Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning September 11

Quote to carry in your heart this week

Helping a person in need is good in itself.” St. John Chrysostom

September 11th is the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary time. “It’s not fair. That’s a popular refrain for children and adults alike. Youngsters with an abiding sense of entitlement don’t like it when they are denied something by their parents. Adults share the same sentiment when things don’t go their way. Kids who rail against dad, mom and each other soon grow into adults who castigate neighbours, bosses, spouses, co-workers and even God for what they believe is unjust treatment. Most of us can identify with the gospel’s elder son, who complains that he got the short end of the stick when the father generously welcomed back the little brother who had frittered away half the family fortune on fast and depraved living. It’s little wonder we empathize with the elder brother, the reliable, hard-working and trustworthy son who feels taken for granted by a foolish father. Fettered by human thought, we might join the steadfast elder son in thinking it unwise to traipse off in search of one lost sheep while leaving 99 more unattended in the wilderness, at the mercy of any passing predator. But for God, the shepherd and father, it’s reclaiming the lost one that yields boundless joy and relief. God’s tremendous capacity for forgiveness and unconditional love eludes our narrow grasp. God’s ways are not our ways, and for this let us be grateful.” Francis Campbell, Sunday Missal 2015-2016, Living with Christ, page 529.

September 12th is the memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary. “Three days after the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church observe2011104026s a memorial honouring the Most Holy Name of Mary. In Hebrew, the name Mary is “Miryam,” or “Miriam,” which means “bitter sea.” The name is an important one for the Jewish people: Miriam, the sister of Moses, sang in thanksgiving to God after the crossing of the Red Sea, and it was a common name for Jewish women (in the Gospel account of the Resurrection of Jesus, three women visit the tomb in the rock, and all of them are named Mary!) In the Middle Ages, the name Mary was often translated as “star of the sea,” a title with which Mary continues to be honoured today.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 115. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen+ To honour Mary’s name, say it silently with reverence throughout the day.

Image result for St. John Chrysostom

September 13th is the memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. “After a short stint as a monk, St. John Chrysostom (c. 350-407), whose surname means “golden mouth,” returned to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest and became a noted preacher. During his free time he wrote commentaries on the Pauline letters as well as the Gospels according to Matthew and according to John. Due to his reputation for preaching and writing, he was appointed bishop of Constantinople. As bishop he initiated a program of reform that challenged clerical abuses and the extravagant lifestyle of the upper class. His reforms were not always received well, especially on the part of Empress Eudoxia; therefore, he was exiled from the city for a period of time. St. John Chrysostom bears two distinctive titles in the Church: Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church.”   Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 115. Inspire our speech St. John so that we say what is necessary and only using kind words. Offer your students a Werther’s- like gold wrapped candy to celebrate St. John Chrysostom.

September 14th is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. “Today’s Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began as a commemoration of a unique event: the miraculous finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. Helena journeyed to the Holy Land to see the place of the Lord’s crucifixion. She found the spot and tore down a temple honouring the Greek goddess Aphrodite, which she found there, and began to build a new basilica in honour of Christ. As they began to lay the foundations, the remains of three crosses were discovered, but they did not know which was the true Cross. When a dying woman was healed after touching one of the crosses, they knew that the Cross of Christ had been revealed. The basilica was completed, and the Church in both East and West observes this feast in honour of the Cross on the anniversary of dedication. “We are celebrating the feast of the cross that drove away darkness and brought in the light,” said St. Andrew of Crete in a sermon on this feast.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 116. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Traditional prayer before every station of the Cross   Each time you bless yourself today do it slowly and reverently.

September 15th is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. “In the Gospel according to Luke, as Simeon holds the infant Christ in his arms, he tells Mary that her life will be full of suffering. Her son will be “opposed,” and “a sword will pierce [Mary’s] soul, too” (Luke 2: 34.35). That prophecy is fulfilled when Jesus is crucified and Mary stands at the foot of his Cross. The image of the Mater Dolorosa, the Sorrowful Mother, is the subject of one of the most famous works of art, Michelangelo’s Pieta, which shows Mary with the dead Christ in her arms, her face revealing peace and acceptance, and yet profound grief. Today we ask the intercession of this sorrowful Mother for all mothers who suffer for their children, and especially those who have lost a child.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 116. Oh Mary, how broken you must have felt when you held your Son after his death on the cross. Show your class a picture of the Pieta. It says in sculpture the sentiment of this feast day.

Holy Year of Mercy ~ until November 20th, 2016

“It is said we are children of information and orphans of communication. Dialogue requires patience, clarity and good disposition towards the other. It does not exclude confrontation of different points of view, not as weapons but as beacons of light. Let us not give up our ideas, utopias, convictions or rights but only the claim that ours are unique or absolute.” A Year with Pope Francis, Daily Reflections from his writings, edited by Alberto Rossa, CMF, page 294

Walking Forward Together with our families ~ a quote for the week

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2012 Calls to Action

“In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission makes the following calls to action.


Child welfare

  1. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, to prepare and publish annual reports on the number of Aboriginal children (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) who are in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children, as well as the reasons for apprehension, the total spending on preventive and care services by child-welfare agencies, and the effectiveness of various interventions.

  1. We call upon all levels of government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.” “To understand Jordan’s Principle, watch this short Youtube video >

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Praying ~ Hope Expectations for Junior Classes

By the end of grade 6, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Seek intimacy with God and celebrate communion with God, others and creation through prayer and worship;
  • Appreciate the gift of the common prayers of the Church and how they teach us to pray;
  • Incorporate Sacred Scripture into their prayer life as a reflective form of prayer that reveals the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Grade 4 PR 1.1: Identify through examples of scripture how Jesus hears our prayer and in doing so allows us to increase in the virtues of faith, hope and love. (Matt. 6:8, 7:7-11; Ps. 34:156; Ps. 10:17; Isa. 35:5-6, 61:1-2; Jer. 33:3; Ex. 32: 11-14; Moses in the desert, Moses and the escape from Egypt.) [CCC nos. 2607-2616]

Scripture passage How Jesus hears our prayer How do we increase in virtues
Matt. 6:8, 7:7-11 Jesus invites us to pray to his Father. His Father and Jesus hear our prayers as we bring voice to our needs. By asking for what we need, we grow in faith. In trusting that God will provide what we need, we grow in hope. And when we receive from God, we grow in love.
Psalm 34:1-6 David, the King wrote this psalm of praise. God blessed David abundantly. Jesus is the Lord that David is speaking about. We can join David in blessing the Lord and Jesus will hear our prayer. When we praise God, it fills our hearts with love for the one we praise.
Psalm 10:17 David gives us the example of a prayer of pleading with God for deliverance from enemies. David has experienced God’s presence in his life. We can trust that Jesus will hear us as God heard and answered David. When we are in need and we plead for God’s help, it helps us to be meek. We then are more open to being strengthened by God. We grow in hope in this stance.
Isaiah 35:5-6 When Jesus came to earth, Isaiah’s prophecy was revealed to be true. Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, and unstopped the ears of the deaf; he helped the lame leap like a deer and the speechless sing for joy. So much more Jesus wants to heal us of all our struggles. When we read the prophecies of Isaiah and the other prophets and then see the evidence of their words in the Gospels of Jesus, our faith is supported. We can trust the Jesus to do for us what He did for the people he helped.
Isaiah 61:1-2 When the prophecy of Isaiah is read by Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth, the people are surprised. We know that Jesus in fact had the spirit of God upon him.   He was the anointed of the Lord.   He hears our prayers and he come to bring the good news to us. When we hear Jesus speak the prophecy of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30), we see the people of Jesus’ hometown reject him. We know that Jesus was the fulfillment of those words, so our faith is supported.   Our trust in Jesus gives us hope.   We can love Jesus more because he will hear our prayers and answer them in the best way possible.
Jeremiah 33:3 If we call out to God, Jesus will answer us. We must listen too. Because God in Jesus wants to tell us great and hidden things. By asking for what we need, we grow in faith. By listening deeply, we trust that God will tell us the great and hidden things. When we pray in conversation, we grow in love with our God.
Exodus 32:11-14 In this passage, Moses believes that God is angry with the Israelites. Moses reminds God of his love and his promises to the people. Moses gives us an example to follow. When we think things are not as they might be, speak to God and/or Jesus and tell God what the problem is. Jesus is able to take our confusion, anger, frustration, whatever we are struggling with and work with it. When we are able to express difficult feelings and frustrations, we grow in our relationship with God in honesty and integrity. We grow in our faith, hope and love of God.

Put your students in groups and give each group one of the passages. Ask them to do their best to answer the questions at the top of each column. You can use this chart as a summary to respond to their efforts. You may have to explain who Jeremiah, Isaiah (two of the great prophets), King David (greatest King of the Jewish people), and Moses (the one who led the Israelites into freedom from Egypt and the one who received the Ten Commandments) were. You may have to give the students some context to their reading – you can get what you need from the chart notes.

Grade 5 PR 1.1: Distinguish what is essential and different between personal and communal prayer and provide examples of how the Church has adapted communal prayers to reflect the culture of a particular people and the unity of the Christian faith (e.g. use of Peace Pipe at Eucharist for First Nations people of Canada). [CCC nos. 2562-2565; 2767-2772]

Prayer is a reverent two-way conversation between God and human beings. It is equally important to speak and to listen when we pray. Many young and old, believe it is all about speaking to God. That is not a mature relationship. Imagine only speaking to a friend and never listening to what s/he said. The relationship would not last very long. God waits patiently for us to learn that God wants to speak to us too. I would begin this lesson by asking my students what is prayer. Fill in the gaps in their understanding with the above. This is what is essential in both types of prayer, although sometimes in communal prayer we miss the opportunity to stay silent to hear what God wants to say to us as a group.

Personal prayer happens when we are by ourselves and we speak and listen to God. It may take many forms, however the essential elements remain (speak/listen – even if the speaking is a simple mantra.)

Communal prayer happens when we pray in community. We may pray traditional prayers, we may share prayer, we may celebrate the sacraments of the Church, these are all examples of communal prayer. Jesus tells us “where two or three are gathered, I am there.” Ask your class if they know the difference between personal and communal prayer. When we meditate together as a class is that personal or communal, let them debate it…using their experience to support their ideas. (It’s both)

The Church has adapted communal prayers to reflect the culture of a particular people and the unity of the Christian faith. This is important because the Church has unity in its diversity. (1Cor1:10)

Use of the smudge in the Eucharist for First Nations instead of incense.

Use of the Peace Pipe at Eucharist for First Nations.

Use of the Mayan altar – a circle of flowers and fruit placed on the ground (a cross in the centre) using colours of Mayan people.

This is created in front of the Eucharistic altar in Mexico.

Use of music that suits the culture of the people…Spirituals for Black people in the Americas, etc

Use of the language of the people…Ojibwe for FN people in our area, Cree further north and west of us.

I don’t know how much experience your students will have with these cultural communal prayer forms. Ask them.

Grade 6 PR 1.1: Identify the obstacles to prayer and the ways to overcome these struggles so that prayer and our Christian life are inseparable. [CCC nos. 2725-2751] “Prayer is both a gift of grace [given to us by God] and a determined response on our part.”CCC 2715 We have to show up and be present, then God takes over. Ask your students if they know someone who is prayerful. Ask them how they observe their prayerfulness > in other words, how do they know the person is prayerful. It will probably be about going to Church (Mass), having a prayer table or religious objects (crucifixes and/or statues) in the home, blessing themselves with the sign of the cross, and saying grace before every meal. Ask them if they consider themselves as prayerful. One of the obstacles to prayer is “erroneous notions of prayer.” Some people do not believe in prayer because they think it is just talking to themselves. Some think it is a way of psychologically pacifying themselves. Some think that it takes great amount of time and they don’t have time to give to it. So we need to correct these mistaken notions of prayer. Prayer is about building a relationship with God. Just like to build friendships and love relationships with others, we can do so with God. Prayer involves speaking and listening. It grows more comfortably over time. All we need to do is show up and be open to God. God will take over. “Prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives.” CCC 2727

We can pray throughout the day by keeping ourselves open to God’s self-revelation. God will communicate with us throughout the day when we have the openness. For example, when we see a hummingbird, or a sunset, or a baby laughing. Our response can be “O my God.” Maybe we are swept up in the beauty and we respond in gratitude to the Creator. “Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.” CCC 2727

Another obstacle in prayer is “distraction.” It is better once the distraction is apparent, to let it go and return to prayer. If we put too much energy into fighting the distraction, then we fall into a trap. “Sometimes distractions reveal to us what we are attached to.” CCC 2729

A third obstacle in prayer is “dryness.” It is the experience of receiving no sense of goodness or connectedness to God during prayer. Often people who experience this obstacle, stop praying. It is exactly what we ought not do. It is important to continue to pray through the dryness. It helps us to grow in discipline.

The fourth obstacle in prayer is “temptation.” It is the experience of never staying in prayer until it is over. We say we are going to pray for five minutes and then three minutes into the prayer time, we are distracted and we leave because nothing is happening.

It is important that once we become aware of the distraction that we return to prayer and stay for the whole time.

Students will not probably have much experience with these obstacles or the vocabulary to speak about them. I offer to come in to help with this lesson. I can give personal experiences to bring more light to these obstacles and I feel free to share them. Just invite me in.

Twenty-first Century Learning

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

“Fiacre– This is the patron saint of cab drivers – even though there WERE NO cabs or taxis in his day, and he has nothing in common with cab drivers, since he always wanted to be ALONE! Fiacre grew up in Ireland but when he decided he wanted to be a monk or hermit, he couldn’t find a place where he could be as ALONE as he wanted to be! So he sailed across the English Channel to France. Then he went to the bishop and told him he was looking for a place where he could pray and work alone. That bishop had a small house in the middle of a forest, which he offered to Fiacre, and according to legend, he told him he could have as much land around the house as he could plow in ONE DAY. Well, Fiacre was pretty smart. Instead of using a regular plow, he used his staff (a walking stick) to furrow the land and was able to cover much more territory that he could have with a heavy plow. At the end of the day, he had plowed a large area, and the bishop kept his word and gave all that land to Fiacre. Fiacre was happy to have found such a private, quiet place. He went to work and cleared the trees from the land and then planted a garden by the side of his house. Next, he built a small chapel and happily settled down to pray. BUT people soon heard about this holy hermit in the forest and how he grew all kinds of vegetables, flowers, and herbs for medicine. Soon Fiacre had just what he did NOT want – visitors! Now Fiacre was not only holy, he was also hospitable. And kind. When he learned some of the people had come a long way and had nowhere to stay, Fiacre built a small house so the travelers could stay overnight. More and more people came – poor ones to beg for food or medicine, troubled ones to ask for advice and prayers. Eventually, a small village developed around his hermitage and was named Saint Fiacre-in-Seine-et-Marne. So what about the cab drivers? Well, year after the hermit’s death, a hotel in Paris was named Hotel de St. Fiacre, and the very FIRST taxis in Paris – which were horse-drawn coaches – usually parked by that hotel. Soon the Paris taxis became known as “fiacres,” and this saint – who had just wanted to be alone – became the PATRON of cab drivers! Did you ever ride in a taxi? Would you like to be a cab driver some day? Would you like to go to Paris some day? It can be fun to travel to other parts of the world and see new sights and meet new people. But it can ALSO be nice to sometimes be ALONE like St. Fiacre. The next time you’re alone, get out a world atlas and think about which foreign language you would like to learn. OR read more about the saints and decide which saint you would most want to be like!” page 59-60


WHO says teaching RELIGION can’t be FUN? What’s Your Catholic IQ? by Pat Carter csj

  1. The desire for God is written:   A. on the highway sign to Wawa    B. in the human heart          C. on the Board website            D. in the Bible
  1. In many ways, throughout history, people have given expression to their quest for God in their    A. prayers and sacrifices    B. rituals      C. meditations       D. all of these
  1. The intimate and vital bond of human to God can be  A. forgotten B. overlooked C. explicitly rejected    D. all of these
  1. Ways to come to know God     A. spend time in Creation   B. prayer   C. love someone deeply   D. all of these


  1. The summer of 2016 was:    A. Hot and humid     B. wonderful        C. what I needed to recoup     D. in all ways good


Taking Jesus to the Movies …A blog by Pat Carter

London Has Fallen – It is a movie about the potential end of democracy as we know it. A terrorist cell targets world leaders as they meet in London for the funeral of the Prime Minister. It stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart. There is considerable violence and destruction.   It is a movie about revenge. It depicts Middle Eastern people as terrorists. Even though it brought to mind the nursery rhyme, London bridges falling down, I would not view this movie with young children.


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

“Mauna Loa is the world’s largest active volcano. It is in Hawaii. “


  1. Thank you very much for all of the wonderful emails.

    Any suggestions of where to find great daily prayers for morning announcements, please and thank you.

    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.” “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.” – Vesta M Kelly ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response*** ________________________________

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