Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning November 15th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“O God, I take refuge in you.” Psalm 16

November 15th is the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Prepare for the Word – What helps you to stay focussed as a Christian in the midst of your daily life? Are there situations that seem hopeless to you? What responses to these situations does faith offer?

Reflect on the Word – What did you hear in the Gospel or the homily that bears further reflection this week? How has Jesus’ words endured through the centuries? What encouragement and challenge do you take from this?

Act on the Word – This week, think about how your everyday actions are a reflection of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Not from a sense of fear, but more from a sense of rootedness in faith and of the realization that each of us is to contribute to life in Jesus’ name, consider the preciousness of every moment. Write down your thoughts about this in a journal or to keep in a special place. In what way do you live your life, knowing that every moment is sacred?

Wrapping it Up – What habit or behaviour needs to change in light of today’s reflection? What habit or behaviour could be enhanced or built upon in light of today’s reflection? 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 61,64

November 15th is the memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. “To the great disappointment of his father, St. Albert the Great (1206-1280), known as “the universal doctor,” entered the Dominican order, where he was recognized for his acumen. Ahead of his time, he believed that learning did not take place in a vacuum; one must be an interdisciplinary learner. He loved the world of academia, anywhere from studying the natural sciences to unearthing the connection between reason and experience to learning the geography of the earth. As a prestigious teacher, he had the privilege of instructing and mentoring St. Thomas Aquinas, author of the Summa Theologia. Toward the end of his life he began to experience memory loss and dementia, which led to his gradual demise. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 141.

November 21st is the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The Gospel accounts tell of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple but do not speak of the Presentation of Mary. Nevertheless, Christians in the East and the West have observed a day in honour of Mary’s Presentation for centuries. Many artists have depicted the scene: a tiny girl (Mary is said to have been three or four years old when she was presented in the Temple), climbing the steps to go into the Temple to offer herself to God. This memorial speaks of Mary’s total openness to God. God kept her free from sin from the moment of her conception, so that she, whose presentation in the Temple we commemorate today, would become a Temple of the Holy Spirit.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 143

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

“When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebration.” Jean Vanier

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.

“The Commission defines reconciliation as an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships. A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change. Establishing respectful relationships also requires the revitalization of Indigenous law and legal traditions. It is important that all Canadians understand how traditional First Nations, Inuit, and Métis approaches to resolving conflict, repairing harm, and restoring relationships can inform the reconciliation process. Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders have long dealt with conflicts and harms using spiritual ceremonies and peacemaking practices, and by retelling oral history stories that reveal how their ancestors restored harmony to families and communities.

These traditions and practices are the foundation of Indigenous law; they contain wisdom and practical guidance for moving towards reconciliation across this land. As First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities access and revitalize their spirituality, cultures, languages, laws, and governance systems, and as non-Aboriginal Canadians increasingly come to understand Indigenous history within Canada, and to recognize and respect Indigenous approaches to establishing and maintaining respectful relationships, Canadians can work together to forge a new covenant of reconciliation.

Despite the ravages of colonialism, every Indigenous nation across the country, each with its own distinctive culture and language, has kept its legal traditions and peacemaking practices alive in its communities. While Elders and Knowledge

Keepers across the land have told us that there is no specific word for “reconciliation” in their own languages, there are many words, stories, and songs, as well as sacred objects such as wampum belts, peace pipes, eagle down, cedar boughs, drums, and regalia, that are used to establish relationships, repair conflicts, restore harmony, and make peace. The ceremonies and protocols of Indigenous law are still remembered and practised in many Aboriginal communities.”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 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 2.1: Examine a selection of scripture passages to identify the image of the human being and Creation that the scriptures present (Genesis 1-3 – made in God’s image, communal beings; the goodness of the world, the goods of the world for the use of human persons; I Cor. 12:4-13 – through the Holy Spirit, the Christian community has been given many gifts that are to be shared in order to build up the Kingdom of God – co-creators with God). [CCC nos. 325-421; 1877-1927]

“Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. …Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. [We] must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.” CCC 339   Read Genesis 1 – 2:3 to the class and have the students identify the repeated phrases of the story. [And God said, “Let there be…” And it was so. God called…And there was evening and there was morning, the _____day.] It is God’s word that creates all things. God gives all things their name. God created everything in a particular order. This allows us to understand evolution as part of God’s plan. Each day was not a 24 hour time but a time in God’s order. At the end of the story, God declares all of creation good. Read Genesis 2:4b – 25. Invite the students to identify how this story of Creation is different from the first one. Ask the students if story two contradicts story one. Who decides it is not good for the man to be alone? We are made to be communal beings, just like God is a communal being – Father, Son and Spirit. God creates partners, a man and a woman so neither will be alone. And they will help each other. “Being in the image of God the human possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. [We are] capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving [ourselves] and entering into communion with other persons.” [CCC 357]

If we were able to teach this concept really well, there would never be any problem with bullying and unkindness. We are an image of God. We possess the spirit of God. However, you are able to impress this reality with your students, do so. God lives within each of us. What we do to each other, we do to God too. Just like Jesus said, whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me. [Matthew 25] “Love of neighbour is inseparable from love of God.” [CCC 1878] We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not the other way around. When God creates all of creation, it is intended that the goods of the world would be for the use of all human persons. God symbolically invites Adam to name all the different part of creation; giving Adam (and eventually Eve) stewardship of all creation. Stewardship requires that we care for the earth so it is available for all generations. Originally, people thought humans were supposed to dominate creation; now we have a different understanding that we are co-creators with God and it is our responsibility to care for all of creation. You may want to teach this idea by having the students create something, then once the creation is complete, ask the students “How would you feel if I came to your desk and shamed/damaged your creation?” This may lead to an insight of how we are to be good stewards of God’s creation. Read 1 Cor. 12:4-31 to the class. Read the passage and ask the students what they think the passage is meant to teach us. Through the Holy Spirit, within the community many gifts have been given to be used and shared so that the Kingdom of God is built up. The gifts are not given to be saved. The gifts are given to be shared. Imagine if you received a gift that was all wrapped up beautifully. You received the gift but just left it all wrapped up and never opened it. How sad that would be. We have been given spiritual gifts and these have been given to us by the Holy Spirit and they are intended to be used for the good of all.

Grade Five LS 2.1: Examine Matthew 25:31-46 to identify and summarize what Jesus reveals about the judgment of God concerning the human dignity of others, the “friendship” that we are to see and establish with others (i.e. hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, and those in prison) and how he will judge our actions towards others. [CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401] “Being in the image of God the human possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. [We are] capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving [ourselves] and entering into communion with other persons.” [CCC 357]   This message is key to this expectation. Read the passage Matthew 25:31-46 to the students. Ask them what they think it means. Is it intended to be a parable (a symbolic story). Ask the class to make the connection between the Corporal Works of Mercy and the actions of the sheep. I sent a file about the Corporal Works of Mercy at the beginning of the year, I will attach it to this CCU. Is this story meant to scare us or encourage us to live the Corporal Works of Mercy? It is interesting that in our society and time we do not think about the judgment of God. In a different time (1950s – 1960s) people lived in fear of the judgment of God. Fear is a poor motivator. We need to teach children to act out of love not fear. I always think, if that were me who was hungry, thirsty, stranger and fearful, naked or in prison, I would want help to change my situation. Such teaching engenders empathy. In the Creed we pray that we believe “Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” We will be judged. How we act, determines how we will be judged. Ask the students if they realize that they are going to be judged by God for how they lived. It is important that they begin to understand this idea, not to cause fear but awareness.

Grade Six LS 2.1: Identify and examine events from Jesus’ life and his ministry when he challenged dehumanizing situations and social structures (e.g., Samaritan Woman at the well, Sabbath rule and the man with the withered, the cure of the man who was paralyzed) and link the message of these passages to how individuals and institutions should address local and global situations that need to be challenged today. [CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401] “Being in the image of God the human possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. [We are] capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving [ourselves] and entering into communion with other persons.” [CCC 357]   This message is key to this expectation. In Jesus’ time when someone had a withered hand, was paralyzed, had unclean spirit (now understood as epilepsy), was blind etc., it was thought that the condition existed because of the sins of a person in the family, that God was punishing the person for the sins of another family member. These conditions meant that the person was often not able to work and so had to beg in order to eat. These persons were considered “unclean,” which meant that no one wanted to be close to them because they would become ritually unclean by association. Then they would have to do some ritual in order to be able to be clean again. This message has to be understood by the students before the expectation can be taught. Having science now, we understand that a withered hand has a muscle that is atrophied (become weakened for some reason.) The following passages from Luke’s gospel deal with situations where Jesus needs to provide healing: Luke 4:31-37 – Man with Unclean Spirit; 5:12-16 Leper; 5:17-26 Paralytic; Luke 6:6-11 Withered Hand; 7:36-50 Sinful Woman Forgiven; 8:26-39 Gerasene Demoniac; 8:42b-48 Healing of Woman with 12 years of Hemorrhages; Luke 9:37-43 Boy with a Demon; 13:10-17 Crippled Woman; 14:1-6 Man with Dropsy; 17:11-19 Ten Lepers; Luke 18:35-43 Blind Beggar; 19:1-10 Zacchaeus. Jesus heals these people so they can live in community with everyone, especially important for the lepers who were exiled, pushed outside of villages and cities and we made to wear a bell so that those who came close would not be infected. If someone was bleeding, like the woman with the hemorrhages she would not be allowed to be close to people who wanted to go to synagogue or Temple to pray. She would be treated very badly because the bleeding (which was bad enough) lasted for so long. Zacchaeus was not sick in a physical way but spiritually because he was a tax collector who would cheat people by charging them more than they owed the Romans. He would have been despised by the Jewish people even those he was a Jewish man. The woman who was caught in adultery (sinful woman sleeping with a man who was not her husband) is healed by Jesus and she is so grateful she washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and anoints him. Jesus wants everyone to be treated as children of God with love and respect and forgiveness. Ask your students how we can relate this to our time. How can individuals and institutions address local and global situations that dehumanize people and treat them like objects? For example, the refugees from Syria as they move through Europe.

Twenty-first Century Education

https://www.facebook.com/AleteiaEn/videos/466379116860077/ > the story of Pope Francis’s childhood

http://www.stopbullying.gov/ > work to eliminate bullying from your class and school

http://acyberpilgrim.org/ > A Cyber Pilgrim blog > Get ideas about how to engage students in Religious Education with online tools and ideas

http://wccm.org/ > World Community for Christian Meditation > This is a site for Christian Meditation for teachers and students alike.

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

“Apollinaris the Apologist – … When Apollinaris made an “apology,” he didn’t say he was sorry for something, he said he was PROUD of it! And what was he proud of? His Christian faith! You see the word apology has two very different meanings. When you do something wrong or impolite or improper, you usually say “Oh, I’m sorry” to apologize for your actions. BUT when you are making a scholarly defense of an idea or a belief, THAT is also called an “apology.” If a scientist has a theory, he might make an apology for it to try to prove his idea and convince others of its worth. In the same way, St. Apollinaris made an apology to the emperor of his day, defending the Christian religion. Apollinaris was evidently VERY convincing because the emperor then issued an edict forbidding anyone to denounce a Christian because of his or her religion – AND Apollinaris became known as The Apologist! Did YOU ever make an apology to say you’re sorry for something? Most people have done that! But ONE thing you will never have to say you’re sorry for is your Christian religion! If you ever make an apology for that, it can be the kind of apology that DEFENDS your faith and says you’re PROUD to be a friend of Jesus.” p. 22-23

Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? What’s Your Catholic IQ? CATECHIST, November/December 2015, page 25

Show Mercy and Forgiveness by David O’Brien

  1. God won’t forgive you if you break the law even if you are sorry and go to confession. True or False
  1. In the early Church, public sinner performed public _____. C. penance
  1. In confession, it is Jesus, represented by the priest, who forgives our sins. True or False
  1. Which sacrament does not include the forgiveness of sins? D. matrimony
  1. What did Jesus do that forgave all our sins?   B. died on the cross

Show Mercy and Forgiveness by David O’Brien

  1. “Hail Holy Queen, _____ of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry…”    A. Lover        B. Princess                  C. Child                      D. Mother
  1. Only Christians can be forgiven of their sins. True or False
  1. The Pharisees criticized Jesus because he was friends with _____.   A. Julius Caesar    B. carpenters              C. sinners                    D. fishermen
  1. Before receiving communion, Catholics who commit serious sins should go to _____. A.  confession             B.   jail                          C. the Vatican                        D. Jerusalem
  1. In the early church, sins were forgiven only once through Baptism. True or False

 

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

Remember > This movie is at the Galaxy Cinema in the Sault right now. It was filmed in Sault Ste. Marie. What a different experience when the background is so familiar! It was a bit of a distraction from the story. I guess people in New York city have this experience a lot more. It was also directed by a great Canadian director Adam Egoyan, one of my favourites. Stars Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau. It is a mystery with a few twists. Really worth seeing for adults. ♥♥♥♥/5

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

“A 41-gun salute is the traditional salute to a royal birth in Great Britain. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bingbin/

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