Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 1st, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Oh, that today you would listen to God’s voice.” Psalm 95

February 1st, 2015 is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear about Jesus casting an evil spirit from a man. How do you understand this idea of casting out evil spirits? Perhaps you might like to ask your pastor or religion teacher to help you understand this aspect of the Gospel prior to Sunday Mass. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus speaks with authority. Jesus is present in the Scripture proclaimed at Mass. How well do you typically listen to the readings and the Homily at Mass? What can you do to listen more attentively?

Reflecting on God’s Word: What evil or sin might Jesus be able to cast from your life? How well do you do at respecting the authority of teachers, parents, and other adults?

Act on the Word: Who are your “authorities”? Whose voices do you listen to? Write one sticky note for each source of authority in your life, such as government/law, your parents, your teachers, your boss at work, peer pressure, God, TV personalities, the Bible, your pastor, coaches, boyfriends/girlfriends, and so on. Then, use the sticky notes to rank your authorities, from most important to least important. Be honest with yourself as you do this activity. Do you feel that you prioritize levels of authority well in your life? How do your priorities need to change?

Wrapping It Up: What power does the presence of God have in your life? What extremely difficult situations are you aware of in the lives of others or in the world? How can God’s presence help in those situations?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 127, 130

Month of February ~ The second month of the year takes its name from the Latin word for purification. The ancient Roman calendar had ten months, March through December. (December means “tenth month.”) There was no January and no February. These months were left off the calendar. Strange as it seems, people didn’t feel the need to keep track of the days during the winter. For the Romans, this late winter period before March became a “season” of purification and renewal, almost like Lent. When the Romans began using a 12-month calendar, the old names for the months continued to be used. The month before March was named for the time of purification.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 42.

 February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. “Forty days after Christmas, we celebrate this feast, which recalls the event described in the Gospel of Luke: “When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designed as holy to the Lord’)” Luke 2:22. Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the Temple, and while they are there, they meet two extraordinary people. First they meet Simeon, who, taking Jesus in his arms, recognizes him as the long-awaited Messiah. Not only that, Simeon knows that this Messiah has come not only for the Jewish people, but to all. He is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” Luke 2:32. There is a note of sorrow in this joyful encounter: Simeon prophesies over the child, telling Mary that Jesus will encounter great opposition, while her own heart is pierced by a sword. They also meet Anna, a widow, 84 years old, who prays and fasts in the Temple night and day, and who also recognizes who Jesus is, and begins to proclaim him: “At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for redemption of Jerusalem” Luke 2:38. Jesus is the light to the nations, and from the moment of his birth, people are drawn to his light. That is why on this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we carry lit candles, and the priest blesses the candles to be used in the celebration of the liturgy during the coming year. Because of this, today’s Mass is often called Candlemass.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 44 Mary and Joseph, you must have been surprised by what Simeon and Anna said to you in the Temple. Help my mom and dad when they hear surprising news. Light a candle today to celebrate Jesus as the light of the nations.

February 2nd is also the World Day for Consecrated Life. “On the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we also observe the World Day for Consecrated Life. The Gospel today tells the story of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple “to present him to the Lord” Luke 2:22. Simeon and Anna recognize in this little child the Saviour whom they have awaited with eager expectation. It’s the perfect feast to take some time to give thanks to God for the gift of consecrated life – for all the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the Lord and to service in his Church. Men and women religious throughout the world renew their commitment to the consecrated life this day. It’s also a time to encourage young men and women to consider whether God might be calling them to this mode of life. “What would become of the world if there were no religious?” St. Teresa of Avila once asked. “This is a question which brings us to give unceasing thanks to the Lord, who by this singular gift of the Spirit continues to enliven and sustain the Church in its demanding journey through the world” Pope John Paul II, Message for the First World Day of Consecrated Life, 1997. Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 44 Loving generous God, inspire many men and women to listen to your call to the Consecrated Life. Send an encouraging note to a Sister or a Brother that you know. Pray for Vocations!

February 3 is the memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. “St. Blaise was a physician, bishop of Sebaste (Turkey), and martyr who was born sometime in the third century and died around the year 316. The earliest written reference to him doesn’t appear until the fifth or sixth century, where he is reputed to have healed a boy who was choking on a fish bone. For this reason, his intercession is invoked for illnesses of the throat, and it is customary for throats to be blessed on his memorial, using crossed candles. The instruments of his martyrdom were steel combs that would normally have been used to comb wool, and for this reason he is the patron saint of the wool trade. He was very popular in the 11th and 12th centuries, and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers whose story is retold in the Golden Legend. The Fourteen Helpers are a group of saints who are invoked against diseases.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 45 Dear St. Blaise, protect our throats from all illnesses. Be sure to wear a scarf when you go outdoors.

Exploring Paths of Joy – Opening the Scriptures ~ a quote for the week

“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Lk 24:45

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 2.3: Describe the Church’s understanding of the “judgement of conscience” and how it helps us to recognize the moral quality of our actions (i.e. before we are going to perform them, after we have performed them, and in the process of performing them). [CCC 1777-1788] “Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he/she is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he/she says and does, humans are obliged to follow faithfully what he/she knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his/her conscience that humans perceive and recognize the prescriptions of the divine law.” [CCC 1778] Ask your students to list the decisions that they have to make every day: i.e., get out of bed when parents call him/her; what clothes to wear; whether or not to eat breakfast; etc… Once list is created – maybe you put a list on the Board so everyone can see a list. Explain that some decisions have a moral = right or good nature and some decisions have an immoral = wrongness, sinful, evil nature. Explain that we have a conscience which was put into us by God to help us make decisions about the moral and immoral nature of actions and thoughts. Take each decision on the Board list and invite the students to explain how each decision could be a moral (good – i.e. get up as soon as parent’s voice is heard) decision and how each decision could be an immoral (wrong – i.e. not to be obedient to parents’ voice). Our conscience helps us to recognize the moral quality of our actions (i.e. before, during and after performing them.) So we may not move immediately to respond to our parents when they are calling, but once we start to move we make the decision to listen and obey our parents and get ready for school without any trouble. So our conscience helps us to make a good decision while we are performing the action. Or we don’t listen to our parents and we don’t obey our parents and fight with our parents all the way to school, but later reflect on our actions and apologize to our parents for the difficulty. So discuss the above scenarios to show students that our conscience may help us to make moral choices some time along the continuum between before – during – after.

Grade Five – ML 2.2: Distinguish between a morally good act and a morally evil act and describe the positive or negative effect that our passions can have. [CCC 1755-1775] Cut from the newspaper stories that describe morally good acts and some that describe morally bad/evil/sinful acts. Explain that morally good acts are those that have good effects/positive effects. Explain that morally evil acts or immoral acts are those that have wrong, evil or sinful/negative effects. Have the students pair up and read one of the stories. Invite them to prepare a summary of what the story is about for their classmates. Ask the class is it a morally good act or an immoral act being described. Ask the students who read the story to describe the positive or negative effects in the story. [Sometimes a negative story may have some positive effects – story about a young boy who wrote a letter to RCMP officer, who was killed, to say thank you for the lessons the RCMP officer taught him in his class. The family would be consoled a bit by the gratitude of the boy.]

Grade Six – ML 2.2: With reference to the Church’s moral teachings, define the meaning of conscience (see: Lumen Gentium, no. 16) and the process of “conscience formation” and explain using examples how an informed conscience can be helped when making good moral decisions (to judge and act with knowledge). [CCC 1749-1785] Conscience is a gift that God has given us to help make decisions and choices that are moral – good and to avoid decisions and choices that are immoral – wrong/sinful/evil. The natural law has been written on our hearts by God.

“Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he/she is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he/she says and does, humans are obliged to follow faithfully what he/she knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his/her conscience that humans perceive and recognize the prescriptions of the divine law.” [CCC 1778] Ask the students how do you know when something is right or wrong? Draw out of their experiences examples of right and wrong actions. Ask them, “who taught you right from wrong?” Usually students will identify their parents as their first teachers of these lessons. Ask the class to identify how a person can form their conscience once they become their age. There are many ways to inform our conscience – pray; read the bible; do research about the action; look at the more than 2000 years of Church teaching (if it is appropriate); ask other people who live a good life; exam their conscience regularly to be sure they are making good choices; etc…they may also have some good ideas about who or how to form their conscience. We want to steer them away from “if it feels good, do it.” There is a default action – do the most loving thing. The law of love trumps all else. Not making love but doing the loving action.

Twenty-first Century Education > Love Defined – 1.10 min Could be used for Virtue of the Month assembly? > Globalized classrooms > 18 key resources for 2015.   Are you looking for resources to teach your classes to be globally sensitive to world issues? > 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

“Tooooo Loud! Speaking of hearing and listening, did you know that very LOUD sounds can harm those delicate little parts in your ears that help you to hear? People who work near airplanes at airports or in construction jobs that use loud machinery or in factories where there is a lot of noise MUST wear special ear coverings to protect their hearing. If they didn’t, they would lose that wonderful gift of sound. But what about people who listen to loud MUSIC? They don’t HAVE to listen to loud music like the people who have to work in noisy places but they do it anyway. AND some of them start to lose their hearing when they are still very young. Music is one of the happy blessings of this world. Beautiful music can make you feel happy….patriotic music at a parade can make you feel proud of your country…soft, gentle music can help calm you down when you’re upset…and a lullaby can even help you drift off to sleep. But very LOUD music can destroy delicate parts of your ear and take away your hearing. Did you know that? Will you be careful to stay far away from TOOOO LOUD noises of any kind – so you can save that great gift of sound that God gave you?? Please say yes.”  Page 115.

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


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

  1. “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and ___________;   B. multiply
  1. Holy water found at the doors of the Church is considered a  A. sacramental
  1. ___________ completes Christian initiation through an anointing with oil and the laying on of hands.   Confirmation
  1. True or False. Christ is only present in the Eucharist during Mass for the purpose of Holy Communion.
  1. The ___________ is the source and summit of the Christian life.     Eucharist

What’s Your Catholic IQ? by David O’Brien

  1. Christ instituted seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and ____________________.     A. Social justice          B.novenas                 C. matrimony              D. pilgrimages
  1. The two sacraments of service are:   A. Holy orders and matrimony             B. anointing of the sick and holy orders  C. Eucharist and confirmation       D. baptism and penance
  1. “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with ____________________ in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).    A. Holy water        B. holy ashes                          C. holy hands              D. holy oil
  1. True or False. All Catholics are immersed completely in water when baptized.
  1. Water, holy oils, bread, and ___________________ are all used in the celebration of the sacraments.    A. Wine      B. peanut butter                      C. cheese                   D. butter

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Paddington Bear – This is a great movie. The animation is superb. The story follows the story book with a few explanations of how he came to be at Paddington Station. I would recommend the movie for little ones from 5 years of age and older (4 if the child has been a movie before.) It is a whole family experience.

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

“Lucy and Linus (who where brother and sister) had another little brother named Rerun. (He sometimes played left-field on Charlie Brown’s baseball team, [when he could find it!]). Huh!

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