Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 29nd, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!”

March 29th, 2015 is  Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: This Sunday is Palm Sunday, and the Mass is a little different from usual on this day. Can you remember some of the things that are different about Mass on Palm Sunday? How do you remember experiencing this Mass as a child? Has your understanding of it changed as you’ve grown older?

This Sunday’s Gospel is especially long, and it can be easy to zone out during it. This year, try to focus yourself completely on the reading of the Gospel, listening attentively to each word.

Reflecting on God’s Word: Did you notice any new aspects of the celebration of the Palm Sunday Mass this year that you don’t remember from previous years? How did these things make you feel? Were you able to focus yourself more completely on the reading of the Gospel today? What new things did you hear?

Act on the Word: This week is Holy Week. During this week, we celebrate the three days of the Sacred Paschal Triduum: the most important days of the Church year. Make time for at least one of the unique liturgies of the Triduum. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday dramatically recalls the washing of the feet at the Last Supper. The witness of your pastor and other parish leaders washing the feet of others shows us, without words, what it means to be servant leader like Jesus. The liturgy on Good Friday provides a solemn time to honour the Death of the Lord and a chance to express deep love for Jesus through prayer and reverencing of the Cross. The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening leads us through the history of our faith, from darkness to light, telling the stories of those who followed God and singing responses of praise.

Wrapping It Up: How does reflecting on Jesus’ Death make you feel? What does it make you think about? Do you think that most contemporary Christians reflect the fact that Jesus died for our sake in the way that they live?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 171, 178

“Month of April – The word April means “to open.” This is the time of year that leaf and flower buds open. In most northern countries, this is a month of transformation. The day is now longer than the night. Even if the nights are still chilly, the daytime sun is strong and growing stronger. The earth itself seems to take part in the Passover of the Lord.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 58

“Month of the Holy Eucharist – During the month of April, we give special honour to the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist, the Second Vatican Council taught us, is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11). What does that mean? It means that our participation in the Eucharist is the source from which we draw our strength to live as Jesus taught and to serve in his name. It is also the summit, the high point of our communal life. We use the word Eucharist to describe our celebration of the Mass. We use the same word when we speak of the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. In this month of the Holy Eucharist, let us participate more fully and actively in the Church’s liturgy, our celebration of the Eucharist. And let us take time, too, for quiet adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and become more aware of the wondrous way Christ comes to us in the Eucharist.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 58-59

April 1st is April Fools’ Day. “The first of April probably became All Fools’ Day in 1564. That was the year the French began to use the new Gregorian calendar. A few centuries before that, Christians had moved the start of the year from January 1 to March 25, Annunciation Day. Everyone celebrated the New Year for eight days. On April 1, the festival ended with parties where gifts were exchanged. In 1564, the first of January once again became the first day of the year, but some people loved the old custom. They didn’t give up their New Year’s parties on April 1. They were called “April fools.” Nowadays in France an April fool is called a poisson d’avril, an “April fish.” Young fish that appear in streams around this time of year are more easily caught than older, cagier fish. French shops sell chocolates shaped like fish for the occasion. People try to pin paper fish on each other’s backs as a joke. In some places in England, an April fool is called a “noddy.” In Scotland on this day, don’t let anyone send you out searching for hen’s teeth or pigeon milk, or you’ll be called a “gowk” – a cuckoo!” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 59

The Sacred Paschal Triduum – Annual rituals mark us. They give us an identity. Similar to a Thanksgiving meal or a [First of July fireworks display], rituals and meals reveal connections to others who share a common history and belief. The Sacred Paschal Triduum lies at the heart of the Catholic faith. It ties us with our Jewish ancestors. It celebrates who we are as God’s people today. And it makes new believers for the future of the Church while promising us the awaited fullness of salvation to come in eternity. For centuries, the Jewish faithful have celebrated the Passover. This meal connects them with their ancestor’s flight from slavery to freedom. The meal and what followed forever changed the Jews and their understanding of God. Christians also believe that at one moment in time, everything changed forever. That came on the night before Jesus died, when he sat down with his disciples for a Passover meal. Instead of bitter herbs and a lamb, he gave them bread and said, “This is my Body,” and a cup of wine saying, “This is my Blood.” Shortly after this Passover meal, Jesus was arrested, scourged, died on a Cross, and buried. Three days later his tomb was empty. God had raised him from the dead. The New Testament refers to Jesus numerous times as the Lamb of God. He made the Passover radically new. The blood came not from an unblemished lamb, but from the innocent Son of God. The freedom won by this sacrifice is not just movement from one land to another, but from sin and death into life everlasting. Catholics annually enter into the Triduum to celebrate the Passover of the Lord. Triduum comes from Latin meaning “a space of three days.” It starts on Holy Thursday evening, continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and concludes on Easter Sunday (three days). The rituals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday comprise one sustained liturgy spanning three days.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, pages 14-15

The Three Days – Thursday of the Lord’s Supper (At the Evening Mass) / Holy Thursday – The Triduum begins with radiant glory at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The laws of the Church permit no other parish Masses on this day. Like the Jewish Passover custom, this liturgy begins after sundown. The Scriptures for the Lord’s Supper remain the same each year. The First Reading from the Old Testament recalls how Moses led the Hebrew people out of the land of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to instruct the people of Israel to sacrifice year-old male lambs, without blemish, and smear the blood on their door. When the angel of death came to their house, it would pass over if it saw the blood of the sacrifice, thus sparing their firstborn child. This passage ends by instituting this as a yearly memorial feast. It lays the foundation for the Christian feast of the Lord’s Supper. The Second Reading recounts the Apostle Paul instructing the people of Corinth to offer a sacrifice of praise. He tells them how on the night before he died, “Jesus took bread, and after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” The priest uses a variation of these words at every Mass to consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. The Gospel comes from John’s account of the Last Supper. Unique among the Gospel accounts, John omits references to bread and wine. Instead, he describes a meal during which Jesus takes a bowl and pitcher of water to wash the disciples’ feet. The image is clear: Eucharist is not simply a ritual meal. It must also move us from worship to service for one another. Following the homily the priest may wash his parishioners’ feet. By imitating the Gospel just proclaimed, the pastor and any associate priests demonstrate the commitment made at their Ordination to serve the community in the likeness of Christ Jesus. The Liturgy of the Eucharist continues as normal, though with these vivid Eucharistic images in the minds of those assembled. This evening’s liturgy ends differently from other Masses. There is no official ending, as this was the beginning of the three-day liturgy. Following the distribution of Holy Communion, an elaborate Eucharistic procession makes its way through the assembly. Using incense, candles, and a processional cross, the priest processes with the consecrated Eucharistic bread to a chapel or side altar. There the faithful can remain in the presence of the Lord. The procession and prayer hint at the somber tone to come on Good Friday.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 15

Friday of the Passion of the Lord / Good Friday – Good Friday commemorates the Crucifixion, Death, and burial of Christ Jesus. Only one liturgy is permitted on this day, and it continues the one begun on Holy Thursday evening. The Good Friday liturgy consists of reading the Passion of Jesus Christ, the Adoration of the Cross, and concludes with the reception of Holy Communion. The liturgy begins in silence as the priest enters the sanctuary and prostrates himself on the floor before the altar and cross. The assembly silently kneels in this gesture of penance. After arising, the Scriptures follow in the usual way. The First Reading comes from the prophet Isaiah. He tells of an unnamed suffering servant who will give his life for the sins of others. Like an innocent lamb led to slaughter, yet bearing the guilt of many, this servant will see the fullness of light for his sacrifice. The Second Reading offers the image of Christ Jesus as the priest offering his own life. St. Paul states this great high priest became the source of eternal salvation. The highlight of the Scriptures for Good Friday is the Passion reading from John’s account of the Gospel. Various details reveal how John’s Passion differs in tone and content from the others. Jesus is clearly in command of the course of events. Jesus and Pilate exchange powerful dialogues. John’s account of the Gospel introduces an unnamed beloved disciple, who appears at the foot of the Cross with Mary and two others. Following the homily, the priest or deacon, along with other ministers, presents a large cross to the assembly. The priest chants, “Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.” All respond, “Come, let us worship.” So closely identified with Christ himself, the cross receives the adoration of the faithful. One by one all approach, to genuflect, kneel, caress, touch, or softly kiss it in an act of worship. This simple liturgy ends with the distribution of Holy Communion from hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday liturgy. All depart in silence, longing for a joyful conclusion to this prayer come Saturday night.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, pages 15-16

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night / Holy Saturday – Lent and Holy Week reach a climax at the Easter Vigil. This solemnity of all solemnities begins after sundown on Holy Saturday. Like the ancient Jewish custom, Catholics believe the sun’s setting completes a day, and therefore the festivals for the next day (Easter Sunday) may begin. The Vigil starts outdoors with all gathered around a fire. A new and stately paschal candle takes its flame from the fire, the priest blesses it as the light of Christ. All process into the empty church, illuminated only by vigil candles to hear the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation), an ancient text summarizing the significance of this holy night. The procession of light concludes and leads to the Liturgy of the Word. This night calls for a more generous use of the Scriptures to emphasize God’s saving work throughout history. The rite offers no fewer than seven Old Testament readings, each followed by a Responsorial Psalm. Fittingly, the creation story itself is the first, followed by Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The vivid imagery of Moses leading the Hebrew people through the Red Sea to freedom from their Egyptian oppressors prominently highlights the significance of this night. Passing through water to new life foreshadows the Baptisms that will take place in this celebration. Readings from Isaiah and the prophet Hosea are also offered. The New Testament reading is always from Romans, when Paul reminds the believers of the significance of their Baptism. In that ritual they died to Christ and were given the divine promise to live with him forever in his Resurrection. After fasting from Alleluias for six weeks of Lent, musicians jubilantly lead the community in this act of praise before the Gospel account of the Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. The third major act of this night, the Baptism of the elect, follows the homily. The priest baptizes each adult and then must confirm them with the oil of chrism. Having witnessed these new believers professing their faith, the entire assembly then renew their own baptismal promises and sign themselves with the fresh baptismal waters. Clothed in radiant white garments, like the image of the Risen Lord, the newly baptized join the assembly for the first time at the Lord’s table for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The liturgy concludes in the normal way, with the addition of a double Alleluia to the final blessing to signify the jubilant nature of this solemnity.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 16

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – Easter Sunday crowns the Triduum celebrations and begins a new period of time within the liturgical year. Easter Sunday is the pattern and purpose of all other Sunday celebrations of the year. Having fasted from the Gloria and Alleluias during Lent, both return with joyous song on this day. Like all other Sundays, two readings and a Psalm precede the Gospel. The First Reading now comes from the Acts of the Apostles. Easter Sunday begins a time of reflecting upon how the followers of Jesus came to receive and understand Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. On Easter Sunday, a special Sequence is sung before the Gospel account. In beautiful poetry, it speaks of the joy of the disciples at the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection. The priest renews the baptismal promises of the faithful and sprinkles them with the fresh waters of Baptism blessed at the Vigil. The Liturgy of the Eucharist follows as normal. Like the Vigil, Easter Sunday concludes with a dismissal to go in peace, which is followed by a double Alleluia. This punctuates the day with a final exclamation mark signifying the extraordinary works God has done for those who place their faith and trust in his saving works. Alleluia! Alleluia!” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, pages 16-17

Exploring Paths of Joy ~ a quote for the week

“Let us aim for joy, rather than respectability. Let us make fools of ourselves from time to time, and thus see ourselves, for a moment, as the all-wise God sees us.” St. Philip Neri

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 3.2: Identify and describe the cardinal and theological virtues identified by the Church; explain how they are acquired and give examples of how they assist us in the Christian life. [CCC 1803-1832]

“The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as God’s children and of meriting eternal life. The theological virtues are faith, hope and love (charity.)” Catholic Virtues: Theological, Cardinal, Eschatological, NOCCC page 1.

“The cardinal virtues are called such because they are hinges on which all the moral virtues depend. The cardinal or moral virtues are natural because they can be achieved through human effort, aided by grace.” Ibid page 14 The four cardinal virtues are right judgment/prudence, justice, wholeness/temperance and courage/fortitude. I have put both the more contemporary name first and the traditional name second. I would invite the students to do some research on a catholic website; a challenging one is the Catechism of the Catholic Church Or a simplier presentation on the Loyola Press website Ask your students to find images for each virtue. Ask them to give examples from their own lives about how the virtues assist them in living a good and holy life.

Grade Eight – ML 3.1: Identify New Testament passages that reveal the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus and explain how these events are examples of the power of grace over sin. (Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4; Jesus drives out demons – Luke 11:14; Matt. 7:21-23; Matt. 12: 22-32; the temptations of Jesus – Matt. 4:1-11; Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane – Lk. 22:39-46; the crucifixion of Jesus’ life – Lk. 23:26-49; Matt. 27:45-61; John 19:17-37.) [CCC 1987-2029] Organize groups with your students. Invite each group to summarize a passage from the scriptures. Ask them to explain the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus. Ask them to also explain how these events are examples of the power of grace over sin. [Some passages are shorter than others, keep this in mind when assigning them]

Scripture Passage summarized Role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus Explain how these events are examples of the power of grace over sin
Matthew 4:1-11
Luke 11:14
Matthew 7:21-23
Matthew 12: 22-32
Luke 22:39-46
Luke 23:26-49
Matthew 27:45-61
John 19:17-37
Acts 2:1-4

Twenty-first Century Education > Adorable 5 year old explains the Real Meaning of Easter – 2.04 min Out of the mouth of babes! > Ginny Owens – Music video of “No Borders” 3.30 min > 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

“How Are You Like a Banana? If you were going on a looooong trip like a safari or on a short trip like a bike ride, you might want to take along a snack. It could be something that tastes yummy, is good for you, and comes sealed airtight in its own package. How about a banana?! When God made a banana, he “packaged” it in its own special “skin” so you don’t have to wrap it up or seal it up in anything when you want to take it on a trip. When God made you, he also “packaged” you in a special kind of skin, a skin that keeps YOU well-wrapped-up too! – but, unlike the banana, you DO have to add some clothes when you go on a long OR short trip. Eat a banana today and think about where you might like to travel on a bike or on a safari…and tell God thanks for the special “packaging” he used when He made the banana AND you.” p. 123


Who says teaching religion can’t be fun?


What’s Your Catholic IQ? by Pat Carter

  1. How many days are there between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday?   B. 44
  1. To what international Catholic charitable organization does Development & Peace belong? D. Caritas International
  1. What is the theme of Share Lent this year? B. Sow Much Love
  1. How long has Development & Peace been established? C. 48 years
  1. How many countries does Development & Peace operate in? D. 70

What’s Your Catholic IQ? A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien – CATECHIST March 2015

Adapted by Pat Carter for Canadian folks

  1. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the four _____________________.   A. Children of Moses     B. first popes              C.   Gospels        D.  main singers in the band One Direction
  1. The Jewish Passover commemorates ____________________. (Exodus 12)    A. God creating the world      B. God leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt    C. God giving Moses the Ten Commandments    D.  Jesus’ birth
  1. Catholics pray the Nicene or Apostles’ ____________________ at Mass.    A. Creed     B. prayer    C. novena   D. Rosary
  1. The central message of Jesus’ preaching, teaching, and life was ____________________.  A. how to avoid going to hell    B.  how to do well in school     C. how to perform miracles     D. the Kingdom of God
  1. Mary was the Mother of ______________________.   A. John the Baptist       B. God      C. Noah      D. Stephen Harper

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

The Little Game –This movie is available at the video store (2014 release). This is a story about a young girl who learns to play chess from a street wise mentor in New York. Her family sacrifices to make it possible for her to attend a private school, only for this kind girl to be put down by her classmates. The story is very real and appropriate for all ages. I highly recommend it for viewing on Easter Weekend.

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

“The three best-known western names in China: Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon, and Elvis Presley. Huh!

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