Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 15th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“You are my refuge, Lord.” Psalm 32

 February 15th, 2015 is the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: What do you already know about lepers? If you don’t know much about leprosy, take time to learn more about it. Focus especially on learning what life was like for lepers in Jesus’ time. Who today is kind of like a leper? When you hear this Sunday’s Gospel, think of these people or groups.

Reflecting on God’s Word: Do you ever feel like an outsider? How do you tend to respond when you feel like an outsider? Do you think that others around you ever feel like outsiders? How can you bring healing and inclusiveness to those situations?

Act on the Word: Jesus is moved with pity to help the leper, even though it means he will be ostracized for doing it. Sometimes, helping other people puts us on the outside. Still, like Jesus, we are called to love and help everyone. Teens with disabilities are often ostracized by their peers because people aren’t sure about spending time with them. This week, take some time to learn more about the disability of a classmate or neighbour so that you can reach out in friendship. Ask an experienced adult to help plan visits to your home or outings that will be safe and fun for both of you. Invite your peers to join you so they can also get over some of their fears or questions about people with disabilities and reach out in friendship.

Wrapping It Up: The Church tells us that Jesus has a “preferential option” for the poor and those in need. He loves them in a special way. What do you think that means? How can we bring the healing love of Jesus to others who are sick or in need?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 135, 137

February 15th is also National Flag of Canada Day. “The national flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. The anniversary of this date is officially called the “National Flag of Canada Day”, which is often shortened to “Flag Day.” Parent Partners Newsletter – OAPCE When you see the flag today, look at this symbol of Canada with pride.

February 16th is Family Day in Canada except in British Columbia where it is celebrated last Monday. It is a statutory holiday established to give people time with their families, but it also gives a day off between New Year’s Day and Good Friday which are approximately three months apart. There are many family friendly ways to spend this Monday; start a new family tradition by doing something that everyone can enjoy together. Holy Family inspire us to follow your example to be families of love and forgiveness.

February 18th is Ash Wednesday, “one of the most-loved days on the entire liturgical calendar. Coming together to hear the Lord’s call to repentance, and to receive the blessed ashes, is part of what makes us Catholic. The Collect for Ash Wednesday is one of the most startling prayers we hear all year. This prayer uses imagery of warfare in describing Lent: “Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting / this campaign of Christian service, / so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, / we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.” This is a different kind of warfare: it is a battle that takes place within us. Our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, our “self-restraint,” are the only weapons we have in our fight against evil. But with God’s grace to help us, these weapons are enough. The use of ashes as a sign of repentance goes back thousands of years, and is referenced frequently in the Jewish Scriptures. In the early Church, penitents – baptized persons who had committed grave sins – would come to the bishop at the beginning of Lent, and be marked with ashes as a sign of their repentance. After a period of rigorous penance, they would be welcomed back to the sacraments at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. As time passed, the ashes began to be given to all the faithful at the beginning of Lent. The ashes are a reminder of where we come from – ashes to ashes, dust to dust – but they are also a call to repentance. Traditionally, the ashes are made from the burning of palms from last year’s observance of Palm Sunday: in that sense, they are also reminders that we are destined for glory with Christ.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 10-11 Repent and believe the Good News. Try to keep your ashes all day.

Lent: When people hear “Catholics” and “Lent” spoken in the same sentence, the imagination flashes images of a fish fry in the church basement, meatless Fridays with mac’n’cheese, or Stations of the Cross. Many Catholics recall giving up something they crave such as pop, and those of an older generation recall making their pre-Easter obligation to confess their sins. Lent engages the faithful in rich spiritual renewal unlike any other liturgical time. Catholics exhibit a special devotion to this liturgical time that uniquely distinguishes Roman Catholicism. While Lent entails many things, three themes emerge. Lent prepares us for Easter and our renewal of our baptismal promises by deepening our identity with Christ through penitential practices. For the adults preparing for Baptism at Easter, Lent affords them rituals to enter into the mystery of Christ Jesus. This period of liturgical time admits human sin and frailty more clearly than others, yet it emphasizes the strength, growth, and holiness that God offers in the midst of strife. Lent’s promise of redemption reveals Catholicism’s optimism. It demonstrates how the sinful are the very recipients of God’s redeeming grace. Because of God’s grace, freely offered as a gift, we have reason to be joyful. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy Thursday. Traditional hymns and common thought claim that Lent lasts for forty days. However, counting the days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday amounts to forty-four. How did it grow by four days? To be continued. Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 10

February 18th is the Memorial March for Missing Womyn in Canada from 12-1 pm in front of the Court House in Sault Ste. Marie. Aboriginal women aged 25-44 are five times more likely than other Canadian women of the same age to die of violence. More than 1200 aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered over the last 30 years. Come join us in this memorial march. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Help us find ways to change this reality for our First Nations, Metis and Inuit women. As you walk today, remember these missing women.

February 20th is the World Day of Social Justice. This day is organized by the International Labour Organization ILO.

“The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing… We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalized are heard.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. The UN upholds the principles of social justice by promoting gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. They advance social justice by removing barriers faced by people because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of the global mission to promote development and human dignity. The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. Visit the website for this day. Jesus, you have a special love for the poor. Help us to live simply, so others may simply live. Tie a string around your finger to help you remember the poorest people in the world.

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

The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw God in all things and all things in God.” Mechtild of Magdeburg

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 – ML 3.2: Explain why the Church has chosen Mary and the saints as examples of holiness for us to also imitate in our lives. (Mary is the perfect example of obedience to the will of God, born and lived free from sin, co-operated with God’s plan of salvation by her obedience, faith, hope and charity, suffered with Jesus at the foot of the cross and ascended to heaven where she intercedes for us on earth; the saints are examples of how Christians should co-operate with God’s plan of salvation by living exemplary lives of prayer, hope and charity, constantly striving to be holy, faithful witnesses to the Truth of Jesus Christ.) [CCC 946-975; 1474-1477; 2012-2016] If I am trying to grow and develop it is helpful to have an example to follow. The Church has known this wisdom throughout its history. We believe in the Communion of Saints – the “good of each is communicated to the others…. The most important member is Christ.” [CCC 947] Ask your class to identify people who they think are holy. [Usually grandparents are at the top of the list] Ask them why they think these people are holy. [That way you will understand what they think holy means. Minds On.] Make a list of qualities that holy people have: pray; listen to God; they try to live good lives by being respectful, kind, generous, joyful, patient, gentle… Explain that the Church has offered us an example in the person of Mary. Mary said yes to being Jesus’ mother. Mary did not sin. Mary was a woman of faith [she believed in God], of hope and love. Mary suffered with Jesus at the foot of the cross, she did not run away like some of Jesus’ friends. Mary prayed. Mary was generous [she visited her cousin Elizabeth to help her when she was pregnant]. Mary was brave/courageous – she said yes to God’s plan that she should be Jesus’ mother even when she was not yet married to Joseph. We can follow Mary’s good example. There are many saints who have lived lives of holiness like Mary. They show us how to live. We are blessed to have their good example to follow.

Grade Two – ML 3.2: Identify how we receive grace from God and identify ways we can use the gift of Grace to help others and build up the Church. [CCC 1996-2005] Grace is the unmerited gift of God’s presence in our lives. Grace is God’s help that helps us to respond to God’s call. “Grace is a participation in the life of God.” [CCC 1997] I would get a big gift box that has a lid. I would put the words “God’s presence” inside the box. I would explain to the class that we have all received this gift because we are God’s children. Ask the class the question, “Do you want to receive this gift of God?” God does not force us to receive this gift. Ask a child to open the box for the class. Ask the child to read what is inside the box. God wants to be present in our lives. Are we open to having God present in our lives? Ask the students to identify ways that they can use the gift of Grace to help others: being loving; being kind; being patient; being courageous; being respectful; being hopeful; being faithful; BEING LIKE GOD. Ask the students to write on a piece of paper one of the ways that they are like God and put that in the box. Put the box in the prayer centre. Ask the class “How does the gift of Grace build up the Church – the Church that we attend, and the Church that is present in our classroom?”

Grade Three – ML 3.1: Define the meaning of “sin”, differentiate between venial and mortal sins and provide examples of both taken from the experience of their everyday lives. [CCC 1846-1876] Ask your class what a sin is. It will help you to know what their understanding is before you begin your lesson [Minds On.] Sin is doing the wrong thing. Sin is doing the wrong thing when you know it is the wrong thing. Sin is doing the wrong thing when your conscience is telling you it is the wrong thing. “Sin is an offense against reason, truth and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain good.” [CCC 1849] There are two types of sins. Mortal sin is a serious sin that turns the heart of a person away from God. Venial sin is a sin but the person does not turn their heart away from God. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” [CCC 1857]

Examples of Mortal Sins Examples of Venial Sins
Killing a person on purpose Lying to your brother
Cheating on a test
Swearing at someone
Bullying – pushing someone around

All sin ought to be confessed. Once it is confessed, the person no longer carries that sin with them.

Twenty-first Century Education > Lenten calendar for Intermediate and Senior students > Maybe it’s time to try something different. Don’t just give something up for Lent. Do something. Sign up for the BEST LENT EVER email program with Matthew Kelly, America’s best-selling Catholic author. It’s simple and free. The only cost is your commitment to live better each day of Lent. Lenten resources for Religious Education > Great website resources to use if you have a student who has lost a loved one. > in the Religious Education curriculum document there are references to the CCC – Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is a link to that document. – 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

“A Special Place Do you know where you could find any of these things – apse, nave, narthex, vestibule, sanctuary? Have you even SEEN any of those things? Well, sure you have – if you’ve ever been in a church. All of those are names for different parts of a church building! If you know anyone who is an architect or an engineer, maybe they could explain to you where all those parts of a church are. Or maybe you could go to the library and look it up. The last time you were in a church, what did you see? A Bible, candles, a songbook, maybe windows with coloured glass? What else? How about people? People come together in a church to pray, to sing, to praise God. Do you do that when you’re in a church? What DO you do when you’re in a church?” p. 117

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. The sacraments of healing are________________________. C. Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick
  1. True or Jesus celebrated all seven sacraments.
  1. 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). D. baptizing
  1. “Be sealed with the Gift of ____________________.” C. the Holy Spirit
  1. True or A sick person may not be sacramentally anointed more than once.

BONUS    True or False. Infants have never received communion in the Catholic Church. In the Eastern Rite all the baptized can receive communion, usually in the form of consecrated wine.

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

  1. The special prayer that Jesus taught his disciples was the ____________________.  A. Act of Contrition     B. Our Father              C. Hail Mary                D. Apostles’ Creed
  1. When Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn the stones into bread, he told Satan: “It is written: ‘One does not live by ______________________ alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4.4).        A. Food B. miracles                C. bread                      D. lunch
  1. The colour worn by the priest during Lent is _______________________.     A. purple      B. green   C. white   D. orange
  1. Lent is a season of preparation for ____________________.  A. Ash Wednesday B. the Easter Bunny    C. Christmas                D. Easter
  1. There are __________ days in Lent.       A. 3            B. 40                           C. 50                           D. 12

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

A Good Lie –This movie is available on PPV and probably at the video store. It is a story about The Lost Boys of the Sudan. It is a good reflection on how myopic we are in North America, believing that everyone in the world has the same experiences we have. This movie is a four thumbs up!

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

“1 in 5,000 north Atlantic lobsters are born bright blue.” Huh!

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