Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning May 3, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Abide in me as I abide in you, says the Lord.”  


May 3, 2015 is the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions:  Take time to look at a plant this week.  What happens when a branch is cut off of the plant?  How is the branch that has been disconnected from the plant similar to us when we have cut ourselves off from Jesus? 

Reflecting on God’s Word: Which areas of your life need pruning to make more time for sharing in Jesus’ mission?  What activities or people make you feel most connected to Jesus, the True Vine, and the Church?

Act on the WordThis week, talk to the members of your friend] group about kids who might have been part of your group last year or at the beginning of this year, but who are no longer around.  Why do you think these people don’t[hang out] anymore?  Is there anything you could do to help bring them back into your [group of friends]?  If someone stopped hanging out because he seems to be having a hard time at home lately, perhaps a kind word might make him feel like returning to your group and opening up about his struggles.  If someone stopped coming because she didn’t feel like she had any good friends in the group, maybe a personal invitation to do something with you would make her feel like coming back.  Whatever you do, identify ways in which you can let these people know that their presence is missed, and the vine is not the same without them.

Wrapping It Up:  How are the members of our parish like branches connected to the vine?  How do our actions and decision-making processes reveal our connectedness to the vine?  Do we or the members of our parish ever need to be pruned?  What is that experience like?  How can we learn or benefit from our experience of being pruned?” 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page197, 200


Details Christ the True Vine, 16th century Greek icon Anonymous. • Public domain

May 3 – Exploring Paths of Joy – Our first day of Catholic Education Week 2015.  Schools will have a variety of activities available, displays set up, and lessons in the classrooms.


Prayer of the Faithful for Fifth Sunday of Easter
For generous labourers in the Lord’s vineyard and for dedicated witnesses to God’s word, let us pray to the Lord:
For wise leaders of the world’s nations and for careful stewards of the earth’s resources, let us pray to the Lord:
For greater awareness of human trafficking and a greater effort to eradicate it, let us pray to the Lord:
For high school and post secondary students preparing for graduation and for the parents and teachers who have guided them, let us pray to the Lord:
For abundant blessings on all gathered here and for grateful hearts, let us pray to the Lord:”  Prayer of the Faithful 2015, Resource for Sundays, Feasts, Holidays, Weekdays, and Church Events, Year B November 30, 2014-November 28, 2015, OCP page 45


Month of May – The fifth month is named after the goddess Maia.  She is the oldest of the Pleiades, the seven sisters.  According to legend, the Pleiades were placed in the sky to shine as a beautiful cluster of tiny stars.  The word mai is also a northern European word that means fresh green growth.  In England, hawthorn blossoms are called “may.” Originally, maypoles were small trees that had the lower branches chopped off.  They were hung with ribbons and gifts and given to newlyweds as a wish for a life filled with blessings.  In some places they were set up in the centres of town to celebrate Easter or May Day or Midsummer Day, June 24.  Many central European towns continue to keep this custom.”

Companion to the Calendar:  A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 67


Month of Our Lady – May is Mary’s Month.  Gerard Manley Hopkins wondered about this in a lovely poem called “The May Magnificat.”  “May is Mary’s month, and I/ Muse at that and wonder why…the Lady Month, May, / Why fasten that upon her,/With a feasting in her honour?” he asked.  Hopkins speculates that it is the springtime explosion of new life, in birds and flowers, that make May the right month for Mary.  “This ecstasy all through mothering earth/Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth.”  Whatever the reason, May is a special time of prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This is also Easter Time, so we join with Mary in rejoicing in Christ’s Resurrection from the dead.  We can honour Mary in this month by praying the Rosary or another Marian devotion and by participating in Mass on the Feast of the Visitation, which concludes the month on May 31.  It’s also a good time for quiet reflection on the seven joys of Mary, the traditional counterpart to her seven sorrows.  The joys of Mary are the Annunciation, the birth of Jesus, the adoration of the Magi, the Resurrection, the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and Mary’s coronation as Queen of Heaven.” Companion to the Calendar:  A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 68


May 4 – Walking Together and Sharing our Stories – Today we begin the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  The disciples have left Jerusalem because they are bewildered about the things that have been happening.  As they walk along they meet Jesus, although they do not recognize him.  They tell him about what has been happening in Jerusalem and how Jesus was crucified and died.  As we walk together as classmates, colleagues and friends we are encouraged to share our stories.


May 5 – Opening the Scriptures – Jesus, still unrecognized by the disciples, explains why Jesus’s death was necessary as he opens up the Scriptures to them.  They continue to walk toward Emmaus.  When we open the Scriptures, let us be open to meet our God and celebrating the abundance of grace that is given to us through the Word.


May 6 – Welcoming Others to the Table – When they reach Emmaus, Jesus appears to be travelling on and the disciples invite him to stay the night and eat with them.  Jesus agrees to stop.  We are called to welcome others to our classrooms, our groups of friends, to our lunch table.  When we welcome others, we may be welcoming angels.


May 7 – Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread– At table Jesus gives thanks for the bread and blesses it as he did at the Last Supper and when He breaks the bread, the disciples recognize Him.  But He disappears from their presence.  When we attend liturgy, we are invited to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the Bread.  We are also invited to recognize Jesus in our lives every day in the moments of grace, when he shows himself.


May 8 – Proclaiming the Good News – The disciples run back to Jerusalem to let the others know that indeed Jesus has risen from the dead and that he is alive.  They recount that their hearts were burning within them as they traveled the road with Jesus.  We are all called to proclaim this good news with our witness and our words.


Exploring Paths of Joy a quote for the week

For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.  Rm 1:11


Catholicity – Strategic Direction of the MYSP

Every first week of the month I include a tip for this Strategic direction.  This week we celebrate the great things that happen in Catholic schools throughout the province of Ontario.  What great things are happening in your school?     Where do you see yourself in the Multi-year Strategic Plan?


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 3.3:  Explain the process of conversion and repentance that is essential in the experience and celebration of the sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. [CCC 1425-1460]  Read the parable of the Prodigal Son to the class.  Ask the students to imagine that they are the younger son the first time you read it to them.  After the story is complete, ask the students how they felt when:  the son asked for his share of the inheritance; the son left home to go to the big city; the son squandered his fortune; the son finds himself feeding the pigs and hungry; the son decides to go home to confess his sins and ask for a job on his father’s land; the son is greeted by the father.  

Read the parable again and ask the students to imagine that they are the father of the sons.  After the story is completed a second time, ask the students how they felt when:  the son asked for his share of the inheritance; the son left home to go to the big city; when the father sat waiting watching the road that his son had travelled away from home; when he saw his son coming back home; and when the older son is angry.  Explain to the class that the younger son represents all of us when we make poor decisions about what we want.  The father in the story represents God who gives us what we ask for but has so much more to give us if only we asked God to help us make good decisions.  The father in the story is merciful.  He could be angry but he loves the son too much to have that response.  The father is overjoyed that the son has returned home and wants to be reconciled.  The son is asking to belong to the father and his family again even though he has made very bad choices.  The son is sorry and wants reconciliation.  

It is the same thing for us with the sacrament of Reconciliation.  Sometimes we make bad choices and we move away from those who love us.  First we have to admit that we have made a mistake (sin).  We have to ask for forgiveness.  When we receive forgiveness, it is good for us to do something that helps us remember not to do the same thing again.  When we go to confession/sacrament of reconciliation, we are asked to do a penance, to show our desire to be forgiven and to be contrite.  In our society today, the students will not witness much of this action in the world.  Often people commit be crimes and they get away with it.  In order to live with one’s self in peace, it is necessary that we ask for forgiveness and reconciliation when we do wrong.  It offers us freedom and joy. 

Grade Five ML 3.3:  Identify the principles of social justice outlined by the Magisterium of the Church and explain why they are teachings that address communal social sin and our call to holiness. [CCC 1928-1948; Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church]  The principles of social justice are:  principle of common good; principle of subsidiarity; principle of solidarity; participation; universal destination of goods; and the fundamental values of social life.

Principle of common good – indicates “the sum total ofsocial conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.” [CSDC]  

Principle of subsidiarity  all organizations of a higher order must support, promote and/or develop the well-being of all organizations of a lower order [CSDC]

Principle of solidarity – is a bonding of all peoples and groups in order that the best social conditions exist for everyone; interdependence

Principle of the universal destination of goods – everyone has a right to use the goods of the earth because God created these goods for all of us

Principle of participation  everyone has a right to contribute to the cultural, economic, political and social life of the civil community to which s/he belongs. In person or by representation

Principle of the fundamental values of social life – Besides the principles that must guide the building of a society worthy of humans, the Church’s social doctrine also indicates fundamental values: truth, freedom, justice and love.

Social sin is defined as that sin of omission (not doing something you should) or sin of commission (doing something you should not) which is committed by groups, society or organizations.  We participate in these actions because we are a part of the group.  These principles above are teachings to inform us so we do not participate in social sin but rather respond to our call to holiness.

Teach these principles.  Use an example from the everyday life of the students.  Then read a book [Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; The Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier; Cups Held Out by Judith L. Roth; Lily and the Paper Man by Rebecca Upjohn; any of Trudy Ludwig’s books] and ask the students to identify which of the principles is not being lived, that is which social sin is taking place.  Ask your students to tell you how the call to holiness would change the situation.

Grade Six ML 3.3:  Explain using examples the relationship between making good moral choices, developing Christian virtues and holiness.  I would put on the [smart] board some examples of good moral choices facing Grade 6s

[you know your class’s struggles].  Ask your students what virtue(s) [respect, kindness, love, patience, compassion, justice, wisdom, hope, faith, courage, wholeness] are required to make a good moral choice and how developing the virtue is going to lead to holiness.  


Twenty-first Century Education> Day One – Matthew West > Music Video – 3.33 min

A great reminder that it is day one of the rest of our lives. Mercy is new each and every day. >Young Boy Stands Up in Church and Begs to be Adopted

➢ Inspirational video – 2.22 min – if your class is acting like they are entitled and need a reminder that they are blessed. > 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 WORLDBy Bernadette McCarver Snyder

Did You Notice?  Before a recent Super Bowl game, an eleven-year-old “reporter” asked one of the football “stars” a question.  She asked, “How many laces does an NFL regulation football have?”  He didn’t know!  Then she asked several other star players the same question.  None of them knew!  Do you know?  While the grown-up reporters were asking the players questions about their game plan and technical things about their training, she asked some other interesting questions, like which player had the stinkiestlocker!  And they answered her questions.  Now in case you didn’t know, there are eight laces on the football.  And this shows how easy it is to NOT notice things that are in your everyday life.  How many hundreds of times those players had held a football in practice or in professional games – but they never noticed the laces.  And the laces in a football are necessary and so they are important.  In the same way, some people go through every day and never notice some of the important things in their house or school or church.  Yet other people are “in-takers”…they notice everything they see AND they remember it.  Which one are you?  Which one would you like to be?” p. 130


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 April/May2015

1. St. Paul, who met the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus, later wrote: “If Christ has not been ____________________(from the dead), then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith

(1Corinthians 15:14).  B.  raised

2. The _______________________ refers to how the Church strongly urges all Catholics to receive Communion during the Easter Season.   C.  Easter duty


3. The sacraments of initiation that adult converts receive during the Easter Vigil are:
A. baptism, confirmation, holy Communion


4. Easter comes at the end of the season of _______________________.D.  Lent


5. St. Paul says that we should “pray without _______________________” 1Thessalonians 5:17. B.ceasing

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

1. Easter is the longest liturgical season during the Church’s year.True or False


2. The ____________________mysteries of the Rosary begun with meditating on the resurrection.
A. luminousB.  sorrowfulC.  joyfulD.  glorious


3. Adult who wish to become Catholic learn about the faith in RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.)  

True or False



4. Saint ____________________ is known for her “little way.”
A. ElsaB.  AnnaC.  ThérèseD.  Mary


5. The sign of the cross reminds us of the _____________________.
A. SaintsB.  Ten CommandmentsC.  apostlesD.  Trinity

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Woman in Gold – This is a story about a famous painting that was the property of a Jewish family in Austria and how the painting became the property of an Art Gallery.  The painting was a portrait by Gustav Klimt, of the aunt of Maria Altmann.

The movie stars two Canadians actors: Ryan Reynolds and Tatiana Maslany, and the famous British actress Helen Mirren.  This is a GREAT movie.  It offers insights about the Jewish struggle under the Nazi regime in Austria at the beginning of the Second World War.  Because of the content I would not watch it with young children, unless you want to answer a lot of questions.






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

There are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones in the King James translation of the Bible..Huh!

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