saints is the belief that all the living and dead members of the Church are in communion (all the time). Communion means together. We pray to those who have died because they will know what we are experiencing and will advocate for us with God. We pray for those who have died because we want to advocate to God for them. “We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers.” [CCC 962] Students may not have had anyone in the family die yet, so the experience of praying to someone who has died may be foreign to them. If they have a patron saint, they may want to pray to them for help in situations that are difficult.
Grade Five BL 3.1 Examine the Parable of the Rich Young Man to identify what it means to strive for a life of holiness (God is the source of holiness; to strive for holiness we are to obey the commandments, follow Jesus Christ and live a life of justice and charity toward God and neighbour.) [CCC nos. 823-829; 2012-2029] Read the parable of the rich young man [Mt 19:16-30; Mk 10:17-31; Lk 18:18-30] to the class. Ask the class to identify what it means to strive for a life of holiness. What is holiness when you are in Grade 5? What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ? What does it mean to live a life of justice and charity toward God and toward our neighbour? Does that only mean our neighbour who is poor? This would make a good inquiry for the students.
Grade Six BL 2.3 Describe through examples how the Church has handed on Revelation regarding the Incarnation through Tradition (e.g. preaching of the Word, celebration of the sacraments, catechesis, prayers and devotions.) [CCC nos. 456-511] We pray in the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday “[I believe] in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” This Creed is the oldest Creed handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. So we have been handed on this Revelation in our Sunday worship. Every Christmas we hear the Christmas story and our pastors preach on this Word of God. We spend twelve days celebrating the birth of Jesus as a human baby. It is important to make the distinction between the Church’s celebration of the Incarnation at Christmas time and the cultural preoccupation with gift giving and Santa Claus (which ends on December 25th when the feast of Christmas is just getting started.) We also celebrate the Incarnation at Easter when the Word who was flesh died so that we might know God’s love for us. The celebration of the sacraments is a means for us to celebrate the Incarnation ~ through Baptism we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection to new life; through Reconciliation we participate in Jesus’ forgiveness and healing in our lives; through Eucharist we hope to become what we eat; through the Sacrament of the Sick we participate in the healing touch of Jesus; through Confirmation, Marriage and Holy Orders we invite Jesus Christ to witness our commitment and be a guide in our life choice. Catechesis is the means by which believers can grow in their understanding of the faith and their ability to articulate it. Catechesis takes place in a believing community. So catechesis may take place in a classroom or it may only be religious education. Every time we pray the Sign of the Cross we celebrate Jesus as the second person of the Trinity. There are many prayers and devotions that remind us of the human presence of God on earth.

A Teaching from the Catholic Book of Days
April showers have brought the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la. What kind of flowers did Jesus walk among in the Holy Land? Those who know the area think it must have been a veritable paradise, for the Holy Land in spring is a sea of flowers, notably yellow flowers of the chrysanthemum family. It is curious, though. Whereas the Bible has considerable to say about fruits and vegetables of the area, it has remarkably little to say about its flowers. Hundreds of species of flora, plant life, are found in the Holy Land, and nearly one hundred are specifically mentioned in the Bible. But only a relatively few of them are flowers. Matthew (6:28) and Luke (12:27) tell in their Gospels of the familiar “lilies of the field,” and th3e rose of Sharon and the saffron, a type of crocus, are cited in the Song of Solomon (2:1 and 4:14 respectively). But it is more common to speak generally of flowers, as when the flowers of spring are rhapsodied as again in the Song of Solomon: “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (2:11-12). So what flowers are mentioned? Well, there’s the oleander, rose, narcissus, mallow and colchicum. But more common are the references to the blossoming flowers of vines, plants and shrubs, and of fruit and nut trees, such as the almond, olive, pomegranate, lotus, henna, flax and fig – which clues to the likelihood that it was the blossom of dietary and utilitarian value rather than one of mere show, however beautiful, that was appreciated more and thus worthy of special note. Flowers are mere literary props in the Scripture texts. They are the reminders of the God who put them there, and symbols of larger realities, like the transitory nature of human life. It’s something to remember now as tulips break ground and lilacs send forth their wonderful fragrance.” +John Deedy

Equity and Inclusive Education – Leadership for Equitable and Inclusive Schools
“Leadership for Equity at the School Level [Catholic] PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES Kruse et al. (1995) identify five critical elements that teachers demonstrate that result in strong professional learning communities: Reflective Dialogue: Staff talk about their classroom experiences, their challenges, and their successes. Based on these discussions, they are able to critique themselves and offer support and guidance for colleagues. Discussions focus on instructional strategies, achievement data, student learning, and equity of outcomes. Deprivatization of Practice: Admnistrators and teachers share, observe, and discuss each other’s practice. Peer coaching is a common strategy for professional learning. By sharing “in public,” teachers learn new ways to talk about what they do. Collective Focus on Student Learning: Teachers are focused on student learning; they believe that all students can learn at high levels and that teachers can help them regardless of the obstacles students might face. Collaboration: A strong professional learning community encourages teachers to work together, not only to develop shared understanding of students, curriculum, and instruction, but also to produce curriculum, instructional tasks, common assessments, and new and different approaches to meet the learning needs of their students and the school staff. Shared Norms and Values: Together, the staff establishes shared values that address the needs of their students and their abilities to learn. They prioritize the use of their time, how they will interact, and the type of work they will do together.” Breaking Barriers: Excellence and Equity for All, Avis Glaze, Ruth Mattingley, Ben Levin, page 164-165.

Twenty-first Century Education > The You Are Project – 3.16 min
This video is very powerful for Intermediate and Senior students. You are God’s light! > Lord, I Need You – 3.26 min
If you are at the end of your rope…watch this! For adults. > 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
“My, How He Grew!
Did you know that a kangaroo can grow up to weigh at least 120 times what he weighed when he was born? Kangaroos are VERY small when they are born but they grow up to be REALLY big. This will give you an idea of how they grow – if a new little baby boy that weighs about seven pounds today would grow like a kangaroo does, he would grow up to be 840-pound man! Can you imagine that! The kangaroo has very strong back legs for leaping and fighting and short front legs for grabbing and hugging. You probably know that the baby kangaroos live in a pouch on the mama kangaroo’s stomach that is like a backpack on her front! And a kangaroo can run about 30 miles an hour. So it’s a very INTERESTING animal. Have you ever seen a real kangaroo? Would you like to travel to Australia where they have lots of kangaroos? It’s a very INTERESTING country – but then all God’s animals and all God’s countries are very
interesting! ” page 84

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?
The Topic is WORLD RELIGIONS by pcartercsj
1. As of 2001, which world religion had the greatest population? Christianity

2. During which century did the Catholic church arrive in Canada? 1600

3. What are the four sacred medicines of our First Nations brothers and sisters? Sage, tobacco, cedar, sweetgrass

4. To what couple does Judaism trace its origins? Abraham and Sarah

5. In what world religion is there a ritual of the five pillars? Islam

6. What world religion worships in a temple? Hindus; Jewish people once worshipped in a Temple but in 70 C.E. the Romans razed it but they still pray at the Western Wall.
The Topic is GOSPELS by pcartercsj
1. Which gospel was composed first?

2. Where did Matthew and Luke get their common stories?

3. Which gospel was composed last?

4. Which gospel writer composed the Acts of the Apostles?

5. What was the intended audience for Mark’s gospel?

BONUS question – What is your favourite gospel account?

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
Last weekend I totally enjoyed the movie Million Dollar Arm. It is based on a true story and it is good for the whole family. I left feeling good and happy! The contrasts in values between India and North America are stark. My appreciation for the humility and resiliency of the people of India was enhanced. This is definitely a must see movie, especially for those who like happy endings.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“The first police dogs were used in Scotland.” Huh!

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