Catholic Culture Update Nov 13

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning November 13th, 2016

Quote to carry in your heart this week

“To be near God is my happiness.” Ps 72

November 13th is the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary time. “When I was much younger, we used to play a game called Truth or Dare. If you didn’t want to answer your opponent’s question truthfully, you had to accept a dare. Today, Jesus turns the game inside out and challenges his followers to tell their truth by accepting his dare. Jesus asks, Do you dare to be publicly Christian? How? What are your limits on doing so? What consequences are you willing to risk? Jesus does not promise us the proverbial rose garden. Rose gardens, like nations and kingdoms, will surely pass away. Jesus simply promises his presence, his words and his wisdom. These will never pass away. Here is where the good news lies today for us who accept his challenge. This is a good time to start preparing for the new church year ahead, asking ourselves how we will be boldly Christian in 2017. Pope Francis offers an example. In his quiet, gentle way, he calls us to examine the lines we have drawn in the sand – and to take one small step past them. Two of the great dismissals at the end of Mass graciously instruct us. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” Perhaps one should boldly declare, “The living God is with you. Don’t just sit there:   do something. Change the world!” Margaret Bick, Sunday Missal 2015-2016, Living with Christ, page 593.

November 15th is the memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. “To great disappointment of his father, St. Albert the Great (1206-1280), known as “the universal doctor,” entered the Dominican order, where he was recognized for his acumen. Ahead of his time, he believed that learning did not take place in a vacuum; one must be an interdisciplinary learner. He loved the world of academia, anywhere from studying the natural sciences to unearthing the connection between reason and experience to learning the geography of the earth. As a prestigious teacher, he had the privilege of instructing and mentoring St. Thomas Aquinas, author of the Summa Theologia. Toward the end of his life he began to experience memory loss and dementia, which led to his gradual demise. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 141 St. Albert help us to learn well today and to study the life lessons that come to us each day. Spend some time enjoying the process of learning today.

November 16th is the memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland. “St. Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045-1093), the wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland, managed to raise eight children while promoting Church reform, especially in the area of liturgical practice. As a woman of great faith, she founded and restored monasteries, provided hospitality to pilgrims, spoke out on behalf of the falsely accused, and fed the poor from her own dining table. All of her charitable activity was grounded in a strong prayer life.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 141-142 St. Margaret, remind us that prayer ought to have a permanent place in our days. Make sure your prayer and actions today match each other.

November 17th is the memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious. “St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231), the Queen of Hungary and mother of four children, had a special love for the downtrodden. She built a hospital in the basement of her castle, nursed the sick, fed the hungry, and provided life-giving work for the poor. After the death of her husband, she took the habit of a Franciscan tertiary (Third Order Franciscan), devoting herself to a life of simplicity and almsgiving. Along with her selfless service to those in need, she actively pursued God through prayer and spiritual discipline. St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of Franciscan tertiaries, bakers, beggars, brides, the homeless, and charities (among others).” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 142 St. Elizabeth inspire in us a love and care for the poor among us. If you see someone who needs help today, don’t pass by without helping, even if that is only to acknowledge their presence with a smile and a hello.

Holy Year of Mercy ~ until November 20th, 2016

“Jesus has this message for us, mercy!” A Year with Pope Francis, Daily Reflections from his writings, edited by Alberto Rossa, CMF, page 222

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 upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families.

Are we integrating FNMI teachings and traditions in our Kindergarten programming? This will assist to advance Reconciliation with our Indigenous families.

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 Four – PR 2.1: Gather evidence from the Gospels of the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus (i.e. example – witness, parables – teaching) and explain what these passages reveal about the elements of personal and communal prayer. (Mt. 6:1-18; Lk. 11:1-13; Mt. 7:7-8; Jn 15:16; 16:23-24; Jn. 14:13-14; Mt. 7:11; Lk. 3:21-22, 9:28, 21:37; Lk. 22:39-41; Mt. 26:39-41; Lk. 18:1-7) [CCC nos. 2598-2616]

“The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus as Moses approached the burning bush: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to know how he hears our prayer.” [CCC 2598]

Ask your students to read a particular passage and ask them to explain what Jesus is saying/showing about prayer

To determine whether what is revealed is about personal or communal prayer – ask the students what they think…it may not be explicitly stated…but for example, the Lord’s prayer is part of the liturgy but we may say it privately too.

  • Mt. 6:5-6                 pray in your room in secret and your Father will hear your prayer – private prayer
  • Mt. 6:7-8                 pray in real words what you want God to hear – private prayer
  • Mt. 6:9-15               pray using the words of the Lord’s Prayer – private or communal
  • Lk. 11:1-4                pray using the words of the Lord’s Prayer – private or communal
  • Lk. 11:5-8                have perseverance in prayer – keep praying until you get a response – private or communal
  • Lk. 11:9-13              ask, search and knock and what you need will be given to you – private or communal
  • Mt. 7:7-8                 ask, search and knock and what you need will be given to you – private or communal
  • Jn. 15:16                  the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my [Jesus] name – private or communal
  • Jn. 16:23-24            ask for what you need in my name and it will be given to you, so that your joy may be complete – private or communal
  • Jn. 14:13-14            I will do whatever you ask in my name – private or communal
  • Mt. 7:11                                     your Father in heaven will give good things to those who ask him – private or communal
  • Lk. 3:21-22              when Jesus had been baptized and was praying the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased. – Jesus is praying privately
  • Lk. 9:28                    Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. – communal prayer with the apostles
  • Lk. 21:37                  Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. [to pray] – private prayer
  • Lk. 22:39-41           Jesus asks his disciples to pray that they may not come into the time of trial. Jesus knelt down and prayed. – private and communal prayer
  • Mt. 26:39-41          Jesus threw himself down on the ground to pray that the Father’s will be done – private prayer
  • Lk. 18:1-7                Jesus told the parable of the widow and the unjust judge – to teach about the need to pray always and not to lose heart. – private or communal prayer

Main characteristics about prayer that Jesus emphasizes: Humble, sincere, Lord’s prayer is a good one, perseverance, (ask, search, knock), Jesus wants to offer us what we need, pray in good times and in difficult times.

Grade Five – PR 2.1: Identify and use various means to enter into the experience vocal prayer (i.e. personal and communal, music, rosary, stations of the cross, novena, litanies), meditative prayer using various biblical passages (e.g. the Beatitudes, Jesus’ prayer of petition while on the cross – Father forgive them…, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane) and contemplative prayer (i.e. silence, images e.g. icons, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). [CCC nos. 2697-2724] “Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart: “We must remember God more often than we draw breath.” But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.” [CCC 2697]

You are already using vocal prayer in your class. I am sure you are using personal (Christian meditation) and communal (Lord’s Prayer) in your classes already. Do you use music? Do you use the rosary (especially in October and May? Do you pray the Stations of the Cross in Lent. A novena is a prayer that is said for nine consecutive days asking for a special intention. – this website has a variety of Novena prayers. I often include litanies in the Virtue of the Month prayer services because a simple refrain is repeated by the community to a variety of intentions.

Meditative prayers like guided meditations help the students to use their imaginations to place themselves in a biblical passage.

Contemplative prayers are prayers like Christian meditation where the pray-er is using a mantra or an icon to focus on. If you need some help teaching this lesson to your class, please email me.

Grade Six – PR 2.1: Identify which liturgical seasons present scripture passages (i.e. Old and New Testament) which focus on the social justice dimension of the Christian life and show how these are expressed in the tradition of vocal and meditative prayer. [CCC nos. 2652-2655; 2659-2660] The social justice dimension of the Christian life is identified in the scripture passages of Advent and Lent in a particular way. During Advent the first readings will be taken from the prophetic tradition of Isaiah speak about the Messiah and messianic times. During Lent it is important to teach the social consequences of sin as well as the fact that the heart of the virtue of penance is hatred of sin as an offence against God. These first readings will also be taken from the prophetic traditions. The Gospels are part of the New Testament are read during both Advent and Lent. The tradition of “vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life.” [CCC 2701] Explain the above liturgical seasons as times of preparation > preparation for building the Kingdom of God that will be what God wants. Use the Lord’s Prayer as an example of vocal prayer that all Christians learn early in life. Look at the words. It speaks about praising God and God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. It speaks about themes of justice – everyone getting daily bread and forgiveness for wrongs done. Asking for assistance to avoid the occasions of sin as these come into our lives. We pray the Our Father every day but do we really believe what the words say or ask. Do we just say the words. Vocal prayer ought to lead to action on our part. Meditation that is spoken of in this expectation is not Christian silent meditation but the use of the mind to ponder and reflect on reality and seek ways to make the kingdom of God come into our reality. “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart and strengthen our will to follow Christ.” [CCC 2708] If you would like a guided meditation to lead for your class, send me an email and I can assist you or send you one that you can lead for their participation.

Twenty-first Century Learning

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

“Gregory the Wonder-Worker –This saint became bishop of a town where there were only SEVENTEEN Christians! His work – and wonders – changed that. The very first day Gregory arrived in the town where he would be bishop, he went right out and started preaching. He was such a good preacher that quite a few of his listeners decided to become Christians! By the next morning, the town was abuzz with news about him, and more and more came to listen to him and soon there were LOTS of Christians in town. And they all got together and gave their time and/or money to help Gregory build a church where they could pray together. During his years as bishop, legend says that Gregory – by the power of God – was able to heal the sick, change the course of rivers, drive out evil spirits, and foretell the future! And that’s how he got his name, the Wonder-Worker. After many years of work – and wonders – Gregory grew old and knew he was dying. He asked how many people in his town were still NOT Christians. He was told there were only SEVENTEEN! When Gregory became Bishop, only seventeen WERE Christians and now only seventeen were NOT! He had done his work well. How many Christians live in YOUR town? Are there lots or just a few? How many are there in your neighbourhood or your family? And how about wonder-workers? Are there any of THOSE in your town? It’s fun to watch magicians work wonders, but THEIR magic is a TRICK. Only God’s “magic” is real! Say a prayer today to thank God for the “magic” of thunderclaps and hands to clap, watermelons and waterfalls – and wonder-workers like Gregory. ”page 69-70

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

  1. There are _____ sacraments in the Catholic Church.  A. 3     B. 7     C. 100   D. a lot of
  2. The Bible never mentions any of the sacraments. T or F
  3. How many times are Catholics baptized?        A. weekly    B. every Easter    C. once as a baby and once before dying     D. one ti
  1. Like baptism, the sacrament of _____ is non-repeatable.   A. confirmation B. Eucharist C. reconciliation   D. anointing of the sick
  1. Which sacrament do Catholics receive the most in their lives?    A. reconciliation B. matrimony C. Eucharist   D. ordination

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

Test Your Bible Knowledge

  1. _____ was married to Abraham, the father of the faith for both Jews, Christians and Muslims.     A. Bathsheba      B. Sarah    C. Mary   D. Delilah
  1. Only priests and nuns can read the Bible. T or F
  1. The first books of the Bible is called _____    A. Baruch B. Revelation C. the Gospels  D. Genesis
  1. The first book in the New Testament is _____.    A. the Gospel of Matthew B. the Book of Exodus C. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians        D. The Psalms
  1. Jewish people call the first five books of the Bible the _____.    A. Ten Commandments B. Gospels C. Torah   D. Koran

Taking Jesus to the Movies …A blog by Pat Carter

Before the Flood – This movie is available on YouTube. This movie was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. This movie tries to educate people about climate change. It begs the question, what are you willing to change about how you live so that the planet will continue to be the garden that it was intended to be? It feels a bit like a sequel to Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth which was produced in 2006, except we are closer to the disaster about which Gore warned us. I cannot believe that we continue to insist that global warming is a myth. It is frightening to me that the old industry is so powerful. Watch it with your children. I give this movie 5/5 hearts

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

“77% of the world’s maple syrup is made in Quebec.” Huh!

One comment

  1. As always, thank you for such special emails, they are always appreciated.

    Peace, Joy and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, St. Mary Catholic Academy, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293 “that they may have life and have it the full.” “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” – Steve Jobs ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response*** ________________________________

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