Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning April 5th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

He Lives!! Alleluia, He lives!!

April 5, 2015 is Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord.

“Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions: How have your Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving helped you to “die” to some of the sinful or self-defeating aspects of your life in order to rise to new life this Easter? Today at Mass we will sing “Alleluia” for the first time since Lent began and we will see colours of gold and white replacing the Lenten violet. How do these changes make you feel?

Reflecting on God’s Word: Do the choices that you make in your life reflect your belief in the Resurrection of Jesus? Why or why not? Are you consciously working to spread the Gospel to others? Do you use words, actions, or both? Have you noticed any ways in which your efforts to spread the Gospel are bearing good fruit?

Act on the Word: Think of a way to rejoice this Easter in a physical way, perhaps by running, dancing, taking a walk with a friend, or bike riding. Our bodies are part of who we are as whole people, and when we are fully alive and joyful, we rejoice with our whole selves! Invite your friends and family members to join you in doing something physical together that celebrates love, friendship, family, the gift of life, and the amazing news of Jesus’ Resurrection – the promise of eternal life!” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 179

“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 anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Celebrating ~ Hope Expectations for Primary Classes

By the end of grade 3, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Cherish the sacramental life of the Church as the gift of God’s presence in our lives to nourish, restore, guide and form us as children of God;
  • Participate freely in the Sacrament of Eucharist as the central sacrament of the Catholic faith and the Sacrament of Reconciliation to strengthen and renew their relationship with Jesus;
  • Find hope and faith in the story of salvation that unfolds through the celebration of the five seasons of the Church’s liturgical year.

Grade One – CL1.1: Recognize through the baptismal narratives of the Gospels the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the words and symbols of the Sacrament of Baptism and the gifts we receive i.e. new creation, forgiveness of sins, sanctifying grace, and virtues of faith, hope and love. (Possible Gospel passages: Baptism with water – Mt. 3:1-6, 11-12; Baptism of Jesus – Mt. 3:13-17; Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Mt. 28:18-20; repent and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:38.) [CCC 1217-1224, 1250-1255; 1262-1284]

John the Baptist was inspired to prepare people for the coming of Jesus. John tells the people that someone (Jesus) is coming after him who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism is a baptism with water that brings forgiveness of sins. This is why John hesitates to baptize Jesus because he is sinless, so why baptize him. When Jesus comes up out of the water, the Spirit of God descends upon Him like a dove and a voice from heaven is heard, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” What a moment for those present! What John had foretold the people, was present before them. This is a sign of sanctifying grace! When Jesus comes to the disciples after the resurrection he tells them to “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus commissions the disciples to bring the joy of the Gospel to all people and to baptize them. Jesus promises to be with the disciples always through the power of the Holy Spirit! In Acts 2:38 we hear Peter say to a group of new believers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When presenting this expectation you may want to have a large bowl of water in your prayer centre. Explain that when John was baptizing, he was baptizing in the Jordan River. But we use a font (bowl) or pool to baptize in the Church. There are two ways, simply pouring water over the forehead of the person or if possible, by full immersion, going into a pool, whole body into the water. Water is a great symbol of the cleansing that baptism offers (forgiveness of sins.) When baptism happens the person is a new creation in Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This is more fully experienced when full immersion takes place. We are baptized into the fullness of the community of God, hence the Triune formula is used. “Baptism is the sacrament of the faith. Faith needs a community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.” [CCC 1253] Through the gift of baptism, faith is given to the baptized and it must be fostered in the community, through the witness of other believers. Sanctifying grace is given and is strengthened by the parents and godparents and the community of faith. The theological virtues of faith, hope and love are given by God to assist the baptized in their journey of life. If you have a white baptismal garment from a child or friend, put this is the prayer centre too. A newly baptized person is invited to wear a garment that is white to symbolize the new creation that the baptized becomes. There are two oils used in the sacrament of Baptism. The oil of catechumens is applied to the child or adult’s chest with the sign of the cross.  This oil, a sign of strength, imparts the power to resist evil.  The child/adult, strengthened by the gift of God’s Spirit, will be guided and guarded by God on every step of life’s journey. The oil of chrism is used to signify that the baptized are charged with a threefold mission of being priest, prophet and king. Being baptized into the anointed body of Christ, we are called to be priest, by living a life of prayer; to be prophet, by announcing the Word of God; and to be king, by leading with integrity. The last symbol is the baptismal candle which is lit from the Paschal candle. The baptized person is called to live as a light of Christ in the world. If you have a Christ candle in your school, you may want to borrow it and put it in your prayer centre as you explain its use in the sacrament. If you have a baptismal candle bring that in as well.

Grade Two – CL1.1: Examine a selection of gospel narratives that reveal God’s grace as a gift that changes lives (healing and teaching gospel narratives) and the sacrifice of love we are to offer to God out of gratitude. (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:26; Mt. 9:13 and 12:7; Mt. 5:23-24); and connect these narratives to the gift of Grace in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist (i.e. removes sin and purifies our soul, forms us to act justly and with charity). [CCC 1425-1429; 1443-1445] Read Matthew 8:1-4; then tell your students the story in your own words. You can ask the students to act out the parts of the story. One student can be the leper. Some can be the townspeople telling the leper to go away. And one of the students can be Jesus, who touches the leper to heal him. Lepers in the time of Jesus had to live outside of the city. They were outcasts – people did not want to be near them because they thought they would get leprosy. The lepers had to carry a bell to ring if they needed to go into the city so people would not get close to them. Because people were afraid of lepers they said mean things to them. So when Jesus heals this leper, Jesus changes his life in a big way. The leper would be able to go to be with his family again, he would not be pushed away. Read Matthew 9: 27-31; then tell your students the story in your own words. You can ask the students to act out the parts of this story.

Jesus heals two blind men. Get students to act out being blind – put scarves over their eyes. Let them experience blindness for a few minutes. Being able to see after being blind would allow the men to be able to work to support their families. Blind people in Jesus’ time would be beggars. So Jesus’ healing would change their lives in a very positive way. When we become aware of God’s goodness and grace, especially during this Easter Season, we want to offer thanks to God. Hopefully our gratitude is shown as a way to love others in the way that God loves us. Recently I heard a talk that reminded me that there are two basic movements in the gospels – a positive move toward love and a negative move out of fear. These two gospel stories are positive movements toward the love of Jesus which heals the men. Before these movements, the men experienced hatred and fear of other people toward them. These stories also point to the gift of Grace (God’s presence in the world) in receiving the sacraments. Explain to your students that when we receive the sacrament of reconciliation we are like the men being healed. Jesus removes all the fear and pain, our sin, and we can feel Jesus’ love and grace. Our body and soul can be healed and purified. When we received Holy Communion, we are fed with Jesus’ body and blood and we can become more like Jesus.

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 Three – ML3.3: Examine a selection of scripture passages that demonstrate both personal and social sin and the consequences for the protagonist and those offended (e.g. the fall of Adam and Eve; Peter denies Jesus; Judas’ betrayal of Jesus). [CCC 1846-1876] Please do not speak about Adam and Eve like they were real people. They are characters in a story to remind us that there were people on the earth at one time when sin entered into human experience. In the Genesis account of the fall of Adam and Eve, it is important to teach our students that God wanted to give Adam and Eve all they needed to be happy on earth. God was God and Adam and Eve were the first humans in relationship with God (Adam’s name means “of the earth.” Eve’s name means “mother of all life.”) Sin entered the story through the temptation of the snake (symbolically) and the snake tempts Eve to eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…and so making her equal to God. (Personal sin) Eve tempts Adam…and so making him equal to God. (Social sin – sin spreads from one person to another, and sometimes through a whole community.) There were consequences for Adam and Eve for disobeying God. They had to leave the Garden of Eden and they had to work. When we sin, there are always consequences for ourselves…and sometimes for others. Since the first humans sinned, now sin is part of the world and we all live with the consequences.   Peter denies Jesus three times. Jesus tells Peter at the last supper that he will face this temptation. Peter is warned ahead of time. Peter denies Jesus three times even though he was warned. Peter is afraid to face death or punishment. Peter lies to save himself. Peter must face the consequences when he meets Jesus the first time after Jesus rises from the dead. It must have been difficult for Peter to admit to his lies. Jesus simply loves Peter and forgives him. Judas betrays Jesus to the guards in the garden. He kisses Jesus to let the guards know which person to arrest. Jesus acknowledges that Judas is betraying his friend with a kiss. Judas may have thought that Jesus would defend himself and therefore he would not die. But we sometimes do not think what we do will have negative consequences for others. This is still personal sin. The consequences for Judas were harsh, Judas killed himself. He gave up all hope. He realized the seriousness of the sin that he had committed.

Twenty-first Century Education > This Easter – Ministry video 1.12 min Let’s not forget what it is all about. > Something Remarkable Happens During an Ultrasound – 15 sec. Baby claps his/her hands during an ultrasound while parents sing…I wonder if this is an April fools joke. > 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

“Mean Keen Jeans Did you know that blue jeans almost became blue tents? Back in 1861, a man named Levi Strauss went to California with rolls of rugged blue material he was going to use to make tents for the gold miners who were camping there. But the miners told him what they really needed was some good sturdy trousers. So he used his tent material to make blue pants that were so rugged they could be worn for the hard work the miners had to do – and they lasted a long time. The miners liked them a lot, so Mr. Strauss kept making more “Levis” and people have been wearing them ever since. At first, these pants were called Genoans because the rugged blue material Mr. Strauss used had been used by Italian sailors who were called Genoans – but the way the Americans pronounced the word, it sounded like “jeans” and that’s what we call them today. There are some tourist places today where you can “pan for gold” the way those early California miners did – so maybe you will wear your jeans and do that some day. But, for today, why don’t you pan for gold by trying to think of all the things God made that are gold or yellow. You could start your list with the sun…or a boy with yellow hair…or???” p. 124

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 – CATECHIST March 2015

  1. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the four _____________________. A. Gospels
  2. The Jewish Passover commemorates ____________________. God leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt
  1. Catholics pray the Nicene or Apostles’ ____________________ at Mass. A. Creed
  1. The central message of Jesus’ preaching, teaching, and life was ____________________. D. the Kingdom of God
  1. Mary was the Mother of ______________________. B. God

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

  1. The Bible is broken into two major sections, the Old and New Testaments. True or False
  1. “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy ____________________.”     A.  Saints           B. Church                   C. Spirit                      D. Bible
  1. According to St. Paul, Jesus is the second Adam. True or False
  1. ____________________ started the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.      A. Gandhi      B. Martin Luther          C. King Herod             D. King Henry VIII
  1. The bishops around the world are the modern day _____________________ of Jesus who are called to lead the Church.   A.  kings             B. descendants                       C. apostles                  D. bosses

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Princess Grace –This movie is available at the video store. I watched this movie over the March Break. It is about Grace Kelly who married Prince Rainier III in Monaco. She gave up her movie star status to become a princess of Monaco during a turbulent time. I knew who Grace Kelly was as an actress but I did not know the second part of her life’s story. It was an inspiring movie.

Weird Facts – how many people will read this far down the email…? Are you one?                                               “Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump. Huh!”

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