Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning October 4, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.” Psalm 128

October 4th is the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Prepare for the Word – As you arrive for Mass today, be attentive to the small children who are there. How would you describe their spirit or nature? Is there something that seems to set the children apart from adults in the way they interact with the world around them?

Reflect on the Word – As you leave Mass, think about the week you just concluded. Were there moments in which you closed your heart to God? Were there times when your faith directed your actions and attitudes?

Act on the Word – Talk with a parent about what you were like when you were younger. Was there something about you that he or she recalls that can now be seen as a gift or part of your temperament that was already being expressed in your childhood? In what ways does your parent see you maturing? Listen to the memories and reflect on these. What in your parent’s stories rings true for you? Do you remember the same situations? Do you recall them in the same way as your parent told them? How would you characterize your childhood? Happy? Carefree? Troublesome? Fearful? Hopeful? Sad? How does this recollection of childhood speak to our lives in relationship to God and God’s ways?

Wrapping It Up – When we think about our reflection above, we might think about a continuum, from hardness of heart to openness to Christ, from being skeptical and testing God to trusting like a child. Where are you on this continuum?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 38, 40

October is the month of the most Holy Rosary. “On October 7, we celebrate a well-loved memorial in honour of the Rosary, and according to a long-standing tradition, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. In the Rosary, with its sequence of prayers and mysteries, we contemplate the Gospel in company with the Blessed Virgin Mary. As St. John Paul II wrote in 2002, ‘the Rosary….is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness…. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 1). Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 122-123. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.   Pray the first five prayers of the Rosary today.

Respect Life Sunday ~ the First Sunday in October. “The Church’s teaching about life encompasses the whole spectrum of human life, “from womb to tomb.” The Second Vatican Council proclaimed that “whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflected on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself: whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonour to the Creator” (Gaudium et Spes, 27). This Sunday, let us open our eyes to the many ways in which human life is at risk in our world and find constructive ways to preach the Gospel of Life.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 123 Spirit of Life, gift us with the courage to stand up for life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Pray that our government will not pass laws to allow for Euthanasia.

October 4th is the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. “The son of a wealthy merchant, St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) seemed destined for grand castles, exquisite clothing, and fine food. After a conversion experience, he relinquished the trapping of this world to minister to the leper and preach to the spiritually hungry. His home became the earth; his clothing, humility; and his identity, an impoverished beggar seeking God. Many young men joined St. Francis in this new way of life, leading to the foundation of the frati minori (“lesser brothers”), which eventually became known as the Friars Minor. He is perhaps one of the most popular saints in Church history due to his love of creation as exemplified in his famous “Canticle of the Sun.” Pope Pius XI described St. Francis as an alter Christus, meaning “another Christ.” Given Francis’s concern for creation, many parishes offer a blessing of animals on this day.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 125 Lord, make me an instrument of your peace today! Enjoy the autumn colours – take a walk in the forest.

October 7th is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. “The Rosary, which is perhaps the most-loved devotion in the Catholic Church, dates to the Middle Ages, when the practice developed of praying 150 Hail Marys on a set of beads, echoing the monastic prayer that was based on the 150 Psalms. The Dominicans are credited with popularizing the Rosary across Europe. By the sixteenth century, the Rosary had taken its present form, with fifteen mysteries – joyful, sorrowful, and glorious. In 2002, St. John Paul II added the “Mysteries of Light,” or Luminous Mysteries.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 126 Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Pray a decade of the Rosary – Wednesday is the glorious mysteries!

Opening Doors of Mercy ~ Mercy that Forgives – a quote for the week

There is a story told by the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko that gives us a glimpse of a sudden experience of the kingdom of heaven – in Russia, the midst of war, with Stalin ruling from the Kremlin, and Hitler’s armies pushing eastward. In 1944 Yevtushenko’s mother took him from Siberia to Moscow. There were in the huge crowd that witnessed a procession of twenty thousand German prisoners of war being marched across Red Square.

Yevtushenko recalls in his autobiography:

The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police. The crowd was mostly women – Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick, and with thin hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans. They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear. At last we saw it. The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanor meant to show superiority over their plebeian victors. “They smell of perfume, the bastards,” someone in the crowd said with hatred. The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back. All at once something happened to them. They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing blood-stained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of their comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down. The street became dead silent – the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

Then I saw an elderly woman in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman’s shoulder, saying, “Let me through.” There must have been something about her which made him step aside. She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a coloured handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now from every side women were running toward the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had. The soldiers were no longer enemies. They were people.

This is the sort of story most history books pass over – miraculous moments when enmity is replaced by mercy, compassion opens the way to actions of healing and forgiveness, and plain poverty becomes poverty of spirit. The gesture of a single old woman broke through what St. Paul describes as “the dividing wall of enmity” (Eph. 2:14). Her eyes had been opened to see suffering German boys rather than murderous Nazi soldiers. Her response was to give away what little she had, a carefully saved piece of black bread. Was she surprised afterward by what she had done and the flood of gifts others had made in the wake of her small gesture of love? It was a moment when the kingdom of heaven flooded across Red Square.” The Ladder of the Beatitudes by Jim Forest page 36-37

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

This year we will look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. This truth has been long in seeing the light of day. We need to work to build reconciliation with our First Nations, Métis and Inuit people because of the wrong directed toward them. It will take a deliberate effort. We are all treaty people. Let us live up to our side of the agreements.

Without some context, a context that many Canadians do not know or understand, the Calls to Action may not make sense. So the first excerpts will be taken from the introduction of the report.

“Canada asserted control over Aboriginal land. In some locations, Canada negotiated Treaties with First Nations; in others, the land was simply occupied or seized. The negotiation of Treaties, while seemingly honourable and legal, was often marked by fraud and coercion, and Canada was, and remains, slow to implement their provisions and intent.1

On occasion, Canada forced First Nations to relocate their reserves from agriculturally valuable or resource-rich land onto remote and economically marginal reserves.2 Without legal authority or foundation, in the 1880s Canada instituted a “pass system” that was intended to confine First Nations people to their reserves.3 Canada replaced existing forms of Aboriginal government with relatively powerless band councils whose decisions it could override and whose leaders it could depose.4 In the process, it disempowered Aboriginal women, who had held significant influence and powerful roles in many First Nations, including the Mohawks, the Carrier, and Tlingit.5

Canada denied the right to participate fully in Canadian political, economic, and social life to those Aboriginal people who refused to abandon their Aboriginal identity.6 Canada outlawed Aboriginal spiritual practices, jailed Aboriginal spiritual leaders, and confiscated sacred objects.7

Remember we are all treaty people!

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living in Solidarity ~ Hope Expectations for Junior Classes

By the end of grade 6, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Actively seek to identify the purposes of their lives and the vocation to which God is calling them;
  • Develop attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and act to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good;
  • Strive to integrate faith with all arenas of their life: personal, social, academic, etc.;
  • Respect the faith traditions, world religions and the life journeys of all people of good will.

Grade Four LS 1.2: Define the difference between the exercise of authority (i.e. having a sphere of responsibility for others) and the use of power (i.e. the way and means of enacting one’s authority/responsibility) and explain, using real life examples why it is “preferable that each power be balanced by other powers” or spheres of responsibility (e.g. teacher and parent, teacher and principal, principal and older students – hall monitors; parents and older sibling; referee and coach; legal system – police officer, lawyer, crown prosecutor, judge and court of appeals; Polic – Prime Minister, members of the ruling party and the opposition; Magisterium of the Church and the laity). [CCC nos. 1897-1904] For human society to work, it requires some people to have authority to manage and organize others and to work and care for the good of all. The people who have this authority also have responsibilities for which they need to be accountable. Usually people with authority exercise their authority expecting respect and obedience. Power is the way and means of enacting one’s authority. Power can be used positively or used negatively. “Nurturing power is used to foster another person’s well-being. Parents exercise this kind of power for their children by feeding them for example. …When our personal power is used to complement or increase other people’s power, we have shared power.” Creating a Christian Lifestyle, page 26   Power used as a weapon or to oppress is a negative use of power. I would explain the different types of power to my class. Then I would ask the students to look at the specific relationships listed in the expectation and ask the students about how power is used in each real life example. You may have to give some information about legal system relationships, and political power (apt for this time in the election process). The Magisterium is the teaching voice of the Church. It is composed of all the bishops of the world and the role of this group is to ensure that the People of God know right from wrong.

Grade Five LS1.2: Identify the passages of Scripture in the New Testament which describe the Church receiving authority from Christ i.e. the mandate given to the apostles (Matthew 28:20; Matthew 10:1), and give examples of how this is reflected today in the Church. [CCC nos. 1897-1904] Jesus gathered the twelve disciples so that he could guide them and give them authority. In Matthew 10:1 it says, “Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.” Jesus taught the disciples everything they would need to continue the Church once he was no longer with them. In Matthew 28:18-20, it says “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and 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.” Ask your students what is means to receive authority. Have your students read the passages above. Ask them how they would have felt if Jesus had given them authority like he gave the disciples – put themselves in the disciples’ shoes. Ask them how is this authority reflected in the Church today. You may be able to draw from the experience of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and Cuba. Pull some video clips to show the students how people respond to the authority of the Pope. – Let your students see this video based on Matthew 28:18-20

Grade Six LS 1.2: Describe the call of Christian ‘vocation’ received in baptism (i.e. everyone is called to serve society, to discern their gifts and talents and to be united in making a contribution in the world) and determine ways we can respond to this call as young people. [CCC nos. 1262-1284; 1897-1927] In our baptism, “we share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission.” [CCC 1268]   We are called to be priests in the sense that we called to share God’s story and to live the meaning of God’s word. We are called to live in the hope of our own resurrection as followers of Jesus. We are called to use our gifts and talents to make contributions to the building of the kingdom of God on earth. Ask the students to identify how they serve at home, at school and in the community. Ask them to identify the gifts and talents that they have used in the ways they serve. As Christians we receive a mission from Jesus to build the kingdom of God on earth. How can young people respond to this call? Use our theme song with this lesson.

Twenty-first Century Education > You Were Formed for God’s Family 1.45 min >Change the Story – 2.15 min If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, how could we help others around us who are struggling. > Jared Dees has put together a set of resources and training helps that are nothing short of awesome. He has a free eBook, lesson plans, strategies, activities, and many resources. > 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


115 Saintly FUN Facts ~ Smiles and Surprises for Kids of All Ages By Bernadette McCarver Snyder

“Alexander, the Charcoal-Burner This saint became a bishop because the people who lived in his town were snooty and sarcastic! Alexander’s town needed a new bishop. So the people in charge of finding one selected some “candidates” and then sent for another bishop – a wise man known as Gregory the Wonder-Worker – to come and decide which one would be right for the job. Gregory came and talked to all the candidates, but NONE of them seemed to be the RIGHT one. The townspeople wanted him to choose someone rich and influential, but Gregory reminded them that Jesus’ apostles had been poor, ordinary men. So one of the townspeople said sarcastically, “Well, then, why don’t you pick Alexander, the Charcoal-Burner!” Gregory KNEW this as a smart-alecky suggestion, but he surprised them all by SENDING for Alexander! When Alexander arrived, his clothes were all dirty and ragged because of the work he did, and he certainly didn’t LOOK like a bishop. But when Gregory began to talk to him, he found out that Alexander was well-educated and a very wise man. He learned that Alexander had given away all his money and taken a lowly job so he could live a simple life like Jesus. Gregory knew he had found the RIGHT man to be bishop. What began as a JOKE ended JOYFULLY! The Charcoal-Burner became a good and holy bishop, a helpful teacher — and a saint!

Does your family or anyone in your neighbourhood use a charcoal burner to barbeque? The next time you smell or eat a charcoaled hamburger, think of Alexander – the saint who CHOSE to take a lowly job but was then CHOSEN to be a great leader.” pages 15-16


Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? What’s Your Catholic IQ? CATECHIST, September 2015, page 19

Test Your Faith Knowledge by David O’Brien

  1. Mary was Jesus’ mother. _____ was his earthly father. Joseph
  1. Besides the Mass, the other official prayer of the Church is the Liturgy of the _____. B. Hours
  1. By forgiving our _____, God welcomes us back into God’s family just like the father did in the story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15: 11-32)    A. sins
  1. “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have _____ and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)   A. life
  1. The Sign of _____ at Mass helps us follow Jesus who told us to reconcile with each other before we bring a gift to the altar. (Matthew 5:24)   B. Peace

Learn About Mary and the Saints by David O’Brien CATECHIST, October 2015, page 21

  1. Monks who followed the rule of St. Benedict were focused on two things: work and _____. A. rest          B. food      C. prayer     D. social justice
  1. Mary was _____ when she gave birth to Jesus.    A. a famous saint    B. the mother of three other children  C. an old woman        D. a teenager
  1. Who is the patron saint of barbers?  A. Isidore of Seville      B. Martin de Porres     C. Elizabeth of Hungry    D. Edward Scissorhands
  1. Who are you praying to when you pray the Lord’s Prayer?   A. the Father B.Jesus           C. the Holy Spirit        D. Mary
  1. Mary is the mother of _____.   A. Jesus but not God         B. God but not Jesus              C. the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit      D. Jesus who is God

Taking Jesus to the Movies – a movie blog for believers by Pat Carter, csj

Still Alice – This is a movie based on the best-selling book by Lisa Genova. It describes how a middle aged woman in the prime of her career begins to exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s disease. It is better to read the book before you see the movie. It is not necessarily a movie I would allow young children to see. It is a powerful portrayal of the experience of being aware of the early signs of the disease and struggling to live peacefully with it. Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her work in this movie. ♥♥♥♥/5

Trivia for Those Who Read to the end…Just like the credits at the movies.

“Canadian researchers have found that Einstein’s brain was 15% wider than normal.” Huh!

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