Catholic Culture Update October 30th

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning October 30th, 2016

Quote to carry in your heart this week

“The Lord is gracious and merciful.” Psalm 145

October 30th is the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary time. “St. Paul prays for the Thessalonians, and also for us, that God will make us worthy. Sometimes we think we deserve everything we want, so we need the reminder that everything is gift, and that it is only by God’s gift that we are made worthy to be the children of God. The Book of Wisdom explains why this is so astounding, acknowledging that we are part of a vast universe. When we say that God is great, that greatness comes from God’s care for us, who are “the speck that tips the scales.” Tiny though we are, we are offered divine love for free, like handfuls of candy. Too often we just don’t get it, and we sit hungry in the midst of a rich feast of grace. And when we don’t get it, it is good to hear Jesus in the gospel showing the lengths to which God will go to make us worthy: “the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” But why did Jesus call Zacchaeus? Weren’t there other worthy tax collectors around? Jesus saw how Zacchaeus worked past his own limitations in order to have an encounter with Jesus. In ways large or small, our lives are filled with opportunities to do the same. ” Glenn Byer, Sunday Missal 2015-2016, Living with Christ, page 578.

October 31st is Halloween. “By the end of October, in most of North America and Europe, days have become short and cold. The Church keeps two great festivals at this dark time of year – All Saints and All Souls, the first and second days of November. And, like every other Christian festival, the holiday begins at sunset on the day before. An old name for All Saints’ Day was All Hallowmas. (“Hallow” is another word for saint.) The eve of All Saints was called All Hallows’ Eve, which got shortened to Halloween (from Hallowe’en, i.e., Hallows evening). This festival has an interesting history. Many of the peoples of northern Europe divided the year into four seasons based on the length of days, but these were a bit different from the seasons as we know them. “Winter” was the period of the shortest days. It began on November 1 and ended on February 1. On this night, huge bonfires were lighted on hilltops to welcome the dead who would return home for a bit of comfort by the warm hearthside. Food was set out. Any stranger was welcomed into the home. Who knew? Maybe the stranger was really a dead relative. But the annual return of the dead brought trouble, too. Not all of them were friendly. So everyone stayed together all night for protection, and they told stories of the dead and of narrow escapes from cranky ghosts. People dressed up like the dead to make any ghostly visitors feel more welcome and also to confuse the angry ones. In the earliest days of Christianity, the remembrance of the dead and the celebration of the saints was kept at Easter Time, because we Christians look forward to the day of resurrection of all who have died. But in the tenth century in western Europe, the Church began to keep the remembrance of the dead in November, in autumn, when it seems as if the earth itself is dying. In most of Europe, Halloween is strictly a religious event. Sometimes in North America the church’s traditions are lost or confused. Still, All Hallows’ Eve has been kept by the Church for over 1,000 years. Halloween night still can be a Christian celebration, kept as the holy eve of All Saints’ Day. Halloween customs reflect the Gospel. Trick-or-treat is just good, old-fashioned hospitality. In the name of Christ, we welcome all who knock on our doors. Walking in the streets in masks and costumes reminds us of our journey to heaven. Once our journey is done, we will take our masks off and see ourselves as we truly are – the beloved children of God, the saints in glory.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 134

Month of November – “The name for the eleventh month really means “the ninth month.” In the ancient Roman calendar November was the ninth month because the year began in March. In Church tradition, November is a month to remember the dead and to pray for them. The month begins with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Either in the last days of November or the first days of December, Advent begins. In folklore, November had a strange name. It was called Gossamer, which means “goose summer.” That meant something like “Indian Summer,” which is a time of warm weather after the first frost. Saint Martin’s Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, was a time to feast on roast goose. Perhaps that’s where “goose summer” comes from.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 135

Image result for all saints feastNovember 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints. “On this day, the Church honours all the saints, those who have finished the race and now rejoice in God’s presence. We honour the towering figures like Sts. Peter, Paul, Augustine, Francis and Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and we honour the humble saints as well, those whose names are known to few or to none: the grandparents and ancestors, the friends and teachers who lived their faith to the full and inspired faith in others. This is a day to celebrate them all. An observance in honour of all the saints has been celebrated on November 1st since at least the seventh century, and it originated even earlier, with a feast in honour of all martyrs in the year 359. “Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints?” asked St. Bernard of Clairvaux in a home on All Saints’ Day. “Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed with a tremendous yearning. Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company…. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven to dwell with the spirits of the blessed…. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints” (Office of Readings, Volume IV, p. 1526). All holy men and women, saints of God, pray for us.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 137 Pray for the wisdom to be a Saint!

Image result for all souls feastNovember 2nd is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day). “Why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them,” said St. John Chrysostom (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1032). On the day after All Saints comes All Souls, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, in which the Church prays for all who have died. As Catholics, we believe in Purgatory, that cleansing fire through which must pass “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC, 1030). Today, we pray for them, trusting that God will hear and answer our prayers that they know eternal light, happiness, and peace. As we remember and pray for our loved ones who have died, the reality that we ourselves must one day die is also brought home to us as a gentle, insistent reminder. In Mexico, the Dia de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is a way of praying for our ancestors, remembering and celebrating them, and making friends with death. As St. Ambrose wrote, “Death is then no cause for mourning, for it is the cause of [humanity’s] salvation. Death is not something to be avoided, for the Son of God did not think it beneath his dignity, nor did he seek to escape it” (Office of Readings, Volume IV, p. 1539). May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 138 Pray for someone who has lost a friend or relative this past year.

Image result for St martin de PorresNovember 3rd is the memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious. “St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) had a special love for the marginalized in society; he knew what it was like to feel unaccepted. As the son of an unwed couple, a Spanish knight and a freed slave from Panama, he hardly fit the norm. His father essentially disowned him because he inherited his mother’s features, primarily her skin colour. Instead of wallowing in his own pain, he chose to become a Dominican brother, focusing on ministry to the “forgotten” in society. St. Martin, called the “father of charity,” cared for sick people in the monastery, fed the needy with food from the monastery, and began a home for abandoned children. He had a close friendship with St. Rose of Lima and is considered patron saint of racial justice.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 138   St. Martin nudge us toward goodness when we move toward judgment of others. Be aware of your interior judgments today!

Image result for St. Charles BorromeoNovember 4th is the memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop. “St. Charles Borromeo (1538-154), a doctor of civil and canon law, was a great champion of the Church redefining itself in light of the Protestant Reformation. As archbishop of Milan, he promulgated the reforms of the Council of Trent, giving special attention to liturgical and clerical renewal. Other significant contributions he made to the Church include the establishment of new seminaries for the education of the clergy, defining a code of moral conduct for clergy, and founding the Oblates of St. Ambrose, a society of diocesan priests to enforce the reforms of Trent. St. Charles adopted a simple life in which he responded to the needs of the poor and sick by providing monetary and spiritual support.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 138-139 St. Charles help us to be generous when we see someone spiritually poor. Smile at everyone you meet today!

Holy Year of Mercy ~ until November 20th, 2016

“Have you thought about God’s patience? The patience he has for each of us? That is Mercy!” A Year with Pope Francis, Daily Reflections from his writings, edited by Alberto Rossa, CMF, page 220

Walking Forward Together with Creation ~ a quote for the week

“Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.” Laudato Si #33

 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.


  1. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
    1. providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation.
    2. improving education attainment levels and success rates
    3. developing culturally appropriate curricula.
    4. protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
    5. enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems.
    6. enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.
    7. respecting and honouring Treaty relationships.

Did you watch Gord Downie’s The Secret Path film on October 23rd on CBC? If not, watch it here >

Is it any wonder that many First Nations Metis and Inuit parents do not trust educational systems?

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Praying ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

By the end of grade 8, 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 and other forms of prayer into their prayer life;
  • Turn to Christ’s gift of the Our Father as a model for prayer and the saints as a model for a life of prayer;
  • Reflect on the whole of the Liturgical year of the Church as an unfolding of the story of our salvation, made known through symbol, Word, ritual action and prayer.

Grade Seven – PR 1.3: Explain why the Sermon on the Mount and the Our Father are at the centre of the Gospels (e.g. they are the summary of all of Jesus’ ethical and spiritual teachings on prayer and both point to the end times and the promise of the kingdom. The message of the Sermon points to the need for conversion, an attitude of humility and supplication before God, acts of faith, hope and charity, and above all, a spiritual life of prayer). [CCC nos. 2607-2615; 2761-2764] “When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theologal path (the path of faith, hope and charity[love]) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus’ explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom.” [CCC 2607] “From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting offering on the altar, love of enemies and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart and seeking the Kingdom before all else.” [CCC 2608] I would put the Our Father up on the Board (the whole prayer – including For the Kingdom, the power and the glory…). Ask your students to reflect on what this prayer is saying to God. Does the prayer invite a need for conversion (thy will be done, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us)? Does the prayer invite an attitude of humility and supplication before God (hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, forgive us our trespasses – we admit that we have transgressed)? Look at Matthew’s gospel Chapters 5, 6, & 7. Ask your students to identify Jesus’ ethical [moral] and spiritual teachings on prayer focussing on the need for conversion, an attitude of humility and supplication before God. Students who are preparing for the sacrament of confirmation may have looked at the need for conversion.

Grade Eight – PR 1.3: Identify biblical passages in the New Testament in which Jesus teaches the disciples through word and act how to pray (Matthew 6:5-15, 14:23; 26:36-46; Mark 1:35, 6:46, 14:32-40; Luke 3:21-22, 5:16. 6:12-13, 9:18, 28-29, 11:1, 22:31-32, 39-46, 23:34; John 6:15; Hebrews 5:7) and explain what these passages reveal about his relationship with his Father and how we are to pray. [CCC nos. 2761-2766] “The Lord’s Prayer ‘is truly the summary of the whole gospel.’” [CCC 2761] Assign students the biblical passages above and ask them to summarize what Jesus teaches his disciples (followers) about prayer through his words and actions. Ask them if in the passages the students learn anything about Jesus’ relationship with his Father and how we are to pray.

Twenty-first Century Learning

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

“George – Have you ever heard the story of St. George slaying the dragon? It is a purely legendary story, like a fairy tale, and there may be NO truth to it, but it IS a wonderful story. According to the legend, George was a Christian knight (in shining armour and probably riding a white horse)! He happened to be travelling through a city when he met a group of people, and they told him that their city was in terror of a horrible dragon who ATE one of their citizens each day! The people said that they had put all their names down on a slip of paper and each day they would draw one name and that person would have to go out to be eaten – and that very day, the name drawn was that of their beloved princess. George immediately went out and fought the terrible dragon and killed him, saving the princess and the whole town. This story is so popular that it has been used in books, cartoons, and even on postage stamps! In fact, the picture of St. George has been used on more stamps and in more countries than that of any other saint! Do you ever NOTICE the pictures on postage stamps? Some of them are very special. That’s why so many people are stamp COLLECTORS. Do YOU have any kind of collection – shells, marbles, baseball cards? What about HOLY cards? There are many beautiful holy cards that have pictures of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. If you ever go to a religious store, ask to see some holy cards, and maybe you’ll find one with a picture of St. George and his dragon!” page 67-68

What’s Your Catholic IQ? A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien

  1. Pope Francis named this the “Year of _____”.   A. Happiness B. Prayer  C. Mercy     D. no tests in school
  1. Adam and eve were tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden by a very evil squirrel. T or F
  1. Which sacrament do sick people often receive?   A.Baptism B. Confirmation C. Anointing of the Sick   D. Marriage
  1. Jesus picked _____ disciples to follow him and spread his message.  A. 12 B. tall C. 1 million   D. Roman
  1. Which disciple said he wouldn’t believe Jesus rose from the dead until he stuck his fingers into the nail holes in Jesus hands and feet?     A. Dora    B. Thomas     C. Elsa      D. Matthew

What’s Your Catholic IQ? A Self-Assessment for Your Fun and Enlightenment by David O’Brien

  1. “Lamb of God, who takes away the _____ of the world, have mercy on us.”     A. goats      B. money       C. toys     D. sins
  1. God wants every child to have the chance to go to school and use their brains and talents. T or F
  1. Bishops dress in red robes with red hats. What colour does the Pope wear?    A.purple B. white C. red   D. green
  1. God guides us by using our _____ to help us recognize what is good and what is bad?  A. conscience    B. wifi C. ipad   D. email
  1. The devil and evil spirits are fake and exist only in movies. T or F

Taking Jesus to the Movies …A blog by Pat Carter

Woodlawn – This movie was released in 2015 and is based on a true story. The Erwin Brothers’ faith-based film tells the true tale of the history-making 1973 Woodlawn High School football team.  It is a similar story to Remember the Titans. A significant difference though is the faith based nature of the film. The movie is inspiring and can be watched with children. I give this movie ♥♥♥♥♥/5 hearts

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

“Wild mice only live about four months. ” Huh!

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