Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning September 21, 2014

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Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

Sow much love

September 21st is the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: When in the past few weeks has something happened that you felt was not fair? What did you think was unfair about the situation?

Reflecting on God’s Word:

  • How much time each day do you spend working to build God’s kingdom?
  • Do you sometimes compare the blessings in your life to those of others? How can you overcome this tendency to compare?

Act on the Word:

  • This week, every time you feel that something is unfair, or you feel jealous of something someone else has, stop and ask yourself: ‘If I were thinking like God thinks, would I care about this?’ Chances are, the answer is no. If you didn’t care if people thought you were cool, then you probably wouldn’t care if you didn’t get the starring role in the school play. If you didn’t care about material things, then you probably wouldn’t care that one of your classmates is wearing a cooler pair of shoes than you. How can letting these human cares go help you to be a happier and more relaxed person?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 33

Changing Our Ways

You will need paper, pens, cups, a pitcher, three large-sized pairs of tennis shoes (or other shoes that lace up), and a clock or timer to do this activity.

Set up an “obstacle course” for the teens that will be done with their non-dominant hand or foot (left for right-handed teens, right for left-handed teens.) Make three different stations around the room that can be used by several teens at once. Set an adult or other teen as timekeeper for each individual doing the course. The stations should be as follows:

STATION 1: Set out paper, pens, and instructions for the teens to print all the letters of the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase with their non-dominant hand.

STATION 2: Set out cups and a pitcher of water asking the teens to pour themselves a cup of water and then drink it, using their non-dominant hand. (You will want to have towels/rags available in case of spills, which should also be cleaned up with the non-dominant hand!)

STATION 3: Put out three pairs of large tennis shoes or other shoes with laces. The teens should remove their own shoes, put on the tennis shoes, tie them and then reverse the process, all with their non-dominant hand.

Record everyone’s time. Repeat the obstacle course until everyone has completed it. Cheer for the winner(s) who took the shortest time to complete the obstacle course, and give out small prizes if you like. Ask the winners why they think they had an easier time than the others using their non-dominant hand. Ask the others why it was hard for them. Most likely, practice or using the non-dominant hand occasionally for some things makes it easier to use it for tasks. Discuss how this is like doing things “counter-culturally,” or being different from others in the way we believe or make choices as Christians.

  • How does it feel to do something the opposite way of habit?
  • Do you think it would get easier over time to do things with your non-dominant hand?
  • If you only used your non-dominant hand for a day, how do you think the people of the world would respond to you?
  • Would this also be true for gradually learning to live more like Jesus and less like the rest of the world?”

2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 36

September 22/23 is the Autumnal Equinox. This celestial event marks the official change of seasons. After today, nights will be longer than days in the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is beginning. (Of course, in the Southern Hemisphere the opposite is true and the season of spring begins.) The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is known as “harvest moon.” In the old days, the light of the full moon helped farmers harvest crops during the night. The next full moon, about a month later, is called “hunter’s moon.” It is a second harvest moon.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 118. Creator God, you made the moon and the stars and night sky. Help us to be attentive to the changing of the seasons. Look for signs of Fall.

September 23rd is the memorial of St. “Padre” Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968), a Capuchin priest from Italy, [who] demonstrated an unquenchable thirst for God. While praying one day before the crucifix, he received the visible wounds of Crucifixion that Christ bore in his Passion and Death, known as the stigmata. After an examination by a doctor, it was determined that there was no natural explanation for the wounds. Along with the stigmata, he experienced other mystical phenomena, including bi-location, the ability to be in two places at the same time, and “reading the hearts” of those who sought counsel and forgiveness in the sacrament of Reconciliation. These two miraculous gifts enabled him to lead both the sinner and the devout closer to God. Upon his death the stigmata were no longer visible.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 118 Padre Pio, help us to know how to love God as much as you did. For which spiritual gift do you pray? Peace? Hope? Faith?

 September 26th is the Feast of Sts. Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, and their Companions, Secondary Patrons of Canada. “On this day the Church honours the saints who gave their lives to spread the Catholic faith in North America: two Jesuit priests, St. Isaac Jogues (1606-1646) and St. Jean Brébeuf (1593-1649), and their companions. St. Isaac was captured and tortured for his preaching of the Gospel. He escaped and returned to Europe, but only to seek permission to offer Mass with his scarred and mutilated hands. The pope granted his wish, and St. Isaac returned to the New World where he was put to death in 1646. Jean de Brébeuf dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel among the Huron peoples in what is now upstate New York and Canada. He translated the Catechism into the Huron language and wrote a series of “Instructions for Missionaries” that mingled divine and practical counsels: Love the Hurons as brothers, he urged, and bear with the shortcomings. Never keep them waiting, and learn to get into a canoe without carrying sand or water with you. Eat first thing in the morning, because that’s what the Indians do. Work as they do, and serve them in whatever way you can. Jean de Brébeuf knew that only by understanding the Indians could missionaries hope to help them understand the Gospel. North American martyrs, pray for us.

Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 120 Pray for the “Idle No More” movement and the government’s response to our FNMI brothers’ and sisters’ concerns.

 September 27th is the memorial of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660). “St. Vincent de Paul, a French priest, gradually became aware of the growing disparity between the rich and poor; therefore, he laid the framework for a confraternity of caring, called the Servants of the Poor, which provided for the physical needs of the poor. Recognizing the call to care for not only their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs, he established a society of priests, the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), dedicated to preaching to peasants, catechesis of the marginalized, and other charitable works. In collaboration with St. Louise Montfort de Marillac, he founded the Daughters of Charity, a new community of sisters not bound by traditional vows or enclosure, devoted to the sick, orphaned, and imprisoned. St. Vincent is the patron saint of charitable societies. Many day care centres, hospitals, thrift stores, and soup kitchens are named in his honour.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 120 St. Vincent, inspire us to know how we can care better for those who are physically poor. Pray for the work of those who care for the poor.

Exploring Paths of Joy – a quote for the week

In the path of righteousness there is life, in walking its path there is no death. Pr. 12:28

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 1.2: Explain why it was so important for Jesus to be born a human person like us in every way except sin (he shared in our human life and provided for us a perfect example of how we can live and treat others as the “image of God”). [CCC 1701, 1708-09] This is a simple way to introduce Original Sin and the reason Jesus became human. If you use these words or similar words the children will understand the importance of Jesus becoming human. I would not use the words Original Sin because they don’t need to know that term right now. But we want the children to come to know Jesus and God’s love of them/us. All humans are born in the “image of God.” At some point a long time ago, humans were not satisfied with being human and wanted to take God’s place and be God. So the first sin happened. Jesus became human to show us how we can live and treat others the way God wants us to. If Jesus can live and love everyone, I am encouraged and inspired to try to do the same. Jesus tells us that we are to try to be like God in the way we love. When we are able to love like God we feel good and deeply happy. When we are not able to love like God we can ask God for forgiveness and we can try again. I am so grateful Jesus became human because he wanted to have a human experience like me. I want to love like God.

Grade Two ML 1.2: Examine the Beatitudes to summarize the characteristics that mark us as Beatitude people and use examples to illustrate how living the Beatitudes can change who we become and how we relate to others (i.e. we become more humble, merciful, pure of heart, selfless, meek, seekers of righteousness, peace and justice; our actions are based on love). [CCC 1720-1729] This lesson begins well if students understand that Jesus wants us to be deeply happy so he offered us a different way to think and live. “The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching.” [CCC 1716] The Beatitudes teach us the actions and attitudes that help us to live a Christian life…they teach us how to be-at-it! God wants us to be happy, deeply happy. “The Beatitudes respond to our natural desire for happiness. God has placed [this desire] in our human hearts.” [CCC 1718] “God put us in the world to know, to love and to serve him, and so to come to paradise [to be with him forever.]” [CCC 1721] The be-attitudes come to us as a free gift from God.

The be-attitudes teach us how to live and how to love others. We become more humble, more merciful, more pure of heart, more selfless, meeker, better seekers of what is right, better seekers of peace and justice. They teach us how we are to act and that “our decisions ought to be made as choices for the right not the wrong. The be-attitudes invite us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. They 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 – but in GOD alone, the source of every good and of all love.” [CCC 1723] So when teaching primary students about the Beatitudes – I might frame my comments like this…The Beatitudes teach us about how our attitude is influenced by God/Jesus’ love so they are Be-attitudes: they teach me how to BE in my attitudes. The Beatitudes also teach me how to act with God/Jesus’ love so they are the BE – AT- IT – tudes: they teach me how to ACT or Be at it. Explore with your students what it means to be humble, what it means to be merciful, etc. Explore each of the attitudes listed above. If you are not sure, email me and I will give you more support about these attitudes.

Grade Three ML 1.2: Identify through the Hebrew Scripture passages (Ex. 20:2-17; Deut. 5:6-21) how God reveals the Ten Commandments, and in the Gospels the two commandments that Jesus gave as a summary of the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue. [CCC 1961-1964] Tell the story of the Exodus and the revelation of the Ten Commandments in words similar to these: The people of Israel were slaves to the Egyptians. God called Moses and asked Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. They left Egypt and wandered in the desert. When they came to Mount Sinai God made a covenant with them – a covenant is a love promise that God would be their God and protector and they would be God’s people, God’s chosen people. A covenant is a very special bond. Moses climbed Mount Sinai and God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are also called the Mosaic Law (the Law of Moses); it expresses many truths that are common sense [accessible to reason = CCC 1961] God wrote these 10 Commandments on two stone tablets. The first three commandments about how the Israelites are to be in relationship with God were written one the first tablet (image – flutterboard-like). The second seven commandments about how the Israelites are to be in relationship with each other were written on the second tablet. Read the passages given above. What are the 10 Commandments? Have the students read them. Which ones say something about how they are to care about God? Who do the other commandments say something about? Do these commandments make sense to your students?

Isn’t it a good thing to worship God? Isn’t it a good thing to not steal? This is the Old Law and it was used by many other groups to create their laws. It “is the first stage of revealed Law. …They prohibit what is contrary to the love of God and neighbour and prescribe what is essential to it.” [CCC 1962] If we do not follow the Ten Commandments, what would happen? Ask your students to think about what would happen? The Old Law prepares the way for the Law that Jesus comes to bring us. The people of Israel had the 10 Commandments for a long time but still did not live the spirit of the Law. Some only lived the Letter of the Law. Jesus comes to show us that we need to live the spirit of love. He comes to make a new Covenant with God’s people. The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the work of Christ and is expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus condenses the 10 Commandments into Two – Love God with your whole heart, mind and spirit; and love your neighbour as yourself. Ask your students do you think Jesus’ two commandments can summarize all Ten of the Commandments. See if you can make a Venn diagram between the 10 commandments and the two commandments.

Twenty-first Century Education

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W66DPPNX&utm_source > This is a Christian re-mix of the song “Happy” – 3.33 min Students would enjoy the lyrics and maybe you compare the two versions of the song. One focuses on God’s goodness.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W6GZ6LNX&utm_source > This Teen Has a Powerful Message for Her Peers – 3.22 min I would call this young woman a prophet for her generation. It is a powerful message for all of us.

www.catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com > a great resources for Religious educators

www.4catholiceducators.com > a Canadian based website for Catholic teachers of Religious Education (my new fav)

www.CARFLEO.org > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade

 

130 Fun Facts from God’s Wonder-Filled WORLD! by Bernadette McCarver Snyder

Painting People

Did you ever watch someone painting a room or a house? Did you ever dye Easter eggs or use watercolours to paint pictures? Then you know that paint comes in all kinds of different colours and sometimes you can mix a bit of two or three colours to get a different colour. The thing that gives the paint its colour is called pigment. And guess what…your skin has pigments too! So that’s why people’s skins can come in all kinds of different colours. There’s a dark pigment called melanin that gives skin most of its colour. The more melanin there is, the darker the skin is. There’s also a yellow pigment called carotene that adds a different tint to skin. AND the thickness of your skin can affect the colour. If you have thin skin, the reddish colour of blood under your skin can show through a bit and give you pinker cheeks. So that’s why people come in lots of colours…vanilla, chocolate, cocoa, peach, oatmeal, etc. And all the colours are beautiful. If the sky and the grass and all the flowers were just ONE colour, the world would look pretty boring, wouldn’t it? The same is true of people. So aren’t we lucky that God painted us a multicoloured, many-splendored world?” page 93

HOLY TRIVIA! Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?

How well do you know the Gospels? From the Religion Teacher’s Journal’s Creative Catechist page 76

Use these questions to test your knowledge of Scripture. If you need hints read Matthew 12-13.

Gospel of Matthew

  1. What do the Pharisees call Beelzebub? The prince of demons (12:24)
  1. What were the Apostles doing that the Pharisees deemed unlawful? Picking the heads of grain and eating them. (12:1)
  1. What happens to the seed that falls along the path? The birds eat it. (13:3)
  1. What sign did Jesus promise to the people? Sign of Jonah the prophet (12:39)
  1. The mustard seed is the smallest of all the seeds, but what happens when it is full grown? It becomes a large bush, and the “birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches” (13:32)

Use these questions to test your knowledge of Scripture. If you need hints read Mark 10.

Gospel of Mark

  1. What does Jesus respond to the Pharisees question “does our Law allow a man to divorce his wife?”
  1. What does Jesus do when he sees the disciples scolding the people who brought children to Jesus?
  1. Why does Jesus say to the rich man, “Why do you call me good?”
  1. Before Jesus answers the rich man’s question, how does he look at him?
  1. Why do the disciples ask Jesus, “Who, then, can be saved?”

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

if I stay – available at Galaxy Theatres – This story follows the trailer – a young teen girl has a promising career of being a cellist and while driving with her family there is a serious car accident. The girl must make a choice – to live or to go toward the light? No spoilers here; just what is in the trailer. I did cry! I admit it. It is a good reminder to live everyday fully so that we have no regrets. It also invited me to reflect on what is most important in my life. A good question! This movie touched me deeply, but it is not a great movie.

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

“If you have 3 quarters, 4 dimes and 4 pennies, you will have a $1.19 and the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.” Huh! http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bingbin/

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