Catholic Culture Update May 28

Catholic Culture Update for the week beginning May 28, 2017

Quote to carry in your heart this week

“God has gone up with shouts of joy.” Adapted Psalm 47

May 28th is the 7th Sunday of Easter and Ascension of the Lord. “Go,” says Jesus to his confused followers, “make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.” Witnesses of Jesus’ words and acts, people transformed through close relationship with him, they are instructed to build a community that embraces the whole world. Go…do…assured of the Spirit’s presence – this is their direction and ours. The readings chosen today to mark Ascension are closely interwoven, focusing as they do on the post-resurrection role of Jesus’ disciples. And they are timely. They invite us to reflect on how we are to live this command, on what making “disciples of all nations” might involve in our pluralistic world. We painfully recall some past attempts at shaping disciples – forced baptisms and the condemnation of indigenous religious values and rituals, for example – that did not reflect Jesus’ loving hospitality. And we have an increased awareness of and respect for the many paths to the divine discerned among the world’s cultures. So, as disciples today, what are we to communicate? Answers emerge from our dynamic relationship with Christ, Paul suggests. Through prayer, sacraments and our experience as individuals in community, we are transformed in love. Learning to see with the eyes of our heart enlightened, he suggests, allows us to experience resurrection and pass it on! As resurrection people, we witness to hope and love.” Ella Allen, Sunday Missal 2016-2017, Living with Christ, page 376.

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord – “The Gospel does not tell us exactly how long after his Resurrection Jesus ascended to the Father. In celebrating the Ascension forty days after Easter, the Church looks to the Acts of the Apostles 1:3. “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” With his Ascension into heaven, Jesus is no longer visible to his disciples. And yet, far from being sad, Luke tells us that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). The Church, too, celebrates the Ascension with great joy; there is not a note of sadness in the liturgy today. Why? Because the Ascension is our feast, too. When Jesus ascends into heaven, he goes to make room for us there. In the memorable words of Pope Benedict XVI: “You have risen and have made a place for our transfigured flesh in the very heart of God” (Way of the Cross, Pauline Books and Media, pp. 134-135). Jesus is the head, and we are members of his body; where he had gone, we hope to follow. “There is an upward movement in the whole of creation,” said St. Maximus of Turin in a homily long ago, “each element raising itself to something higher….In one and the same movement, our Saviour’s passion raises [all people from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights” (Office of Readings, Volume II, p. 816). But the Ascension isn’t just about looking up. It’s also about looking around us. In the Entrance Antiphon for the Mass during the Day, we hear words from the Acts of the Apostles: “Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? / This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven / will return as you saw him go, alleluia” (Acts of the Apostles 1:11). We do not need to gaze into the sky, searching for our Lord. Because even as he goes, he remains with us: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We need only look around us to find signs of his abiding presence in our midst, in his Body, the Church, in the sacraments, and in his beloved poor. The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord traditionally takes place on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, exactly forty days after Easter. But because for most people that is a working day, many ecclesiastical provinces in Canada observe this day on the nearest Sunday, and it takes the place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The readings and prayer of the Ascension of the Lord will then replace those of the Seventh Sunday of Easter.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, pages 19-20

World Communication Day – “The Holy See on 24 January 2017, the liturgical memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists, released the Holy Father’s Message for the 51st World Communications Day. The Message of Pope Francis is entitled “Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 43:5): Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time”. In 2017, World Communications Day will be celebrated on 28 May, which in Canada is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. In his Message, the Pope expresses his desire “to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil, but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news’.”

Image result for visitationMay 31 is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “When the angel brought Mary the amazing message that she would be the mother of God’s Son, he also brought her some family news: her elderly cousin Elizabeth, was going to have a baby as well. Immediately, Mary set out to visit her cousin and help her at what must have been a challenging time. When Mary arrived, something amazing happened: the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt up in recognition, and Elizabeth, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit and realized that Mary was carrying God’s Son. Even before his birth, John the Baptist was pointing the way to Christ! We echo Elizabeth’s joyful exclamation every time we pray the Hail Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). And we echo Mary’s response to her cousin, her Magnificat, in the Office of Evening Prayer.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 78 My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. Pray the Magnificat this day to celebrate Mary’s Yes!

Month of June – “The sixth month is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of hearth and home. Juno’s month was lucky for weddings. In years past, Christian weddings were rarely held during Easter Time. Only on Pentecost did the time of summer weddings begin. In the Northern Hemisphere, June is the month of the summer solstice.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 79

Month of the Sacred Heart – “On the Friday following the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Because this solemnity usually falls in June, this month is also known as the “Month of the Sacred Heart.” Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is all about pondering Christ’s love and meditating on Christ’s suffering.” Companion to the Calendar – A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year, page 79

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

Extend the boundaries of the glowing kingdom of your love, gradually including your family, your neighbours, your community, your country, all countries — all living sentient creatures. Paramahansa Yogananda

Catholic Character Education and the Virtues – Patience, Compassion and Community

When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebration. — Jean Vanier


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 government to amend the Criminal Code to allow trial judges, upon giving reasons, to depart from mandatory minimum sentences and restrictions on the use of conditional sentences.


New Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document for Religious Education

Celebrating ~ Hope Expectations for Intermediate Classes

By the end of grade 8, it is our hope that students will be individuals who:

  • Participate with joy and gratitude in the Sacramental life of the Church and celebrate the Eucharist as the central sacrament of the Catholic Church;
  • Recognize the presence of Christ in the Liturgy of the Word, under the sign of the bread and wine of the Eucharist, in the celebrant priest, and in the assembled Body of Christ;
  • Appreciate the importance of participating in the celebration of holy days, feast days and days dedicated to the saints;
  • Continue to deepen their understanding of the multi-fold meaning of symbols, scripture narratives, ritual actions and practices associated with the liturgical celebration of the saints and the salvation stories of our faith, i.e. the Paschal Mystery.

Grade Seven CL 2.2: Compare what is signified in the “bread and wine” of the Old Testament to its New Covenant meaning in the New Testament and to the meaning of the Eucharist. (See: Exodus 12; Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 54:4-6; Hebrews 10:10-14;

Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 6:30-44; John 2:1-12; Jn. 6:23, 32-33, 35, 54-57.) [CCC nos. 1333-1336] In the first Exodus the blood of the sacrifice was put on the doorposts and the lintel in order to keep the first born safe from the plague of death of the firstborn. The bread was unleaven because of the rush of leaving Egypt once the plague had acted on the Egyptians. So both the “bread and wine” of the Old Testament helped the Israelites to escape the slavery they experienced under the oppression of the Egyptians. In the Leviticus reading , God says that blood is for atonement. No one ought to eat blood because the “life of the flesh is in the blood.” Lev. 17:11 God is doing the work through the bread and blood in the Old Testament. God is saving the chosen people.

In Isaiah we hear the promise that “the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” Isaiah 54:5b  This promise is prophesying that Jesus is to become our Redeemer.   In the Hebrew’s passage, “It is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb. 10:10 In Matthew’s account of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper, it says: “While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matt. 26: 26-30 In Mark’s gospel Jesus performs a miracle of feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish and everyone had enough and there were twelve baskets filled with the pieces remaining. Mark 6:30-44 In the second chapter of John’s gospel we read the Wedding at Cana. The wine has run out and Jesus turns water into very good wine. No one is embarrassed because Jesus’ miracle saves the family from that. Jn. 2:1-12 Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus reveals himself as “the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jn. 6:35 Jesus is the new bread and wine. This bread and wine can be eaten unlike the message in Leviticus. This is the body and blood of Jesus the Holy One of God, our Redeemer and Saviour. Have groups of students read the passages indicated above in the expectation. Ask them what the blood and bread signify in the context of the readings. I have provided above a summary of each reading for you. See if the students can connect the Old Testament and the New Testament covenants and the meaning of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives in Christ.

Grade Eight CL 1.3: Identify and examine a selection of scripture passages from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures to link the Sacrament of Confirmation to its source in Sacred Scripture (Is. 11:2; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 9:5-6; Acts 13:2-3; Luke 4:16-21; John 8:12; Matt. 5:14-16; 1 Sam. 16:13) and outline its historical development within the Tradition of the Church (East and West). [CCC nos. 1285-1286; 1290-1292]

Scripture reference Scripture passage
Is. 11:2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
1 Sam 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
Matt. 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Luke 4: 16-21 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).   Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9:5-6 [Saul] asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.   But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

CCC 1285 – Baptism, the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.

CCC 1286 – In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit who the Father gives him “without measure.”

CCC 1290 – In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one single celebration with Baptism, forming with it a “double sacrament,” according to the expression of St. Cyprian. Among other reasons, the multiplication of infant baptisms all through the year, the increase of rural parishes and the growth of dioceses often prevented the bishop from being present at all baptismal celebrations. In the West the desire to reserve the completion of baptism to the bishop caused the temporal separation of the two sacraments. The East has kept them united, so that Confirmation is conferred by the priest who baptizes. But he can do so only with the “myron” (chrism) consecrated by a bishop.

CCC 1291 – A custom of the Roman Church facilitated the development of the Western practice: a double anointing with sacred chrism after Baptism. The first anointing of the neophyte on coming out of the baptismal bath was performed by the priest; it was completed by a second anointing on the forehead of the newly baptized by the bishop. The first anointing with sacred chrism, by the priest, has remained attached to the baptismal rite; it signifies the participation of the one baptized in the prophetic, priestly and kingly offices of Christ. If Baptism is conferred on an adult, there is only one post-baptismal anointing, that of Confirmation.

CCC 1292 – The practice of the Eastern Churches gives greater emphasis to the unity of Christian initiation. That of the Latin Church more clearly expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guarantor and servant of the unity, catholicity and apostolicity of his Church, and hence the connection with the apostolic origins of Christ’s Church.

Above you have the scripture passages and the CCC quotes about the history of Confirmation. You might want to use a jigsaw strategy to get the students to put the passages and the history bits together. It would be particularly interesting if you had students from both the East and the West traditions to speak to their Confirmation experiences.

Twenty-first Century Learning

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

Louis Bertrand ~ “When this saint was a teenager, he organized a “gang” of young people. But you’ll never guess where they hung out! Louis was born in Valencia, Spain. When he was growing up with his eight brothers and sisters, he was influenced by a deep religious faith and love of his parents. Even as a youngster, he wanted to follow their example. His family prayed together every day, and Louis also began to pray alone in his room. Then, when he was a teenager, where do you think he took the “gang” he organized? Louis took them to local hospitals – to visit the sick! Louis knew he wanted to become a priest, BUT he made bad grades in school, so he was afraid he’d be rejected. When he was eighteen, he applied anyway and was ACCEPTED by the Dominicans. After he was ordained, the Dominican superior was so impressed with Louis that he made him the “novice master” – in charge of training young seminarians. Although he took “time out” a few years later to spend seven years as a missionary in South America, Louis returned to Spain and was novice master of their “gang” of young Dominicans for thirty years. Have you ever known anyone who belonged to a “gang”? There are many young people today who belong to BAD gangs – who use drugs, destroy property, fight, and even kill people. Why don’t YOU organize a GOOD DAY gang like Louis did? You wouldn’t have to visit hospitals, but you COULD visit people in your neighbourhood. Instead of doing something destructive, you could do something CONstructive. You could ask around and find out who really NEEDS a helping hand. Then you and your friends could offer to cut grass, sweep a porch, do errands, or just visit with someone who’s lonely. Maybe they’ll even give you a cookie to say thanks! But whether they do or not, you’ll KNOW that you’ve made a difference – and that’s the WAY for you and your gang to have a GOOD DAY!” pages 97

What’s Your Catholic IQ? Mary, Our Lady of Fatima by David O’Brien

  1. _________________________, Francisco, and Jacinta were the three children to whom Mary appeared. A. Clare   B. Maria C. Ivanka D. Lucia
  2. Brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta, died from _________________________ a few years after Mary appeared to them. A. smoking B. cancer   C. the flu D. a car accident
  3. Lucia, who was Francisco and Jacinta’s cousin, became a ________________________ nun.   A. Carmelite B. Notre Dame C. Benedictine D. Poor Clare
  4. Our Lady of Fatima is also known as Our Lady of the ________________________.   A. Rosary B. Church   C. Holy Child   D. Miraculous Medal
  5. St. John Paul II claimed that Our Lady of Fatima saved his life when he was shot by an assassin in 1981. T or F

What’s Your Catholic IQ? Mary, Our Lady of Fatima by David O’Brien

  1. Where did John Paul II place one of the bullets that almost killed him?   A. the Vatican museum    B. the Vatican police department   C. the garbage D. Mary’s crown at Fatima
  2. Mary’s visit to Fatima also held a message for this religious group   A. Jews B. Muslims C. Buddhists D. Hindus
  3. In preparation for Mary’s appearances, ______________________ visited the children   A. an angel   B. the bishop   C. St. Peter D. Jesus
  4. Mary asked the children to pray ______________________ daily.   A. at Mass   B. for 10 hours   C. the Our Father D. the Rosary
  5. This year is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima.   T or F

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

Queen of Katwe – This is a Disney production. It is based on a true story from Kampala, Uganda in 2011. David Oyelowo is the teacher who offers poor children the opportunity to learn to play Chess. It is wonderful to see African actors playing Africans. Fiona is one of the students who eventually becomes a champion; it is so interesting to see her develop her skill to see the chess board and pieces. I have always marvelled at how certain players can see the board differently than I do. I give this movie ♥♥♥.5/5 hearts.

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

A Teen’s Game Plan for Life – written by Lou Holtz, the famous Notre Dame national championship football coach. Lou uses his many years of experience to offer personal growth and motivational insights for adolescents. Holts provides specific reflection inspiring steps in his game plan for success in life using the following statements: 1. Choose your attitude; 2. Make sacrifices; 3. Get rid of excuses; 4. Understand what you’re trying to do; and 5. Dream big dreams. I would recommend giving this book to a young adolescent boy who is trying to figure out what he wants in life. I give this book ☺☺☺☺/5 happy faces


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

“According to one survey, 76% of people eat the Easter Bunny’s ears first and only 4% start with the tail.” Huh!!


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