Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning August 31, 2014

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

Transform us, O God, by the renewal of our minds.”

August 31st is the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions:

Are you able to acknowledge your suffering, or do you, like Peter in today’s Gospel [Matthew 16:21-27], try to ignore the reality of suffering? What do you think it means to take up your cross?

Reflecting on God’s Word: If Jesus were to come back to earth today, how might our world be judged?

Where in your community do you see people accepting their crosses and following Jesus?

Do you accept or avoid suffering in your own life? Do you ask Jesus for help with your pain?

Act on the Word: Advertising is everywhere in our world: on billboards, on television, on the Internet, on the phone, and on social media sites. Pay attention to advertising this week, especially ads for products that promise to alleviate pain and loneliness, or those that offer shortcuts to losing weight or studying for tests. In addition to the obvious messages of the ads, there are often subliminal messages about being “cool” that can lead us away from the life Jesus wants us to have. When you watch TV this week, keep track of the number of ads you view that encourage you to do things that are the opposite of what Jesus calls you to do in your life. How can you balance this negative input with some positive input. Maybe you can read one verse from Scripture for every negative message that you view.” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 21.

The Month of September

September is the ninth month, but the word September actually means “seventh month.” Before the time of Julius Caesar the Roman year had ten months. The first month was March, which made September the seventh month. There was no January or February on the calendar. Calendars were used mainly by farmers, who weren’t interested in keeping track of time during winter, when there was little to do. So during winter people lost track of days until their leaders announced the start of a new year each spring. Julius Caesar reformed the calendar. Winter months were added. Now the year began on the first of January, not March. But the old names for the months continued to be used. Many ancient calendars have the year beginning in spring. For instance, the Jewish people mark the first month of their religious year in early springtime, near the vernal equinox. (The Jewish New Year [Rosh Hashanah], however, begins on the first day of the seventh month.) In the Byzantine Christian calendar, September is the first month of the liturgical year.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, second edition – pp. 111-112.

September 1st is Labour Day. “Today marks the time when working people around the country come to the end of summer vacation and students return to school. We set aside this day to reflect on the work we do. Over the course of our lives, most of us will spend more time working than we do at any other activity. Until the last century or so, most people worked on farms. They worked long days, and the pace of life was slower. The Industrial Revolution changed that. New farm machines meant that fewer farming jobs were available. Farm workers moved to the cities, where they took low-paying jobs in factories. They worked as long as sixteen hours a day. Their jobs were dangerous because the machinery had few safeguards against accidents. Even children as young as six or seven years old were forced to work because wages were so low and families needed multiple incomes to survive. The labour union movement was born in response to these conditions. Unions gave workers a way to stand together and fight for safe machinery, better salaries, and fair treatment. The first official Labour Day was celebrated in 1882. Initially it was a day for workers to call attention to their grievances. Eventually this day became a national holiday. Many other countries observe a day to honour workers on May 1 (for Catholics it is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.) Several popes of the last hundred years have written encyclicals, which are teaching letters, to speak for the dignity and rights of workers.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, second edition – p. 112

September 3rd is the memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church. “Saint Gregory the Great (540-604) was a mayor, a monk, a pope, and a writer. Unhappy with his life as mayor of Rome, Saint Gregory allocated half of his fortune to the poor and other half to the foundation of seven monasteries. After joining a monastery in pursuit of a simple life, he was elected to the papacy. As pope, he cared for the poor, implemented the reforms to improve Church governance and clerical bahaviour, promoted the monastic vocation, and renewed the liturgy. His name is often associated with Gregorian chant (plainsong) and Eucharistic Prayer II (along with Saint Hippolytus). A prolific writer and Doctor of the Church, Saint Gregory composed numerous theological texts and is cited 374 times in Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologia.

Exploring Paths of Joy – a quote for the week  

“You share me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy.” Ps. 16:11

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living a Moral Life ~ Hope Expectations for Primary Classes

By the end of grade 3, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Desire to know what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus and a child of God;
  • Strive to live according to the moral examples of Jesus provided through his words and actions
  • Acknowledge sin, human weakness, conflict and forgiveness as part of life’s journey and seek forgiveness when they have offended another, both from the one they have offended and from God;
  • Appreciate God as one who forgives and heals those who sin and Christ’s death on the Cross as the source and sign of our redemption.


Grade One ML 1.1 Retell gospel narratives that reveal how Jesus welcomes and cares for people by showing them they have dignity in the eyes of God i.e. made in the image of God.

Jesus welcomes and cares for people by showing them they have dignity in the eyes of God. Dignity is a word that means they are important to God and deserve to be treated with respect and care. We are all made in the image of God.

God loves all of us and wants us to treat each other with kindness and love. Jesus heals people who are sick. When he goes to the house of Simon and Andrew (Mk. 1:29-31) he finds out that Simon’s mother-in-law (his wife’s mother) has a fever and is in bed. Jesus goes to her, takes her by the hand and heals her fever right away. When people hear about Jesus’ healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, that same evening the people start to bring all who were sick so Jesus can heal them too. (Mk. 1:32-34) Lepers were people who had a disease that was very contagious (a sick person could infect others if he/she touched them.) So lepers were told to stay away from everyone who was well and sometimes they had to wear bells around their necks so people could avoid them like animals. A leper came up to Jesus and begged him, “If you want to you can cure me.” Jesus felt sorry for the leper and stretched out his hand and touched him. Jesus said to him, “Of course I want to!” (Mk. 1:40-45) There were so many people in the Gospels that Jesus healed. Jesus also ate with people who were sinners. (Mk. 2:15-17) He did not see them as sinners but as people made in the image of God. Often the Church leaders scolded Jesus for eating with the sinners. But Jesus still did it! In Jesus’ culture people who were sick or sinners were considered “unclean” and if someone wanted to go to the synagogue to pray they wanted to be “clean” so they could go right in. If someone “clean” touched someone “unclean” he/she became “unclean” too. That is why everyone is so surprised that Jesus touches everyone, the clean and the unclean alike. Jesus only sees everyone as God’s children. In the time of Jesus people who had seizures (like Epilepsy) were called possessed by demons/definitely “unclean.” Jesus healed many people who had seizures. When Jesus did this, the people were able to live with their families and be considered “clean.” (Mk. 5:1-20) Jesus also brought people back from the dead. He raised the daughter of Jairus and his good friend Lazarus. They were dead and Jesus raised them to life again. (Mk.5:35-43 – Jairus’ daughter and Jn. 11:1-12:19 Lazarus). There are many more examples in the Gospels.

Grade Two ML 1.1 Examine the teaching of Jesus in the Beatitudes and identify what they teach us about what it means to be truly happy.

God wants more than anything for each one of us to be deeply happy. Most people want to be deeply happy too because God places that desire in our hearts. The Beatitudes teaches us how to be happy. Jesus uses the Beatitudes to help us understand what is important as we live our lives. God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. The Beatitudes call us to make good moral choices. These guidelines invite us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. The Beatitudes teach us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement – however beneficial it may be – such as science, technology or art, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love. [CCC 1718, 1721, 1723] When I was in high school there was a club called the Be-at-it-tudes. It was a club of Christian service. We were encouraged to do random acts of kindness and to serve the poor in small ways. The Grade 2s could be invited to take on the be-at-it-tude characteristics and to do acts of kindness and care within their classroom, school yard and families.

Grade Three ML 1.1 Retell Gospel narratives that demonstrate the importance of fulfilling God’s law of love, i.e. Love of God and Love of Neighbour, (e.g. Lk. 18:18-23 – the rich young man; Matt. 22:34-40 – the Pharisees asking Jesus about the greatest commandment) and explain the importance of obedience to this law in striving to live a moral life and in seeking eternal life. In Luke’s gospel a member of one of the leading families asked Jesus this question, “Good Teacher, what do I have to do to go to heaven?” Jesus responds by asking the person, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Then Jesus reminds the person that the person needs to follow the Ten Commandments. He says, “You must not commit adultery; you must not kill; you must not steal; you must not lie; and you should honour your father and mother.” The person replied, “I have kept all of these rules from my earliest days until now.” Jesus said in response, “There is still one thing that you lack. Sell all that you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when the person heard what Jesus said s/he was filled with sadness, for s/he was very rich.

In Matthew’s gospel the Pharisees went to Jesus to ask a question that they thought would upset him. They asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your Heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.”

Jesus comes to show the people of God that the Ten Commandments are important and we need to follow them. But he says to us, that we must love God with our whole being and our neighbour as ourselves. If we love God wholeheartedly and our neighbour too, then we will be obedient to the Ten Commandments. The first three commandments have to do with loving God. The seven other commandments have to do with loving our neighbours. If we do this, we will live a good life and we will have treasure in heaven.


Twenty-first Century Education > Dad and Son Share What It’s Really All About ~ My Own Little World > Music Video 4.03 min > Sarah MacLachlan and Josh Groban AMAZE with this beautiful song > In the Arms of the Angels > Music Video 5.04 min > a great resources for Religious educators > many inspiring videos about faith, spiritual growth and development, and music > 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

“Did you Ever Have Goose Bumps?

When you get really cold, your brain sends a message to some tiny muscles under your skin and those muscles pull up the tiny hairs on your skin and your skin looks bumpy – kinda like goose’s skin. So when you get cold, sometimes you get “goose bumps.” Then your brain tells some other muscles to start jiggling around and you start shivering. All that jiggling and shivering sends off some heat and helps you warm up a bit. But goose bumps and shivering don’t work as well as a wooly coat and hat and scarf – OR a cup of hot chocolate! God probably taught your body to give you goose bumps and shivers to REMIND you that when you get sooo cold, it’s time to find some place warm or find something warm to drink. Did you ever get goose bumps? Did you take God’s reminder and head for home?” page 90


Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


How well do you know the Gospels?

Use these questions to test your knowledge of Scripture. If you need hints read John 1-3.

Gospel of John

  1. What is the name of Simon Peter’s brother?
  1. What happens on the third day at Cana in Galilee?
  1. How many stone jars of water does Jesus turn into wine?
  1. How many years did it take the Jews to build the temple?
  1. Who does Jesus call Israel’s teacher?


Movie Blog by Sister Pat

A Hundred Foot Journey – in theatres now! It is a great tale of hope, calling and joy. Anyone who enjoys eating will enjoy this movie. It is a movie for the whole family. So often we eat without tasting anything because we are rushed. While watching this movie I wanted to be able to taste the food that was being so carefully prepared.





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

“Most people can hear better with their right ear.” Huh!

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