Catholic Culture Update May 8-15

Peter Rogers, Ascension ’66

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning May 8th, 2016

Quote to carry in your heart for the week.

“Sing praises to God, sing praises.” Psalm 47

May 8th is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

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

Think about the week that has just passed. How have you experienced Christ’s presence within you? Say a prayer as you prepare for Mass, that your mind and heart will be open to the Word of God.

Reflect on the Word – What most inspires you in what you heard and experienced at Mass today? In what ways will you take to heart Christ’s enduring presence in the Eucharist and live differently as a result?

Act on the Word – Alleluia! In today’s Gospel reading, we heard that the disciples did Jesus homage as he ascended into heaven, and that they were continually in the temple praising God. Think about this and make a commitment toward some specific action of adoration and praise in the week to come. You might participate in daily Mass, Morning or Evening Prayer, spend time in prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, join with others for a time of communal prayer, or re-commit to prayer in the morning and evening at home. Prayerfully read today’s readings at least once in the coming week, as a way of allowing the Holy Spirit to inspire you to fulfill your call as a follower of Jesus Christ, taking to heart the assurance of all Christ has promised.

Wrapping it Up ~ How does prayer prepare you for or help you get through a difficult challenge? In what ways may you help another through an uncertain time? How is this sharing your response to the grace of God? In what ways is the Eucharist a continuation of Jesus’ life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection?” 2015-2016 The Living Word – Sunday Gospel Reflections and Activities for Teens, LTP, page 197, 200

May 8th is Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord – The Gospel does not tell us exactly how long after his resurrection Jesus ascended to the Father. In celebrating the Ascension forty days after Easter, the Church looks to the Acts of Apostles 1:3. “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” With his Ascension into heaven, Jesus is no longer visible to his disciples. And yet, far from being sad, Luke tells us that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). The Church, too, celebrates the Ascension with great joy; there is not a note of sadness in the liturgy today. Why? Because the Ascension is our feast, too. When Jesus ascends into heaven, he goes to make room for us there. In the memorable words of Pope Benedict XVI: “You have risen and have made a place for our transfigured flesh in the very heart of God” (Way of the Cross, Pauline Books and Media, pp. 134-135). Jesus is the head, and we are members of his body; where he has gone, we hope to follow. “There is an upward movement in the whole creation,” said St. Maximus of Turin in a homily long ago, “each element raising itself to something higher….In one and the same movement, our Saviour’s passion raises men from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights” (Office of Readings, Volume II, p. 816). But the Ascension isn’t just about looking up. It’s also about looking around us. In the Entrance Antiphon for the Mass during the Day, we hear words from the Acts of the Apostles: “Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? / This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven / will return as you saw him go, alleluia” (Acts of the Apostles 1:11). We do not need to gaze into the sky, searching for our Lord. Because even as he goes, he remains with us: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We need only look around us to find signs of his abiding presence in our midst, in his Body, the Church, in the sacraments, and in his beloved poor. The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord traditionally takes place on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, exactly forty days after Easter. But because for most people that is a working day, many ecclesiastical provinces in Canada observe this day on the nearest Sunday, and it takes the place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The readings and prayers of the Ascension of the Lord will then replace those of the Seventh Sunday of Easter.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 19-20

May 8th is also Mother’s Day in Canada.   It is celebrated in many countries around the world but not on the same day, although most countries celebrate Mother’s Day in May. It is a day meant to honour mothers and appreciate their role in society and their role in families. On Mother’s Day it is important for us to spend some extra time with our moms, give them a hug and tell them how much we love them. Thank them for their efforts and time — and don’t forget breakfast in bed!


May 13th is the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. “Today the Church honours Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917, in a tiny, rural town of Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on the thirteenth day of six consecutive months, beginning on May 13. During these apparitions, the lady urged the children to pray for sinners and above all to pray the Rosary. On October 13, the last of the apparitions, the children were joined by a crowd of around 70,000 people, who witnessed what came to be called “The Miracle of the Sun.” Today pilgrimage to the site of the apparitions continues all year round. The largest crowds gather on May 13 and October 13, when up to a million of the faithful come to pray and participate in processions, both during the day and at night, by the light of the tens of thousands of candles. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 74 Google Our Lady of Fatima.

May 14th is the feast of St. Matthias, Apostle. Before the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the eleven remaining Apostles had the task of replacing Judas Iscariot, who had completed suicide after his betrayal of Jesus. They cast lots, and Matthias (first century) was chosen from among the 120 disciples (Acts of the Apostles 1:18-26). He was selected as a candidate by the Apostles because he met the following two qualifications: (1) a disciple of Jesus from Jesus’ baptism to his Ascension and (2) a witness to Jesus’ Resurrection. Tradition has him preaching in Judea and then in Georgia in the Caucasus, where he was crucified. The apocryphal Acts of Andrew and Matthias speak of a mission to evangelize cannibals. Other traditions put him in Ethiopia and in Jerusalem, where he is supposed to have been stoned and beheaded. His symbol in art is an axe, from the legend of his beheading.” Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year. page 75 St. Matthias, help us to have confidence in the Holy Spirit’s gifts. Think about one of your gifts/talents that you have not been using lately, put it into action.

Holy Year of Mercy

“It is probably true to say that if we were all good neighbours, there would be no need for welfare systems, immigration systems, health care systems, educational systems. We could live in the shelter of each other if we were all good neighbours. The reach of mercy and the desire for justice could take place on a smaller and more local scale.” p. 95-96, The Other Face of God, Mary Jo Leddy

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

“Nothing welcomes a stranger like a smile.” Pat Carter

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.

Elder Reg Crowshoe told the Commission that Indigenous peoples’ world views, oral history traditions, and practices have much to teach us about how to establish respectful relationships among peoples and with the land and all living things.

Learning how to live together in a good way happens through sharing stories and practising reconciliation in our everyday lives. When we talk about the concept of reconciliation, I think about some of the stories that I’ve heard in our culture and stories are important…. These stories are so important as theories but at the same time stories are important to oral cultures. So when we talk about stories, we talk about defining our environment and how we look at authorities that come from the land and how that land, when we talk about our relationship with the land, how we look at forgiveness and reconciliation is so important when we look at it historically. We have stories in our culture about our superheroes, how we treat each other, stories about how animals and plants give us authorities and privileges to use plants as healing, but we also have stories about practices. How would we practise reconciliation? How would we practise getting together to talk about reconciliation in an oral perspective? And those practices are so important.

As Elder Crowshoe explained further, reconciliation requires talking, but our conversations must be broader than Canada’s conventional approaches. Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, from an Aboriginal perspective, also requires reconciliation with the natural world. If human beings resolve problems between themselves but continue to destroy the natural world, then reconciliation remains incomplete. This is a perspective that we as Commissioners have repeatedly heard: that reconciliation will never occur unless we are also reconciled with the earth. Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous laws stress that humans must journey through life in conversation and negotiation with all creation. Reciprocity and mutual respect help sustain our survival. It is this kind of healing and survival that is needed in moving forward from the residential school experience.

Remember we are all treaty people! Let us work for reconciliation in our lives and in our relationships.


New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living in Communion ~ Hope Expectations for Junior Classes

  • Recognize Jesus as a companion and friend who travels with them on the journey of their lives;
  • Appreciate what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ and accept the responsibility of this gift;
  • Participate as an active member in the prayer life of the Communion of Saints to help those saints among us and those who have gone before us and who are in need of our prayers;
  • Recognize and believe in Mary as the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church.

Grade Four LC 1.3: Explain how the Church is “mystery” (the Church is both a visible community of faith, hope and charity and a spiritual community – the mystical Body of Christ endowed with heavenly riches, both human and divine; a communion of God and persons and link this mystery to the call to holiness and our response.) [CCC nos. 770-776] This is a challenging expectation, especially for unchurched Grade 4 students. But Grade 4 students have good imaginations that can help. I would draw a timeline – a very long timeline. At the far left end I would put 30 C.E. (Common Era) as the beginning of the Church – approximately when Jesus died on the cross. At some place near the middle of the line I would indicate the date of the lesson (May 11, 2016 – let’s just say) and there would be no end date but a quarter of the timeline away from the date of the lesson put the number 3010. I would explain to the students that the Church has existed since the beginning of the timeline and we are at our point in time. But the Church will exist until the end of the world and we don’t know when that is. This timeline shows that the Church has a real history in time. But the Church also transcends history and geography. It goes beyond history. It is a mystery. The Church is a visible community of faith, hope and love. We can experience this in reality when we spend time getting to know the Church (the people of God). It is also a spiritual community – the mystical Body of Christ. This Body of Christ has heavenly riches, both human and Godly. This Body of Christ connects the people of God who are in the Church today with all those who have ever been part of the Church. We are called to live a holy life with one another and with God.

Grade Five LC 2.1: Articulate how intercession to the saints draws the whole Church more firmly into the path of holiness (i.e., prayer and drawing upon the example of their lives of faith and service). [CCC nos. 954-959]

It would be good to review the concept of the Communion of Saints [the idea that all the good and holy people who have lived and died are together with us to intercede for us before God.] “The communion of saints is the Church.” [CCC 946]

Have your students picture New Year’s Eve. They can watch the” big party” in Times Square in NYC. They may have a party in their home. Invite them to think of the “big party” as heaven where all the good and holy people are celebrating whatever is happening on earth. “The party at our home” is where all the good and holy people in our lives live and they celebrate with us too in smaller ways. The Church is the TV that helps us to know what is happening in Times Square/heaven. We can pray to all the saints, to ask them to talk to God on our behalf because they are with God. One day we want to be part of the Big Party. We need to live as the Saints lived so we, too, can join the saints in heaven. We can ask the saints to guide us as we live. They have lived on earth before going to heaven. They know the challenges and the struggles that people on earth face. Asking their help is like asking a coach for help to improve your skills.

Grade Six LC 1.3: Explain the vocation of the baptized and the importance of their participation in the life and mission of the Church, and give examples of how the laity fulfill the priestly office (i.e. sanctification), the prophetic office (i.e., evangelization and teaching), and the kingly office (i.e., pastoral governance) their mission. [CCC nos. 897-913] Many baptized people do not know they share in three roles of Jesus, that is as priest, prophet and king. Each of these roles has certain expressions. I would explain each role first then speak about the importance of their participation in the life and mission of the Church.

Role/office of baptized What this means
Priest Through their work, prayer and spiritual practices, which are accomplished with the help of the Holy Spirit, these may be offered to God. Their lives become a living sacrifice of praise and worship when they live a holy life like Christ.
Prophet Through their efforts to spread the Word of God and the witness of their lives, they announce Christ to the world. People can learn how to live by watching the good and holy lives of the baptized.
King Through their effort to support their pastors in governing the Church, they minister to the people of God using the gifts and grace God gives them for the community.

So even as young people they can live their lives as priest, prophet and king. They can have a significant life and mission in the Church. They are important witnesses especially to other young people. The Church is the people of God and we need all the people of God to play a significant role in living good and holy lives. In that witness, people who do not know Christ yet, may be inspired by the example of those who live their baptismal call.


Twenty-first Century Education

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

Crispin and Crispinian – Did you ever know anyone who “moonlighted”? No, it doesn’t mean sitting outside looking at the moonlight. Moonlighting is what you do when you have TWO jobs – one in the daytime and one at night, where there’s moonlight! Well, these two saints had two jobs. In the daytime, they would teach and preach and convert many people to the Christian faith. Then, at night, they would work as shoemakers – making new shoes and repairing old ones. No one knows why their mother named them ALMOST the same name, but she did – and BOTH names are now saintly!

Did you ever get a hole in the sole of your shoe or run down your heels so they look like they’ve been peeled? Well, maybe you don’t need NEW shoes; you just need to get them repaired by a good shoemaker like Crispin or Crispinian. Would YOU like to be shoemaker or a caretaker or a candlemaker or an undertaker? How about an overtaker? Make a list of all the jobs you might like to have and another list of all the jobs you would NOT like to have. Then say a prayer that God will help you study and work so that someday you will have the job that HE would like you to have!” page 49-50

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

Evangelizing With Truth by David O’Brien CATECHIST April/May 2016

  1. John Paul II challenged the worldwide church to begin a “New _______________________.”
  2. Religion Evangelization                  C. Youth Group           D. Book Club


  1. All preachers on TV are fakes and liars. T or F


  1. The international Catholic TV station is called ______________________.
  2. Nickelodeon MTV                                   C. ESPN                     D. EWTN


  1. Catholics should watch TV only ______________________ each week.
  2. a little bit             in their pajamas                 C. with friends             D. with their grandparents


  1. “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing” and so he _______________________.
  2. went to Church ate lunch                             C. rested                    D. checked his email

Evangelizing with Truth by David O’Brien CATECHIST April/May 2016

  1. God told the Chosen People to take a break from work every seven days. T or F


  1. The patron saint of TV is Saint ________________________.   A. Sirius   B. Sally C. Clare D. Michael


  1. John Paul II liked skiing, hiking and canoeing when he was on vacation. T or F


  1. Based on St. Paul’s efforts to spread the Gospel, the ________________________ priests, brothers, and sisters use the media to evangelize.   A. Carmelite B. Benedictine C. Franciscan D. Pauline


  1. The virtue of __________________________ protects one’s eyes from media images that depict people as objects to be bought and sold rather than beautiful creations of God.   A. Justice Chastity C. Courage D. Fortitude

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

Love and Mercy ~ Available at Family Video. This is the story of Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Brian is played by John Cusack (love him.) Elizabeth Banks plays Melinda Ledbetter who eventually marries Brian. Brian’s story is very surprising. He grew up in a household with much abuse from his father. He grew up in the sixties with drugs and parties. He developed schizophrenia which seriously interfered with his relationships and the music. There are many insights about the music of the Beach Boys. I give this movie ♥♥♥♥/5.


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

The hottest planet in our solar system is Venus. Most people often think that it would be Mercury, as it’s the closest planet to the sun. This is because Venus has a lot of gases in its atmosphere, which causes the “Greenhouse Effect.”

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