Church Calendar O’the Day: The Epiphany of Our Lord (Jan. 6th)

Yes, I know that the Church this year liturgically celebrates Epiphany this coming Sunday. I’m sharing this feast with my students on Friday the 6th for a couple of reasons. First, there is not a major saint with a memorial on the 6th. And, Monday the 9th is the liturgical celebration of the Baptism of Jesus.

Please feel free to download and share this presentation – PDF

Prayer and Reflection Resources – Advent 2016

Last year , I posted a list of resources for prayer and reflection during this holy season of Advent. It’s time to share what I’ll be looking at this Advent 2016 (or is it 2017 as it’s the new Church Year now?)

Busted Halo is back with their virtual advent calendar  They are also hosting an “InstaPhoto Challenge” with the invitation to post Advent related photos each day. And I’m a big fan of their “Two Minute” videos:

One of my very favorite sites, Creighton U’s On-line Ministry has an outstanding set of resources for Advent including reflections, prayers, excellent audio retreats and talks and much more.

EWTN, USCCB, Crux, Franciscan Media, Loyola Press, and Word on Fire  all have free and paid resources for Advent.

Fr. Felix Just, S.J., known for amazing lists of hyperlinks, has a wide ranging one for Advent which includes a list of Advent carols.

And stepping outside of the Catholic community, let me share an excellent Advent calendar and resources from the good Episcopal brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. 

And check back here daily as I continue to post the Saint O’the Day as well as an “Advent Journey Journal” which I’m inviting my Sophomores to use each day during our meditation and contemplation time.

Happy Church New Year and may your Advent be blessed and bright!

Happy Thanksgiving – Videos and Games

It’s maybe too late for you to use these videos with your classes (like I did today), but I share them anyway. Or perhaps you’re not even in school today and you’d like to share these videos with family and friends during your Thanksgiving celebration.

This is a beautiful and inspiring one narrated by the renowned founder of 

Or maybe you’d like to celebrate by singing two uplifting Thanksgiving “carols”

And how about fun board games to play after dinner (rather than turning on a screen)

Or, you can really keep it simple and play this topical game after dinner or even at the table – Gratitude A to Z   Here’s the start of my list of what I’m grateful for right now:

A – apples, axes (without which there’d be no firewood), apes (Harambe, we miss thee)

B- baseball (what a season!), bowling (getting to be the season for it), Bread, Panera

C – cookies, cake, caterpillars (aka, pre-butterflies)

D, E, F….


Lectionary Gospel – Second Sunday of Easter – April 3, 2016

I hadn’t really planned to take a break from posting during my Easter Break, but this is what ended up happening. And I didn’t intend for this weekly post to be a few days later than usual. Again, it is what it is…

Happy Easter and please enjoy this week’s lectionary gospel celebrating this holy season!


Google Slides

Disclaimer – Since I don’t seek to profit from these files, I don’t cite the source for each of the images found through a Google Search

Nat’l Poem in Your Pocket Day – April 30, 2015

I was checking the “National Day Calendar” website this morning and I learned that tomorrow is National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

This annual event, celebrated on the last Thursday of April, invites everyone – young and old – to pick a favorite poem and (as the name states) carry around with you all day.  The website provides a handy PDF of well-known poems, a clever poster (pictured above) and a Twitter hash tag to use to share your poem – #pocketpoem .  It also offers these suggestions about how to celebrate the day:

In this age of mechanical and digital reproduction, it’s easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Start a “poems for pockets” give-a-way in your school or workplace
  • Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
  • Post pocket-sized verses in public places
  • Hand write some lines on the back of your business cards
  • Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
  • Add a poem to your email footer
  • Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
  • Text a poem to friends

So what poem will you be carrying in your pocket tomorrow?

The Year of Mercy 2016 & Pope Francis’ Word Cloud

Yesterday, I was excited and encouraged to hear that Pope Francis has declared a Year of Jubilee to reflect upon and celebrate mercy. This type of annual designation, which typically happens only every 25 to 50 years, will begin on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception this December and end on the Feast of Christ the King in 2016.

National Catholic Reporter yesterday quoted Pope Francis’ announcement of this celebration during a penance service:

“I am convinced that the whole church — that has much need to receive mercy because we are sinners — will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time,” Francis said in announcing the year.

“Let us not forget that God pardons and God pardons always,” the pope continued. “Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness.”

“We entrust it as of now to the Mother of Mercy, because she looks to us with her gaze and watches over our way,” Francis said. “Our penitential way, our way of open hearts, during a year to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.”

The pope also said he wants the church to live the upcoming holy year “in the light” of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke: “Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.”
The “word cloud” above is based upon an analysis of what Pope Francis spoke about in his just completed second year of his papacy.  I wonder – if someone made a word cloud of what I speak about in my Religion Class, how similar would it look to Pope Francis’?

Chag Purim Sameach or Happy Purim! Videos for Teaching about the Holiday

Sundown tonight begins the Jewish festival of Purim.  This joyous celebration, remembering the salvation of the Jewish people by God through Queen Esther, is filled with religious meaning and many traditions.

I like to teach my freshman and sophomore Religion students about the Jewish holidays as understanding these is crucial to knowing the culture and traditions out of which Christianity developed.

Here’s a few YouTube videos I’m using today in class:

Purim Animated – an engaging 4:46 overview of the story of Esther and her people.

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The Book of Esther Goes Western – a very creative 4:40 re-telling of the same story, but with a “spaghetti western” motif.

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And for a Sesame Street (actually “Shalom Sesame”) inspired version there’s the 2:29 Purim Story.

To learn about how one young boy celebrates Purim there the 2:32 Eli Celebrates Purim. And for muppet fans, there’s the 2:47 “Be Happy! It’s Purim.”

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Finally for a humorous, but factually accurate look at how some Jewish adults celebrate Purim, view the 3:51 parody Move Like Graggers.

For more videos and other information about Purim, visit the American Jewish site AISH.


New Year’s Traditions Around the World

As we’re 13 hours away from 2015 (here in EST anyway), it’s time to plan how we’ll celebrate the stroke of midnight.

Here’s some interesting ideas from around the world. 

So, buy those grapes (at least 12), stack up that furniture, acquire the tin, empty the suitcases, and find that red or yellow underwear!