Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 5th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“All the ends of the earth have seen the glory of God!”

January 4th, 2015 is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: The word epiphany means “an illuminating discovery” or “a sudden understanding of something.” Why do you think we call today the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord?
What do you already know about the magi? What do you wonder about them?

Reflecting on God’s Word: Are there times when you look down on those who are different from you? Do you avoid them or ridicule them? How could you be more welcoming to those who are visiting your [school]?
Act on the Word: This week, reach out to someone whose background is different from your own. If you have a friend whose parents come from India, for example, perhaps he or she would be willing to join you for a meal at an Indian restaurant or a viewing of an Indian movie in order to help you learn more about Indian culture and food. Does your newfound understanding of this other culture make you want to pray for people in that country or donate money for causes related to that culture?” The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 109

“Month of January ~ The first month of the year gets its name from the Roman god Janus, whose name means “gate.” Janus has two faces. One looks behind, the other ahead. January is a month in which we look back in time and look ahead. January is also the month of Epiphany. That can be the merriest day of our merry Christmas time. In most churches in North America, Epiphany is kept on the first Lord’s Day of the year. A Greed name for Epiphany is ta phota, which means “lights.” It was Advent during most of December, when the days got as short as they can get. But now the light is growing. That’s something hopeful to keep in mind. Even in the dead of winter, spring is on its way. These winter days of growing light take us to Lent. They are Carnival days. Carnival is the customary time of year for plays and puppet shows and circuses and all the human arts that can help drive the cold winter away. This is a time of hospitality. To people in need, wintertime hospitality can be a gift of life and light.” Companion to the Calendar: a Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 27-28

Month of the Holy Name ~ Throughout the month of January, we give special honour to the name of Jesus. St. Paul wrote to the Philippians: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). We hold the name of Jesus in special reverence. The very name of Jesus is a prayer.” Companion to the Calendar: a Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 28

January 7th is the memorial of St. André Bessette, Religious. St. André Bessette (1845-1937), known as Brother André, was born to an impoverished working-class French-Canadian family. His father worked at various trades, trying to make enough to support his family. Eventually he found work as a lumberjack but was tragically killed by a falling tree, leaving behind a widow and ten children. Three years later, André was orphaned at the age of twelve when his mother died of tuberculosis. He was taken in by his aunt and uncle. He tried his hand at several trades, but his poor health and lack of education made it difficult for him to hold a job, so he emigrated to the United States and spent time working in a textile mill in New England. André was always exceptionally pious, and he eventually returned to Canada and entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal. He was made a doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Côte-des-Nieges, Quebec. He held this position for forty years and developed a great following once his reputation for wisdom and holiness spread. In 1904 he began building a small chapel on Mount Royal, which later developed into St. Joseph’s Oratory. Thousands of miraculous healings were attributed to him during his lifetime, but he always gave credit to St. Joseph, to whom he had a great devotion. When he died in 1937, aged ninety-one, a million people paid their respects. André Bessette was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010.” Companion to the Calendar: a Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 33 Dear Brother, teach us to be humble as we move through the early days of this New Year.
Every time you use a door today, think of the faithful porter of Montreal.

Exploring Paths of Joy – Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread ~ a quote for the week
“Give us this day our daily bread…” Mt. 6:11

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 ML2.3: Identify the different actions that we are capable of doing as human beings (e.g. natural actions such as eating, sleeping, running, etc.) and those actions that we are able to think about (i.e. use our reason) before we act and that have consequences of being good or harmful to others and to ourselves. [CCC nos. 1777-1782] We need to teach young ones that they have a conscience and that they have to follow their conscience. When they listen to their conscience, the wise student can hear God speaking. [CCC 1777] So to hear their conscience they must have some quiet time (interiority) to be able to reflect. As well they need to be taught that when they have decisions to make it is a good time to listen to what God would want to say. It is important to teach students about the consequences of our actions. I would read a story in which there are actions that are good and some that are not. Some titles could be: Do Unto Otters; What If Everybody Did That?; Giraffe and Bird; and Sorry!. I have these books for loan. Read the book and ask the students which actions are good actions. Which actions are harmful to others or ourselves? It is important to know right actions and actions that are not right. We need to do the right actions and avoid the actions that are not right. So many actions may appear neither right or wrong until we look at them in a deeper way. Running is a natural action that could be considered a good action because it helps a person to be fit and active. However, if a person runs into traffic on purpose (not by accident) then the action of running is a harmful action. The person may be hit by a car and hurt. The person who is driving the car may experience trauma from hitting the person. There are many consequences. When we are growing up our parents begin to help us form our conscience by teaching us right from wrong. Then as we continue to grow our teachers begin to teach us. Then we must continue to teach ourselves what is right and wrong.

Grade Two ML2.3: Identify the Law of God in the Old Testament (i.e. Ten Commandments) and in the New Testament (i.e. Commandment of Love) and show how they guide us in making choices to act in ways that show love to God and our neighbour. [CCC nos. 1949-1986; 1786-1789; 1847] In this time where people feel if it is right, they ought to be able to do it, following God’s law may seem a bit obscure. However as Catholic teachers we are given the duty to help our students to form their conscience so they can discern right from wrong for themselves. The Ten Commandments are considered the Law of God and is considered the first stage of revealed Law. Law is the rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. [CCC 1951] I would list the Ten Commandments on the Board. See if any students can identify what this list of Ten is called. Ask the students if this is a random list. Ask the students if these rules are outdated? Ask the students to explain how these rules help us in making choices to act in ways that show love to God and to our neighbour. [Deuteronomy 5:6-21] Read the Commandment of Love from the Gospel of Matthew [Matthew 5:1-12] or use a musical rendition of the same.
Ask the students how this Commandment of Love helps us in making choices to act in ways that show love to God and to our neighbour. Ask the students which list is easier to follow, to understand or to live by.

Grade Three ML2.3: Identify and illustrate what it means to have freedom (i.e. a power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act) and why this is an important human gift received from God which requires us to be responsible in its use. Freedom is an important human gift that God has given us. We are not God’s puppets that he controls but God has given us freedom to choose to act or not to act. If I were teaching this lesson, I would find a way to celebrate the freedom that God has given each student. Prepare gifts of the word Freedom as elaborately as you can…make up book marks with the word FREEDOM on it…have them laminated so the students can keep it for a while. But the bookmark needs to be put into a special envelope so it can be opened like a gift. Explain that God wanted to gift them with a very special gift. Ask the students to explain what freedom is. Take from what they say the ideas above – it is a power, it is rooted in reason and will, it is to act or not to act. It is a responsibility that requires that we use it carefully and respectfully. Give the students’ ideas of times when freedom comes to play in the classroom [to stop speaking when asked to, to listen to instructions, to follow instructions, to work when asked to, to tease another student, etc] and ask them how explain how they are free to act or not to act in these situations.

Twenty-first Century Education
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0JCC2JNU&utm_source – A Story about a Miracle – 3.52 min This is one of the most miraculous stories we have ever heard! After being told he only had months to live, Greg Thomas began preparing for his funeral. He found peace by spending his final days in prayer, walking the countryside with his dog. It was not by coincidence that he stumbled upon a charming abandoned church…that ultimately saved his life. This story will have you believing in the power of miracles!

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=021E01NU&utm_source – A Homeless Man Uses Money to Buy Food for Fellow Homeless 4.45 min It is important not to judge others. This young man wanted to see what would happen if he gave a homeless man $100. Watch to find out what happened.
http://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
“Mountains of Jewels – There are lots of famous mountains in God’s wide world – the Rockies, the Alps, the Appalachians, the Himalayas. And there’s the giant Mount Everest that so many people have tried to climb. But did you know there are two mountains named for JEWELS that are both in the same state? The Diamond Mountains and the Ruby Mountains are both in Nevada. Did you know that it isn’t just mountains that are named after jewels? There’s the famous Diamond Head, a great high craggy rock jutting out of the ocean in Hawaii…and of course, there’s the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz! Some girls even have “jewel” names like Pearl, Beryl, Ruby, or Opal. A jewel or gem might be described as precious, treasured, or very dear – but did you know some people are also described as precious, treasured, and dear? What is your favourite jewel and who is your favourite “jewel” person?” p. 110

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

Advent and Christmas Gospel readings – Use this trivia to encourage careful listening of the Advent and Christmas Gospel readings. You can find hints by looking at John chapter 1. It may prompt a desire to read Scripture more! See what you already know!
3rd Sunday of Advent (John 1)
1. To what was John sent to give witness? The Word made flesh. Jn. 1:14
2. What was John’s response to the priests and Levites’ question, “Who are you?” “I am a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.” Jn. 1: 23
3. Which prophet does John quote? John quotes Isaiah. Jn. 1:23
4. With what does John baptize? John baptizes with water. Jn. 1:26
5. Close to which locale did John baptize in the Jordan River? This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan. Jn. 1:28

Christmas (Luke 2)
1. What house and line does Joseph belong to?
2. How did Mary and Joseph feel when they saw the angel?
3. How many days after he was born was Jesus named?
4. Who are the prophetess?
5. To where do Joseph and Mary return?

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
Into the Woods – This musical teaches many lessons. It combines several of the best known fairy tales and comes up with new connections. It is clever. It is well produced. It is worth viewing but there are dark sections that might frighten young children. Give your inner child the joy of entertainment.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every Dewey-decimal category.” Huh! http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bingbin/

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