Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning October 11, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Fill us with your love, O Lord.” Psalm 90

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. “Dignity in Mental Health” is the theme for this year. WMH Day was observed for the first time on 10 October 1992 and continues to be the official day of commemoration every year. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter and It has become the largest and most widely promoted education and advocacy program of the WFMH. http://wfmh.com/world-mental-health-day/wmhd-2015/ Go to this website to see what is happening.

October 11th is the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Prepare for the Word – How important are material possessions to you? If you had to give away most of what you own other than necessary clothing, what three articles would you keep? Why?

Reflect on the Word – Upon what things do you place great value? How might Jesus’ words to the young man cause you to reflect on those possessions?

Act on the Word – This week, sort through your clothes and other material possessions. Pack up those things that you truly do not need (clothes you have outgrown, games that are no longer appropriate for a person your age, school supplies you have in excess, and so on) and find a local charity to which you may donate the articles. Ask your family members to gather articles as well. If you are in an area that gets cold in the winter, consider donating last year’s coats, hats, and sweaters. These will be especially needed by the poor in the coming months. If your school has a winter clothing collection, offer your help with it; if not, consider helping to start one.

Wrapping It Up – What do you take away from this Gospel and your reflection on it? What is one thing you feel called to reflect more deeply about as a result?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 41, 44

Thanksgiving Day – second Monday in October – “Few people know that the first formal Thanksgiving service in North America was celebrated in Newfoundland in 1578 by Sir John Frobisher and the European settlers after their safe landing. However, Thanksgiving Day didn’t become an annual event in Canada until much later. The tradition returned to the province of Nova Scotia with travelers who had celebrated Thanksgiving Day in New England. The tradition spread to the rest of the country, and in 1879 a day of thanksgiving for a good harvest and other blessings became an official holiday in Canada. Traditional Thanksgiving feasts include dinners of venison, waterfowl, and other wild game, as well as other North American foods, such as wild rice, corn, cranberries, and potatoes.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 123-124 Thank you God for the countless blessings that you shower upon us every day. Say “Thank you” to God for everything you are aware of today.

October 15th is the memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. “St. Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) more commonly known as St. Teresa of Avila, joined the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at the age of 21. Disheartened by the laxness of its observance of the Carmelite Rule, in particular its opulent nature and overly social atmosphere, she began a reform movement laying the framework for the Discalced Carmelites. This new branch of Carmelites modeled themselves on the poor and crucified Christ, adopting a life of poverty and abstinence. In collaboration with St. John of the Cross, she helped bring this new way of life to the male Carmelite communities. Although their reforms were met with great resistance, they moved forward with faith and persistence. Among her many writings, she is well known for two classics: The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle. Teresa is one of the first women to be named a Doctor of the Church.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 128-129 St. Teresa, help us to move into people’s lives with gentleness. Take off your shoes for part of the day and walk in your sock/bare feet like the discalced Carmelites.

October 16th is the memorial of St. Marguerite d’Youville, Religious. “St. Marguerite d’Youville (1701-1771) is the Canadian founder of the Grey Nuns of Montreal. She was born at Varennes, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, and received two years of schooling at the Ursuline convent in Quebec City. At the age of twenty-one, she married François d’Youville, a bootlegger and fur trader, with whom she had six children before his death in 1730. Before she was thirty, Marguerite had experienced the loss of her father, husband, and four of her children, but her sufferings brought about a religious conversion. In 1737, her two surviving sons having entered the priesthood, Marguerite cofounded a group dedicated to helping the poor, which developed into the order known as the Grey Nuns. St. Marguerite d’Youville died in 1771 in Montreal and was canonized by John Paul II, the first Canadian to be so honoured. She is a person saint of widows and those in difficult marriages.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and the Holidays of the Year, page 129 St. Marguerite, inspire those who struggle in their marriages to work through the challenges they face . Pray for a couple you know who is newly married or in thanksgiving for a couple who has been married many years.

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

“One of the people of modern times whose heart was radiantly pure was the Russian pianist Maria Yudina. …It was Maria Yudina’s fate to live through the Russian revolution and its aftermath, seeing many of her dearest friends and colleagues disappear into the Gulag. A fearless Christian, she wore a cross visibly even while teaching or performing in public – an affirmation of belief at a time when the price of a display of religious faith could be one’s work, one’s freedom, even one’s life. …For Maria Yudina, music was a way of proclaiming her faith in a period when presses were more carefully policed than pianos. “Yudina saw music in a mystical light. For instance, she saw Bach’s Goldberg Variations as a series of illustrations to the Holy Bible,” said Shostakovich. “She always played as though she were giving a sermon.” …From time to time she all but signed her own death warrant. Perhaps the most remarkable story in Shostakovich’s memoir concerns one such incident: In his final years, Stalin seemed more and more like a madman, and I think his superstition grew. The “Leader and Teacher” sat locked up in one of his many dachas, amusing himself in bizarre ways. …[He] didn’t let anyone in to see him for days at a time. He listened to the radio a lot. Once Stalin called the Radio Committee, where the administration was, and asked if they had a record of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, which had been heard on the radio the day before. “Played by Yudina,” he added. They told Stalin that of course they had it. Actually, there was no record, the concert had been live. But they were afraid to say no to Stalin, no one ever knew what the consequences might be. A human life meant nothing to him. All you could do was agree, submit, be a yes-man, a yes-man to a madman. Stalin demanded that they send the record with Yudina’s performance of the Mozart to his dacha. The committee panicked, but they had to do something. They called in Yudina and an orchestra and recorded that night. Everyone was shaking with fright, except for Yudina, naturally. But she was a special case, that one, the ocean was only knee-deep for her.

Yudina later told me that they had to send the conductor home, he was so scared he couldn’t think. They called another conductor, who trembled and got everything mixed up, confusing the orchestra. Only a third conductor was in any shape to finish the recording. I think this is a unique event in the history of recording – I mean, changing conductors three times in one night. Anyway, the record was read by morning. They made one single copy in record time and sent it to Stalin. Now that was a record. A record in yes-ing.

Soon after, Yudina received an envelope with twenty thousand rubles. She was told it came on the express orders of Stalin. Then she wrote him a letter. I know about this letter from her, and I know that the story seems improbable. Yudina had many quirks, but I can say this – she never lied. I’m certain that her story is true. Yudina wrote something like this in her letter: “I thank you, Joseph Vissarionovich, for your aid. I will pray for you day and night and ask the Lord to forgive your great sins before the people and the country. The Lord is merciful and He’ll forgive you. I gave the money to the church that I attend.” And Yudina sent this suicidal letter to Stalin. He read it and didn’t say a word, they expected at least a twitch of the eyebrow. Naturally, the order to arrest Yudina was prepared and the slightest grimace would have been enough to wipe away the last traces of her. But Stalin was silent and set the letter aside in silence. The anticipated movement of the eyebrows didn’t come. Nothing happened to Yudina. They say that her recording of Mozart was on the record player when the “Leader and Teacher” was found dead in his dacha. It was the last thing he had listened to.” The Ladder of the Beatitudes by Jim Forest pp. 99-103

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.

“And, Canada separated children from their parents, sending them to residential schools. This was done not to educate them, but primarily to break their link to their culture and identity. In justifying the government’s residential school policy, Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, told the House of Commons in 1883:

When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.

BC-Residential-school-June-15
Alert Bay, British Columbia, school, 1885. The federal government has estimated that over 150,000 students attended Canada’s residential schools. Library and Archives Canada, George Dawson, PA-037934.

These measures were part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will. Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Duncan Campbell Scott outlined the goals of that policy in 1920, when he told a parliamentary committee that “our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic.” These goals were reiterated in 1969 in the federal government’s Statement on Indian Policy (more often referred to as the “White Paper”), which sought to end Indian status and terminate the Treaties that the federal government had negotiated with First Nations.” http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Honouring_the_Truth_Reconciling_for_the_Future_July_23_2015.pdf

Remember we are all treaty people!

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living in Solidarity ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

By the end of Grade 8, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Understand that one’s purpose or call in life comes from God and strive to discern and prepare to live out this call throughout life’s journey; (CGE: 1g)
  • Develop attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and act to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good;
  • Respect the faith traditions, world religions and the life journeys of all people of good will.

Grade Seven LS 1.2: Identify the prayers, symbols and ritual actions of the sacraments of Confirmation, Holy Orders and Marriage and explain how each is a source of Grace for a life of service to the world. [CCC nos. 1285-1321; 1533-1600; 1601-1666]

Sacraments Prayers Symbols Ritual Actions
Confirmation The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence.   Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Anointing symbolizes a spiritual seal of the Holy Spirit and strengthening of baptismal grace. Anointing with chrism – laying on of hands and anointing with the oil of chrism are the ritual actions for confirmation. As the candidate is anointed the bishop says “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Holy Orders Consecratory preface of ordination of bishops:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…by your gracious word you have established the plan of your Church. From the beginning, you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation. You established rulers and priests, and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you….

At the ordination of priests, the Church prays:

Lord, holy Father,…when you had appointed high priests to rule your people, you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity to be with them and to help them in their task…. You extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men…You shared among the sons of Aaron the fullness of their father’s power.

In the consecratory prayer for the ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:

Almighty God…, You make the Church, Christ’s body, grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple. You enrich it with every kind of grace and perfect it with a diversity of members to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity. You established a threefold ministry of worship and service, for the glory of your name. As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.

Anointing symbolizes the sign of consecration of one’s life to God.

The stole is a symbol of the priesthood of bishops, priests and permanent deacons.

The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of the ordination.
Marriage “I take you to be my wife.” “I take you to be my husband.” “I do.” Then the priest or deacon gives the blessing of the Church. Exchange of rings

Presence of the Church’s minister and of witnesses.

Public consent of the spouses to each other and to the covenant of marriage – “I do.”

A kiss once the consent is given.

Having students go over the contents of the chart above, ask your students to explain how they think that each sacrament is a source of Grace (God’s presence in the world) for a life of service to the world. A sacrament is a sign and instrument by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ throughout the Church. Each of these sacraments is a way that the Holy Spirit anoints the recipients with the grace of Christ.

Grade Eight LS1.2: Examine the political initiatives presently being promoted at various levels of civil society (city, province, federal) and critique how well each promotes the dignity of the human person and the Common Good as it is defined in Sacred Scripture and Catholic social teaching. [CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401]

It would be important to review what the Common Good is: “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily. The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority.” [CCC 1906] “[The common good] consists of three essential elements: respect for the person; the social well-being and development of the group itself and peace.” [CCC 1907-1909] You may want to ask your students to identify political initiatives that they may be aware of at the various levels of civic society. (SSM city council – supporting the United Church’s effort to bring refugee family to SSM; Quebec is supporting the right to die with dignity (euthanasia); new TPP deal signed by Conservative government – secret deal; federal government and Syrian refugee response) I might get my students to look in a newspaper for examples of these city, provincial, federal initiatives. If you have a high FNMI population – the federal government’s hesitancy to respond to missing Aboriginal women crisis, housing crisis in the Northern reserves. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings may be a good place to look too.

Twenty-first Century Education

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=YLWWWWNX&utm_source > Bubble Wrap Believers > Eye-Opening View from the Skit Guys – Comedy – 3.45 min

www.TheReligionTeacher.com > 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.

http://grievingstudents.scholastic.com > Great website resources to use if you have a student who has lost a loved one.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM > in the Religious Education curriculum document there are references to the CCC – Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is a link to that document.

www.4catholiceducators.com > a Canadian based website for Catholic teachers of Religious Education (my new fav)

www.CARFLEO.org > 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

“Aloysius This saint planned to be a soldier HERO – UNTIL he read some books and became a different KIND of hero! Aloysius’ father was a marquis who was in the service of the king of Spain, and he wanted his son to be a great soldier. But when Aloysius was about twelve years old, he got very sick, so he read books. (There was NO TV back then!) So what kind of books do you think he read? He read about the lives of the saints! Wouldn’t he have been surprised to know that some day HE would be included in books about saints, and YOU would be reading about HIM? Aloysius also read stories about Jesuit priests who had gone off to India to be missionaries – and that sounded pretty heroic to him. So Aloysius decided he wanted to be a priest instead of a soldier – and that’s what he did. He became a heroic priest AND a saint. Do you think anyone will ever read about YOU in a book? If not in a saint book, in ANY kind of book? Well, don’t be so sure! Aloysius didn’t think so either! Reading can open all kinds of “doors” for you – giving you new ideas, new directions, new possibilities. Why don’t you start today to read at least PART of a book EVERY day? It will be fun – AND something you read just might trigger a plan that will make YOU a hero some day!” pages 16-17

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

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 _____. C. prayer
  1. Mary was _____ when she gave birth to Jesus. D. a teenager
  1. Who is the patron saint of barbers? B. Martin de Porres
  1. Who are you praying to when you pray the Lord’s Prayer? A. the Father
  1. Mary is the mother of _____. D. Jesus who is God

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

  1. All saints were killed for their faith. True or False
  1. Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to _____, where Mary gave birth to Jesus. (Luke 2:1-7)   A. Corinth       B. Jerusalem                           C. Bethlehem                         D. Rome
  1. Only prayers said at Church are heard by God. True or False
  1. _____ is not how many saints followed Jesus.   A. Speaking about God    B. Helping those in need     C. Praying      D. Playing video games
  1. According to the Bible, prayer comes from the _____.   A. Mind        B. heart    C. music       D. church

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

The Intern – This movie is laugh out loud funny and hope-filled. I laughed and I cried. It has great messages about life and relationships, about the meaning of work, and the importance of family. It may be labelled a chick-flick by some, but Robert DeNiro’s role is stellar about how a man can be observant and supportive without losing any of his masculinity. It was just what my spirit needed. ♥♥♥♥♥/5

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

“The first product to have a bar code was Wrigleys gum.” Huh! http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bingbin/

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