Catholic Culture Update January 15

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning January 15, 2017

Quote to carry in your heart this week

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” Psalm 40

January 15th is the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. “What is a purpose-driven life? Sometimes, the meaning only becomes clear after an experience makes us look back at seemingly unrelated decisions that made us who we are. It’s that “ah-ha” moment. The gospel today describes John the Baptist’s “ah-ha” moment. Until that day, John had been following a path he couldn’t quite see clearly, wandering the wilderness, preaching of the Son of God whom he might never even meet in the flesh. John was a recluse who attracted a huge following. These followers believed his wrath-inflicting Messiah would be the political ruler they had been waiting for. But the meaning of John’s life decisions became clear in his meeting with Jesus. The heavens literally opened and spoke to him! Jesus’ ministry would be non-political and characterized by love. Jesus was the one for whom John was preparing the way, and John’s future was forever changed by Jesus. The purpose of our lives may not always be as dramatically revealed to us as John’s was by God. Some of us may feel lost, wandering in our own wilderness. But recognizing the need to search is the first brave step toward finding that purpose. In that search we, like John, may meet Jesus by our own river bank. It is an encounter that will radically change our future.” Saskia Sivananthan, Sunday Missal 2016-2017, Living with Christ, page 129.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees ~ “A World Day of Migrants and Refugees is observed in many places in solidarity with the World Refugee Day promoted by the United Nations and observed since 2001 on 20 June. This January observance was instituted by Saint Pius X in 1914. “The phenomenon of migration today is a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world” (Pope Benedict XVI, 2012).” Ordo Liturgical Calendar 2016-2017, page 116 We pray for all refugees, searching for welcome, peace and security in their new homeland.

Image result for St. Anthony, AbbotJanuary 17 is the memorial of St. Antony, Abbot. “Early in his life, St. Antony of Egypt (251-356) discovered the grace of solitude. Solitude provides the vehicle through which one battles demons and removes worldly distractions that distance the heart from the will of God. St. Antony journeyed to the desert, and for nearly thirty years he lived a life of solitary prayer and self-discipline – a life of utter dependence on God. After his time in the desert, he emerged as a man of balance, ready to share all he learned regarding the human thirst for God. Realizing that the spiritual life takes root within a community of believers, he founded a group of monks. While serving as abbot, a spiritual father, to the monks, St. Antony mentored them in the ways of contemplative prayer and helped them overcome illusory thinking. His dynamic personality continued to attract others. As a result, he counselled a steady stream of pilgrims and laid the foundation for many monasteries. A biography of Antony (Life of Antony) written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria popularized the monastic ideal of withdrawing from society to dedicate oneself to God. As a result, many followed Antony’s example and went out to the desert to live lives of asceticism. St. Antony is invoked against skin diseases.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 37 St. Antony, inspire our meditation practice so we can grow closer to God. St. Antony is a great patron for our growth in the virtue of the month, wholeness. Pray to him to help you strive for wholeness.

January 18 – 25 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “Each year, Christians from many denominations observe a special week of prayer for Christian Unity. Coming together in a variety of ways, through joint prayer and meetings, we remember how much we share, and we look honestly at the issues that still keep us apart. It is a time to reflect on Christ’s prayer the night before he died: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23). The week of prayer was begun in 1908 by an American Episcopalian priest, Paul Wattson, and since that time it has spread worldwide. Each year, a joint commission of leaders from the full spectrum of the Christian family gathers to prepare prayer resources for this week of prayer and reflection. For Catholics, the unity of all Christian believers is more than just one more dream; it is central to the Church’s mission.” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 37 Let us prayer for unity among Christians. Pray the Glory Be each day this week for the intention of Christian Unity.

Walking Forward Together with Creation ~ a quote for the week

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well…for there is a Force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go. Julian of Norwich

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. LANGUAGE: We call upon the federal government to appoint, in consultation with Aboriginal groups, an Aboriginal Languages Commissioner. The commissioner should help promote Aboriginal languages and report on the adequacy of federal funding of Aboriginal-languages initiatives.

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 2.2: Identify the various forms of prayer (i.e. blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise) found in the Psalms, prayers and some of the “specific hours” of the Liturgy of the Hours. [CCC nos. 1174-1178; 2623-2649]

There are 150 psalms most of which are attributed to King David’s composition. These song prayers are organized into 5 books. There are various forms of prayer within each book. Divide your students into 5 groups. Invite each group to look at one book of psalms: Book 1 – Ps 1-41; Book 2 – Ps 42-72; Book 3 – Ps 73-89; Book 4 – Ps 90-106; and Book 5 – Ps 107-150.

Ask them to identify one of each of the following forms of prayer – Blessing – Usually has the words “Happy are those who….”;

Petition – a prayer for the person praying the psalm; Intercession – a prayer for others; Thanksgiving – a prayer of gratitude; and Praise – is pointing out how good God is. Ask your students to count how many of each type of prayer is in their book.

This activity will familiarize the students with the whole book of psalms.

The Liturgy of the Hours is based on the psalms and canticles and is intended to be an extension of the Eucharistic celebration. Priests, women and men religious and all God’s people are encouraged to “pray constantly” and the liturgy of the hours assists them should they choose to do so. The Liturgy of the Hours can be prayed anywhere and have been prayed most often in monasteries over the centuries. The 8 hours are: Matins (during the night, at midnight for some); Lauds (at dawn or 3 a.m.); Prime (early morning prayer around 6 a.m.); Terce (mid-morning prayer around 9 a.m.); Sext (mid-day prayer around noon); None (mid afternoon prayer around 3 p.m.) Vespers (evening prayer around 6 p.m.) and then Compline (before bed usually around 9 p.m.). If you would like assistance with teaching this expectation, please invite me into your class. I can bring a couple of different breviaries (prayer books) so the students can actually see the hours.

Grade Eight PR 2.3: Identify things which undermine the development of a life of prayer (e.g. lack of faith, distraction, not wanting to make the effort, cultural and social influences, lack of experience and a praying community) and explain how these have been addressed in the Tradition of the Church (i.e. examples of saints). [CCC nos. 2725-2745] Normally by Grade 8 students have been confirmed, but these are different times, and many of our students have not received the Sacraments, let alone Confirmation. There are many ways to approach this expectation. Ask the students to identify the things that undermine the development of a life of prayer. [If you take this approach, I would love feedback about what your students say.] I can imagine that some of the list given above may be identified including a lack of desire – why would I want to develop a prayer life? If you feel comfortable, dig below the surface of their answers…ask what do you mean by that. Another way to approach this expectation would be to show a video of a person who became a deep pray-er like Dorothy Day [Entertaining Angels]; St. Bernadette [Song of Bernadette]; St. Teresa of Kolkata [Mother Teresa] St. André of Montreal [ God’s Doorkeeper], St. Kateri Tekakwitha etc. [I have these videos in my office for lending] Ask the students to watch the video in order to identify how the person developed their life of prayer. This is the Tradition of the Church. We look to holy people to inspire us as we journey in faith. All people struggle as they begin to grow a life of prayer. I would be happy to come into your class to speak to your students about how I have developed my prayer life over the years.

Twenty-first Century Learning


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

Image result for Isidore the FarmerIsidore the Farmer – This Isidore was actually named after the learned Isidore who wrote the encyclopedia – but they lived VERY different lives. This Isidore was born to a poor family in Spain, and as soon as he was old enough to go to work, he became a farm labourer, working for a wealthy man who had an estate outside the city. This was not just Isidore’s first job – it was his ONLY job. He worked there on the farm all his life, getting up very early each morning to go to Mass and then spending his days in the fields. Isidore married a girl as poor as he was, and together they lived a saintly Christian life. It is said that Isidore prayed all day as he plowed, and he was so generous to others that, as poor as he was, he gave generously to the even poorer. If he had nothing else to give, he would share his meal. The two Isidores were very different in their lifestyles – but alike in their saintliness. Would YOU like to be a farmer? What would you grow – spinach and squash, rutabagas and radishes, carrots and cabbages, and YUMMY stuff like that? Too bad they don’t have chocolate-pie plants or cookie crops! You may choose a lifestyle very different from Isidore the Farmer OR Isidore the Encyclopedia Man – but you can remember them as a good example of how you can choose ANY kind of lifestyle and still be “saintly”!” page 77-78

What do YOU Know? A Catholic Identity Game for the Whole Community by Peggy O’Neill Fisher

  1. Which gospel tells of the magi?  A.Matthew B. Mark  C.Luke     D. John
  1. What did the wise men observe and follow?   A. GPS   B. map   C. star    D. constellations
  1. What news troubled Herod?  A. The wise men were coming unannounced for a visit to the palace.   B. There was a newborn king of the Jews.   C. There was a census in Bethlehem.    D.The wise men had no host gift for him.
  1. How did the wise ones learn not to return to Herod?   A. premonition B. in a dream C. a sign in the stars   D. in a crystal ball
  1. Which Shakespearean play is placed in the time setting of the Epiphany?   A. Romeo and Juliet    B. Richard III     C. Midsummer Night’s Dream    D. Twelfth Night

BONUS question

  1. What does the word Epiphany mean?   A. showing forth B. manifestation C. revelation   D. all of these

What do YOU Know? A Catholic Identity Game for the Whole Community by Peggy O’Neill Fisher – adapted from page 18

  1. Who were the parents of John the Baptist?  A. Mary and Joseph B. Zechariah and Elizabeth C. Abraham and Sarah   D. Jacob and Rachel
  1. With what words did the angel greet the frightened Zechariah?   A. Do not be afraid. B. Shalom. C. I will not hurt you.     D. Hi Buddy!
  1. On what date do we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist?    A. January 24   B. March 24 C. May 24   D. June 2
  1. In what river was John baptizing?    A. St. Mary’s River B. Niagara River C. Jordan River    D. Amazon River
  1. What did John the Baptist eat?   A. locusts   B. wild honey   C. steak and potatoes   D. A and B

Taking Jesus to the Movies …A blog by Pat Carter csj

Passengers – This movie stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. The IMDb summary of the movie says “A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.” I had many questions after I watched this movie. Would I choose to leave earth to start a new colony? Would I do ever do something morally wrong to make myself more comfortable? Could I live happily by myself? How close to this reality are we, that we can put people into a deep sleep for many years? I give this movie ♥♥♥.5/5 hearts .

A NEW YEAR addition to CCU – A Blog for Eclectic Readers – by Pat Carter csj

God’s Hotel – This is a book that I purchased at a Coles downtown Toronto because of its title. It is the true story of a doctor who wanted to study the history of medicine and found herself working at the last American almshouse in San Francisco. She tells her journey to find connections between St. Hildegard of Bingen’s medieval practices and modern medicine and the eventual move to Health Care. She tells stories of how her patients taught her invaluable lessons to help her become a better doctor. I give this book ☺☺☺☺/5 smiles.

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

“Did you know that the seven dwarves were miners?” Huh

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