Church Calendar O’the Day: The Baptism of Jesus (Jan. 9th)

We end the Christmas Season today with The Baptism of Jesus. Please download and share this PDF.

Rather than create a Christmas Celebration Journal for today, I’ve included lyrics to two Christmas carols on the last slides of this presentation. Today is the last time liturgically we’ll sing these songs until December 24th!

The USCCB has designated January 8th to 24th “National Migration Week” To honor the start of it, I’m praying the special prayer for it, reproduced on this slide:

01_09_17_baptism-of-jesus_st-o-day-2

USCCB Declares January 2017 as “Poverty Awareness Month”

If I don’t frequently visit the excellent and continually expanding United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website I’m likely to miss an important announcement. The other day I discovered that January 2017 is “Poverty Awareness Month” for the U.S. Catholic Church

There are some excellent resources, including the calendar (pictured above) which includes daily information and weblinks. An expanded version of the resources linked on the calendar is found here.

I’m planning on an activity with my classes tomorrow using the “quiz” found at this link listed for January 2nd:

01-02-poverty-quiz

And USCCB.org also has resources for National Migration Week, beginning on Monday, January 8th. More on this later….

 

Happy 2017! A New Year and a New Look

As a Catholic and a teacher, January 1st isn’t as important as either the first Sunday of Advent or the first day of school. While I celebrate today with the rest of the world, I’ve already welcomed 2017 and 2016-2017.

Culturally it feels like there’s both a sense of relief that 2016 is done, yet trepidation with what 2017 will bring – especially with a new U.S. President in twenty days.

So, I share with you three things today..

First, I chose the image above as it reminds me of a favorite quote:

01-01-light-a-candle

I think I’ll use this as a prayer or mantra over the next 365 days.

Second, I’ve changed the look of this blog. I felt it was time to freshen things up and to allow more posts to be viewed simultaneously. Note that the items which were on the side bars are now at the bottom. Please let me know what you think this new format.

Finally, I offer the list of Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for this coming year. I hope you’ll pray with the Holy Father, the Universal Church, my classes and me for these great needs for our planet.

And, as we face the unknown of what 2017 will bring, may we follow Pope Francis and his invitation for all of us:

01-01-pope-francis-be-brave

 

 

Saint O’the Day: St. Juan Diego (Dec. 9th)

Please download and share this presentation – PDF

I particularly like this prayer found at the USCCB website.

12_09_16_st-juan-diego_st-o-day2

I’m using the beginning of my class tomorrow to show Pope Francis’ prayer intention for December 2016:

And I’ll support Pope Francis’ prayer by introducing my students to the statistics and the work down by this organization – War Child

Friday FaithPost – New Pope Francis Books

I previously shared resources for daily Lenten prayer, reading and reflection. If you’d like inspirational reading in a more traditional book format, check out these two recent releases by Pope Francis.

First – a children’s book adults will enjoy:

Pope Francis and Children's Book-2

The release of this quite cute book was recently featured on Vatican Radio and also on Good Morning America.   The video from GMA is worth watching for the brief interview with siblings Luca and Ruby who reminded me instantly of literary sibs Charlie and Lola.

The second book, The Name of God is Mercy, features transcripts of widely ranging interviews with Pope Francis conducted by long time Vatican reporter, Andrea Tornielli.

Pope Francis - Name of God

A couple of days ago, I listened to a really good conversation about this book and Pope Francis on our local NPR station. The talk show included a number of guests, including National Catholic Reporter’s Vatican Correspondent – Joshua McElwee.

When thinking about God’s name, I was curious as to whether the Muslim 99 Names of God, often prayed with beads similar to a rosary, included “The Merciful” as one of them. Not surprisingly, “The Merciful” is included along with “The Most Compassionate”  and “The Forgiver” in the sacred list.

 

Resources for Lent 2016

It’s hard to believe that Lent is upon us so quickly this year. Next year, Ash Wednesday will be nearly three weeks later – March 1, 2017! How will you Fast, Pray & Give this year.

Here’s a few resources I’m looking at this year:

USCCB – “Lent 2016: 40 Days of Mercy

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl – I especially like their weekly, meatless recipes from around the world. Hopefully they will again have videos of Fr. Leo demonstrating each one.

Loyola Press Lenten Resources especially their Online Lenten Retreats & Prayers

Creighton University On-Line Ministries: Praying Lent – I highly recommend this audio retreat presented by the wise Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J.

Other Jesuit Lenten resources can be found at Thinking Faith and the audio-focused Pray As You Go – both from the U.K.

Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Lenten Resources  (includes a link to sign up for his daily Lenten reflection emails.)

As of today (Monday), Busted Halo hasn’t posted their popular Lent calendar yet. They have a few Lenten themed articles as well as this excellent Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes video:

Last year for both Lent and Advent I found the resources offered by the Society of St. John the Evangelist to be faith and thought provoking.  This year’s theme, which encompasses daily videos, emails and a workbook is entitled: Growing a Rule of Life. It begins with this introductory video by one of the wise brothers:

And it even has a component for use with youth.

In light of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking celebration of God’s Creation, “Laudato Si” how about connecting your Lenten fasting to activities which care for creation. A number of faith organizations offer Lenten calendars with suggestions for each day:

Sisters of St. Joseph Carbon Fast

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Carbon Fast – Anglican Communion

St. Francis Cabrini Community

More extensive “carbon fast” programs, including daily emails and message boards, are offered by MACUCC and EcoChurch Southwest (U.K.)

Shifting gears to focus on apps, Give Us This Day is offering a free trial of their app featuring the day’s morning & evening prayers as well as the daily mass.

Finally, props to a great blog site – Catholic Apptitude and their listing of apps and related resources for Lent.

 

 

On-Line Catholic Faith & Science Course Starts February 9th

A brief post to let you know about a unique on-line course starting next week. The website bills it as:

The first 100% online course of the Catholic Church on the dialogue between Science and Faith. Provided by specialists it is easy to follow and uses the latest e-learning methodology.

Under the Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture

It’s not free (like most MOOC’s), but there is a discount based upon country of residence. And I imagine most schools, churches, dioceses, etc have reimbursement plans for Continuing Education Units and similar.

 

Sun(Fun) Day Night – Colbert, Star Wars & the Vatican

Just as I resumed the Friday FunLink a couple of days ago,  I’m getting back to this feature as well.

Last week, I had much work to do for my return to teaching last Monday. Sorry to say, Dear Reader, posting here was not at the top of my HabitRPG “To-Do” list.

A week later, it’s a different story. On Friday, during an assembly celebrating the clinching of the Ohio Division IV HS Football State Championship by our team, our bishop granted us a day off of school tomorrow. So, it’s not a pre-school Sunday afternoon for me and I don’t have grading, lesson planning, creating of presentations/assignments, etc. to do for tomorrow. And why do today what I can put off until my day off?

Incidentally, if you’d like to see photos of our celebratory assembly, check out #earned over at Twitter.

Last week was not only the return from vacation for most teachers but also the return of Stephen Colbert to “The Late Show…” Before I continue with this post, I need to be clear about one thing – I will not turn this blog into a fanboy site committed to lauding Mr. Colbert. Although I greatly like and respect Colbert’s work, place him on my list of Top Ten Current Catholic Heroes,” and have watched (with the exception of last Thursday and Friday) every episode of his “The Late Show…” I will keep this blog (more or less) focused on topics and themes of interest to Catholic school teachers – especially those of us who teach Religion.

That being said, here’s a funny, brief clip from last week which combines four of my favorite things – the aforementioned Colbert, Star Wars, Catholicism, and humor. Enjoy and may this bring a smile to your face on this early January Sunday!