Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning February 29, 2016


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“O come, let us sing to the Lord.” Ps. 95

February 29th is the Third Sunday of Lent

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

Are you growing in faith, or has your faith grown stagnant? What impact does your faith have on your life?

Reflect on the Word – Jesus’ words may sound harsh to our ears. How did today’s homily help you to understand his message? How does today’s Gospel challenge you? In what ways does Jesus’ message offer encouragement and consolation?

Act on the Word – Jesus challenges us to look closely at the way in which we are living. This week, think about your life. Take stock of your attitudes and actions, the way you think about things, and the way your faith does or does not play a role in your decision-making. What needs pruning in your life? Perhaps it is a relationship that draws you away from Christ or the Church; maybe it is a negative habit that needs to be addressed; perhaps it is a negative self-image, or a judgmental attitude toward others. Invite God to open your mind and heart to the ways in which these things may be pruned from your life, turning your life more toward holiness.

Wrapping it Up – Who stands for you as a model or inspiration of one who bears good fruit? What do you learn from her/him? Does (or did) this person know his/her impact on your life?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 141, 146

Month of March – March is the month of the vernal equinox, when daytime grows equal to nighttime, and spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere. The lengthening days warm the air and help create the March winds. A few days in March are as cold as deep winter, a few are as warm as springtime, and many are stormy. No wonder March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The struggle against winter is a strong sign of Lent. Summer and winter seem to battle through this month.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, second edition, page 51

Month of St. Joseph – The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of the Lord. St. Joseph was the favourite saint of St. Teresa of Avila, and of many popes, including Pope St. Pius X and St. John XXIII, who wrote: “O glorious Joseph! Who concealed your incomparable and regal dignity of custodian of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary under the humble appearance of a craftsman and provided for them with your work, protect with loving power your sons, especially entrusted to you. You know their anxieties and sufferings, because you yourself experienced them at the side of Jesus and of His Mother. Do not allow them, oppressed by so many worries, to forget the purpose for which they were created by God” (Prayer for Workers). Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, of workers, of the universal Church, and [of Canada.] St. Joseph, pray for us.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, second edition, page 51-52

March 3rd is the memorial of St. Katherine Drexel, Virgin. “St. Katherine Drexel (1858-1955), born in Philadelphia, was the second American-born saint to be canonized. She was from the prominent Philadelphia family that founded Drexel University. Katherine’s parents were devoutly religious and raised their daughters to be aware of the needs of the poor. While caring for her stepmother who was dying of cancer, she felt she might be called to religious life. In 1887, Katherine and her sisters had a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. She pleaded with the pope for a missionary priest to be sent to the Native Americans, but he asked her to be a missionary instead. This confused her, because she thought she was called to be contemplative religious. After her father died in 1885, Katherine and her sisters traveled to several Indian reservations and witnessed firsthand the poverty endured there. She began building and supporting schools on the reservations. In 1889, on the advice of her spiritual director, Katherine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to work with African American and Native American peoples. She was joined by thirteen companions, and they began building elementary and high schools throughout the United States. In 1917, Katherine founded Xavier University to train teachers. Katherine was forced to cut back on her travels after suffering a heart attack in 1935, but she lived for another twenty years, praying for the missions she had founded. Katherine was an early advocate of racial tolerance and was known for her great love of Eucharist, her courage in the face of social injustice, and her selfless service. St. Katherine was canonized on October 1, 2000, by St. John Paul II. She is the patron saint of philanthropists and of racial justice.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, second edition, page 53 St. Katherine Drexel, inspire us to work toward reconciliation with our First Nation peoples. Read some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, especially the Calls to Action.

March 4th is the World Day of Prayer. “The World Day of Prayer is observed annually on the first Friday of March. It is an invitation for Christians to pause and pray together ecumenically and recall our Christian responsibility to be sensitive to the signs of the times so that we might bring a more authentically Christian dimension to the concerns of our world, our country, our community. Sponsored by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada and its national counterparts around the world, it is celebrated in approximately 165 countries.” Ordo – Liturgical Calendar 2015-2016   This invitation was in the St. Jerome’s bulletin “Please join us with the east end churches to celebrate the World Day of Prayer at Emmanuel United Church on Bennett Blvd. on Friday March 4th at 2:00 p.m. The theme this year is “Receive the children. Receive me.” The country is Cuba. Guest speaker is on the team responsible for a refugee family who moved here in November. There will be a free will offering during the service and light refreshments after the service.” There may be a similar service in your area.

March 4-5 – 24 hours for Christ. Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to consider preparing for and receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation during the 24 hours between March 4 and March 5. This is a way to celebrate the graces offered by the Holy Year of Mercy. The pontiff will have a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica in the afternoon. Ordo – Liturgical Calendar 2015-2016

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

Humans needs mercy and compassion. Pius XII, more than half a century ago, said that the tragedy of our age was that it had lost its sense of sin, the awareness of sin. Today we add further to the tragedy by considering our illness, our sins, to be incurable, things that cannot be healed or forgiven. We lack the actual concrete experience of mercy. The fragility of our era is this, too: we don’t believe that there is a chance for redemption; for a hand to raise you up, for an embrace to save you, forgive you, pick you up, flood you with infinite, patient, indulgent love; to put you back on your feet. We need mercy. We need to ask ourselves why today so many people, men and women, young and old, of every social class, go to psychics and fortune-tellers. Cardinal Giacomo Biffi used to quote these words by the English writer G.K. Chesterton: “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.”” Page16

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

Lord Jesus, let us love you with a sincere heart so we may dwell in your house our whole life long.” Loyola > Lenten Moments of Mercy for February 28, 2016

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…

Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.

The urgent need for reconciliation runs deep in Canada. Expanding public dialogue and action on reconciliation beyond residential schools will be critical in the coming years. Although some progress has been made, significant barriers to reconciliation remain. The relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples is deteriorating. Instead of moving towards reconciliation, there have been divisive conflicts over Aboriginal education, child welfare, and justice.21 The daily news has been filled with reports of controversial issues ranging from the call for a national inquiry on violence towards Aboriginal women and girls to the impact of the economic development of lands and resources on Treaties and Aboriginal title and rights.22 The courts continue to hear Aboriginal rights cases, and new litigation has been led by Survivors of day schools not covered under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, as well as by victims of the “Sixties Scoop,” which was a child-welfare policy that removed Aboriginal children from their homes and placed them with non-Aboriginal families.23 The promise of reconciliation, which seemed so imminent back in 2008 when the prime minister, on behalf of all Canadians, apologized to Survivors, has faded.

Too many Canadians know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of historical knowledge has serious consequences for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and for Canada as a whole. In government circles, it makes for poor public policy decisions. In the public realm, it reinforces racist attitudes and fuels civic distrust between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians.24 Too many Canadians still do not know the history of Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to Canada, or understand that by virtue of the historical and modern Treaties negotiated by our government, we are all Treaty people. History plays an important role in reconciliation; to build for the future, Canadians must look to, and learn from, the past.


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 3.2: Examine some of the major religions of world (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hindu) to identify the common elements that can be found in each (e.g. places of worship, ritual and prayers, symbols and a set of beliefs) and relate this to the human quest for God. [CCC nos. 839-845] One element that can be found in each of the major religions of the world is the Golden Rule.

The definition of the term religion is “the belief in or worship of superhuman controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.”

Traditions Places of Worship Prayers Rituals Set of Beliefs
Christianity Churches, Cathedrals, Basilicas, Oratories Our Father

Hail Mary


Sacraments Creed


One God – Three persons

Abraham is father of the faith

Judaism Synagogue

Western wall of Temple



Shabbat prayers

Birkat Hachamah


Naming ceremony

Bar/Bat Mitzvah





One God

Abraham is father of the faith

Islam Kaaba

Prayer rooms




(prayers for 5 times a day)






5 Pillars of Islam

One God

Abraham is father of the faith

Hindu Temple


Family shrines









Many gods


Truth is eternal

Brahman is truth and reality

Invite your students to find out as much as they can about one of the traditions / have students share among themselves. Ask the class “What does this say about the human quest for God?”

Grade Eight LS 2.3: Define the Church’s social teaching with respect to personal responsibility (i.e., care of family and their education, conscientious work, etc.) and participation in public life (i.e., leadership, politics, culture, etc.) and give examples of how each promotes the good of individuals and the common good of society. {CCC nos. 356-384; 1928-1933; 1391-1401] These are the CSTs that you need to respond to this expectation. The Church’s Social Teaching offers us all kinds of insight about how we are to act in the world. Human Dignity and Respect for Life are key social teachings. We ought to offer all people the dignity they have as children of God. We ought to respect their life and treat them as we would want to be treated. Family, Community and Participation is another social teaching. “In a global culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but social….The family is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined….We believe people have a right and duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all. Related to this principle, the role of government is to guarantee and protect human life and dignity and to promote the common good.” Catholic Social Teaching, Pennock, page 14 The Principle of the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers tells us that “the economy must serve the people, not the other way around. Work helps us to make a living and to participate in God’s creation. The dignity of work is safeguarded when workers’ rights are respected. These rights include productive work, decent and fair wages, union participation, private property, and economic initiative.” Social Catholic Teaching, Pennock, page 16. The Principle of the Common Good “teaches us that social conditions that permit people to reach their full human potential and to realize their human dignity are significant. Three essential elements of the common good are respect for the person, the social well-being and development of the group, and peace and security. In our interdependent world, there is also a universal common good that requires international structures that can promote universal human development.” Catholic Social Teaching, Pennock, page 14. These are the Catholic Social Teachings that are required for the class discussion. Invite the class to discuss how these principles promote the good of individuals and the common good of society. Then ask them to give examples of how these CSTs could be lived out in their communities.

Twenty-first Century Education > This site provides blog space for educators. Start a blog for your class. This space gives your students more practical writing practice in a safe space. > Richard Rohr O.F.M. is a leading spiritual leader who appeals to many Catholics for his common sense Franciscan reflections. He works out of the Centre for Action and Contemplation. > 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

Bertilla Boscardin – Can you imagine what it would be like nursing wounded soldiers in a hospital on the front lines of a battle in the middle of an air raid? That’s what Sister Bertilla did. This nun was known as Annette “the goose” when she was a little girl because others thought she was too dumb to learn much or do much. She was from a poor family and had little education, having to work as a servant to help support her family. She did simple tasks like washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning house – and everyone thought that’s all she could ever do. When she was sixteen, Annetta joined the convent and became Sister Bertilla. She told the other Sisters that she didn’t know how to do much, but she wanted to learn and she wanted to become a saint! Her superior decided that Sister Bertilla just might make a good nurse, and THIS changed her life. She seemed to have a real TALENT for nursing and became a much-loved, efficient, caring nurse in the children’s ward of a hospital in Italy. THEN, in 1915, during the First World War, the Italian army took over the hospital and used it to care for the wounded soldiers. ALL those in the hospital – both nurses and wounded – were terrified by the air raids, but Sister Bertilla stayed and cared for those who were too sick to be moved to a safer place. After the war was over, the children’s ward reopened, and Sister Bertilla was able to nurse the little ones again – without worrying about air raids. In her life, “the goose” achieved both of her wishes – she learned and became a saint!

Would you like to work in a hospital? Would you like to be in an air raid? Would you like to be a saint? Well, maybe you won’t ever do ANY of the things, but you COULD do something Sister Bertilla did. She said she wanted to LEARN, and you can always do that. Instead of being a “goose,” learn something NEW today – and every day!: p. 38-39

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

40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien

  1. Almsgiving is the Lenten spiritual practice of sharing one’s wealth with those in need.
  1. The “passion” of Christ refers to his suffering and death on the cross. T or F
  1. A person who is persecuted, suffers, and dies for his or her faith in God is called a martyr.
  1. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me
  1. “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned.”


40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien

  1. “Remember that you are dust, and ____________________ you shall return.”
  1. During Advent, Lent, and especially the Easter Triduum, the liturgy reminds Catholics of the most important events in Christ’s life.  T or F
  1. Mary has the title of Our Lady of ____________________ because she suffered so much watching her son crucified.  A. Snows    B. Queen of Peace   C. Sorrows                   D. Guadalupe
  1. People with the wounds of Christ on their body have the ______________________.   A. stigmata of thorns     C. cross        D. most doctor’s visits
  1. The Stations of the Cross is a common spiritual devotion during Lent. T or F

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

Our Brand is Crisis > I watched this movie on PPV a couple of weeks ago. It stars Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton. Sandra is a strategist for a political campaign of a candidate in a South American country. Billy Bob is her rival. There are many moments that are clever. And it offers a commentary on political races. I give this movie ♥♥♥/5

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

7.5 million toothpicks can be created from a cord of wood

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