Catholic Culture Update March 26

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning March 26, 2017

Quote to carry in your heart this week

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  Psalm 23 

March 26th is the Fourth Sunday of Lent “Samuel has been commissioned by God to choose a successor to Saul.  Like us, Samuel frequently judges by appearances, while God judges by the heart.  Samuel’s selection of David and Jesus’ healing the blind man in today’s gospel speak to us of God’s choices.  Jesus sees in the blind man someone with great potential who moves from a world of darkness to collaborate with Jesus.  He will be the one to display the work of God and reveal Jesus to others.  The readings call us to move from our blindness to the revelation of God in Jesus.  To believe is to come to the light, while to disbelieve is to be spiritually blind and walk in the darkness.  Paul reminds us that when we are committed to Christ, we become children of the light, and earlier in his letter to the Ephesians he prays that his community might have “the eyes of your heart enlightened” (1:18).  “I once was blind but now I see.”  John Newton composed Amazing Grace and based it on his own conversion experience, after which he began a life-long ministry of reconciliation.  The blind man received not only the gift of sight but also the gift of faith.  May we like him experience this Lent as a true conversion of heart.”  Father Jack Lynch, SFM, Sunday Missal 2016-2017, Living with Christ, page 208.

Laetare Sunday – the Fourth Sunday of Lent – ‘Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. / Be joyful, all who were in mourning; / exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast’ (Isaiah 66:10-11).  These words of hope, spoken by the prophet Isaiah to a people in exile, form the Entrance Antiphon for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.  In Latin, this antiphon begins with the word Laetare, “rejoice,” and so this Sunday is also known as Laetare Sunday.  Like Gaudete Sunday in Advent, it is a day of joy in the midst of a penitential time.  Flowers may be used at the altar; the organ and other musical instruments – used only to accompany the singing of the assembly during Lent – make a brief return; rose-coloured vestments may be worn.  Why do we rejoice on this day?  the answer has its roots in the early Church, when catechumens preparing for Baptism at Easter received the Creed and the Our Father for the first time during the fourth week of Lent.  It was another sign that they were soon to receive adoption, in Baptism: a fitting reason for the Church to rejoice!  (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has restored this ancient custom: catechumens are given the Creed during the week following the first Scrutiny, just before Laetare Sunday, and the Lord’s Prayer following the third Scrutiny, during the Fifth Week of Lent).  In 1216, Pope Innocent III gave another reason for rejoicing.  We need this brief respite from our Lenten fasting, he said, so that we “may not break down … but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart” (Weiser, Francis X, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs: the Year of the Lord in Liturgy and Folklore. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1958, pp. 177-178).  Easter is drawing near: reason enough to rejoice!” Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 12.

Month of April – The word April means “to open.”  This is the time of the year that leaf and flower buds open.  In most northern countries, this is a month of transformation.  The day is now longer than the night.  Even if the nights are still chilly, the daytime sun is strong and growing stronger.  The earth itself seems to take part in the Passover of the Lord.”  Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 58.

April Fools’ Day – “The first of April probably became All Fools’ Day in 1564.  That was the year the French began to use the new Gregorian calendar.  A few centuries before that, Christians had moved the start of the year from January 1 to March 25, Annunciation Day.  Everyone celebrated the New Year for eight days.  On April 1, the festival ended with parties where gifts were exchanged.  In 1564, the first of January once again became the first day of the year, but some people loved the old custom.  They didn’t give up their New Year’s parties on April 1.  They were called “April fools.”  Nowadays in France an April fool is called a poisson d’avril, an “April fish.”  Young fish that appear in streams around this time of year are more easily caught than older, cagier fish.  French shops sell chocolates shaped like fish for the occasion.  People try to pin paper fish on each other’s backs as a joke.  In some places in England, an April fool is called a “noddy.”  In Scotland on this day, don’t let anyone send you out searching for hen’s teeth or pigeon milk, or you’ll be called a “gowk” – a cuckoo!”  Companion to the Calendar – A guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, Second Edition, page 59

Walking Forward Together with Others ~ a quote for the week

“Vernon built Kwekwekipiness a small roundhouse, the traditional building of the Anishinaabe, about twelve feet in diameter.  It was there that I [Wab Kinew] learned many traditional Anishinaabe songs.  And it was there that they explained the meaning of the travelling song to me, the song I had heard sung to close community gatherings since I was a child.  Kwekwekipiness said that in this song, the Creator speaks to us and says, “I am the reason you walk.”  The Reason You Walk, p. 59

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. HEALTH We call upon medical and nursing schools in Canada to require all students to take a course dealing with Aboriginal health issues, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, and Indigenous teachings and practices. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

If you are able to participate in the Blanket Exercise this year, take advantage of this opportunity because it does for teachers and those involved in education what this Call to Action is proposing for health care workers.

New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Living in Communion ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

  • Strive to integrate faith with all arenas of their life, personal, social, academic, etc. in order to show God’s love and promote God’s reign on earth;
  • Appreciate what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ and accept the responsibility of this gift;
  • Appreciate the role of the Holy Spirit in initiating believers into the communion of saints, forming them for a life of service and promoting in them a holy and virtuous life.

Grade Seven LC 2.3:  Identify living examples of the virtuous life (prophets: Mother Teresa, Canadian Martyrs, Jean Vanier, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Peter Aleut) and explain how they witness to the resurrected Christ through healings and miracles. [CCC nos. 946-975]  It is challenging to find living examples of people living virtuous lives because people think being religious is a private part of their lives.  Of the examples above only Jean Vanier is still living.  Father Gregory Boyle and Martin Sheen are good examples.

Brother Lawrence Freeman OSB would also qualify as a living saint.  Ask your students to research the life of any of these holy men or women.  Some have already gone to heaven and have been declared canonically Saint.  Some are still living in the world.  One person who is not on this list is Pope Francis to whom I think the students would related.  Once the students have done their research, invite them to have a conversation about how their virtuous individual gives witness to the resurrected Christ.  All of these individuals may not have healings and miracles attributed to them YET.  However they are giving witness to the resurrected Christ by the ministry and action they perform in their lives.

Grade Eight LC 1.2:  Outline requirements of participation in the Church as community (e.g. participation in the Eucharist, a life of prayer, continual faith formation that deepens understanding of the statements of the Creed, works of service to the poor) and using examples, explain the importance of participation.

We live in inconsistent times.  Some people have no difficulty claiming that they are Catholic because they have received the sacraments but they do not feel the need to participate in the life of the Church as a member of the community.  So some students/teachers may not deem these requirements of participation as essential to make the claim that they are Catholic.  However, it is important to outline the requirements in the hope that it might inspire participation.  Requirements of participation in the Church as community:  participation in the Eucharist > the source and summit of our life as Catholic Christians – just as we require food and drink to live our human corporeal lives, we require the Eucharist to live our human spiritual lives.  A life of prayer keeps us in touch with our Creator and redeemer.  There are times to pray in the community (Taizé prayer at St. Jerome’s on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. or the Mass of Chrism on April 6th at St. Jerome’s at 7:00 p.m.) and there is a need for private prayer too.  As members of the people of God we need to grow in our understanding and belief of statements of the Creed so continual faith formation is important, even beyond Confirmation preparation classes.  Participation in the Triduum services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Saturday Easter Vigil would help your understanding of the creedal statements “Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; …the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”  Often parishes have missions, or sessions on faith topics that we can freely take part in in order to grow.  Works of service to the poor inspire us to live lives of generosity and compassion.  Participating in canned food drives, or preparation of food for the soup kitchen, collection of Share Lent funds to assist those in the global south can help.

Twenty-first Century Learning

  • > Little Boys Playing in the Mud Remind Us of God’s Grace – 3.10 min
  • The temptation of a giant mud puddle is something these two little boys couldn’t pass up. After a joyful time, they turned to find their dad watching them make a mess and were fearful of what he would say. But that’s when this dad showed grace in the most adorable way! What an incredible reminder of the love and grace God extends towards us!
  • > A Brand New Day – 1.12 min Today is an adventure! A gift from God! Forget about the past. It’s nothing compared to what God is going to do (Isaiah 43:18)! A great video for kicking off a new week of school.
  • > Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Become a member of D&P this year for free. It is their 50th anniversary as Canada’s Catholic Justice voice.  Add your voice to theirs.
  • > New Jesuit website on Truth and Reconciliation
  • > World Community for Christian Meditation – Canada part of the site > This is a site for Christian Meditation for teachers and students alike.
  •  > best kept secret for religious education teachers of every grade


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

John Neumann ~ Did you know that this saint is sometimes called the “Father of the American Catholic Education System”?  Yep, John Neumann BELIEVED in Catholic schools.  He was born in Bohemia and wanted to become a priest.  But he was denied ordination because there were TOO MANY priests in Bohemia.  So John journeyed to New York to be ordained and later joined the Redemptorist Congregation.  America was a strange new land for him.  He had come from a country SO Catholic they had TOO MANY priest to a land that in some ways was anit-Catholic.  As he traveled around doing missionary work, John met many immigrants who were from Catholic countries like he was.  BUT they had found that in America, there were not so many Catholic churches or schools where they could worship and learn.  John set out to change that.  He wanted to be sure all Catholic children could get a good education AND learn about their faith as he had.  When John became a bishop, he tried to open a Catholic school in EVERY parish of his diocese.  Because of his work – and that of others who shared his educational goals – the Catholic school system spread all over the United States.  Do you LIKE to go to school?  Or not?  How do you think a PERFECT school would be?  Would it start at dawn and END at noon?  Or START at noon and end at dark?  Would there be a dress code, homework, field trips?  What would the teachers be like?  Think today of how YOU would plan a school – NOT just one that would be fun but ALSO one that would give you basic teachings AND values AND inspiration to help you become a wise and GOOD adult. ” pages 87-88

 What’s your Catholic IQ?  A self-assessment for your fun and enlightenment by David O’Brien from page 40

Test Your Catechism Knowledge

  1. When a baby is baptized, who receives catechesis?    A. the baby B.  grandparents     C.  uncles  D.  parents
  1. To receive first Communion, a child must be the age of reason, which is about ______________________ years old.   A.2    B.  7     C.  18     D.  21
  2. The Catechism uses the Ten _______________________ to explain how to follow Jesus and be a disciple.   A. Commandments  B.  Beatitudes      C.  Corporal Works of Mercy D.  Apostles
  1. The Catechism uses the ________________________ to teach about Christian prayer.  A.Rosary  B.  Act of ContritionC.  Hail Mary D.  Lord’s Prayer
  1. A version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church geared for teens and young adults is called YOUCAT.   T or F

Test Your Knowledge of Lent – Adapted from What Do You Know?  by Peggy O’Neill Fisher

  1. What is the biblical meaning of the number forty?     A. holiness B.  fasting    C.  trial/testing/waiting     D.  wholeness
  1. What word is not used in liturgy during Lent  A. Alleluia     B.  Praise to God    C.  Amen    D.  feast
  1. What is a pilgrimage?   A. a spiritual walk     B. a time of reflection   C.  a journey undertaken for religious reasons   D.  all of these
  1. What traditional pilgrimage is made in our own church buildings during Lent?  A. Walking with palms on Palm Sunday   B. The Stations of the Cross   C.  A labyrinth walk   D.  A walk for justice
  1. How many Stations of the Cross are there?   A.12     B.  14    C.  10    D. 16

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

Fugitive Pieces – This movie was released in 2007 and is based on the poetically penned novel of the same title by Anne Michaels.  Jakob, a young boy, is found in a forest in Poland during the war by a big Greek anthropologist with a kind and compassionate heart.  Jakob returns to Greece to grow up with Athos Roussos until he moves to Toronto.   Jakob’s memories and dreams move back and forth through time.  This movie is inspiring and hope filled.  I give this movie ♥♥♥♥♥/5 hearts.  Have some Kleenex with you.

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

This Is Indian Land – the 1850 Robinson Treaties, edited by Karl S. Hele.  This is a book of articles written about the Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties that were signed in 1850.  It features on the cover a picture of the railway trestle in Garden River that states “This is Indian Land.”  I learned so much about Sault Ste. Marie and where certain names like Bruce Mines came from.  Not being originally from Sault Ste. Marie, I soaked in this new knowledge.  The information also supported the work we are doing with the Blanket Exercises.  This read is not for everyone, but am I grateful for the kindness of Alice Corbiere for sharing a copy of the book with me.  I give this book ☺☺☺☺/5 happy faces.

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

“Did you know that Chinese is the most widely spoken language on the planet?”  Huh!!

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