Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning May 17, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.
“I am with you always.”  Mt. 28:19


May 17, 2015 is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.

Prepare for hearing the Word of God with these questions:  Jesus brings the Good News to the whole world.  What are some countries or situations that need the Good News brought to them today?  What gifts has Jesus given to you?

Reflecting on God’s Word: How are you working now to develop and use your gifts?  What might you do with your gifts to bring Jesus’ Good News to others, even those whom you don’t know?

Act on the Word:  Do you have any saints who you consider to be your patrons?  If not, take time this week to research some saints to see if you can identify some.  Perhaps there is a saint with your name, or a saint whose feast day is on your birthday.  You can look in books of saints or on the Internet to find the patron saints of all kinds of occupations and situations.  Read these saints’ stories and identify some of the gifts that they had.  See if you can find out what their lives were like when they were your age.  How were they already beginning to develop the gifts that they would use in the service of God?  Perhaps you will find the stories of some saints who live wayward lives when they were teenagers.  How did the lessons they learned from their youthful behaviour help them to change their ways and follow new paths as they grew up? 2014-2015 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, page 201, 204

Prayer of the Faithful for the Ascension of the Lord

That the Church continue to proclaim the Gospel message of our ascended Saviour, sharing his message of gladness and joy, let us pray to the Lord:

That our leaders work in service of justice, ever striving toward peace and consolation, let us pray to the Lord:

That the oppressed and downtrodden feel the comforting presence of God, renewing their strength and their sense of worth, let us pray to the Lord:

That the sick, infirm, and dependent appreciate the loving care of their dedicated caregivers, let us pray to the Lord:

That all gathered at this Eucharistic table of welcome be nourished in mind, body, and spirit, 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 47

May 18th is Victoria Day is “celebrated on the Monday before or on May 25th.  This Canadian national holiday is a remembrance of the birthday of the queen who ruled the longest of any British monarch.  Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 60 years.  Her subjects in Canada and other countries became so used to celebrating her birthday that they continued the custom even after she died.  They began to use this day to tell about the deeds of British heroes.  Victoria’s actual date of birth is May 24, 1819.  In 1952, the celebration was moved to the Monday on or before that date.  In Canada, the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is also observed on Victoria Day, although her actual birth date is April 21.”  Companion to the Calendar:  A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 69  


Exploring Paths of Joy a quote for the week
Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your presenceLk 4:21


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 CL 1.3:  Describe Baptism as the Sacrament that welcomes us into the Church and connect the spiritual experience of being welcomed into the Church through the sacrament of Baptism to the human experience of being born into the world and welcomed into the community of one’s family.  

Read a book like [A Baby is Coming – from Our Catholic  Community series; On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman; Happy BIRTHday by Robbie Harris; On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier; I Loved You Before You Were Born by Anne Bowen; Or if there is a child who has been adopted Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born – All these books are available with an email to me] then ask the students to go home to ask about how their family prepared to welcome them before they were born.  That way every child has something to contribute because every child may not be baptized yet.

The next day, ask the students what they learned from their families about how they were welcomed into their family.

Hopefully the children have been told stories of how their families prepared to be ready to receive these precious gifts of life.  Given that some students may not be baptized, it is important to be sensitive as we present the sacrament of Baptism.  Connect the Sacrament of Baptism to the experience of being welcomed into the family.  In the Sacrament the child is given a set of godparents to help the parents to support the baby as it grows in faith.  The child is received into the Church as a new member just like the child is received into their family as a new member.  The child is given a name.  The child is given a white garment as a sign of purity and innocence.  The child is given a lit candle as an invitation to keep the light of Christ burning throughout their lives.  The child is blessed with water three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; parents may in fact thank God for the safe arrival of their child.  The child is anointed with two different types of oil during the Baptism. Baptism is a way for the child to be welcomed into the Christian family.  There are many similiarities between Baptism and the welcome into a family and there are a few differences.

All of us need to belong to communities of love and acceptance.  

Grade Two CL1.3:  Identify ways we encounter the presence of God (i.e. in the created world, in other human beings and in Jesus Christ) and explain what these encounters teach us about how we experience and share in God’s love (i.e. healing, forgiveness, strength)  We can experience God’s presence in the created world.  How many times have you seen something in nature like a rainbow or sunset and the words that come to you are, “Oh my God…that is beautiful.”  The coming of Spring has many signs of new life which God purposefully designed to be part of Spring.  When we have eyes of faith, we see these signs of new life as signs of God’s presence.  We can experience God’s loving care in the designs of Creation – fruits have seeds inside them so we can grow more fruit.

We can experience God’s presence in other human personswhen we experience healing, forgiveness or protection from others around us.  We need to be wanting the healing, forgiveness and protection for us to experience it, otherwise we take it for granted.  We can experience God’s presence in Jesus Christ when we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist.  Coming together as a community – Jesus is present in the community.  Listening to God’s holy Word – Jesus is present in God’s Word.  Receiving the Bread of Life – Jesus is present in the Eucharist.  It is a different experience of God’s presence than when we gather for an assembly.  We do need to have an experience of God’s presence, which sometimes means we need to be conscious of why we gather.

Grade Three CL 1.1:  Define the meaning of “divine and actual Grace” and find within a selection of biblical passages, examples of God’s presence and the gift of His grace transforming human experience into sacred experience.  (Creation Story, Exodus event, the Birth of Jesus and His baptism, the Resurrection of Jesus, Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit.) [CCC 1996-2005]  Grace is favour, the free and underserved help that God

gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive children, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.  Grace is a participation in the life of God.  Read chapter 1 of Genesis.  Ask your students how is God present in creation.  Listen to their responses and try to direct them to see that the creation reflects the presence of the creator.  When we see beauty in creation, we are experiencing the beauty of God.  Have you ever seen a rainbow or a puppy and not smile because of the beauty or sweetness of them?  Often when people see a beautiful sunset they will exclaim, “Oh my God, that is beautiful!”  God is present in creation.  Just as your parents are present in you.  

Give a synopsis of the story of the Hebrews as slaves to the Egyptians in the time of Pharaoh.  God asked Moses to ask Pharaoh to let his people be free and leave Egypt.  Pharaoh would not.  Moses told Pharaoh that God would bring plagues to the land, but still Pharaoh would not let God’s people go free.  After ten plagues and the death of Pharaoh’s first born son, Pharaoh allowed Moses to lead the Hebrew people to freedom.  Start to read the Exodus story at Exodus 13:18-22 and 14:1-25  Try not to overplay the fact that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh or the fact that God clogged the wheels of the chariots.  God does help the Hebrews become free from the Egyptian slave owners.  The Hebrews experienceed God’s presence in the new found freedom that is theirs.   If you were held as a slave, would you want God to help you to become free.  Jesus was God’s son and his birth was a special moment of grace…God’s presence with us.  Read the story of the birth of Jesus from Luke’s gospel (Lk 2: 1-7).  Jesus is born into a human family in a humble stable.  Anyone who has seen a crèche can be moved by the simplicity of it.  Jesus, God’s Son, wanted to become a human.  That is an example of God’s presence transforming the human experience into a sacred experience.  Jesus asked his cousin John to baptize him.  Jesus did not need John’s baptism but Jesus wanted to show a good example to people.  So Jesus was baptized.  Read the Baptism of Jesus (Lk. 3:21-22)  I can imagine when those present at Jesus’ baptism saw the dove descend upon him, that they would have realized that Jesus was a very special person.  If they had been able to hear God’s voice from heaven, they would have been certain how special Jesus was/is.  A moment of grace for sure.

The Resurrection stories of Jesus were moments of grace.  It changed the lives of the disciples and apostles.  They were able to heal the sick simply calling on the name of Jesus.  Ask the students to share stories of Jesus’ resurrection.  Ask them if they think Jesus coming back from the dead was an example of God’s presence.  Jesus transformed death into new life.  As we approach the feast of Pentecost, invite your students to imagine themselves hiding in a room in fear that people want to kill them. Read the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit from Acts 2: 1-13…don’t worry about the different tribal names in line 9…there were people from everywhere and they could all understand what the apostles were saying.

Ask your students if they think this was a moment of grace.  


Twenty-first Century Education > Ascension – Dan Stevers – a POWERFUL explanation of what the moment of Ascension means to us.  3.54 min >  Forgiveness – the story behind the song by Matthew West and then the song is shared…worth a listen.  8.40 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 WORLDBy Bernadette McCarver Snyder

Using Your Noodle When you eat supper tonight, would you like to have butterflies, shells, thimbles, ribbons, or radiators?  What?  You don’t want to eat any of those things?  Well, you MIGHT like them – if you like pasta!  You’ve probably eaten spaghetti and meatballs but did you know that spaghetti is the Italian word for “a length of cord”?  So you ate cord and meatballs!  And there are lots of other interesting Italian names for different shapes of pasta.  For example, farfalle (fahr-FAH-lay) is Italian for butterflies – so you make LIKE to have butterfly-shaped pasta for supper! Sometimes macaroni and cheese is made with pasta that looks like little shells and the Italian name for shells is conchiglie (kohn-CHEE-lyuh).  Then there’s ditalini (dihtah-LEE-nee) which is Italian for little thimbles.  And fettuccine (fehttuh-CHEE-nee) is Italian for little ribbons.  If you ever ate fettucine, did you notice the noodles look like little ribbons?  Maybe you might even like to have radiators for dinner if you have radiatore (rah-dyah-TOH-reh) which is a ruffled, ridged pasta that looks like the old-fashioned radiators that were once used to heat many homes – and still are used in some homes today.  There are lots of other pastas that have Italian names to fit the shapes of spirals, wagon wheels, quills, and small mustaches!  So the next time you have some funny-shaped pasta, you can surprise your friends by telling them you ate butterflies or wagon wheels or mustaches for dinner!  And when you say the blessing before dinner, you can tell God thanks for shells and thimbles and ribbons and radiators AND for the people who invented spaghetti!”  page 132


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. Before Christ ascended into heaven, he promised to send ____________________.  B.  the Holy Spirit


2. We believe in Jesus Christ…who was crucified, died and was buried, on the ____________________day, he rose from the dead.  A. third


3. Easter ____________________ is a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose from the dead.  D.  egg


4. The Church celebrates ______________________ liturgical seasons.  C.  six


5. Priests wear ____________________ to signify their role of leadership in the Mass.  A. vestments


What’s Your Catholic IQ?  A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien – CATECHIST April/May2015

1. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles as tongues of ____________________.
A. angelsB. fireC.  saintsD.  love 


2. When Catholics receive the sacrament of _____________________, they are born again in Christ.
A. matrimonyB.  reconciliationC.  confirmationD.  baptism 


3. Even though Christ rose from the dead – body and soul – on Easter, Catholics believe that when they die, that is the end of their bodies. True or False


4. The first person to encounter Jesus after he rose from the dead was ______________________.
A. PeterB.  JohnC.  Mary MagdaleneD.  Jesus’ mother


5. When the risen Christ appeared to the disciples in the upper room, they were ______________________.
A. textingB.  hidingC.  prayingD.  eating 

Movie Blog by Sister Pat

Selma – This movie is a historical interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr. work to liberate the African American population in the south of the USA.  There is much to learn still about how to treat our brothers and sisters of colour.  The song at the end of the movie speaks to the continued discrimination that occurs in the States between law enforcement and people of colour.  It may bode well to watch this movie with young people (Grade 5 +) and have a conversation about how we still need to see people as people and not as a colour, race, or religious tradition.  It was a good movie, the message still is relevant for today.



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

Turning a clock’s hands counterclockwise while setting it is not necessarily harmful. It is only damaging when the timepiece contains a chiming mechanism.Huh!

One comment

  1. Thank you again and again for such special emails.

    Happy Victoria Day Long Weekend!

    Peace and Hope,
    Steve De Quintal
    Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293
    “that they may have life and have it the full.”
    “The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” – Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
    ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***

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