Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 22nd, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Your paths, Lord, are love and faithfulness.” Psalm 25

February 22nd, 2015 is the First Sunday of Lent.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: Today is the First Sunday of Lent. Pay attention to the changes in colour and environment in your parish church. How do these changes make you feel? Jesus went away for forty days to fast and pray in order to feel close to God. What might you do to grow closer to God this Lent?

Reflecting on God’s Word: What worldly distractions do you need to avoid this Lent in order to focus on your mission as a baptized child of God? What do you tend to do to avoid temptation? How does God figure into that?

Act on the Word: During Lent, we engage in the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (giving money or other items to those who are in need). We empty our minds, hearts, lives, and pockets in order to make more room for God in our lives. Take time this week to identify what you will do during Lent to make more room for God in your life.

Wrapping It Up: If you had to explain the meaning of Lent to someone who was not a Catholic, how would you describe it? Why do you think we tend to “give things up” for Lent? What else are we called to do during Lent?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 139, 144

Lent: The Council of Nicaea (325) officially recognized Lent as a period of forty days. It prepared the unbaptized for the more glorious fifty days of Easter. St. Athanatius, a fourth-century bishop, described a forty-day fast in the vein of Moses, David, and Daniel. He makes no reference to Jesus’ forty days in the desert, an image for Lent that is common today. Originally, Lent began six Sundays prior to Easter Sunday and concluded as it does today on Holy Thursday. In 1091, Pope Urban II argued for a universal rite of ashes to precede the Lenten fast. Through the years, the distribution of ashes became customary on the Wednesday before the First Sunday of Lent. This practice remains today. Hence, four extra days snuck into Lent’s calendar. The actual dates change every year because Easter’s date depends upon the lunar and solar calendars. Lent begins sometime in February or March and concludes in late March or most usually April. Lent is a time of collaborating with God to create something new and divine. Entering into this period of liturgical time with outward rituals of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, combined with the inner work of prayer, believers will be renewed and arrive at Easter eager to welcome the new life of the Resurrection.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 10

February 23 is the memorial of St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr. “St. Polycarp (69-155) was the bishop of Smyrna in the second century. With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, he is an apostolic father, one who was converted by the Apostles. St. Irenaeus was taught by him as a young man and records that Polycarp had been a disciple of John the Apostle; Tertullian wrote this as well. The letter sent by the Christians of Smyrna after his death is a genuine eyewitness account of an early martyrdom. For refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor, Polycarp, in spite of his great age – he may have been eighty-six at the time – was condemned to death. He was sentenced to be burned at the stake, but “the fire, making the appearance of a vault, like the sail of a vessel filled by the wind, made a wall round about the body of the martyr; and it was there in the midst, not like flesh burning, but like [a loaf in the oven or like] gold and silver refined in a furnace” (Martyrdom of Polycarp, 15:2). He was subsequently killed by beheading. Polycarp is one of the earliest Christians whose writings we still have.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 50 St. Polycarp inspire us today when we experience any ridicule or frustration. Give your frustrations to St. Polycarp today.

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

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” St. Francis of Assisi

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 2.4: Identify times when we might hear God speaking to us; giving us instructions (moral truth) to help us “do what is good and avoid what is evil”; and link this to the work of our conscience through which God/the Holy Spirit inspires us to do the good. [CCC 1776-1788]  “Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he/she listens to his/her conscience, the prudent person can hear God speaking.” [CCC 1778] Ask your students for examples of good things that they do throughout the day. Ask them what motivates them to do those things. Ask your students for examples of bad things that they could do throughout the day. How do they choose the good and avoid the evil (bad)? They may come up with conscience as the voice of reason – but they may not. Some examples of choice moments could be: to speak about someone negatively (gossip); to engage in physical roughhousing in the school yard because someone does something to frustrate you; to be unkind in your words to someone because everyone else does it. Are you aware of your conscience telling you not to do these actions? Or are you not aware of your conscience at these times? In order to hear your conscience you need to have some reflection time/quiet so you are able to hear. I have many read-alouds that would give an example of situations where young people are acting without aware of their conscience. Email me and I will send you one. [Some titles would be: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; You’re Mean, Lily Jean by Frieda Wishinsky; any of Trudy Ludwig’s books about bullying.] Read the book and ask the class – how did you feel as you heard the story? Their conscience ought to give them an indication that something is wrong. If their consciences are not moved, it may be important to do some work to form their consciences. In our culture, it can be a challenge to form consciences when relativism is so pronounced.

Grade Five – ML 2.3: Describe the three sources of morality outlined in the moral teachings of the Church upon which the morality of a human act depends (i.e. the object of the act that is chosen, the intention of the person acting, and the circumstances of the action) and apply them to an analysis of various moral dilemmas a person might face. [CCC 1749-1754] “The morality of human acts depends on: a) the object chosen; b) the end in view or the intention; and c) the circumstances of the action.” [CCC 1750] “The following guidelines make it easier to distinguish good actions from bad ones: (1) What I do must be good; a good intention alone is not enough. Bank robbery is always bad, even if I commit that crime with the good intention of giving the money to poor people. (2) Even when what I do is truly good, if I perform the good action with a bad intention, it makes the whole action bad. If I walk an elderly woman home and help her around the house, that is good. But if I do it while planning a later break-in, that makes the whole action something bad. (3) The circumstances in which someone acts can diminish his/her responsibility, but they cannot change at all the good and bad character of an action. Hitting one’s mother is always bad, even if the mother has previously shown little love to the child.” [Youcat, 291] Ask your students to identify various situations where a person must make a decision between good action and bad action. Ask the students to identify the object chosen; the intention; and the circumstance of the action. (red examples – bad choices/actions; bad example – good choice/action)

Decision between good and bad action Object chosen Intention of the person acting Circumstances of the action
Tell a lie to get out of trouble for smashing a glass in the kitchen Telling a lie To not take responsibility for some action Was using a glass that I was not supposed to use
Spreading a rumour about a friend who has hurt you. Spreading a rumour To get back at friend for hurting you Your friend hurt you first
Inviting a new classmate for supper Inviting new classmate To help the new classmate feel welcomed Opportunity to share a meal

Grade Six – ML 2.3: Apply a Catholic model of moral decision-making (i.e. SEE, JUDGE, and ACT) to ethical issues that arise at school or in the world (bullying, fighting, failing to do homework, and disrespecting authority). [CCC 1749-1785] See handout that is attached. Invite students to work through the ethical issues as groups using the handout and the issues above or ones that the students identify.

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 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 Close Shave! Did you ever hear of the Great Sphinx of Gizeh? It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Egypt and people travel from all over the world to see it. The Sphinx looks like the body of a lion with the head of a man! It was built about 5,000 years ago and is 66 feet tall – ten times taller than a very tall man! But what a lot of those tourists don’t know is that the Sphinx is missing something! When it was built, the lion-man also had a beard that was 3 feet long! It was a statue ten times taller than a very tall man with a beard ten times longer than a very long beard of a man! And guess what happened to the beard? Almost 200 years ago, way back in 1825, some explorers REMOVED the beard and took it to England to exhibit it in London’s British Museum! So now the famous Sphinx is a statue with a close shave! Did you ever see a man with a beard? Did you ever watch a man shave the beard from his face? Can you imagine someone shaving a beard off a huge statue? Maybe someday you will travel to Egypt to see the Sphinx – and you will be one of the tourists who knows that the giant Sphinx once had a giant beard! There are so many amazing things to see in God’s world that you could travel somewhere every day – by train, plane, bus, or balloon – and never see them all. Make a list today of all the things you would like to see and all the places where you would like to travel in God’s amazing world.” page 118.


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 special prayer that Jesus taught his disciples was the ____________________. B. Our Father
  2. 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)
  3. bread
  1. The colour worn by the priest during Lent is _______________________. A. purple
  1. Lent is a season of preparation for __________________. D. Easter
  1. There are __________ days in Lent. B. 40


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

  1. Blessed palms from Palm Sunday are burned and the ashes are used for Ash Wednesday. True or False
  1. According to the U.S. Bishops guidelines, fasting during Lent includes ___________________ A_.not eating during Lent B. eating only one full meal that day.   C. giving up candy for Lent     D. running very fast
  1. Jesus never prayed during his life. True or False
  1. Adults becoming Catholic receive their final preparation for baptism during the season of ___________________ A. Christmas    B. Lent        C. soccer                    D. Advent
  1. “But this kind (of demon) does not come out except by _____________________ and fasting.” Matthew 17:21 or Mark 9:29)  A. Holy water g    B. going to Mass         C. prayer                     D. asking

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Boyhood –This movie is available on PPV and probably at the video store. This movie followed the same boy for twelve years so it is the movie that took the longest to make. It is nominated for many awards on Oscar night. I was not enamored by the film. It was a good story. The young man is cute. But out of five stars I would give it 3.

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

“There are 10 human body parts that are only 3 letters long (eye hip arm leg ear toe jaw rib lip gum).” Huh!

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