Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning November 29th, 2015

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“To You, O Lord, I lift my soul.” Ps. 25. 1b

November 29nd is the First Sunday of Advent

Prepare for the Word – What does Advent mean to you? As you enter church today, be aware of changes in the environment, music, and prayers that signal the change in liturgical seasons. What is the impact of these changes on you as you prepare for Mass?

Reflect on the Word – Jesus cautioned us about certain behaviours in today’s Gospel. Look at the reading again. Which behaviour strikes you as one that you should avoid? When we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” for what are we praying?

Act on the Word –As we begin the season of Advent today, make a promise to maintain the spirit of the season in some particular way. While there will be many pulls toward the “Christmas season” in advertisements, social gatherings, music, and shopping, observing the season of Advent has spiritual benefits that will make a difference in your life. Prepare an Advent wreath for your family table, establish a routine of special prayer in the morning or evening, or challenge yourself to wait to celebrate Christmas in some concrete way. As Advent unfolds, be mindful to keep your promise and note the ways this shapes the coming month for you and those you touch.

Wrapping it Up – In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks directly to the way we live our daily lives. What in the passage consoles or strengthens you? What in the passage challenges you?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 69, 74

November 30th is the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. “St. Andrew (first century) was the first of the Twelve to meet Jesus. He was one of the two disciples of John the Baptist who saw John point out Jesus and say, “Here is the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36). Andrew told his brother, Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn. 1:41) and brought him to Jesus. St. Andrew is venerated as the protoclete, or first-called, by the Eastern Churches. Tradition says that he may have preached in parts of Asia Minor and Greece before being crucified on an x-shaped cross. The Scots claim Andrew as their patron saint, and his cross is on their flag.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 145 St. Andrew, help us to be faithful to the Lord, the way you were. Every time you see an X today, think about St. Andrew.

Month of December – “The word for the last month of the year means, in Latin, “tenth month.” The ancient calendar of the Romans began in March, which made December the tenth month. In ancient times, people of northern Europe stopped counting the days of winter. There wasn’t any farm work to do, so there wasn’t any reason to keep track of time. They called this free time Yule. This word comes from the same root word as the word wheel. The days of Yule connected the old year to the new.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 146

Month of the Divine Infancy – “During this month of December, as we look forward to Christmas, we recall the Divine Infancy of Christ. This month, let the paradox of Christ’s birth and childhood strike us anew. Let us pray with Mary in the words of an ancient hymn by St. Ephraem the Syrian: “I am your Mother but I will give honour to you. I have engendered you, but you are older than I am. I have carried you in my womb, but you sustain me on my feet. You have been born of me like a little one, but you are as strong as a giant. The height of the heavens are filled with your majesty, and yet my womb has not been too small for you.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 146-147

December 1st is World AIDS Day. “Those simple loops of red ribbon that people wear on their lapels today are recognized around the world – because people everywhere have encountered AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that leads to AIDS if left untreated. Unknown in 1980, HIV and AIDS have by now created a genuine pandemic. Those who suffer with these illnesses live mostly in middle – and low- income areas such as sub-Saharan Africa. Most of those who are ill have no access to the life-giving retroviral drugs that can stop HIV, ease the suffering of those with full-blown AIDS, and prevent the spread of the illness. World AIDS Day began in 1988 to call for greater awareness of their plight. Only universal access to prevention, treatment, and care can stop the disease.”  Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 147

December 3rd is the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest. “St. Francis Xavier came from a noble family in the Basque region of Spain. He went to study at the University of Paris. There he met Ignatius Loyola, who invited him to become one of the first Jesuits. After Ordination, Francis became a missionary to Asia, first in India and then in Japan. He yearned to bring the Gospel to the Chinese and had made arrangements to enter the country, but worn out from his work, he died on the island of Sancian within sight of the coast of China. Pope Pius X named him patron saint of foreign missions.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 147 St. Francis Xavier give us the courage to be open to people who do not look like us. Smile at someone you do not know today, be a missionary of the smile.

Opening Doors of Mercy ~ Mercy that Welcomes- a quote for the week

Laughing is the shortest distance between two people. Victor Borge

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.

“Elder Reg Crowshoe told the Commission that Indigenous peoples’ world views, oral history traditions, and practices have much to teach us about how to establish respectful relationships among peoples and with the land and all living things. Learning how to live together in a good way happens through sharing stories and practising reconciliation in our everyday lives.

When we talk about the concept of reconciliation, I think about some of the stories that I’ve heard in our culture and stories are important…. These stories are so important as theories but at the same time stories are important to oral cultures. So when we talk about stories, we talk about defining our environment and how we look at authorities that come from the land and how that land, when we talk about our relationship with the land, how we look at forgiveness and reconciliation is so important when we look at it historically.

We have stories in our culture about our superheroes, how we treat each other, stories about how animals and plants give us authorities and privileges to use plants as healing, but we also have stories about practices. How would we practise reconciliation? How would we practise getting together to talk about reconciliation in an oral perspective? And those practices are so important.47

As Elder Crowshoe explained further, reconciliation requires talking, but our conversations must be broader than Canada’s conventional approaches. Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, from an Aboriginal perspective, also requires reconciliation with the natural world. If human beings resolve problems between themselves but continue to destroy the natural world, then reconciliation remains incomplete. This is a perspective that we as Commissioners have repeatedly heard: that reconciliation will never occur unless we are also reconciled with the earth. Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous laws stress that humans must journey through life in conversation and negotiation with all creation. Reciprocity and mutual respect help sustain our survival. It is this kind of healing and survival that is needed in moving forward from the residential school experience.

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 Primary Classes

By the end of grade 3, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Appreciate all of creation as gift and actively fulfill their responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation;
  • Acknowledge all life as sacred.

Grade Two LS 2.2: Demonstrate an understanding of the bread and wine, prayers and sacrifices of the Eucharist as representative of the gift of ourselves – our human dignity to God and that the Holy Spirit transforms these gifts to reflect a new dignity which we share with Jesus. [CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401] Some of your students may not have received Eucharist for the first time yet, so this lesson is new material for them. It would be helpful to start by sharing with the students that Jesus used ordinary, everything things to teach his lessons. In Jesus’ time bread and wine would be normal food that most people would have access to everyday. I would bring in a small Kaiser roll on a plate and some grape juice in a wine glass. I would put these in the prayer centre and ask the students of what these things reminds them. Then, I would make the connection to the Last Supper. Read Matthew’s Gospel 26:26-28 to the class. Explain at the Last Supper that Jesus invited his disciples to eat his body and drink his blood in memory of Him. When the priest blesses the bread and wine we believe it becomes Jesus’ body and blood.

Remind the students that at Mass on Sunday, people bring up the bread and wine as an offering. Often there is also a basket with money in it too. These gifts are a symbol of us giving the gift of ourselves to God. These gifts are transformed/changed with the words that the priest prays so the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine to become Jesus’ body and blood. As we receive these gifts we become what we eat, we become the Body of Christ. Jesus lives in us in the grace of baptism and when we eat the Eucharist. Jesus also lives in us when we gather as a community of faith.

Grade Three LS 2.2: Find evidence within our human relationships (friendships, families, marriage, and society, etc.) that God has created us as social beings and explain how the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation maintain and strengthen these relationships with God and others. [CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401] All human beings share our human dignity as Children of God. Even God, as Trinity, lives as a community of love and grace. So it is not difficult to imagine that we are created as social beings. Ask your class to prove to you that God created us as social beings. Make the students give examples that describe human relationships like families, friendships, and community groups as proof of our social nature. Jesus also gave us the gifts of the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation to help us as we interact with others in relationship. Sometimes we do things that cause our friend or family member to be unhappy. It is good if we ask for forgiveness from the person we hurt. It is also good to receive the sacrament of reconciliation to be healed of the sin. The Eucharist is a source of strength for us so we can maintain our relationships with God and others. It is good food for our soul.

Twenty-first Century Education
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34862437 > A profound Christian message to the terrorists of the Paris attack.

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

http://bustedhalo.com/features/advent-calendar-2015 > an online Advent calendar for Intermediate and Senior students and adults too.

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

“Augustine  Did you ever see a hippo at the zoo? Well, this saint was the bishop of a town named HIPPO! As you know, a hippopotamus is one of the biggest animals in the zoo, and Augustine is one of the biggest saints in the Church – NOT because of his size but because of all the things he did! Augustine’s mother was a holy woman who taught him about Christianity when he was a youngest, but when he grew up and left home, Augustine FORGOT all his mother’s teachings and lived a wild and crazy life. Augustine’s mother kept praying for him. Finally, he saw what a mistake he had made and returned to the Church and became one of the most famous Church leaders in history. He was such a great writer that his books are still studied TODAY, hundreds of years after his death. During his life, Augustine wrote TWO HUNDRED treaties (explanations of Church principles and teachings), THREE HUNDRED letters of instruction, and almost FOUR HUNDRED sermons – PLUS his books! In spite of a bad beginning, Augustine turned his life around and gave it a spectacular ending! Did you ever make a mistake and think you could NEVER make up for doing such a dumb thing? Well, you know, no matter what you do, God will ALWAYS forgive you if you are truly sorry and tell him so. No matter what bad mistake you make, you can always CHANGE and do better next time. So if you ever get discouraged because of something dumb you did, say you’re sorry and resolve to NEVER do that again. Then ask God to help you turn yourself around…just like St. Augustine did.” p. 25-26

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. The Act of _____ is a prayer that Catholics say after confession. D. Contrition
  2. The _____ Son is a parable Jesus told about a son who received unconditional forgiveness from his father.  Prodigal
  3. Then Jesus said to the woman caught sinning, “’Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not _____ any more’” (Jn. 8:10-11).   A. sin
  4. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who _____ against us.” A. trespass
  5. A dying person who is too sick to go to confession will have his/her sins forgiven through the anointing of the sick. True or False

Advent Adventures by Pat Carter csj

  1. How long is the season of Advent?     A. four full weeks    B. from the Sunday after Christ the King to December 24   C. from December 1 to 25     D.from November 29 to December 25 every year
  2. What is the liturgical colour for Advent in Canada?    A. royal blue     B. blue-shaded violet              C. red-shaded purple              D. green
  3. What are the symbols of Advent that can be seen in many sanctuaries of Churches?     A. Advent wreath       B. Advent calendar                 C. Book of remembrance        D. Creche
  4. What is the music of the Advent season?    A. Christmas carols            B. joyful songs about Jesus’ coming      C. solemn dirges no Alleluias are permitted
  5. The Advent is a season of joyful expectation for     A.  Christmas, when we recall Christ’s first coming among us      B. Jesus’ second coming at the end of the ages        C. the celebration of Confirmation of young people          D. only A and B not C

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

The 33 > This movie is at the Galaxy Cinema in the Sault right now. The film is about a real life situation where 33 men were trapped in a copper/gold mine in Chile on August 5, 2010. It stars Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips and Juliette Binoche. The music is fabulous. It is a great movie. ♥♥♥♥♥/5

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

The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear. Any cup-shaped object placed over the ear produces the same effect.” http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bingbin/

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