Lenten Journey Journal: Thursday, March 23rd

Please download and share these slides: PDF and Google Slides

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Prayer Numbers – Nine Days for Life and One Hundred Days of Prayer

As I wrap up this weekend, I share a few prayer intentions my classes and I will be praying with this coming week.

First, the USCCB offers many wonderful resources to pray over Nine Days for Life (21 Jan to 29 Jan). I put some pro-life prayer intentions in the slide deck for this week’s lectionary gospel. 

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Additionally, I found a thoughtful, “must-read” article on the U.S. Catholic blog which offers six numbers which pro-life Catholics should keep an eye on during the presidency of Donald Trump.

And, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange are publishing a calendar of the first 100 Days of President Trump with a prayer intention each day related to life and justice.

The slide above, which combines the prayer intention and the pro-life numbers, can be accessed in Monday’s Saint O’the Day and in each Saint O’the Day posting going forward.

Saint O’the Day: St. Marianne Cope (23 Jan)

Please download and share this saint who spent much of her life in Syracuse, New York and Hawaii. – PDF

As I mentioned in another post, I’m including a couple of special slides with prayers and reflections related to the USCCB’s Nine Days for Life  , including this reflection posted recently by Fr. James Martin, S.J.

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Excellent USCCB Video for “Poverty Awareness” January

A quick post this Wednesday afternoon.

I blogged the other day about the USCCB’s designation of “Poverty Awareness” during the month of January 2017.

Today I discovered and showed my students an extremely valuable video (pictured above) which illustrates through dollars and cents how unbearably difficult it can be to get out of poverty. It’s created by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and their “Poverty USA” initiative and it is found directly HERE and indirectly (in a list of other videos) HERE.

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:

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

 

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.

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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

Stuff You Should Know: Powerful Video on U.S. Wealth Inequality

To say that the internet and devices to access it are powerful tools is a gross understatement. Not being a guy who can crunch numbers, but who is nevertheless interested in data and statistics, I am grateful that the internet offers ways to find, present and then communicate data to the world.

A favorite recent example of this threefold use of data is this “interactive heatmap” infographic displaying the most common birth date in the U.S.  (the answer to the question is below the image):

Birthday Heatmap

The answer? September 16th!

Data and presentation tools can be used for much more than answering trivia questions. In the hands of skilled practitioners, data can be used to show the need for social, political and economic change. Take about six minutes to watch this video, which clearly shows how much wealth the “one percent” in America holds. Perhaps more interestingly, the video also shows how vastly different the actual wealth distribution is from either what the public thinks it is or what people surveyed think it should be.

 

So what can you and I do about this? Honestly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that this massive disparity cannot be sustainable for much longer. And that remedying it will take significant courage, sacrifice and commitment to fairness and justice. Do we the people have what it takes?

Stuff You Should Know: The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained in Just 6 Minutes

I’m starting a new feature which I’ve been thinking about launching for a while. The name comes from an excellent little book by the highly esteemed John L. Allen Jr. – “The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know.”  Typically any book with the subtitle “everyone needs to know” should be taken with a measure of suspicion – who is this author and why does he think I need to know this? Of course John L. Allen Jr. is an expert on today’s Catholic Church and thus I’ll trust his judgement.

So here I am posting about what I think you should know. Pretty presumptuous, right? Perhaps.

But hear me out. I’m a fellow teacher to readers, many of whom I imagine are teachers, connected to the world of education and/or people of faith. I peruse the web daily to learn and discover information, links, and resources which inform both my teaching and my life of faith. So, what I’m sharing in this category are only the items which I think are most valuable for my personal and professional life. Perhaps you’ll find them valuable too.

We’ve been praying daily in my classes for relief for the continually escalating refugee crisis in Europe. Pope Francis asked us to pray for this as one of his monthly requests (last June) and he’s used particularly strong words to exhort people of faith to hospitably welcome refugees.

Before class prayer yesterday, I showed my students this graph, which I think speaks for itself:

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Tomorrow, as a companion, I’m going to show the photo at the top of this post.

But today, I showed this excellent video. It covers much ground in about 6 minutes and is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand this crisis. I particularly like how it notes and summarily dispels some key objections that many in Europe and elsewhere are using to block the entrance of refugees. Really, please take 6 minutes and watch this now. It’s that important…