Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 11th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“This is my Beloved!”

January 11th, 2015 is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: When we enter the church, we often sign ourselves with holy water as a reminder of our baptismal promises. What kinds of things do we promise to do when we commit to living as God’s people? When you sign yourself with holy water as you enter the church, consider the ways in which you are or are not living out your baptismal promises in your life right now. What needs to change?
Reflecting on God’s Word: Do you take your baptismal promises seriously? Do your actions show that you have “put on Christ” through Baptism? How well are you doing at avoiding situations and people who lead you away from God? When you stray from God, do you seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance?

Act on the Word: One wonderful way to remember your Baptism is by attending the Baptism of another. See if any infants will be baptized in your parish over the coming weeks, and if they are, make an effort to attend. You may want to invite a friend or family member to come with you. Listen carefully to the priest’s words, and watch for the symbols of water, oil, fire, and the white garment. What does witnessing the Sacrament of Baptism make you feel about yourself as a baptized member of the Body of Christ?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 113

“January 12th is the memorial of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Virgin. This first Canadian woman to be canonized was born in France on April 17, 1620.; When she was nineteen, her mother died, and Marguerite took on the responsibility of caring for her brothers and sisters. A year later, during a procession in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, she felt inspired to consecrate herself to the service of God. She tried joining the Carmelites and the Poor Clares, but both communities refused her entrance. Once Marguerite learned about the French settlement at Ville Marie in Canada – late known as Montreal – she realized that her vocation was to missionary work. The founder and governor of the settlement, Paul Chomody de Maisonneuve, persuaded her to dedicate herself to the education of French and Indian children. She started a school but soon realized she would need help and returned to the founders of the Congregation de Notre-Dame. Originally, Marguerite intended her community be uncloistered and take simple vows, an innovation at the time that enabled the siters to pursue an active apostolate rather than remain in a cloister. Soon French Canadian and Native American women joined the group. The Congregation of Notre Dame received approval from the Vatican in 1698, and by the late 19th century, the sisters had spread through Canada and into the United States. Marguerite Bourgeoys is considered the co-foundress of Montreal, where she died on January 12th, 1700 after offering her life for the cure of a younger sister. She was canonized by St. Pope John Paul II in 1982.” Companion to the Calendar: a Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 35

St. Marguerite teach us to serve the poor we meet every day. Every time you face rejection this week, take St. Marguerite’s good example and look for another way to meet your goal.

Exploring Paths of Joy – Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread ~ a quote for the week

“I have no ordinary bread at hand, only holy bread…”1 Sam 21:4

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 2.2: Explain why in preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation we are to first examine our conscience in light of this Moral Law. [CCC nos. 2055, 1972, 1983, 1985, 1776-1802]
In preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation we are asked to examine our conscience in light of the Moral Law of love. Have I loved God above all? Have I loved my neighbour as myself? “The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who “does not know what his master is doing” to that of a friend of Christ…[CCC 1972]
In this time of stress we can help our students by encouraging them to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. We would do well to teach them to acknowledge that they (we all do) make mistakes. Sometimes we make mistakes by accident. Sometimes we make mistakes by choice. When we acknowledge our mistakes we have choices to resolve or to reconcile the situation. We can ask for forgiveness from the one who is affected by the mistake. It is good to say “I am sorry that …” and specifically acknowledge the mistake to the person. We can also examine our conscience and seek reconciliation through the sacrament. When we do these actions – we can experience freedom from sin. If you would like a simple examination of conscience to do with your students, email me and I will create one for your class. If you would like me to come to visit your class to talk about the gift of the sacrament, please invite me to visit.

Grade Five – ML 2.1: Examine the narrative of the first sin (Genesis 2-3) and explain what it tells us about human free will and responsibility, how it illustrates an understanding of the “sources of morality” and how it describes the consequences for immoral actions i.e. sin. [CCC nos. 407-408; 1730-1775] Read the story of Genesis 2:15-3:24
Once you have read the first three lines ask the students, “From which tree does God ask Adam to not eat?” Then ask, “What does God say the consequence will be if he does?” Then continue to read the passage until 3:3 and ask the students again, “Did God say all that Eve tells the snake?” The snake continues to seduce Eve, makes it appealing to her to go against what God asked. Continue to read the rest of the story. Then Eve decides to go against what God said. Then Eve gave fruit to Adam to eat and he did. Ask your students, was Eve forced to disobey God? Who was responsible for her actions? Was Adam forced to disobey God? Who was responsible for his actions? The students may be inclined to say that Eve was, but Adam is responsible for his own actions, he could have said NO. We are gifted with free-will by God. This gift comes with responsibility. “Sin in the strict sense implies guilt for which one is personally responsible.” [Youcat, 68] God is the source of all that is good. God gives us limits so that we can live with freedom and responsibility. When we do not live within the limits we struggle. The sources of morality – the morality of human acts depends on: the object chosen; the end in view or the intention; and the circumstance of the action. Please do not teach this as though it actually happened – it is a lesson to teach us about how sin entered the world. Adam and Eve were not real people. They are prototypes of the first people of humanity. This story teaches us that when we make decisions we need to use our conscience to make the right choice. We may not hear a snake speaking to us but something else may be tempting us. When we feel tempted, we must act against the temptation. When we fall into sin, it is best not to cause someone else to do the same. When we sin there will be consequences. We are so blessed because God has created a way for us to be relieved from our sins. We first need to acknowledge our sin and then to ask for forgiveness.

Grade Six – ML 2.1: Examine a selection of Scripture passages and summarize what Jesus taught his disciples to help form their conscience (live in accordance with God’s will – Matt. 5-7: Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount; instructions on becoming a disciple and servant – Matt. 25: Thy will be done – the Garden of Gethsemane: Matt. 26:36-46). [CCC nos. 1783-1785] Before Jesus taught his disciples to form their conscience they were living with the Mosaic Law (The Ten Commandments) as their ruler/guide. Jesus wants to help his disciples to form their conscience based on love and not fear. Read Matthew 5-7 and ask you read ask the students “what is Jesus teaching his followers?” by each part of the chapters about how they are to form their conscience (what is the right way to live.) Matthew’s gospel was written for followers who were Jewish before they became Christian. So it gives us a good idea of how Jesus is trying to teach his followers a new way of living, the way of love. It says frequently in this gospel “You have heard that it was said…” this refers to how the Jewish people thought/believed. Read Matthew 25. Ask your students to identify what Jesus’ instructions are on how to become a disciple and a servant of God.
When Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane we see how Jesus is willing to do what God wants even if it means he must suffer and die. Read the passage and discuss that when we become a follower of Jesus, we too are called to be willing to die for our love of God.

Twenty-first Century Education
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=JM0MMNNU&utm_source > Adoption – A beautiful alternative – 3.58 min
An inspirational song and powerpoint about adoption.

http://deepeningfriendship.loyolapress.com/ a blog to help adults grow in faith

www.catholicmom.com – has a variety of resources for teachers of religious education

www.catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com – a blog for religion teachers

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
“Whooo Said That? Someone once started the rumour that you could make an owl wring its own neck if you kept walking around in circles because the owl would keep turning its head to watch you – but that’s not true. The owl DOES have very large eyes and when it is watching something, it CAN turn its head upside down and NEARLY all the way around…but NOT all the way around. When its head gets ALMOST all the way around, the owl simply whirls its head rapidly in the other direction and keeps watching. The wise old owl usually waits until night to come out so it NEEDS those big eyes to see in the dark. And it has fringed “flight feathers” so its flight is silent and you wouldn’t hear it coming in for a landing like you would hear an airplane. But do you know what an owl does in the daytime? When the sun comes up, the owl finds a hole in a tree or a spot on a leafy branch and goes to sleep. That’s why they call people who stay up very late at night and then sleep very late in the day “night owls.” God made the night dark and mysterious and secret, a time to rest and dream. God made the day bright and busy, light and just right for work or play, a time to go places and do things and maybe daydream. So whether you’re a “night owl” or an “early bird,” God make both day and night for you to enjoy.” p. 111

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

Christmas (Luke 2)
1. What house and line does Joseph belong to? – The House and line of David. Luke 2:4
2. How did Mary and Joseph feel when they saw the angel? Terrified Luke 2:9
3. How many days after he was born was Jesus named? Eight days Luke 2:21
4. Who is the prophetess? Anna Luke 2:36
5. To where do Joseph and Mary return? Nazareth Luke 2:39

What’s Your Catholic IQ? on the Bible adapted from Page McKean Zyromski’s book
1. How did John the Baptist die?
2. When we are talking about the Bible, what does the word evangelist mean?
3. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared over the heads of the disciples as?
4. What do the Jews call the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures?
5. Who is the scholarly Doctor of the Church who single-handedly translated the Bible into Latin?

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies I can imagine the joy of J.R.R. Tolkien in heaven after all the audiences have seen and enjoyed his great work…at least as interpreted by Peter Jackson. Is it not truly amazing to read a book then go to a movie to see how someone else (more like thousands) has brought the words to life on the big screen. I enjoyed the movie although it may be time for a re-read of the book which I skimmed through in high school English. If you enjoy fantasy, go see it!

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