Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 18th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” Psalm 40

 January 18th, 2015 is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear many names for Jesus. Listen and see how many names you hear when the Gospel is read. What do these names mean to you? This is the second Sunday in Ordinary Time in this liturgical year. Make sure to notice ways in which the colours or decorations in your parish church are different. How do these physical changes contribute to an overall change in mood or emotion?

Reflecting on God’s Word: How good of a disciple to Jesus are you? What are you doing well? What could you stand to do better? Are there any friendships, activities, thoughts, or habits that you need to set aside in order to be a better disciple?

Act on the Word: Each of us has unique experiences and talents that we share for each other’s good. This week, take time to think about the gifts each person in your family or group of friends uses in witnessing to Jesus. Secretly write short notes to these people, letting them know what talents you see them share. Respectively leave your notes in their pockets, backpacks, bedrooms, or lockers. When you pray this week, thank God for the gifts of these people in your life.

FOCUS: To listen to the voice of God already within you. ” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 117, 120

January 18-25 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “Each year, Christians from many denominations observe a special week of prayer for Christian Unity. Coming together in a variety of ways, through joint prayer and meetings, we remember how much we share, and we look honestly at the issues that still keep us apart. It is a time to reflect on Christ’s prayer the night before he died: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23). The week of prayer was begun in 1908 by an American Episcopalian priest, Paul Wattson, and since that time it has spread worldwide. Each year, a joint commission of leaders from the full spectrum of the Christian family gathers to prepare prayer resources for this week of prayer and reflection. For Catholics, the unity of all Christian believers is more than just one more dream; it is central to the Church’s mission.

January 21st is the memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. “St. Agnes (c. 292-305) is one of the women whose name is mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer I. She is thought to have been a member of Roman nobility, and was martyred at the age of twelve under Diocletian on January 21, 304, for refusing to marry a prefect’s son. She is the patron saint of Christian virtue and is often represented with a martyr’s palm and a lamb (a translation of her name in Latin). This gave rise to the tradition of blessing lambs at the Roman Basilica of St. Agnes on this day. The wool from these lambs is then used to wave the pallium worn by archbishops and others of metropolitan rank.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 38. St Agnes inspire us to stand up for our beliefs like you did. Be an example today for those around you.

January 24th is the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. “St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), bishop of Geneva, contributed immensely to the development of spirituality through the publication of his book An Introduction to the Devout Life. Living during a time when most manuals on spirituality were written primarily for clerics and members of religious orders, St. Francis’ book provided a practical path to holiness for people from all states of life. He challenged the prevailing belief that only a select few could attain sanctity. Along with his accomplishments in the area of an “everyday” or “lay” spirituality, he cofounded with St. Jane Frances de Chantal the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary – a religious community of nuns that move beyond traditional enclosure to a blend of prayer and service to the poor. Together, Sts. Francis and Jane, with their close friends Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, transformed the face of the Church in France. St. Francis has been named a Doctor of the Church.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 39-40. St. Francis is known to be someone who believed in gentleness, peace and joy in the spiritual life.

Help us, St. Francis de Sales, to grow in our virtue of wholeness with gentleness, peace and joy. Encourage someone today!

Exploring Paths of Joy – Proclaiming the Good News ~ a quote for the week

“Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming good news.”  Mk. 1:14

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 2.2: Describe through the use of example, how making moral choices promotes a life of virtue. [CCC 1776-1829] “Deep within [our] conscience [we] discover a law which [we] have not laid upon [ourselves] but which [we] must obey. Its voice, ever calling [us] to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in [our] heart at the right moment…. For [we] have in [our] heart a law inscribed by God…. [Our] conscience is [our] most secret core and [our] sanctuary. There [we] are alone with God whose voice echoes in [our] depths.” [CCC 1776] I would begin this lesson by asking your students to give examples of choices that students their age must make every day and on the weekends. Ask your students, is every choice a moral choice (a choice between what is good and what is not good)? This is the definition of virtue from the Youth Catechism: A virtue is an interior disposition, a positive habit, a passion that has been placed at the service of the good. Give your students this definition of virtue and ask them the question – How does making moral choices promote a life of virtue? “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). That means that we must change on our way to God. By our human abilities we can do that only in fits and starts. With his grace God supports the human virtues and gives us, above and beyond that, the so-called supernatural virtues, which help us to come closer to God and live more securely in his light.” Youcat, 299. If you have a mature group of Grade 7s discuss the quote above about becoming perfect like our heavenly Father and changing on our way to God.

Grade Eight – ML 2.3: Explain the Church’s belief in the objective truth of the Word of God in Sacred Scripture (i.e. God’s revelation of salvation, faith and morals) and the important source and role that Sacred Scripture has in the examination and formation of conscience for Christian moral decision-making and daily living. [CCC 1776-1789] “The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” [CCC 107]

Begin your lesson with a discussion about this point: The Word of God in Sacred Scripture can be a great source of truth for us as we live our lives. We learn about God’s revelation of salvation (Jesus came to save each one of us), faith and morals. “As we form our conscience the Word of God is a light for our path.” [CCC 1785] As we read the Sacred Scriptures we can grow in the knowledge of our faith. We can learn how to pray. We can learn how to do what Jesus would do in a situation. When you were in grade two or three you may have celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. Before we receive this amazing sacrament of freedom it is important to examine our conscience so we can share where we struggle and need God’s forgiveness. Some people are embarrassed to participate in the sacrament; but God already knows – it is good for us to admit to God about our failures and limitations. We need to acknowledge these before God so we can grow and mature in the faith. Discuss with your students that they are responsible to form their own consciences. When they do so they are able to grow in Christian moral decision-making and their daily living will be more peaceful and joyful.

Twenty-first Century Education > Adorable Hamster Gets Tucked in Every Night – Cute video for Primary Students – 1.40 minutes > Step Up the Love – Saved from the Brink of Suicide – Music Video – 4.43 minutes [intermediate and senior students only] > Great website resources to use if you have a student who has lost a loved one. a blog to help adults grow in faith – has a variety of resources for teachers of religious education – a blog for religion teachers > 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

“Oops! Did you ever spill something and make a big stain on a tablecloth? Well, did you know there was a Swiss chemist named Jacques Brandenberger who was TRYING to make a stainproof tablecloth when he ACCIDENTALLY discovered how to make cellophane! But do you know what cellophane is? It’s that clear, see-through, shiny paper that you usually see wrapped around Easter baskets! Cellophane looks very pretty wrapped around lollipops too. And it is NOT named after the cello, which is a musical instrument, but it IS named after cellulose, which is a plant fibre Mr. Brandenberger was using to try to make that stainproof tablecloth. So now you can enjoy a pretty Easter basket, but you STILL have to be careful not to spill anything on the tablecloth! And sometimes when you do something bad or mean, you might feel like you’ve “stained” your reputation – which is even worse than staining a tablecloth – but if you tell God you’re sorry, he will help you get stainfree again.” Page 112.


Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


What’s Your Catholic IQ? on the Bible adapted from Page McKean Zyromski’s book

  1. How did John the Baptist die? He was beheaded by Herod’s order.
  2. When we are talking about the Bible, what does the word evangelist mean? A writer of the Gospels.
  3. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared over the heads of the disciples as? Tongues of fire.
  4. What do the Jews call the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures? The Torah.
  5. Who is the scholarly Doctor of the Church who single-handedly translated the Bible into Latin? St. Jerome

What’s Your Catholic IQ? A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien

  1. The first time a person receives the real presence of Christ – body and blood, soul, and divinity – in the Eucharist at Mass is at their: A.  ordination       B.first holy Communion         C. holy matrimony      D. first reconciliation
  1. The sacrament of penance is also known as:  A.  reconciliation    B.  peacemaking   C. anointing   D. Ash Wednesday
  1. Last rites are also known as the sacrament of the:  A.  final blessing    B. last word   C. old people   D. anointing of the sick
  1. In the Catholic Church, the successors to the apostles are the:  A. altar servers    B.  saints   C. bishops  D. fishermen
  1. True or False. The power to forgive sins is given to the Church.

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Wild – This is a story about pilgrimage along the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail.) I had not known about this trail before I saw the movie and now I have a desire to walk along it once I retire. The movie features Reese Witherspoon as the main character in this true story about a young woman who walks the trail in order to find her true centre. It is based on the real story of Cheryl Strayed whose picture is shown during the credits. I saw this in Toronto in the theatre but I think we will have to wait for PPV or rent the video in order to see it.

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

“It took Leo Tolstoy six years to write “War & Peace”. Huh!

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