Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 20th, 2016


Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!

March 20th is the Passion (Palm) Sunday of Lent

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

What grace, learning, or challenge has been part of your Lenten observance this year? In what ways has your faith in Christ and your commitment to him been strengthened?

Reflect on the Word – What struck you in a particular way as you listened to the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord? What word or phrase captures for you the meaning of Christ’s suffering and death?

Act on the Word – With Palm Sunday, we enter Holy Week. With your parish bulletin for the times for liturgy, mark your calendar for Triduum, which begins on the evening of Holy Thursday and continues through Easter Sunday. Carve out time for personal prayer and reflection. Read sections of today’s Gospel each day, and reflect on the meaning of what you read in your life. Think about your family members and friends. Is there someone in your life who has been away from the Church for some time or who does not regularly participate in Mass? Ask him or her to join you this week. Or, ask someone on your parish staff or a parishioner leader if your help is needed – the special liturgies require much additional preparation, setup, takedown, and hospitality. Ministering in this way will help to special meaning to the liturgical celebrations.

Wrapping it Up – As you reflect on the Gospel, what stands out for you? How does this Gospel story prepare us to hear the account of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 163,166

March 21st is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. “We need to fight racism everywhere, every day. But on 21 March – proclaimed by the General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – all eyes are on the issue. This year, the International Day is devoted to challenges and achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action – 15 years after the landmark document was adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in South Africa. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action is the most comprehensive framework for fighting racism and related forms of intolerance and discrimination. It represents the firm commitment of the international community to tackle these issues, and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide.” For more information go to

The Sacred Paschal Triduum – Annual rituals mark us. They give us an identity. Similar to a Thanksgiving meal or a Canada Day barbeque, rituals and meals reveal connections to others who share a common history and belief. The Sacred Paschal Triduum lies at the heart of the Catholic faith. It ties us with our Jewish ancestors. It celebrates who we are as God’s people today. And it makes new believers for the future of the Church which promising us the awaited fullness of salvation to come in eternity. For centuries, the Jewish faithful have celebrated the Passover. This meal connects them with their ancestor’s flight from slavery to freedom. The meal and what followed forever changed the Jews and their understanding of God. Christians also believe that at one moment in time, everything changed forever. That came on the night before Jesus died, when he sat down with his disciples for a Passover meal. Instead of bitter herebs and a lamb, he gave them bread and said, “This is my Body,” and a cup of wine saying, “This is my Blood.” Shortly after this Passover meal, Jesus was arrested, scourged, died on a Cross, and buried. Three days later his tomb was empty. God had raised him from the dead. The New Testament refers to Jesus numerous times as the Lamb of God. He made the Passover radically new. The blood came not from an unblemished lamb, but from the innocent Son of God. The freedom won by this sacrifice is not just movement one land to another, but from sin and death into life everlasting. Catholics annually enter into the Triduum to celebrate the Passover of the Lord. Triduum comes from the Latin meaning “a space of three days.” It starts on Holy Thursday evening, continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and concludes on Easter Sunday (three days). The rituals on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday comprise one sustained liturgy spanning three days.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 14-15

The Three Days ~ Thursday of the Lord’s Supper (At the Evening Mass) / Holy Thursday

The Triduum begins with radiant glory at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The laws of the Church permit no other parish Masses on this day. Like the Jewish Passover custom, this liturgy begins after sundown.

The Scriptures for the Lord’s Supper remain the same each year. The First Reading from the Jewish Scriptures recalls how Moses led the Hebrew people out of the land of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to instruct the people of Israel to sacrifice year-old male lambs, without blemish, and smear the blood of their door. When the angel of death came to their house, it would pass over if it saw the blood of the sacrifice, thus sparing their firstborn child. This passage ends by instituting this as a yearly memorial feast. It lays the foundation for the Christian feast of the Lord’s Supper. The Second Reading recounts the Apostle Paul instructing the people of Corinth to offer a sacrifice of praise. He tells them how on the night before he died, “Jesus took bread, and after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” The priest uses a variation of these words at every Mass to consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. The Gospel comes from John’s account of the Last Supper. Unique among the Gospel accounts, John omits references to bread and wine. Instead, he describes a meal during which Jesus takes a bowl and pitcher of water to wash the disciple’s feet. The image is clear: Eucharist is not simply a ritual meal. It must also move us from worship to service for one another. Following the homily the priest may wash his parishioner’s feet. By imitating the Gospel just proclaimed, the pastor and any associate priests demonstrate the commitment made at their Ordination to serve the community in the likeness of Christ Jesus. The Liturgy of the Eucharist continues as normal, though with these vivid Eucharistic images in the minds of those assembled. This evening’s liturgy ends differently from other Masses. There is no official ending, as this was the beginning of a three-day liturgy. Following the distribution of Holy Communion, an elaborate Eucharistic procession makes its way through the assembly. Using incense, candles, and a processional cross, the priest processes with the consecrated Eucharistic bread to a chapel or side altar. There the faithful can remain in the presence of the Lord. The procession and prayer hint at the somber tone to come on Good Friday. Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 15

Friday of the Passion of the Lord / Good Friday

Good Friday commemorates the Crucifixion, Death, and burial of Christ Jesus. Only one liturgy is permitted this day, and it continues the one begun on Holy Thursday evening. The Good Friday liturgy consists of reading the Passion of Jesus Christ, the Adoration of the Cross, and concludes with the reception of Holy Communion. The liturgy begins in silence as the priest enters the sanctuary and prostrates himself on the floor before the altar and cross. The assembly silently kneels in this gesture of penance. After arising, the Scriptures follow in the usual way. The First Reading comes from the prophet Isaiah. He tells of an unnamed suffering servant who will give his life for the sins of others. Like an innocent lamb led to slaughter, yet bearing the guilt of many, this servant will see the fullness of light for his sacrifice. The Second Reading offers the image of Christ Jesus as the priest offering his own life. St. Paul states this great high priest became the source of eternal salvation. The highlight of the Scriptures for Good Friday is the Passion reading from John’s account of the Gospel. Various details reveal how John’s Passion differs in tone and content of events. Jesus and Pilate exchange powerful dialogues. John’s account of the Gospel introduces an unnamed beloved disciple, who appears at the foot of the Cross with Mary and two others. Following the homily, the priest or deacon, along with other ministers, presents a large cross to the assembly. The priest chants, “Behold the wood of the Cross, / on which hung the salvation of the world.” All respond, “Come, let us adore.” So closely identified with Christ himself, the cross receives the adoration of the faithful. One by one all approach, to genuflect, kneel, caress, touch, or softly kiss it in an act of worship. This simple liturgy ends with the distribution of Holy Communion from hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday liturgy. All depart in silence, longing for a joyful conclusion to this prayer come Saturday night. Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. pages 15-16

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night / Holy Saturday

Lent and Holy Week reach a climax at the Easter Vigil. This solemnity of all solemnities begins after sundown on Holy Saturday. Like the ancient Jewish custom, Catholics believe the sun’s setting completes a day, and therefore the festivals for the next day (Easter Sunday) may begin. The Vigil starts outdoors with all gathered around a fire. A new and stately paschal candle takes its flame from the fire, and the priest blesses it as the light of Christ. All process into the empty church, illuminated only by vigil candles to hear the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation), an ancient text summarizing the significance of this holy night. The procession of light concludes and leads to the Liturgy of the Word. This night calls for a more generous use of the Scriptures to emphasize God’s saving work throughout history. The rite offers no fewer than seven Old Testament readings, each followed by a Responsorial Psalm. Fittingly, the creation story itself is first, followed by Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The vivid imagery of Moses leading the Hebrew people through the Red Sea to freedom from their Egyptian oppressors prominently highlights the significance of this night. Passing through water to new life foreshadows the Baptisms that will take place in this celebration. Readings from Isaiah and the prophet Hosea are also offered. The New Testament reading is always from Romans, when Paul reminds the believers of the significance of their Baptism. In that ritual they died to Christ and were given the divine promise to live with him forever in his Resurrection. After fasting from Alleluias for six weeks of Lent, musicians jubilantly lead the community in this act of praise before the Gospel account of the Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. The third major act of this night, the Baptism of the elect, follows the homily. The priest baptizes each adult and then must confirm them with the oil of chrism. Having witnessed these new believers professing their faith, the entire assembly then renew their own baptismal promises and sign themselves with the fresh baptismal waters. Clothed in radiant white garments, like the image of the Risen Lord, the newly baptized join the assembly for the first time at the Lord’s table for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The liturgy concludes in the normal way, with the addition of a double Alleluia to the final blessing to signify the jubilant nature of this solemnity. Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 16

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

“Mercy is the divine attitude that embraces, it is God’s self-giving that welcomes, that leans down to forgive.”

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

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow your love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy!” St. Francis of Assisi

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 are essential 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 grade


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

Bridget of Sweden – Bridget was said to have one foot in heaven and the other firmly planted on earth! Although she was a good and saintly person, she was also a busy, down-to-earth kind of lady. Bridget’s mother was a cousin of the king of Sweden. Her father was governor of Upland and the richest man in the country. When Bridget married, trumpets sounded, and the celebration lasted for three days – dancing, music, and feasting for everyone (including all the poor of the town)! Bridget and her husband had eight children and a very busy happy family life – but Bridget still found time for prayer and good works. One of her daughters later said, “Mother helped all who had a hard life – whether they were poor, sinners, pilgrims, orphans, or widows. To all of them, she was the most gentle, most compassionate mother.” In spite of her gentleness, Bridget did NOT hesitate to speak up when she saw a problem. When she was called to the royal court to help educate the king’s new bride, she was shocked to find the court’s lifestyle NOT very Christian. She loudly criticized the king, the queen, and clergy, and the members of the court, who were either immoral or lacking in virtue and charity. She even told the king he was acting like a “disobedient, naughty child.” Although Bridget was right, some members of the court got very angry and were glad when she left. Years later, after her husband died and her children were grown, Bridget gave all her rich possessions to her children or to the poor and went to live in a monastery. When she felt God wanted her to “hit the road,” she traveled from Sweden to Rome – a journey that took eight months – and then to Jerusalem. And wherever she went, Bridget tried to help those who needed help and did not hesitate to criticize those who NEEDED to be criticized. Did anyone ever criticize YOU – call you lazy or irresponsible or selfish or thoughtless or unkind, tell you to study harder or work harder or be nicer to your family, or to keep your promises? Well, maybe they SHOULD have been. What do you think?” pp. 41-42

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

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 Laetare Sunday, Gaudate Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent
  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

A Brilliant Young Mind > This movie is available at Family Video and maybe also on PPV. It tells the story of a boy with autism who has a brilliant math mind. He is mesmerized by “the maths” as they say in Britain. He desires to be part of the Math Olympics team for Great Britain. His mom goes to extraordinary lengths to relate to her son. It was a very moving movie…make sure you have Kleenex with you when you watch. I give this movie ♥♥♥♥/5

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

A 41-gun salute is the traditional salute to a royal birth in Great Britain.

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