Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 14, 2016


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” Ps. 91

February 14th is the First Sunday of Lent

Prepare for the Word – Use these questions to prepare yourself to hear the readings before attend Mass.

What tempts you to turn your back on God? Is there someone in your life who becomes a temptation or distraction from your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Reflect on the Word – What did you hear in today’s Gospel that bears further reflection? What “desert” are you called into this Lent? In other words, how might you withdraw from your typical routine for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving?

Act on the Word – As we begin this First Sunday of Lent, reflect on today’s Gospel about Jesus’ temptations by putting God first, and keeping a holy perspective on all things. Lent is about turning away from sin and turning toward Christ with our lives. How will you follow Christ this week as a result of reflecting on the Gospel? From what are you called to turn? Toward what or whom are you called to turn?

Wrapping it Up – What do you learn from Jesus’ response to temptation? How might you apply this learning in your life?”

2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 1131, 136

 Saint Valentine’s Day – “An ancient, mysterious legend explains this day’s origins. Two St. Valentines, both third-century martyrs – one a bishop, the other a priest – sent letters of encouragement to people dreading persecution. Hence, we send valentines decorated with flowers, hearts, and the colour red, which symbolizes the blood of martyrdom. Initially, the celebration was not meant to be exclusive; now it has taken on romantic overtones. However, to retrieve the original sense, Peter Mazar suggests handmade cards for people who might not otherwise receive them: residents of retirement centres or hospitals and members of the armed forces. While the day provides revenue for card shops, jewelers and florists, it’s intended to celebrate the Christian values of thoughtfulness and tender care. And it enlivens a long winter!” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the saints, seasons, and holidays of the year, page 48

February 15th is National Flag of Canada Day. “The national flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. The anniversary of this date is officially called the “National Flag of Canada Day”, which is often shortened to “Flag Day.” Parent Partners Newsletter – OAPCE When you see the flag today, look at this symbol of Canada with pride.

February 15th is also Family Day except in British Columbia where it is celebrated last Monday. It is a statutory holiday established to give people time with their families, but it also gives a day off between New Year’s Day and Good Friday which are approximately three months apart. There are many family friendly ways to spend this Monday; start a new family tradition by doing something that everyone can enjoy together. Holy Family inspire us to follow your example to be families of love and forgiveness.

Screenshot 2016-02-11 07.26.08February 20 is World Day of Social Justice. This day is organized by the International Labour Organization ILO.

“The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing… We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalized are heard.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. The UN upholds the principles of social justice by promoting gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. They advance social justice by removing barriers faced by people because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of the global mission to promote development and human dignity. The General Assembly proclaimed the 20th of February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. Jesus, you have a special love for the poor. Help us to live simply, so others may simply live. Tie a string around your finger to help you remember the poorest people in the world.

Holy Year of Mercy ~ A Time of Grace and Conversion

Works of Mercy – Pope Francis proposes an ambitious Holy Year agenda that stems from the very heart of mercy: “It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual words of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy…. Let us discover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.” (MV 15)

“Dig Deeper – When have you experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness? How willing are you to show mercy to others? How can you become an agent of God’s mercy during this Jubilee year?” Catholic Update, December 2015, page 3


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

Pope Francis was asked, ‘When you think of merciful priests whom you have met or who have inspired you, who comes to mind?’ He responded, ‘I recall another great confessor who was younger than I, a Capuchin priest with a ministry in Buenos Aires. One day he came to see me and he wanted to talk. He said, ‘I need your help. I always have so many people at the confessional, people of all walks of life, some humble and some less humble, but many priests too….I forgive a lot and sometimes I have doubts, I wonder if I have forgiven too much.’ We talked about mercy and I asked him what he did when he had those doubts. This is what he said: ‘I go to our chapel and stand in front of the tabernacle and say to Jesus: ‘Lord, forgive me if I have forgiven too much. But you’re the one who gave me the bad example!’” Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, page 13

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 residential schools would take this one step further, separating children from parents, in order to ‘protect’ the children from their parents’ supposedly corrupting cultural practices. Because they might be dispatched to any part of the world, missionaries were not trained in Aboriginal languages in their home countries, but were expected to learn languages on arrival. The Jesuit constitution recommended they learn the languages of the people whom they sought to convert. The Jesuits also made themselves familiar with Aboriginal beliefs and practices, and were flexible and creative in their efforts to incorporate elements of those practices into the conversion process.77 De Mazenod, the founder of the Oblate order, stressed the importance of being able to preach to people in their own language, and instructed the Oblates, “The Gospel must be taught to all and in a way in which it can be understood.”78 Oblate missionaries to western Canada devoted considerable time and energy to learning Aboriginal languages.

In sending J. William Tims out to the Canadian West, the Church Missionary Society instructed him that he was to “let no day pass without the acquisition and the use of Indian words and phrases.” He was not to rely on a translator, but become fluent in the language and able to converse with the Aboriginal people on all subjects. Language and literacy were crucial to conversion. To the Protestants, in particular, the Gospel was a miraculous document: exposure to it would lead to conversion. This logic required European education to allow newly literate people access to the Bible. Bishop John Horden of Moosonee viewed his translation of books of the Old Testament into syllabics as the “crowning work of my life.” Catholics and Protestants prepared catechisms—statements of the fundamental beliefs of the church—in Aboriginal languages. European education was required to provide Aboriginal people with the skills required to read and learn these translated works. Whether or not it was to be carried out in Aboriginal languages, missionary education was education in the service of conversion. It stressed the doctrines of sin, salvation, and obedience, and it undermined the foundations of Aboriginal culture. .

Remember we are all treaty people!


New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living in Communion ~ Hope Expectations for Primary Classes

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

  • Recognize Jesus as a companion and friend who travels with them on the journey of their lives;
  • Reflect on the example of the Saints as models for their own lives;
  • Appreciate the communal nature of human persons and the communal nature of the Church: communion with God and all of God’s creation.

Grade Two LC 1.2: Identify in selected scripture passages, how Jesus gathered his disciples and taught them about their unity “through him, with him and in him” and identify how we celebrate this unity in the celebration of the Mass. (Gospel sources: through him – Jesus calls the first disciples – Mark 1:16-20; with him – Jesus appoints the twelve Apostles for mission – Mark 3:13-19; in Him – Christ the vine and we the branches – Jn. 15:4-5; communion with Christ’s body – Jn. 6:56; His promise to remain with them and the gift of the Holy Spirit – Jn. 14:18; 20:22; Matt. 28:20; Acts. 2:33) Through him – Jesus gathered his disciples by inviting them to follow him. Jesus calls the first disciples (Mark 1:16-20) to follow him and to become fishers of people. So the disciples left their nets and families and followed him. With him – Jesus anoints his twelve disciples as apostles who are called to join him in proclaiming Jesus’ message of Good News. In him – Jesus explains to the disciples that he is the vine (the one who holds them together) and they are the branches (branching out from him). The priest prays this prayer at the end of the Eucharistic prayer, just before the Our Father, to which we respond Amen, said or sung, we agree that we have life ‘through him, with him and in him.” It is helpful with young children to have an icon/visual item to help them understand a mystery. A plant may serve this purpose. Through him, with him and in him is a part of the mass before the Our Father. We live through him (we have become part of his family through baptism), with him (we live with his Holy Spirit in us) and in him (as members of his Church community we live in him.) You can use the scripture passages summarized above to help the students to understand the words deeper meaning.

Grade Three LC 1.2: Connect some of the names, titles and symbols of the Holy Spirit found in Scripture and Tradition, to the Spirit’s participation in the life and mission of the Church as the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” [CCC nos. 683-701] The proper name of the Holy Spirit is “Holy Spirit. The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. [CCC 691]

The titles of the Holy Spirit are: the “Paraclete,” literally, “he who is called to one’s side,” ad-vocatus. Paraclete is commonly translated by “consoler,” and Jesus is the first consoler. The Lord also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth.” St. Paul also uses the titles: Spirit of the promise; the Spirit of adoption; the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit of the Lord; and the Spirit of God. And St. Peter uses the title – the Spirit of glory. [CCC 692-693]

Symbols of the Holy Spirit are: Water (it symbolizes the Holy Spirit’s action in Baptism)

Anointing (anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit especially in Baptism and Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Sacrament of the Sick)

Fire (it symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions – tongues of fire rested above the heads of the apostles on Pentecost)

Cloud and light (The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and overshadows her. On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Spirit in the cloud came and overshadowed Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John. On the day of his Ascension, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples.)

The Seal ( is a symbol close to that of anointing. God puts his seal on Christ.)

The hand (it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. Healing can happen too.)

The finger (It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons. God wrote the 10 commandments on tablets using a finger.)

The dove (When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him.) [CCC 694-701]

These names, titles and symbols are used to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Holy Trinity.

The Church has a mission to spread the Good News and to act like Jesus taught us to act. The Spirit inspires us with this mission. The Spirit is always present in the Church. Again we are dealing with mystery and mystery is not always absolutely clear and easy to understand. An icon/visual item to help the children understand may be helpful. If you have something that is multi-facetted, this might be a good icon. A three dimensional octagon – or pentagon. Even though the whole thing is one thing; if we look at one side we see one five sided shape. This is like the Holy Spirit. Of course, the Holy Spirit is one thing. But the functions of the Holy Spirit are many and so the names, titles and symbols of the Holy Spirit are many.

Twenty-first Century Education

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

Benilde – Do you know what the “daily grind” is? It’s those humdrum ordinary things most people have to do every day – same old, same old. Well, Pope Pius XI called Benilde the “saint of the daily grind.” As a young boy, this saint went to a school run by the Christian Brothers in France. But when he graduated, instead of leaving, he stayed! Benilde became a Christian Brother himself and spent the rest of his life TEACHING young boys. The “daily grind” usually means doing the same job over and over, day after day, and Benilde did that all his life – BUT teaching is never REALLY same old, same old, because there is ALWAYS something NEW to learn and then to teach. And that’s what Benilde did! He was the principal of one school for a few years, and then he started a new one. It became known as a model school, and Benilde became known as a model teacher AND a model Christian. Do YOU ever get tired of doing the same old things every day – get out of bed, wash your face, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, go to school, do work after school, eat supper, go to bed? Those are all good and necessary things to do, but why don’t you do something EXTRA today? Pretend YOU are a teacher, and thing what you would say and do to TEACH somebody something – how to tie a shoe, throw a ball, bake a cake, sew on a button, write a story, sing a song, say a prayer! Do you think you would be a GOOD teacher?”

 Who says teaching religion can’t be fun? What’s Your Catholic IQ?

40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien from February 2016 CATECHIST magazine


  1. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.


  1. Ash Wednesday is a holy day of obligation.   T or F


  1. Lent is a 40 day retreat for the entire Church marked by fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and reflection on the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.


  1. “At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by the devil.” (Mark 1:12-13)


  1. Catholics are encouraged to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent.


40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien

  1. Suffering is never meaningless when it is united to the cross of Christ. T or F


  1. Lent ends when _______________________. A. you break your Lenten promises. the Easter bunny comes      C. the Easter Triduum begins      D. you eat a hot dog


  1. The more you give up for Lent, the holier you become. T or F


  1. _______________________ is the Lenten spiritual practice of self-denial from items such as meat or desserts.


  1. ______________________ is the Lenten spiritual practice of lifting our minds and hearts to God.



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

The Martian > This movie stars Matt Damon and is nominated for several Academy awards. It is a furturistic story about the USA having a NASA mission on Mars. The crew is supposed to be there for a given time but circumstances cut the mission short. In the rush to leave the planet, one of the astronauts is lost in a wind storm and thought to be deceased. I don’t want to spoil the story. I did not think I would enjoy the movie when I saw the trailer at the theatre. But so many people told me how good it was, that I gave it a go! I was not disappointed.   I give this movie ♥♥♥♥/5



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

Nobody knows who built the Taj Mahal. The names of the architects, masons, and designers that have come down to us have all proved to be latter-day inventions, and there is no evidence to indicate who the real creators were.”

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