Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 21, 2016

  Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Ps. 27

February 21st is the Second Sunday of Lent
“Prepare for the Word – Use these questions to prepare yourself to hear the readings before attend Mass.

As you prepare for Mass, spend time in quiet, either at home before going to church, or arrive early enough for a period of quiet before Mass. What place does quiet prayer have in your life? What have you learned by listening carefully to another person? Be attentive to opportunities for quiet during Mass today.

Reflect on the Word – What moment of silence struck you during Mass? What did you hear or experience? What might this suggest to you in other areas of your life?

Act on the Word – This week, take some time each day for quiet prayer. Make this part of your Lenten observance. Remember the voice of God who spoke in today’s Gospel: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” Think about how you may listen more carefully to Jesus, through prayer, quiet reading of Sacred Scripture, daily Mass, and participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Make a promise to do one of these things each day, or to take part of a day for special time set apart. As you do this, think about making time for Jesus as you would make time for a good friend. Our friendships grow when we spend time with those who are important to us; the same holds true in our relationship with Christ.

Wrapping it Up – What word or phrase struck you in the reading of the Gospel? Why did this word or phrase strike you? What sort of experience leaves you speechless?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 137, 140

February 22nd is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle. “On February 22, we observe the unique Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. St. Peter’s chair is an ancient wooden chair that has been venerated at St. Peter’s Basilica for well over a thousand years. This relic is enclosed in a magnificent bronze sculpture by Bernini, which shows a chair surmounted by a stained-glass window of the Holy Spirit, and surrounded by a glory of sunbursts, clouds, angels, and enormous figures of the Doctors of the Church. Why is this chair so important? Because in our Catholic tradition, chairs are one of our primary symbols of teaching authority. Every bishop has a chair, a “cathedra,” the symbol of his authority, so important to the life of the local Church that a special church is built to house it – the cathedral. The Chair of Peter is, then, a symbol of the teaching authority of the Bishop of Rome, the pope, who is the successor of St. Peter. This is a day to pray for our Holy Father and to give thanks for the gift of our Catholic faith.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 50 St. Peter the Apostle of Jesus, remind us that Pope Francis is our teacher as you were. Look online at this magnificent chair.

February 23rd is the memorial of St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr. “St. Polycarp (c.69 – c.155) was the bishop of Smyrna in the second century. With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, he is an apostolic father, one who was converted by the Apostles. St. Irenaeus was taught by him as a young man and records that Polycarp had been a disciple of John the Apostle; Tertullian wrote this as well. The letter sent by the Christians of Smyrna after his death is a genuine, eyewitness account of an early martyrdom. For refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor, Polycarp, in spite of his great age – he may have been eighty-six at the time – was condemned to death. He was sentenced to be burned at the stake, but “the fire, making the appearance of a vault, like that sail of a vessel filled by the wind, made a wall round about the body of the martyr; and it was there in the midst, not like flesh burning, but like [a loaf in the oven or like] gold and silver refined in a furnace” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 15:2). He was subsequently killed by beheading. Polycarp is one of the earliest Christians whose writings we still have.” Companion to the Calendar: A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 50 St. Polycarp, help us to make good choices when it comes to our faith journey. Reflect: for what would I be willing to lay down my life?

Holy Year of Mercy ~ The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis

“A similar situation [of mercy] can be found in Bruce Marshall’s novel To Every Man a Penny. The protagonist of the novel, Gaston, a young priest, needs to hear the confession of a young German soldier whom the French partisans are about to sentence to death. The soldier confesses his passion for women and the numerous amorous adventures he has had. The priest explains that he must repent to obtain forgiveness and absolution. The soldier answers, “How can I repent? It was something I enjoyed, and if I had the chance I would do it again, even now. How can I repent? Father Gaston, who wants to absolve the man who has been marked by destiny and who is about to die, has a stroke of inspiration and asks, “But are you sorry that you are not sorry?” The young man answers impulsively, “Yes, I am sorry that I am not sorry.” In other words, he is sorry for not repenting. That sorrow is the opening that allows the merciful priest to give the man absolution.” Pages xix – xx

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

“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” Pope Francis

 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.

I must apologize…when the final report came out there were large edits. So I am going to put here a section that was not selected before…

To the Commission, reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.

We are not there yet. The relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples is not a mutually respectful one. But, we believe we can get there, and we believe we can maintain it. Our ambition is to show how we can do that.

In 1996, the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples urged Canadians to begin a national process of reconciliation that would have set the country on a bold new path, fundamentally changing the very foundations of Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Much of what the Royal Commission had to say has been ignored by government; a majority of its recommendations were never implemented. But the report and its findings opened people’s eyes and changed the conversation about the reality for Aboriginal people in this country.

In 2015, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada wraps up its work, the country has a rare second chance to seize a lost opportunity for reconciliation. We live in a twenty-first-century global world. At stake is Canada’s place as a prosperous, just, and inclusive democracy within that global world. At the trc’s first National Event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2010, residential school Survivor Alma Mann Scott said,

 “The healing is happening—the reconciliation … I feel that there’s some hope for us not just as Canadians, but for the world, because I know I’m not the only one. I know that Anishinaabe people across Canada, First Nations, are not the only ones. My brothers and sisters in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland—there’s different areas of the world where this type of stuff happened.… I don’t see it happening in a year, but we can start making changes to laws and to education systems … so that we can move forward.”

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 3.2: Provide examples of how we can show respect when we encounter people from diverse religious backgrounds (e.g. learn about their beliefs and practices, look for similarities with your own faith but also notice differences, discuss ways you are similar, suspend judgment, treat them as you would like to be treated by someone from a religion other than your own, ask questions in a respectful and polite manner). [CCC nos. 811-822] 

I would begin this lesson by asking the students what the Golden Rule is. The Golden Rule can be found in almost every religious tradition, in slightly different words. At one time if someone asked questions of another tradition, it may have been considered rude but now there is an openness to questions in most traditions. It depends upon how we ask the question. If we ask questions from a position of judgment or superiority, then the person we are asking may not want to respond. Discuss with your class the suggestions listed above. Invite a person from the Jewish faith, Islam, Hindu or Sihk tradition. Have students prepare questions ahead of time, so these can be vetted by the teacher. Have an inter-faith dialogue in your classroom.

Grade Five LS3.2: Explain the ways that unity is promoted in the Catholic Church (i.e. profession of one faith, common celebration of worship e.g., Eucharist & sacraments, apostolic succession of leadership). [CCC nos. 811-822] Unity is part of the word COMMUNITY. Our Catholic Church promotes unity. Read the passage from Paul’s letter to Ephesians 4: 1b-6 > “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Have class identify the ways that unity is promoted in this passage: one body (Church/community); one Spirit, one hope; one Lord; one faith; one baptism; one God. Besides Baptism, we have Eucharist that draws us together into one community. When we are divided the Sacrament of Reconciliation brings us back into one accord. We believe that the pope is the successor of St. Peter, the Apostle who Christ appointed as the first leader of the Church. We also believe that the bishops are successors of the Apostles too. So unity is very important quality and value in the Church. The song One Lord by Lori True is linked here.

Grade Six LS3.2: Describe how Christians celebrate the presence of God in the special moments of their lives (birth, coming of age, marriage, death) and link these sacramental moments to similar celebrations within Judaism (e.g. Baptism and Jewish naming ceremony, confirmation and Bat Mitzvah/Bar Mitzvah). [CCC nos. 1213-1284; 1285-1321;1601-1666; 1680-1690]   

Sacramental Moments of God’s Presence


Catholic: Baptism – The child is given a name, is dressed in a white outfit and by having water poured over the head three times in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, is considered one of God’s chosen. The baby’s chest and forehead, as well as lips and ears are anointed at different points in the sacrament. This sacrament happens at a Eucharistic celebration. Parents select godparents for the child to help the parents to raise the child in the faith. Usually the godparents light a Baptismal candle from the Christ candle and they are instructed to keep the flame of faith alive in the life of the child.

Judaism (borrowed from Inside Judaism by Milliken Publishing Company, St. Louis, Missouri): Naming ceremony “Berit Hahayyim” As the infant girl is brought into the synagogue, those in attendance greet her by saying “Blessed is she who comes.” This is similar to the welcome infant boys receive when the audience announces “Blessed is he who comes.” When the baby boy is eight days old, he undergoes the ritual of circumcision – referred to ask “Berit Milah” It is performed because Jews believe it stems from a covenant Abraham made with God.

Coming of Age

Catholic: Confirmation – The youth who has been baptized and received Eucharist can be confirmed. Usually if the youth was baptized as a baby, this is a moment when the young person confirms their faith. Usually confirmation is a sacrament reserved for the Bishop. The Bishop confirms the faith of that the youth received in Baptism. The young person selects a sponsor who can be a guide in the faith. When questions come up, the young person can go to the sponsor for support. The youth is prayed over with the laying on of hands and the youth asks for the sacrament. The bishop anoints the confirmandi with oil to seal the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Usually there is a time of preparation for confirmation. There can be a reception for those who received the sacraments and their families.  

Judaism: Bat/Bar Mitzvah – When girl is 12 and boy is 13 is a “coming of age” ritual that signifies the passage from childhood to adulthood. Bat Mitzvah means “daughter of the Commandment” while Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment.” Months before the ritual, a Jewish youth prepares by studying Hebrew. On the first Sabbath following his 13th birthday, he takes an active part in the religious service. He may read passages from the Torah and the prophets. He may also lead a prayer or perform some other part of the service. Generally, he gives a speech, which he begins with the phrase “Today I am a man.” After the ceremony there is a reception. Conservative and Reform Jews have Bat Mitzvah for girls. In a Conservative Jewish synagogue, the ritual for a girl is similar to that for a boy, except that the girl does not read from the Torah. In a Reform Jewish Synagogue, there is no distinction between Bar and Bat Mitzvah.


Catholic: Marriage is a covenantal relationship between the bride and groom and God. It happens in a Church where a priest or deacon presides. The couples freely make promises to each other before God and the assembly. The Church holds the exchange of consent – “I do” between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” They exchange rings as a symbol of their love for one another. They promise to have children. They may simply have the marriage ceremony or they can choose to have mass as well. They sign a contract and the Church’s registry.

Judaism: Jews believe that marriage is a sacred relationship demanded by God. In general, the marriage takes place under a canopy called a huppah. The wedding may be held either in the synagogue, in the home, or outside. A cup of wine is drunk as the rabbi recites the betrothal blessing. The blessing concludes with the sentence “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who sanctifies his people Israel by means of the wedding canopy and the sacred rites of marriage. After the bride and groom share the cup of wine, the groom places a ring on the bride’s left hand. As he does so, he says: “Behold, you are consecrated to me by this ring as my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel.” If there is a ketubah, or marriage contract, this is then read by the rabbi. Finally, the rabbi recites the sheva berakhot, or wedding blessing. This is done over a second glass of wine. The wedding ends with the groom stomping on and breaking the wineglass. The reason for this symbolic act is two-fold. First, it is to remind the couple that, despite their happiness, they are not to forget the sufferings of the Jewish people throughout history. And second, it is a reminder that the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed in ancient times. With the breaking of the glass, the guests shout “Mazel tov!” (Congratuations!)


Christianity: There is no set time for the funeral to take place. The body can be buried or the cremated remains can be buried. Funerals can be presided by deacons and priests. A priest is required if the funeral is to include Eucharist. The coffin is draped with a pall – usually white cloth that signifies the Baptism of the person. The covered coffin is sprinkled with holy water – another sign of the Baptism. The liturgy of the Word takes place, readings usually selected by the family to give consolation. Eucharist may take place. The final commendation and farewell is a set of prayers after which the coffin is incensed. The Paschal candle is lit for the funeral as another sign that the person was baptized and is experiencing the resurrection of the dead. There are no set guidelines about mourning rituals. There is usually a reception for the family and friends of the deceased.  

Judaism: Funerals are scheduled as soon as possible. This often takes place within 24 hours. The deceased is dressed in a simple white garment and buried in a plain coffin. There are no flowers. In traditional funerals, the procession accompanying the coffin to the grave stops seven times, while Psalm 91 is recited. The burial service itself consists of prayers, a eulogy, and the Kaddish, which is a prayer of mourning. Following the funeral, the family of the deceased retires for a week of deep mourning. This week is referred to as shiva. Orthodox Jews sit on special low stools; men do not shave and women do not use makeup. Relatives and friends bring food to the house and conduct services. Even after shiva, the family continues to mourn. Those who work return to their labours after the thirteenth day, but they do not attend social gatherings for a while. Sometimes a son or daughter will continue to mourn the death of a parent for a year. One year after the funeral, mourners assemble in the synagogue for a special memorial service. Also at this time, a simple tombstone is put at the grave of the deceased. Although Jews believe in life after death, the place more emphasis on life on earth.


Twenty-first Century Education >Baby and Daddy Have Hilarious Time While Mom is Away Comedy Video – 2.43 min > Song of Grace by Mathias Michael – Music Video – 4.18 min > Love Anthem – Powerful Tribute to God’s Love From the Skit Guys – Inspirational Video – 2.47 min > World Community for Christian Meditation > This is a site for Christian Meditation for teachers and students alike. > 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

“Bernardino Tomitani – When Bernardino stood up to preach his first homily, guess what happened? He got so SCARED, he forgot what he was going to say! Bernardino always loved to read and study. His mother sometimes had to MAKE him close his books and go outside to play. When he grew up, he became a priest and studied philosophy and law and ENJOYED his studies. But THEN his superior told him he must start preaching. Bernardino was AFRAID to stand up and speak in public. He was more comfortable with his books than with people! But he had to do what he was told to do. He had chosen the name Bernardino in honour of St. Bernardino of Siena. On that saint’s feast day, THIS Bernardino was sent to preach in a large church. When he stood up to talk, he was so nervous, he forgot the whole homily he had carefully prepared! BUT the people were waiting to hear SOMETHING, so he began to tell about the saint whose name he had chosen. He KNEW a lot about this saint and just began to talk from his heart – and soon FORGOT to be afraid. The people were so touched by his talk that he was asked to preach more and more. Bernardino began to preach against selfishness and greed, and the people listened. As a result, he was even able to get some LAWS changed to protect people’s rights. Wherever he went, huge crowds came to hear Blessed Bernardino and soon the man who had been AFRAID TO SPEAK in public became the most popular preacher in all of Italy! Have YOU ever been afraid to stand up and speak in public? When you have to make a report or even answer a question, do you get so scared, your knees shake, and your voice trembles? If that ever happens to you, try practicing in front of a mirror. Try praying for courage. Try remembering Blessed Bernardino. And who knows – maybe you, too, will someday become a FAMOUS speaker.” p. 36-37

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

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

2. Lent ends when _. C. the Easter Triduum begins 

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

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

5. Praying is the Lenten spiritual practice of lifting our minds and hearts to God. 

40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien

1. ____________________ is the Lenten spiritual practice of sharing one’s wealth with those in need.

2. The “passion” of Christ refers to his suffering and death on the cross.​​​​T or F

3. A person who is persecuted, suffers, and dies for his or her faith in God is called a ____________________.  A. zealot ​​B. hero​​​C. martyr​​ D. saint 

4. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and _______________________ me.” A.follow​​B. listen to ​​C. email​​ D. text 

 5. “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly ________________________.” A.prayed ​​B. sinned​​ C. appreciated​​ D. missed  

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

Bridge of Spies > This movie stars Tom Hanks. The movie takes place during the cold war. A Russian spy is caught in the USA and is tried for espionage. In order to show the merits of democracy, Tom Hanks who is a great lawyer, is given the duty to see that the Russian has legal representation during the trial. Hank’s character does his job well and the spy is saved from the death penalty. Eventually the spy is traded for two Americans who are being held by the Russians. This is a movie about integrity. I give this movie ♥♥♥♥/5

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

“Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.”

One comment

  1. Thank you again and again for the blessing of such emails, all the best, take care and have a great weekend!

    Peace, Joy and Hope,
    Steve De Quintal
    Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293
    “that they may have life and have it the full.”
    “When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence.” – Unknown
    ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***

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