Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 8th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Sing praises to the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.” Psalm 147

February 8th, 2015 is the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: Spend some time before Mass familiarizing yourself with some of the stories of Jesus healing people in the Gospel. What are some of the different ways in which Jesus heals people? What difference do you think Jesus’ healings made in these people’s lives?
Reflecting on God’s Word: What healing do you need in your life right now? Do you trust God to bring you the healing that you need? Do you look for ways to bring Jesus’ healing to hurting relationships with your parents or friends?
Act on the Word: Take some time to explore the Book of Psalms this week. These 150 psalms contain all different kinds of prayers – giving praise, asking for help, crying out in desperation, standing in awe of creation, and struggling with enemies. These were the real prayers of the ancient Jewish people. They can be a vibrant way to pray today, trying to understand the experience of these people, relating it to our own, and remembering that the God who was with them is the same God among us today.” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 131

February 10th is the memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin. “St. Scholastica (+547 CE) is thought to have been the twin sister of St. Benedict and was ‘dedicated to the Lord from infancy’ (see 1 Samuel 1:24). Her story is told in Book II of the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great. Once a year Scholastica would visit Benedict at a guest house on the grounds of his abbey in order to spend time together in worship and holy conversation. At the end of one such visit, Benedict rose to leave, but Scholastica, having a premonition of her own death, begged him to stay. When he insisted that he had to return to his cell for the night, she bowed her head and wept in prayer. A wild storm arose, making it impossible for Benedict to leave. When Benedict realized he could not return to the abbey, he complained to his sister, “God forgive you, what have you done?” She answered him, “I desired it of our good Lord, and he has granted my petition. Therefore if you can now depart, in God’s name return to your monastery, and leave me here alone” (Dialogues, Book II). Gregory comments that God heard Scholastica’s prayer rather than her brother’s because, since “God is love,” it is natural that she who loved more, did more. The next morning, the two returned to their respective monasteries, and three days later, Benedict prayed in his cell, saw his sister’s soul ascend to heaven in the form of a dove. St. Scholastica is the patron saint of female Benedictine monastics. Because of Benedict’s vision of her death, she is depicted in art accompanied by a dove. St. Gregory’s narrative is also found in the Office of Readings for this memorial.” Companion to the Catholic Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 47 St. Scholastica, teach us to love our brothers and sisters like you loved your brother Benedict. Whenever you read something today do so in the name of St. Scholastica.

February 11th is the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick. “It was on this day in 1858 that the 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous, a peasant girl in Lourdes, saw a “lady” in a grotto near the river Gave, at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains in France. Over the next several months, Bernadette encountered the “lady” many times. During one of these apparitions, the Lady directed Bernadette to drink from the fountain. But there was no fountain there – only a river. At the lady’s command, Bernadette began to dig in the ground near the grotto, and a spring of water began to flow. Immediately, numerous miraculous healings took place, of those who bathed in or drank the water of the spring. Only later did the Lady reveal to Bernadette who she was: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Today, Lourdes is one of the most popular pilgrimage places in the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to the little town, to drink of the water, and to feel close to the Virgin and to her Son, Jesus Christ, healer of body and soul.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, pages 47-48 St. Bernadette, remind us today to be kind to those who are ill. Today every time you take a drink of water say Hail Mary, full of grace!

World Day of the Sick – “Since 1992, the World Day of the Sick has been celebrated each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. St. John Paul II had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he instituted this world day of prayer. Today we pray for all who are sick and suffering, that they may see in their suffering a share in the Cross of Christ. We pray also for caregivers, for nurses and doctors, that they may be unfailingly gentle and compassionate. We pray, too, for researchers and scientists who seek to eradicate disease. And we pray for the poor of our world, who do not have access to adequate health care.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 48

February 14th is the memorial of St. Valentine’s Day. “An ancient, mysterious legend explains this day’s origins. Two St. Valentines, both third-century martyrs – one a bishop, the other a priest – sent letters of encouragement to people dreading persecution. Hence, we send valentines decorated with flowers, hearts, and the colour red, which symbolizes the blood of martyrdom. Initially, the celebration was not meant to be exclusive; now it has taken on romantic overtones. However, to retrieve the original sense, Peter Mazar suggests handmade cards for people who might not otherwise receive them: residents of retirement centres or hospitals and members of the armed forces. While the day provides revenue for card shops, jewelers and florists, it’s intended to celebrate the Christian values of thoughtfulness and tender care. And it enlivens a long winter!” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 48 St. Valentine remind us of the power of the written word, especially when it expresses love and kindness. Make a homemade valentine for someone you love.

Exploring Paths of Joy – Welcoming Others at the Table ~ a quote for the week

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate our shared humanity.” Henri Nouwen

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 2.3: Use examples to describe situations and attitudes which make moral judgments of conscience less clear and certain, thus making our moral decisions very difficult and open to error (e.g. passions, ignorance or disregard for the Moral Law, lack of clarity, bad example of others, habit of sin, and rejection of the Church’s authority and teaching). [CCC 1790-1794]

You can do a search online to find examples of these situations – give the students the article and ask them to decide what reason the moral decision may be difficult or open to error. Or make a chart with the situations as below and invite the students to match the reasons to each situation. In our times, it is difficult for students to understand the benefit of forming their consciences. We live in a culture of relativism, where everything goes. We need to be responsible to teach them the truth and what is good so they can make healthy and right choices.

Situations and attitudes making moral judgments less clear and/or certain
Reasons that moral decisions may be difficult or open to error
A boy and girl have sexual intercourse because they are intoxicated…Passion
A woman goes into a mosque in Iran/Iraq without a head covering. This is a disregard for the Moral Law in Iran/Iraq…Ignorance or disregard for the Moral Law
A young person eats meat on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday when he/she ought to be abstaining from meat….Lack of clarity
A teen uses the Lord’s name in vain because one of his/her parents does the same all the time….Bad example of others
An attitude of “if it feels good, I will do it.” So a young person does drugs and drinks alcohol every weekend….Habit of sins
A young woman is raped and has an abortion….Rejection of the Church’s authority and teaching

Grade Eight – ML 2.3: Identify some of the moral situations that have arisen in society as a result of globalization, advances in technology and science and examine them in light of the Church’s moral teachings.
These are some examples that can be used to teach moral situations in light of the Church’s teachings. There are many more examples in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Creation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund could be a topic of discussion as an example of globalization.

Moral situations arisen in society as a result of globalization, advances in technology and science Church’s moral teachings

Jobs from the North are finding their way to the global south where the workers’ rights are not viewed the same. The pay grade is much lower and sometimes the workers are treated like indentured slaves.
Workers’ rights ought to be respected. A worker has the right to do work and be paid a living wage so he/she can support his/her family. The Church does not support slavery of any kind. The dignity of the worker as one made in the image and likeness of God requires that the worker is treated as such.

Advances in medical technology are sometimes difficult to know how and when to use them. For example, medications to treat Ebola are available but when the epidemic first started it seemed like countries from the West were only giving the medications to their own citizens if they returned to their home country.
If countries have the medications to treat a deadly disease, why would they not share those medications with the countries that did not have the medications? Is it a case of racism? The dignity of those who are sick as people made in the image and likeness of God requires that the people are treated as such no matter where they live.

Advances in genetic engineering has moved into modifying seeds so the seeds do not grow naturally the way seeds are meant to grow but now some of these seeds need to have a special fertilizing agent (solution) in order for the seeds to produce crops. Once the modified seeds cross pollinate with naturally found seeds, sometimes it makes it impossible for the natural seeds to produce crops.
God’s creation was made so that seeds would contain the promise of future food/crops. Human interference and engineering is creating a dependency which interferes with natural order (law). This is especially nasty when big companies give free GM (genetically modified) seeds to poor countries. The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. [CCC 2269].

Advances in medical technology have made it possible to diagnose if a human fetus has a congenital condition.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit (good), if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual… It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence. [CCC 2274]

Any type of human experimentation
It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material. [CCC 2275] Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. [CCC 2295]

Twenty-first Century Education > in the Religious Education curriculum document there are references to the CCC – Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is a link to that document. > This is a National Catholic newspaper for Canada. There may be articles that can help to deliver the curriculum expectations. > 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
“Faith, Hope – and Charity! Here are a few more names for the name game: Kevin means handsome, Ruth means kindness, Emily means an industrious one, Roy means king, Leo means lion, Alice means truthful, and Monica means one who gives advice. All names are interesting but maybe the English have some of the most unusual ones. They have places with names like Wildboarclogh, Wormwood Scrubs, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Saffron Walden, and Piddletrenthide. One of their popular cricket players was name Strangeways Pigg Strangeways and one of the heads of the Tetley Tea Company in London, England, was named Tetley Ironsides Tetley Jones. And in the nineteenth century there was an English couple whose third child was a son they named “And Charity” because they already had a daughter named Faith and another daughter named Hope! You probably know what faith and hope mean but did you know that charity has several meanings? It can mean being generous enough to give money or food or clothes to the poor. It can mean being helpful and kind to anyone who is suffering in any way. And being charitable can also mean to give a person a second chance, to not make fun of somebody or not “judge” them to be guilty of something when you’re not really sure they are. Do YOU have faith, hope – And Charity?” Page 116.

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. Christ instituted seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and C. matrimony​​

2. The two sacraments of service are A. Holy orders and matrimony​​​​​

3. “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with C. holy hands in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).
4. True or False. All Catholics are immersed completely in water when baptized.

5. Water, holy oils, bread, and A. Wine are all used in the celebration of the sacraments.

What’s Your Catholic IQ? A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien
1. The sacraments of healing are________________________.
A. Baptism and communion​​​
B. Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick​
C. holy orders and confession
D. matrimony and confirmation

2. True or False. Jesus celebrated all seven sacraments.

3. Jesus commissioned the apostles to “make disciples of all nations, ________________________ them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
A. Teaching​​ B. encouraging​​ C. praying over​​ D. baptizing

4. “Be sealed with the Gift of ____________________.”
A. The Church. ​B. baptism​​ C. the Holy Spirit​ D. faith

5. True or False. A sick person may not be sacramentally anointed more than once.

True or False. Infants have never received communion in the Catholic Church.

Movie Blog by Sister Pat
American Sniper –This movie gives the watcher a sense of what PTSD is about and why those who go to war come back with it. However, this movie makes Chris Kyle seem like a hero and a patriot, and I have been told since I saw it, that Chris may not have been the person that the movie portrays. I can’t imagine how difficult the war experience is and how it changes people who experience it. Some who have read Chris’ autobiographical account have said that he was a racist. I learned a lot from the movie and I refrain from holding him up as a hero until I can read the autobiography myself.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one who will?
“The pancreas produces Insulin. Huh!

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