Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning November 9th, 2014

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Come behold the deeds of the Lord.”

November 9th is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: If something happened to your house or if you moved away, would you still be a family? If your church building fell down, would you still be a community? What makes a family or a community? What do you think are the most beautiful or interesting objects or decorations in your parish church? How do they help you feel closer to God?

Reflecting on God’s Word: As sacramental people, we are both signs of God to the world and workers who bring the presence of God to others. When people observe you, do you think they see someone who represents God? What affinity do you feel with Catholic Christians who speak other languages, observe different customs, or live in faraway places? How do you understand all of these different people as the one Body of Christ?

Act on the Word: As Jesus is casing the moneychangers from the Temple, his disciples remember Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Zeal is not a word we use often, but it means to have a fanatic passion for something. How emotionally attached are you to your parish church? Church buildings symbolize the living communities that gather. Even when the building is empty, the Body of Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament. This week, visit your church. Spend time appreciating the sacred art and design of the building and recalling special celebrations that have occurred here before offering a prayer of thanks for this place of worship.” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, pages 61

“Today the Church throughout the world celebrates a feast in honour of a church in Rome: the Basilica of St. John Lateran. St. John Lateran is not just any church: it is the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, who is, of course, the pope. “Lateran” was the name of a Roman family whose lands were seized by the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. He proceeded to build a great basilica dedicated in honour of St. John the Baptist, but the name of the family that had once owned the land remained associated with it, and the church is called San Giovanni in Laterano, or “St. John in the Lateran.” For centuries, the old Lateran palace was the residence of the popes. It was only when the popes returned to Rome following the Avignon exile in the fourteenth century that they moved their residence to the Vatican Hill, which they considered to be a healthier part of the city. St. John Lateran continues to serve as the pope’s cathedral and is as a sign of our unity as a Church under the leadership of the Holy Father. As we recall the dedication of this important church, the Mother Church of all churches of the world, we should look inward as well. “My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple?” asked St. Caesarius of Arles in a homily on this feast. “Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins….Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul” (Office of Readings, Vol. IV, pp. 1547-48)” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year page139. Thank you God for architects and artists who create beautiful liturgical spaces for us to pray in. Appreciate the beauty of your church and the work that the decorating committee does to make it liturgical ready for prayer.

November 10th is a memorial of St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church. “As pope and Doctor of the Church, St. Leo the Great (+461 C.E.) strongly supported the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon, especially on the humanity and divinity of Christ. He advocated papal authority by moving from the traditional approach that the pope is a successor to St. Peter’s chair to the pope as St. Peter’s heir. Under his leadership, uniformity of pastoral service was encouraged, liturgical and clerical abuses were corrected, and priests were sent on a mission to extinguish Priscillianism, a heresy that claimed the human body was evil. St. Leo is recognized as a “protector of the people” because he persuaded Atilla the Hun to not invade the city of Rome and later prevented the Vandals (east German invaders) from torching the city of Rome and massacring its people.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year page 140.

November 11th is Remembrance Day. “In the early years of the twentieth century, a war called the Great War involved most of the countries of the earth. Millions died as a result of new and terrible weapons. Everyone hoped that it was the “war to end all wars.” A very special time was chosen as the hour when the guns would be stilled and peace declared: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Bu this choice, the signers of the peace treaty suggested that humankind had waited until it was nearly too late. The war would come to be known as the First World War. The day chosen for the beginning of peace was special for another reason. It was the memorial of St. Martin of Tours. Martin had been a soldier in the army until he laid down his weapons. His feast day, Martinmas, was a celebration of peace. That day had also been a thanksgiving festival in Europe since the Middle Ages. Now there was even more reason to be thankful. In Canada, Armistice Day became known as Remembrance Day after the Second World War. It became a time to honour those who died in both conflicts. In the United States, this day is now called Veterans Day.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year page 140

November 11th is the memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop. “St. Martin of Tours (c. 316-397) was forced by his father, a pagan officer in the Roman army, to join the military. While serving in the military he encountered a beggar freezing in the cold. Martin cut his own cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. Following this encounter he had a vision of Christ wrapped in the cloak. As a result of this experience, St. Martin chose to be baptized and declared himself a soldier of peace for Christ, refusing to participate in any act of violence. He took up the life of a hermit, thus beginning monasticism in Gaul. When he was elected bishop of Tours he continued living as a monk, but made numerous trips to visit his people and found new monasteries. The people of Gaul became Christian due to his example.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year page 140

November 15th is the memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. “To the great disappointment of his father, St. Albert the Great (1206-1280), known as “the universal doctor,” entered the Dominican order, where he was recognized for his acumen. Ahead of his time, he believed that learning did not take place in a vacuum; one must be an interdisciplinary learner. He loved the world of academia, anywhere from studying the natural sciences to unearthing the connection between reason and experience to learning the geography of the earth. As a prestigious teacher, he had the privilege of instructing and mentoring St. Thomas Aquinas, author of the Summa Theologia. Toward the end of his life he began to experience memory loss and dementia, which led to his gradual demise. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year page 141

Exploring Paths of Joy – a quote for the week

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” Jn 8:12

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living a Moral Life ~ Hope Expectations for Junior Classes

By the end of grade 6, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Seek to grow in their understanding of the depth and breadth of the Decalogue and the moral teachings of Jesus;
  • Apply Catholic moral teaching to moral decisions they face in their own lives;
  • Acknowledge their own human weakness and reflect on their sins as the first step in seeking forgiveness and God’s grace for their ongoing conversion;
  • Appreciate Catholic moral teaching as a valid, authoritative interpretation of scripture that addresses contemporary moral issues to guide moral decision-making.

Grade Four ML 2.1: Identify and interpret biblical passages that reveal the indwelling of God’s law in our conscience and the stance holy people take before God’s laws. In Psalm 19: 7-11 it says: “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold,” Read this part of the psalm to the class and ask them “What does this psalm tell us about God’s law?” [explain that all these words mean Law: Law=decrees=precepts=commandment=ordinances] In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 3:3 it says “You show that you are a letter of Christ, [Witnesses] prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” Read this passage from 2 Cor. 3:3 and reveal to your students that when we live God’s law it is as if the law is written on our hearts. We believe that God’s law is good and we live it in our lives. People ought to be able to see God’s law being lived when they see us living our lives. Hebrews 8:10 reminds us of what it says in the Hebrew scriptures – “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Read this passage and ask the students “What does it mean that God puts laws in our minds and on our hearts?” Some students may say that it is about conscience. If they don’t, ask them if they understand what their conscience is. Conscience is that voice within that we hear when we are making choices between what is good and what is not good. Our conscience needs to be formed and developed as we grow. In Rom. 7:22 it says “For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self.” God has put God’s law in our hearts. It is important that we follow God’s law. God’s law sets us free. When we follow that law we are freed from sin or from becoming unfree or bound. Read this passage to your students. Ask them, “when you have to choose between doing something good and something not good, how do you feel when you make the right choice?” We usually get a sense of well-being when we make good choices. In Phil 2:12-13 it says “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Ask your students, “Do you always obey your parents?” It is good to obey older people because usually they only want what is good for you. They want you to be safe and peaceful. It is good to obey them when they are close at hand; but even better to obey them (do what is expected) when they are not around. In that way you show how mature you are. That is what holy people do. Holy people do what is right all the time. And when they fail, they ask for forgiveness.

Grade Five ML 1.4: Identify through the lives of the saints how being people of faith, hope and charity (i.e., the “evangelical counsels”) promotes the development of charity in our lives and perfection in living the New Law. [CCC 1973-1974; 1987-2029] The New Law is the Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes. “Besides its precepts, the New Law also includes the evangelical counsels. The traditional distinction between God’s commandments and the evangelical counsels is drawn in relation to charity, the perfection of Christian life.” [CCC 1973] The evangelical counsels are chastity, poverty and obedience. To teach the evangelical counsels to Grade 5 students I would define them as:

Chastity is to love wholeheartedly and with a pure heart. Poverty is to share our blessings whenever we can. Obedience is praying to God and listening carefully to what God wants us to be and do. The saints are people who love, share and pray well. Read an account of the lives of saints given in the Catholic Culture update and ask the students to identify how the saints are living the evangelical counsels and the virtues. In the Catechism the word charity is used to identify the virtue of love. It is church language. Charity in our culture means giving something to someone/something (an organization). Charity in the Catechism means practicing the virtue of love – the most important of all the virtues – “and the greatest of these is love.” [1 Cor.13] When we live the New Law, we receive grace. “Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body.” [CCC 1997] Explain to your students that when people put their heart and mind into living the Beatitudes, God graces them to be successful. We can tell that they are being successful in living the Beatitudes by the fruits of the Spirit that are evident in their lives. The fruits of the Spirit are: faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, goodness, kindness, peace, joy, love and patience. [Galatians 5:22-25] Using the saints’ lives from CCU – invite the students to identify the fruit of the Spirit that is evident in the lives of the saints.

Grade Six ML 1.3: Articulate the Church’s teaching concerning the Fourth & Fifth Commandments – “Honour your father and mother; You shall not kill” and apply these to the moral issues facing society today (e.g., sanctity of human life – abortion and euthanasia, dignity of the human person, social living conditions; honouring parents – disobedience, stubbornness, disrespectful words and actions, scorning, angrily talking back, refusing to participate in household responsibilities, striking or cursing parents, stealing from parents, etc.] [CCC 2196-2257; 2258-2330] “The fourth commandment shows us the order of [love.] God has willed that, after God, we should honour our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God.” [CCC 2197] “This commandment is expressed in positive terms of duties to be fulfilled. It introduces the subsequent commandments which are concerned with particular respect for life, marriage, earthly good and speech. It constitutes one of the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church. The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. …It requires honour, affection and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country and to those who administer or govern it.” [CCC 2198-2199] Once upon a time, in our culture obedience to parents was a given. It is no longer so. Relationships with parents have been undermined by the media. It would good to explain to students that we are called by God to this teaching. We are not living the commandment when we are disobedient, stubborn, disrespectful with our words or actions, being scornful, talking back angrily, and refusing to participate in household responsibilities. It is part of being a member of a household that individuals have responsibilities in the care of the household and its members. We ought never hit or curse at our parents. We ought never to steal from our parents. All of these actions break the fourth commandment of God. It is not enough to honour our mother and father on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The honour should be every day and it is highlighted on those special days. If we do not do it every day, then it has no real meaning on the special days. The fifth commandment is probably less of a problem for Grade six students. You shall not kill. “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator.” [CCC 2258] To explain this concept, speak to your students about November being the month of remembrance. We take time to remember all the people who have gone to heaven before us. God is the only one who remembers everyone, living or dead, always. God never FORGETS us, that is how sacred human life is. Read to your class the story of Cain and Abel – Genesis 3: 1-16. Ask the students to explain the story and the lesson it teaches. There are many moral issues facing us today: intentional homicide, abortion, euthanasia, social living conditions that allow the ebola epidemic to spread, etc. “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.” [CCC 2268] Even though in our country abortion is legal, it is against God’s law.

Abortion is the killing of babies in the womb. Euthanasia is killing a person because he/she is handicapped, sick or dying. All human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception to the natural end of life. From womb to tomb. Many people are surprised and disheartened by the slow response of richer governments to the ebola crisis in Western African countries. We have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters with the technologies we have. You can also talk about how sometimes we can kill someone’s spirit by speaking unkindly to him/her.

Twenty-first Century Education > 2Cellos – First they were Booed but what happened after is something else. 5.31 minutes – look at the guy’s bow by the end of the tune…wow! > Modern video of the story of the Prodigal Son – Inspirational Video – 6.53 minutes – it is emotional! – 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

“Scrambled Animals   Is a hedgehog a pig that lives in a bush? Is a dormouse a mouse that lives behind a door? Nooo…a hedgehog is a little animal that has both hair and spines and when it gets scared, it rolls itself up into a ball a with the spines sticking out. It’s also called a porcupine. A dormouse is an in-between – it looks and acts like either a large mouse or a small squirrel. It lives in bushes or trees and likes nuts and acorns. It usually only comes out at night and hibernates in the winter. There are also some other creatures who are NOT what they sound like. The bald eagle is not bald but has white feathers on his head so he looks bald at a distance. The sea horse is NOT a horse but a fish. Butterflies are not flying butterballs and houseflies are not flying houses. Can you think of other things that are not what they sound like? How about a bullfrog? How about a holy terror? That’s what people call someone who misbehaves. How can you be holy when you are misbehaving? Which are you – holy or a terror?” p. 102

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


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

  1. The apostle whose name was changed from Simon is B. St. Peter
  2. The famous Dominican brother from Peru who deliberately sought the lowest tasks but who also cured the sick is C. St. Martin de Porres
  3. The Bible says that in the desert John the Baptist ate D. locusts and wild honey
  4. Legend tells us that the saint who discovered the true cross of Jesus is B. St. Helena
  5. The first Christian martyr, a person who was killed for the faith, is A. St. Stephen

What’s Your Catholic IQ on the Sacraments? by Page McKean Zyromski                          

  1. The usual minister of the sacrament of Confirmation is:    A. a deacon    B. a priest     C. a bishop    D. the pope
  1. The primary, or first, educators in the faith for children are:   A.their pastor     b. their parents    C. their catechists  D. EWTN
  1. The newly baptized receive:  A. white garment      B. a candle       C. a solemn blessing     D. all of these
  1. Rosaries, medals, scapulars, and holy water are all: A.  Sacramental        B. pastorals     C. liturgies      D. sacristies
  1. Holy chrism is:  A. Oil to which lavender is added for fragrance,     B. Blessed during Holy Week at the Chrism Mass     C. Used in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders     D.  All of these

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

The Best of Me – This movie is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. It is a moving account of first love and the complications that life can bring. It is a good story. Kleenex may be required by some viewers. The characters are believable. I really enjoyed it, it was not so complicated as to make it a puzzle. Enjoy!!!

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

“Karoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.” Huh!

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