Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning November 2nd, 2014

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“I fear no evil; for you are at my side.”

November 2nd is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. It is All Souls’ Day.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: Who do you know that has died? What do you remember about that person? Do you ever think about death? What do you think about when you think about death? Does thinking about death ever scare you? Why?

Reflecting on God’s Word: How does it make you feel to know that Jesus has prepared a place for you in heaven? When people we love die, how can we continue to trust that Jesus cares for us even if we are angry, sad, or depressed?

Act on the Word: Pray for the Dead ~ Note to Teachers: You will want to arrange ahead of time for the students to bring photos of deceased family members or friends for this activity. Be sure the photos are copies, since they will be used for a craft project. You will also need construction paper, decorating resources, glue, markers, and sheet protectors. As we celebrate All Souls’ Day each year, we are reminded that the bond of love between the members of Christ’s Body continues beyond life on earth. Help the students to use their photos to create scrapbook pages honouring their deceased person, his or her date of birth, and his or her anniversary of death. Encourage the students to decorate their page using images, colours, and quotations that represent their person. Place the finished pages in sheet protectors and display them on the walls of the space where you gather throughout the month of November (if you cannot keep them on the wall, consider putting them into a three-ring binder that can be used in prayer). When you gather together, pray for the individuals and call upon them to pray for you.” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, pages 57,60. [In our culture that seems to ignore or avoid anything to do with death, it is healthy to talk to students about this topic, especially during the month of November when Christians remember their loved ones who have joined the Communion of Saints.]

November 2nd is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day). “Why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them,” said St. John Chrysostom (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1032). On the day after All Saints comes All Souls, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, in which the Church prays for all who have died. As Catholics, we believe in Purgatory, that cleansing fire through which must pass “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” [CCC, 1030]. Today we pray for them, trusting that God will hear and answer our prayers that they know eternal light, happiness and peace. As we remember and pray for our loved ones who have died, the reality that we ourselves must one day die is also brought home to us as a gentle, insistent reminder. In Mexico, the Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is a way of praying for our ancestors, remembering and celebrating them, and making friends with death. As St. Ambrose wrote, “Death is then no cause for mourning, for it is the cause of our salvation. Death is not something to be avoided, for the Son of God did not think it beneath his dignity, nor did he seek to escape it” (Office of Readings, Vol. IV, p. 1539). May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen+ Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 138. Take a minute to say a Hail Mary for each person you know who has died.

Month of November – “The name for the eleventh month really means “the ninth month.” In the ancient Roman calendar November was the ninth month because the year began in March. In Church tradition, November is a month to remember the dead and to pray for them. The month begins with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Either in the last days of November or the first days of December, Advent begins. In folklore, November had a strange name. It was called Gossamer, which means “goose summer.” That meant something like “Indian Summer,” which is a time of warm weather after the first frost. Saint Martin’s Day, the eleventh day of eleventh month, was a time to feast on roast goose. Perhaps that’s where “goose summer” comes from.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 135.

November 3rd is the memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious. “St. Martin de Porres (1579 – 1639) had a special love for the marginalized in society; he knew what it was like to feel unaccepted. As the son of an unwed couple, a Spanish knight and a freed slave from Panama, he hardly fit the norm. His father essentially disowned him because he inherited his mother’s features, primarily her skin colour. Instead of wallowing in his own pain, he chose to become a Dominican brother, focusing on ministry to the “forgotten” in society. St. Martin, called the “father of charity,” cared for sick people in the monastery, fed the needy with food from the monastery, and began a home for abandoned children. He had a close friendship with St. Rose of Lima and is considered patron saint of racial justice.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 138. St. Martin, remind us often to judge a person by their character and not the colour of their skin. Wear a black string around one of your fingers to remind you not to judge anyone.

November 4th is the memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop. “St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), a doctor of civil and canon law, was a great champion of the Church redefining itself in light of the Protestant Reformation. As archbishop of Milan, he promulgated the reforms of the Council of Trent, giving special attention to liturgical and clerical renewal. Other significant contributions he made to the Church include the establishment of new seminaries for the education of the clergy, defining a code of moral conduct for clergy, and founding the Oblates of St. Ambrose, a society of diocesan priests to enforce the reforms of Trent. St. Charles adopted a simple life in which he responded to the needs of the poor and sick by providing monetary and spiritual support.” Companion to the Calendar ~ A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 138-139. St. Charles, help us to be kind to everyone especially those who are poor or sick. Send a smile to everyone you pass today.

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 2.1: Listen to Gospel narratives that reveal the consequences of choosing not to obey God’s will (e.g., Lk. 16:19-31 – Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus; Matt. 24:45-51 – Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Slave; Matt. 26:69-75 – Peter denies Jesus three times). Before reading the Gospel passages above, I would prepare the students by saying to them: “We are going to listen to some stories about what happens when people do not follow God’s way and choose to follow their own way.”   Read the passage from Matthew’s gospel about the two sons (21:28-31) Ask your class, “Which of the sons did their Father’s will, which obeyed their Father?” “Which of the sons could be proud of what he did?” Ask the students if they have ever had a similar experience. | Ask the students what lesson they learned from the story they heard the previous lesson.

Read the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Paraphrase the story in simpler words and act it out a bit as you read it. Pretend to be a rich person sitting at a fine table, dressed in fine clothes and feasting like Henry VIII – the old turkey leg gesture… then pretend to be Lazarus who is very poor, sitting on the floor looking up from where the students are sitting, looking up at where you sat as the Rich Man. I would not make the scene too “hellish or firey”…just uncomfortable…with the lesson being – those who do not help the poor are not following God’s way. Get the students to act out the scene after you have shown them the story. | Next day – ask the students what the consequence of the Rich Man not helping Lazarus…when he died he did not live with God. Or something like that.

Do NOT read the next parable – Matthew 24:45-51 I would NOT use this parable because the result is that the slave is cut up into pieces…Grade 1 children should not hear that as a consequence.

Read the parable about the two sons Read the next story about Peter denying that he knows Jesus three times. Ask the students after you read the story – why did Peter cry when the rooster crowed? One of the consequences of not following God’s way is that we are sad. We know that what we have done is the wrong thing. We can feel disappointed in ourselves. Ask the students have you ever disappointed someone? What did it feel like?

Grade Two ML 2.1: Identify those passages found within the New Testament which illustrate the following themes: Love of God and neighbour, sin, God’s mercy and forgiveness, and explain how they can guide us in judging our relationships with parents, friends and teachers. All of the healing stories of Jesus are examples of love of neighbour (I would not use the Unclean spirit stories but physical healing stories because the unclean spirit stories may be frightening or lead children to ideas of horror.) One healing story that could be used is Jesus Heals the Leper – Luke 5:12-16. The Leper asks Jesus, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” And Jesus chooses to do so. Jesus healing the Paralytic (Luke 5:17-26). I would point out in this story that the paralytic’s friends love him so much they find a way to help the paralytic by lowering him through the roof. That is love of neighbour! There are many stories of healing. Jesus asks us to love even our enemies – Luke 6:27-36 because we show our love for God when we love our enemies. Stories about sin and God’s mercy and forgiveness often go together. Jesus invites us to not judge. Read Luke 6:37-42. Jesus tells us not to judge because judgment is God’s alone. And we need to be prepared to know that God may be more merciful than we are. God can read the heart of someone. We can’t know what is in the heart of others. Jesus heals a centurion’s servant. The centurion is an enemy of the Jewish people. But Jesus still heals the centurion’s servant. Jesus shows us an example of how to be merciful. This healing shows God’s mercy and forgiveness. Jesus heals the centurion’s servant because the centurion is a good man. Some of the Jews would have been surprised that Jesus healed the centurion’s servant because they did not fully understand God’s mercy and forgiveness which could be extended even to non-believers. We show love of God when we pray the Our Father. We acknowledge God’s place in our lives and seek to follow God’s will. (Matt. 6:9-14) You could use the story of the Sinful Woman who was Forgiven – Luke 7:36-50. Ask your students how these passages can guide them in judging their relationships with parents, friends and teachers. Once you have shared a couple of these stories it ought to be clear that being merciful, loving, forgiving are the ways God invites to treat each other.

Grade Three ML 2.1: Through an examination of various biblical narratives, identify how the protagonist misused the gift of freedom and the consequences of their action (e.g., Adam and Eve, Moses striking the rock twice; David, Jonah, and the disciples who stopped following Jesus after the prediction of his death). [CCC 1739-1748]

The story of Adam and Eve is not a story to be taught literally. It is better to explain to the children that the story is a myth, a story meant to teach us a lesson. The names of these characters are symbol – Adam = of the earth and Eve = mother of life. This is a story to explain how sin came into the world. God created an earth without sin. God also gave humankind the greatest of all gifts – free will or freedom of choice. After God gave humanity strict instructions in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve decide to follow the snake’s temptation and to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve want to be like God in the knowledge of good and evil so they eat the apple from that tree. Read the story Love You Forever. Ask the students if they believe the story literally. [No, the old woman did not climb into her son’s bedroom window and rock him without him waking up.] Ask the students if they can explain some lessons that they could learn from the story. [The mother really loved her son. The son grows to love his mom the same way.] Now invite your students to put on their same ‘thinking’ caps when you read the story from the Bible. Read Chapter 3 of Genesis. Ask your students what lessons they can learn from the story about how sin came into the world. Use the black explanations above if necessary. What is the consequence of Adam & Eve’s sin? They must leave the garden and work for a living. In the story of Moses striking the rock twice and then being refused entrance into the Promised Land, it is challenging to know how Moses misused the gift of freedom. The Jerome Biblical Commentary offers this explanation. When Moses and Aaron bring the people together to offer the water that God will give, Moses sounds sarcastic and punitive in giving the people the water and not joyful that God is offering the water as a free gift. Use this passage, Numbers 20:1-13, carefully. Moses’ consequence for not being obedient to God is that he does not lead the people into the Promised Land.

David’s story is about infidelity and murder. (2 Sam 11 – 12) David is the king of the Judah. David commits adultery with Bathsheba and then has her husband killed in a battle of war. The Prophet Nathan condemns David because God tells him to. Read the story of David’s infidelity (2 Sam 11-12.) Explain that David had relations with Bathsheba and he was in a committed relationship with a wife. Then David afraid that Uriah will expose his sin arranges that Uriah is put on the front lines of a battle so he will be killed. These actions are David’s free will, choices made freely. What consequence does God give David? [the child of Bathsheba and David dies]

Jonah is asked by God to go to the city of Nineveh to ask the people to repent. Jonah goes in the other direction. Read the story of Jonah (Jnh 1-3) and ask your students to explain why Jonah chooses to disobey God and go the other direction. What is the consequence Jonah is dealt?

I would not know which disciples stopped following Jesus after the prediction of his death. I would not want to speak about Judas and his choice to complete suicide in speaking with Grade 3 students. I think the free choices and consequences of the above stories will suffice. You could also read the story of Cain and Abel, Genesis 4

Twenty-first Century Education > Skit Guys – What Keeps You from Following God – the many reasons that people do not follow God completely – Comedy video – 11.48 min > Go from “Me” to “We” in your Marriage – Inspirational video – 2.55 min – a profound insight about marriage and the work that is involved – a resource for integrating life, faith and family – has a variety of resources for teachers of religious education > 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

“Shhh…It’s a Secret… When someone tells you a secret and tells you to NOT tell it to anyone else, they might ask you to “zip your lips.” They want you to pretend there’s a zipper on your mouth so you can’t open it! You will also want to zip your lips when you’re swimming so you won’t swallow any water. And then there are times when you want to OPEN your lips so you can eat or drink or talk. But what else can you do with your lips besides open and close them? You can pucker your lips to whistle…you can blow through them to blow out birthday candles…and you can use them to breathe in and say “Wheee” when you’re happy or to blow out and say “Whew” when you’re really tired. Oh, oh, there’s one other very important thing you can do with your lips. You can use them to kiss somebody hello or good-bye or good-night. Aren’t you glad God gave you lips? What will you do with yours today – whistle to call your puppy or to whistle a happy tune…whisper to tell someone a secret or to whisper a prayer to God to thank him for your pucker-uppers?” p. 101


Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


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? There are two creation stories – Genesis 1.1 – 2.3 & Genesis 2.4 – 25
  1. How many psalms are there in the book of Psalms? 150
  1. Were there any other Gospels written besides Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? There is the gospel of Thomas and the gospel of Peter and the gospel of Judas. There are others. They differ in theology from the canonical gospels in some concrete way so they were not selected for inclusion in the Bible.
  1. How many letters did Paul write to the early Christian churches? 13 Letters are included in the canonized Scriptures.
  1. For what is a concordance used? A concordance is a paper search engine for every passage in the Bible that has a particular key word. So if I want to know where to find “The Lord is my Shepherd” – I look up the word Shepherd and it will list every passage in the Scriptures that has the word Shepherd and it will give a line with the keyword. Psalm 23 in case you are wondering! LOL There are electronic concordances too. The key is having a concordance that matches your translation to the bible. If they match then it is easier to find passages.

What’s Your Catholic IQ on the Saints? By Page McKean Zyromski

  1. The apostle whose name was changed from Simon is:      A. Paul          B. St. Peter                 C. St. Jude        D. Thaddeus
  1. The famous Dominican brother from Peru who deliberately sought the lowest tasks but who also cured the sick is: A. Ignatius of Antioch B St. Jerome C. St. Martin de Porres   D. St. John Vianney
  1. The Bible says that in the desert John the Baptist ate  A. Meat and potatoes yogourt  B. Thistles locusts and wild honey
  1. Legend tells us that the saint who discovered the true cross of Jesus is: A Nicholas of Myra B. Helena  C. St. Thomas More     D. St. Charles Lwanga
  1. The first Christian martyr, a person who was killed for the faith, is  A. Stephen   B. Maximilian Kolbe  C. St. Thomas More D. St. Polycarp

 Movie Blog by Sister Pat

God’s Pocket – This movie/video is available through Shaw PPV and probably Bell’s comparable service. This movie is one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last movies, released in 2014. Directed by John Slattery and starring John Turturro and Richard Jenkins, this movie is about a neighbourhood in South Philly where working class people struggle to make ends meet. In IMDb it is rated 6.1/10, but I would score it a bit higher. It is referred to as a black comedy – which is a term I find offensive… and I only laughed once because something unexpected happened. For me, it tells the story of people working as hard as they can to do what is right but trouble seems to find them at every turn and there is no such thing as luck. After you watch this movie, you’ve got reason to thank God for all the blessings that are yours!

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

“The most common name in the world is Mohammed.” Huh!

Leave a Reply