Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning October 26th, 2014

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“We must love our neighbour as ourselves.”

October 26th is the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: How many of the Ten Commandments can you name? If you had to sum up the “rules” for Catholic Christian living, what would you say? What is the hardest part of living as a Catholic Christian?

Reflecting on God’s Word: Who are the people whom you easily see as your neighbour? What does God look like in your imagination? Do you have difficulty imagining certain people or groups as the face of God?

Act on the Word: Think about all five of your senses and how each can be incorporated into loving God. What sounds in your home give glory to God? Do you have any spiritual music to play at home or in the car? What smells bring your attention to God? When you attend Mass, see how you can engage your whole self in worshipping God. How is your experience of Mass different when you concentrate on engaging your whole self in the act of prayer and worship?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 53.

October 28th is the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. “Today we honour two Apostles (first century) about whom we know very little. Tradition maintains that St. Simon the Zealot preached missions throughout Persia and Egypt, St. Jude, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, is the patron saint of hopeless causes and is called Thaddeus in the Gospel according to Matthew and the Gospel according to Mark. It is believed that he engaged in missionary work in Mesopotamia and Persia. Both Sts. Simon and Jude were supposedly martyred in Persia, and their relics were transferred to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome sometime during the seventh and eighth centuries.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 133. St. Jude, help the situations in the world that seem hopeless. Invite us to use our gifts and talents to know how to respond to these situations. Bring to mind a situation in the world that seems hopeless, spend a few minutes sending positive energy and thoughts to that spot.

October 31st is the eve of All Saints ~ Halloween. “By the end of October, in most of North America and Europe, days have become short and cold. The Church keeps two great festivals at this dark time of year – All Saints and All Souls, the first and second days of November. And, like every other Christian festival, the holiday begins at sunset on the day before. An old name for All Saints’ Day was All Hallowmas. (“Hallow” is another words for saint.) The eve of All Saints was called All Hallows’ Eve, which got shortened to Halloween (from Hallowe’en, i.e., Hallow’s evening). This festival has an interesting history. Many of the peoples of northern Europe divided the year into four seasons based on the length of days, but these were a bit different from the seasons as we know them. “Winter” was the period of shortest days. It began on November 1 and ended on February 1. ON this night, huge bonfires were lighted on hilltops to welcome the dead who would return home for a bit of comfort by the warm hearthside. Food was set out. Any stranger was welcomed into the home. Who knew? Maybe the stranger was really a dead relative. But the annual return of the dead brought trouble, too. Not all of them were friendly. So everyone stayed together all night for protection, and they told stories of the dead and of narrow escapes from cranky ghosts. People dressed up like the dead to make any ghostly visitors feel more welcome and also to confuse the angry ones. In the earliest days of Christianity, the remembrance of the dead and the celebration of the saints was kept at Easter Time, because we Christians look forward to the day of resurrection of all who have died. But in the tenth century in western Europe, the Church began to keep the remembrance of the dead in November, in autumn, when it seems as if the earth itself is dying. In most of Europe, Halloween is strictly a religious event. Sometimes in North America the church’s traditions are lost or confused. Still, All Hallows’ Eve has been kept by the Church for over 1,000 years. Halloween night still can be a Christian celebration, kept as the holy eve of All Saints’ Day. Halloween customs reflect the Gospel. Trick-or-treat is just good, old-fashioned hospitality. In the name of Christ, we welcome all who knock on our doors. Walking in the streets in masks and costumes reminds us of our journey to heaven. Once our journey is done, we will take our masks off and see ourselves as we truly are – the beloved children of God, the saints in glory.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 134 Loving God, help us to be kind and joyful to all we meet today. Give the treat of encouragement to someone you see who seems to need it.

The Ghost Feast – As Anishinaanbek, this is the time we honour and pay tribute to those who have gone on before us into the Spirit World. Like we need to be fed and taken care of, so do the spirits of those who have died. These spirits help us all of the time. They help us to make decisions. They guide us to make good choices. They offer us guidance when we need it. For these reasons, we need to take care of the spirits. During this time, we may have a gathering in a common area like a community centre, a gym, a classroom or someone’s house. It is a potluck feast where everyone who attends brings their favourite dish. All the food is put on the table. The food and people are smudged. While standing or sitting in a circle, prayers are said and each person may take a turn to pray for someone who has died and share how that spirit has helped him/her. After everyone shares, a spirit plate of food is served from each of the dishes prepared and the plate is brought to the sacred fire. If there is no sacred fire, then the plate is brought out to a nearby tree and offered to the spirits. Everyone present feasts now that the spirits are fed, acknowledged, prayed for; it is time to celebrate and enjoy everyone’s presence.

November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints. “On this day, the Church honours all the saints, those who have finished the race and now rejoice in God’s presence. We honour the towering figures like Sts. Peter, Paul, Augustine, Francis, and Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and we honour the humble saints as well, those whose names are known to few or to none: the grandparents and ancestors, the friends and teachers who lived their faith to the full and inspired faith in others. This is a day to celebrate them all. An observance in honour of all the saints has been celebrated on November 1st since at least the seventh century, and it originated even earlier, with a feast in honour of all martyrs in the year 359. “Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints?” asked St. Bernard of Clairvaux in a homily on All Saints’ Day. “Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed with a tremendous yearning. Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company…. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven to dwell with the spirits of the blessed….In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the Saints” (Office of Readings, Volume IV, p. 1526). All you holy men and women, saints of God, pray for us.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 137. Think about the virtue of wisdom and how you can grow in holiness by striving for wisdom!

Exploring Paths of Joy – a quote for the week

“This is the way; walk in it…” Isa 30:21

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living a Moral Life ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

By the end of grade 8, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Make moral decisions in light of gospel values and with an informed conscience;
  • Rely on the power of faith, hope, charity and grace when faced with a personal, social or moral challenge;
  • Recognize that “sin, human weakness, conflict and forgiveness are part of the human journey” and that the cross is the ultimate sign of forgiveness which resides at the heart of redemption; (CGE: 1j)
  • Seek guidance from Catholic moral teaching when faced with a moral dilemma;
  • Appreciate God’s gifts of grace, freedom, conscience and reason and accept the responsibility that comes with each.

Grade Seven ML 1.3: Summarize the moral teachings of the Church with regard to particular life issues (e.g., marriage, sexuality, cloning, abortion, genocide, euthanasia) and the social order (e.g., use of technology, economic injustices, environment). [2032-2040] The moral teachings of the Church with regard to all life is quite simple but also profound. “God alone is the Lord over life and death. Except in the case of legitimate self-defense of oneself or another, no one may kill another human being. An attack on life is a sacrilege committed against God. Human life is sacred, this means that it becomes to God. Even our own life is only entrusted to us. God has given us the gift of life; only God may take it back from us.” Youcat, 378. So abortion, genocide and euthanasia are all against the fifth commandment ~ You shall not kill. “Today people often try to get around the Fifth Commandment with seemingly humane arguments. But neither euthanasia nor abortion is a humane solution. That is why the Church is perfectly clear on these questions.” Youcat, 379. There are questions arising in the media right now that can go to the heart of this expectation:

Why are the richer countries of the world not helping West African countries with the Ebola Crisis? Do we have to wait for the Virus to cross the oceans because the anti-viral medications are produced to save more African lives? There is a new swell of interest in the fight to Physician-assisted suicide. Your students may be aware of these two situations in the media. Maybe if you feel comfortable, you could begin a conversation with your students to see where they sit on these issues. BE SENSITIVE to the situation of a family of a student in your class who may be struggling with a sick relative. It is one of the most significant struggles of a family to be present to a sick relative and not seem to be able to give the sick one relief from pain. It is also important at this age/grade to discuss that just because something is legal it does not make it morally right. Abortion is legal; abortion is not morally right. Again, it is important to be sensitive to the situation, the act of abortion is not morally right, people who have abortions have made mistakes. The judgment of the act of having an abortion is in God’s hands, NOT ours! Euthanasia is not legal in our country but there are countries in the world where it is legal. Cloning, any experiments on living embryos, or embryonic stem cells is not accepted in the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics or moral teaching. Embryos are human beings, because human life begins with the fusion of a sperm and an egg. Every child, from the moment of natural conception on, has a right to life. Another thing to discuss with your students, just because we have the technology to do something, does not mean the technology ought to be used.  You may want to explain the theory of the slippery slope that once abortion became legal and technologies advanced – questions of moral significance have multiplied. Just because we can do something, does not mean we should do something. Economic injustices can come into play as well. Is the reason that rich countries are not sharing anti-viral medications with West African countries because the value on an African life is not as great as a North American/European life? These are rich conversations but the conversations need to be held with respectfully and sensitively. If you want more support for the church’s teaching on these points – go to and search under the LINKS tab.

Grade Eight ML 1.3: Using examples of moral dilemmas faced by young people, demonstrate how choosing to live a Christian moral life reflects a witness to God, a respect for personal dignity and promotes the common good for others. [1700-1715; 2012-2051; 1928-1948] Ask your students what moral dilemmas are faced by young people. MORAL dilemmas – meaning choices between what is right and what is wrong. It may be eye-opening for you to know what your students are facing. Some of the dilemmas maybe: drugs and alcohol; cyberbullying; cutting; sexual activity; sexual orientation issues; abuse; and a whole host of others. Listen carefully to your students. Let’s take the question “Why is it wrong to take drugs? Using drugs is wrong (a sin) because it is an act of self-destruction and thus an offense against the life that God has given us out of love. Every form of a person’s dependence on legal substances (alcohol, medication, tobacco) and even more so on illegal drugs is an exchange of freedom for slavery; it damages the health and life of the person concerned and also does great harm to the people around him/her. Every time a person loses or forgets him/herself by becoming intoxicated, which can also include excessive eating and drinking, indulgence in sexual activity, or speeding with an automobile, he/she loses some of his/her human dignity and freedom and therefore sins against God. This should be distinguished from the reasonable, conscious, and moderate use of enjoying things.” Youcat, 389. So to choose to live a Christian moral life (not perfect, but consciously trying to make good choices) gives a witness to God. Making choices to do what is right respects personal human dignity – we are made in God’s image and likeness. And when these right choices are made, the common good of others is promoted e.g., choosing not to drink and drive saves innocent lives from harm.

Twenty-first Century Education > One in Seven Billion > 1.17 min

Every life has purpose. Overpopulation doomsayers think that humanity is a problem that needs to be reduced. We believe we are beautiful possibilities that need to be celebrated. God made you one in seven billion. > Lost and Found – Inspirational video 1.55 min

It’s never fun to lose things. The worst thing to lose is our way…that’s when it’s time to search for God. And when we search for God, we are the thing that gets found. > a Canadian based website for Catholic teachers of Religious Education (my new fav) > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade


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

“Foxy Loxy You have probably heard that a fox is sly, but did you know a fox is also shy? Although it’s a member of the dog family, the fox is not friendly like a puppy dog so it lives in holes it digs in the ground and you seldom see one because it usually only comes out at night to look for food. The red fox has pointed ears that can hear REALLY good and strong feet and legs. It doesn’t run fast, but it can run for long distances at the same speed. And God gave the fox a big bushy tail so when it gets cold, it can curl up and wrap that tail around its body just like a scarf! Isn’t that a foxy way to keep warm? And there’s another funny thing the fox does – funny but sly too. Have you ever seen a dog chase its tail, running around and around in circles? Well, sometimes a fox does that – but not for fun. The fox eats small animals so when a hungry fox spots one, he will sometimes start chasing his tail and the small animal will stop to watch him, wondering what that old fox is doing. What the small animal doesn’t notice is that that old fox is circling closer and closer, until it’s close enough to reach out and grab its dinner! That’s a sneaky thing to do but shy foxes don’t get fed by families like puppy dogs do so they have to be sly to get some supper. Do you and your friends ever like to turn around and around until you get so dizzy you fall down and start giggling? Do you ever pull a sly trick on someone or wrap up in a scarf to keep warm? Well, maybe you’re a little foxy too!” p. 100

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


Fun Facts about Scripture From the twisted mind of Sister Pat Carter csj

  1. What name do the Jewish people give the first five books of the Bible? The Torah
  1. Who wrote the first piece of New Testament composition? St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians
  1. What name is the source that assisted Matthew and Luke to write their gospels, but that Mark did not use?It is referred to as Q.
  1. What is your favourite passage of the Bible? Your choice
  1. To whom is the book of Revelation attributed? John

BONUS question: What is Sister Pat’s favourite passage of the Bible? Jeremiah 29:11-14a

More Fun Facts about Scripture From the twisted mind of Sister Pat Carter csj

  1. How many creation stories are there in the book of Genesis?
  1. How many psalms are there in the book of Psalms?
  1. Were there any other Gospels written besides Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
  1. How many letters did Paul write to the early Christian churches?
  1. For what is a concordance used?

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Chef – This movie/video is available through Shaw PPV and probably Bell’s comparable service. This story is about relationships, passion for food, and following your dreams. It may not be the movie to watch as a family because I think the language is a bit off-colour. The story is refreshing and heartwarming. I really enjoyed the characters and the ending. It is a feel good movie.

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

“Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.” Huh!

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