Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 6th, 2016

St. John of God

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Ps. 34

March 6th is the Fourth Sunday of Lent

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

What do you wish you could see more clearly? Reflect on your Lenten journey thus far. Which Lenten promises are you keeping well? Is there one (or more) that bear further attention or recommitment?

Reflect on the Word – What about the man’s journey struck you as being connected to your own experience of faith? For what spiritual sight do you pray?

Act on the Word – As we celebrate Laetare Sunday (another name for the Fourth Sunday of Lent), we take time to remember that throughout every season, at each moment of our lives, we have much for which to rejoice. The man in today’s Gospel rejoiced at gaining her sight, and at his recognition of and faith in Jesus. Reflect this week on spiritual sight, and the ways in which your faith gives you reason to rejoice. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, think about how different life would be without this correction to your vision. Use this as a metaphor for your life of faith. What does faith help you see more clearly? What sight needs correction at this time? How might you acquire or correct your spiritual vision? Pray about this in the coming week and make a conscious decision to act in one particular way as a result.

Wrapping it Up – What do you learn about God in your reflection on this parable?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 151, 154

March 8th is the memorial of St. John of God, Religious. “St. John of God (1495-1550) was a Portuguese friar who became a leading religious figure. After a period in the army in Spain, he began to distribute religious books, using the new Gutenberg printing press. At one point, John had an intense religious experience that resulted in temporary insanity. He was thrown into a madhouse, and while there, he realized how badly treated the sick and poor were. Once he recovered, he spent the rest of his life caring for them. In Granada he gathered a circle of disciples around him who felt the same call and founded the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 54 St. John of God, help us to talk when we feel sad or depressed so we can build a culture of mercy and compassion. Do something to remove the stigma about mental illness.

March 8th is International Women’s Day. The theme this year is pledge for parity. Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133. We say no by Pledging For Parity! Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. For more information or to pledge for parity go to this website. Let us pray that women will eventually receive the same pay for the same work that men do. Pledge for parity.

March 9th is the memorial to St. Frances of Rome, Religious. “St. Frances (1384-1440) was born in Rome to wealthy parents. Although she wanted to enter a monastery, her parents married her off to Lorenzo Ponziano, commander of the papal troops in Rome. It was a happy marriage that lasted 40 years. Her husband was often away at war, and Frances spent her time praying, visiting the poor and caring for the sick. Eventually, her example inspired other wealthy women to do the same. Frances founded a lay congregation of Benedictine Oblates now known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome. Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 54 St. Frances of Rome, we pray for the healing of those who are sick and a blessing for those who care for the sick. Take time to wash your hands so to stop the spread of germs during this cold season.

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

“Once, during a council of Italian bishops, a fellow bishop cited an expression from De Abraham by St. Ambrose: “When it comes to bestowing grace, Christ is present; when it comes to exercising rigor, only the ministers of the Church are present, but Christ is absent.” There have been many similar tendencies from the past that have re-emerged in other forms: the Cathars, the Pelagians – who justify themselves with words, actions, and volunteer work, contrasting clearly with the text of Paul’s Letters to the Romans. Then there is Gnosticism, which follows a softer kind of spirituality, with no incarnation. John is very clear on this: he who denies that Christ came in the flesh is the Antichrist. I always think back to the excerpt from the Gospel of Mark (1:40-45) and the description of how Jesus healed the lepers. Once again, as in many other pages of the Gospel, Jesus does not remain indifferent, he feels compassion, he lets himself be involved and wounded by pain, by illness, by the poverty he encounters. He does not back away.” P. 64-65

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

“Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.” Lama Surya Das

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…

As Commissioners, we understood from the start that although reconciliation could not be achieved during the TRCs lifetime, the country could and must take ongoing positive and concrete steps forward. While the Commission has been a catalyst for deepening our national awareness of the meaning and potential of reconciliation, it will take many heads, hands, and hearts, working together, at all levels of society to maintain momentum in the years ahead. It will also take sustained political will at all levels of government and concerted material resources.

The thousands of Survivors who publicly shared their residential school experiences at TRC events in every region of this country have launched a much-needed dialogue about what is necessary to heal themselves, their families, communities, and the nation. Canadians have much to benefit from listening to the voices, experiences, and wisdom of Survivors, Elders, and Traditional Knowledge Keepers—and much more to learn about reconciliation. Aboriginal peoples have an important contribution to make to reconciliation. Their knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, and connections to the land have vitally informed the reconciliation process to date, and areessential to its ongoing progress.


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 1.3: Identify actions and roles that unite as families, those which build up relationships and those which sometimes diminish these relationships in our families and circle of friends and relate these to the actions and roles that unite us as Church. I would ask the students to identify the actions and roles of the members of their families (because all families may have unique roles and responsibilities assigned to specific people.) If required, here are some roles – cook, cleaner, breadwinner, outdoor maintenance, vehicle maintenance, shopper, disciplinarian, manager of moneys and bill payer, childcare, etc. Some of these roles may be shared among family members. Some of the roles and the actions may coincide. When everyone is successful in their role through their actions, the family is united and the relationships are good in the family. Ask the question, when one of the roles is not successfully completed, what effect does that have on the family…maybe there is stress in the family, the family struggles, the relationships in the family are diminished? There are similar actions and roles in the Church. It is not possible for the priest to accomplish all these roles and actions. The Church has many members who function to get all the actions and roles taken care of. There must be a collaboration of parishioners and pastors for all the actions and roles to be completed.

Grade Three LC 1.3: Compare the Catholic understanding of the dual nature of the person (i.e. body and soul) with the Catholic belief in the Holy Spirit as the “soul of the Church,” and link this to the need to constantly keep our bodies free from sin. [CCC nos. 797-810] It is not clear to me why we are teaching our students dualism but the Church’s teaching is that each person has two natures: body (physicality) and soul (spirit). We are both body and spirit at the same time. Just as the Church is body (the people of God) and soul (Holy Spirit’s presence as given by Christ). To teach this expectation to the students at the Grade 3 level of understanding I would draw a person and a Church. That would represent the physical/body nature. I would draw a dove within each, a dove within the person and a dove within the Church. I would tell the students that the Holy Spirit lives in us, and the Holy Spirit lives in the Church because we spend time in the church as part of the people of God. I would remind the students that Lent is a time when we make choices to help us to grow closer to God. So we will be healthy, holy and happy and the Church will be a healthy, holy and happy community for God.


Twenty-first Century Education out Sister Caroline’s blog about how to use Twitter in the religion classroom. There are five ways to use twitter in the classes of JK to Grade 12. > Students Sing ‘Amazing Grace’ to Teacher battling Cancer – 2.50 minutes Music Video > Ms. Watson is the choir teacher who truly loved her students and invested in them. So when some of her former students heard she was having a hard time with her health they wanted to surprise her with a bit of love and support through song. And hearing them sing ‘Amazing Grace’ had me in tears. And I’m not alone! A great idea to set up an umbrella of Mercy during Catholic education week in one of our displays in the Board. > 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 grad

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

Bonaventure – Here’s a saint who might have had “dishpan hands”! But if he did, he could have kept the secret “under his hat”! When the pope decided to make Bonaventure a cardinal, he sent a delegation to announce the news and to present him with the official red cardinal hat. But when they got to his monastery, they found Bonaventure washing dishes! And he told them to just hang his new hat on a tree until he finished! Bonaventure must have been a very humble man – but he was also a very learned one. He was known to have one of the great minds of medieval times and was an outstanding theologian, philosopher, writer, and preacher. He wrote and spoke so beautifully about heavenly things, he became known as the “Seraphic (angelic) Doctor.” But he was down-to-earth enough to help with the chores! Most famous people wouldn’t spend their time doing something as “lowly” as washing dishes! But most saints WOULD! Do YOU ever wash dishes? Or stack dishes in the dishwasher? Why don’t you help out the family and do that TODAY! And while you’re working with the dishes, think of this humble saints and “tip your hat” to St. Bonaventure!” pp. 40-41

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

40 Days of Lent by David O’Brien

  1. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust 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 Sorrows because she suffered so much watching her son crucified.
  1. People with the wounds of Christ on their body have the stigmata.
  1. The Stations of the Cross is a common spiritual devotion during Lent. T or F

40 Days of Lent by Pat Carter csj

  1. The fourth Sunday of Lent is called Gaudate Sunday because we rejoice that Lent is half over. T or F
  1. In Canada, the fifth Sunday of Lent is called Solidarity Sunday because we focus our prayer on our brothers and sisters in the global South.      T or F
  1. The Triduum is three days just before Easter. T or F
  1. Sundays are not included in the count of the 40 days of Lent. T or F
  1. The Paschal candle or the Christ candle ought not be displayed in schools or churches during Lent.   T or F

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

Straight Outta Compton > I watched this movie directed by F. Gary Gray due in part because it was the only movie featuring black people nominated for an Academy Award. It tells the story behind the lyrics of early rap music. I lived through that time when rap was being developed and I remember being turned off by the violent and misogynistic lyrics. I now have a better context into which to place the composers’ experiences. This movie is not recommended for young children. I give this movie ♥♥♥/5

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

The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

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