I’m not a huge fan of The Simpsons, but I just watched a episode about Bart going to Catholic school called “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star.” [S16E21] In the classic Simpsons’ satire, Bart & Homer become Catholic while Protestant Marge tries to bring them back. WOW! A great episode to use with high school discussion groups. This episode touches on all kinds of questions about faith and religion (and there’s lots of paintball in it, too!).
I also found an article about the Vatican praising The Simpsons show.
Animated US television show, The Simpsons has gathered praise from the Roman Catholic Church for their “realistic” way of dealing with religion and spreading happiness among viewers. An article published in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano has lauded the long-running show, insisting “many today wouldn’t know how to laugh” if the series hadn’t been aired, reported Contactmusic.
The newspaper story thanked the show’s producers for depicting family patriarch Homer’s struggle with his own faith through its 20 years on the small screen. “Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets His name sensationally wrong. But these are just minor mistakes, after all; the two know each other well,” the article said. The story also insisted that The Simpsons success is due to its “realistic and intelligent writing”.
The same newspaper had recently paid tribute to ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, for highlighting the “sacrifice” needed for good to triumph over evil.
WOW! Who would think The Simpsons would be watched at the Vatican? What next, Family Guy?
In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we reviewed God the Father (from last week) and focused on God the Son (chapter 5 in our book).
(A) Reviewed God the Father. Played the video clip from Martian Child (see last week’s summary). Reviewed homework assignment … think of an example of a movie clip demonstrating a “good dad.” From that, we brainstormed why our relationship with God the Father becomes so wounded that we stop trusting the unconditional love He has for us.
(B) Discussed prayer “Core Wounds.” In our diagram of the Christian Heart (body, mind, soul), our life experiences can develop “core wounds” that hurt our lives physically, psychologically and/or spiritually. They are shown as X’s on our diagram. These wounds are actually “LIES” that affect our future relationships, especially with our Heavenly Father. A common example, even shown in movies, is how our hurt relationships with our earthly father affect how we view the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. Wounds can keep us from trusting His loving plan for our lives.
(C) Who is Jesus? We showed a movie clip from the 1996 Sylvester Stallone movie called Daylight. It’s the scene when the rescue worker (Stallone) first encounters the trapped people. Only getting 1 rescuer is not what the trapped people expected. This disappointed reaction is similar to the one Jesus received from people as they came to discover Him as the Messiah. The idea came from thesource4ym.com clip ideas. Click the link to get discussion questions.
Here is a trailer for the movie. The actual clip used is here (but it’s in a foreign language).
Good discussion as we imagined the roles of the people, the Messiah and what our reactions would be in their shoes.
Homework: (1) Chapter 5 assessment questions on the last page.
(2) handout “How the Bible describes Jesus” … look up passages
(3) bring textbook + Bible + journal
In our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we touched on God the Father (chapter 4 in our textbook). I finally got to bring in my laptop and play a few movie clips. Awesome topic. – I was really looking forward to today!
(A) Opening prayer song reflection was He is Yahweh by Dean Salyn.
(B) God the Father is always present & knows what’s best for us & forgiving. Showed a clip from Lion King (1994), when Simba takes Nala to the Elephant Graveyard after father Mufasa warns against and ends up saving them from the 3 Hyenas. The focus is the discussion between father and son at the end. [Idea from thesource4ym.com with discussion questions.]
(C) God the Father has unconditional love for me. Showed the movie trailer for the John Cusack movie Martian Child (2007) about a sci-fi writer wanting to adopt a child who thinks he’s a Martian sent to observe Earthling life. The focus clip is when the child breaks something and thinks he’s bad and will be sent away. The father assures him that “Nothing you can do will change the way I feel about you.” and then proceeds to break other “things” showing they don’t matter as much as him. Awesome clip! — I had to “pause” when leading the discussion … it easily resonated how I hear my Heavenly Father’s voice.
Discussion was great. [Idea from thesource4ym.com with questions.]
(1) Chapter 4 Assessment questions,
(2) Pray the Lord’s Prayer each day this week,
(3) Give an example of a movie clip with a “good dad.”
I found a great blog called Catechist’s Journey.com by an 8th grade catechist named Joe who “knows his stuff” and provides resources and discussion about catechesis. He’s been in ministry for 30+ years and does online seminars called “webinars.” Check it out … especially if you’re a catechist.
In the above video, I especially like the following (I’ll use it in class next week)
Jesus’ Three Comings: In …
- History — when Jesus came Man (incarnation)
- Mystery –as Jesus comes to us today in many ways, especially in the Eucharist
- Majesty — as we look forward to His triumphant return at the end of time
Lots more on his site. Check it out!
Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we REVIEWED all our previous classes to date.
Here are links to previous classes:
- (day 8 — Nov 8) Jeopardy Questions + Heaven + Hell + Purgatory
- (day 7 — Nov 1) Like Jesus + Holy + All Saints
- (day 6 — Oct 25) Incarnation + Chapter 1 + God Proofs
- (day 5 — Oct 18) Hats + 3 Birthdays + Vocations
- (day 4 — Oct 11) Prayer Quiz + Lies + Prayerful Heart
- (day 3 — Oct 4) Prayer Share + A.R.R.R.
- (day 2 — Sept 27) P.R.A.Y.S. + Angels + Yom Kippur
- (day 1 — Sept 20) 4 Winds Blow + Doxology + Sweet Spots
All these links are indexed on my Uth + CCD tab (at the top of this blog) for all classes.
- bring parents next class,
- bring Bible, if you have one already,
- review notes with parents in preparation for playing Jeopardy!
Tonight I was at Pace High School for re-certification training of my Virtus Facilitator status. I was trained back in 2003 when the Virtus (Protecting God’s Children) Program was begun here in the Archdiocese of Miami. There have been some changes since and I haven’t facilitated a class in years. This training session is tonight and all day tomorrow.
Miami Auxiliary Bishop Noonan was present and gave a great introduction about the programs history, importance and full support. The main training was led by Dr Paul Ashton.
Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we …
Write Jeopardy Questions — everyone made up Jeopardy questions about anything we learned so far. Some of the questions will be used for the Parent Teen Jeopardy in a couple weeks.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
- –apparition to Juan Diego
- –picked roses in winter
- –“eye” of Mary portrait
–Gangs using Rosaries (for protection?)
Heaven – the state of eternal life and union with God, for those that choose God (saints).
Hell – the state of permanent separation from God, reserved for those that reject God.
- Sheol (Hell) – Hebrew OT word for gloomy place beneath the earth for all dead, both righteous and evil.
- Gehenna (Hell) – Hebrew NT word refers to the place on the SW side of Jerusalem, used for a dumping ground for human waste, corpses, rotting matter, etc. with “fires” burning. Became a popular symbol for what Christians called “hell.” (See Mark 9:43-48, Luke 12:5)
Purgatory – a state of final purification that one may need following death, before heaven.
- finish Pop Quiz handout & prayer journal “God letters” (3 any + 3 events),
- do “Jeopardy Questions” handout (x 2)
Today was the annual Archdiocese of Miami Catechetical Morning 2009 at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, sponsored by the Office of Religious Education. It drew about 400 catechists from all over the diocese to celebrate our essential ministry as catechist of the Catholic faith.
The morning began with morning prayer and some words of thanks and encouragement from Archbishop Favalora.
The keynote speaker was also encouraging as well as enteraining. Sister Carol Cimino, a Sister of St. Joseph of Rochester and consultant for the William H. Sadlier publishing company. Her talk was titled, “I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did.”
At lunchtime, we could browse the various displays of resources from various Catholic companies. Respect Life was well represented as well with lots of resources for all ages. I especially like the poster of “The Facts of Life” and the hand-held figurines of a 3 month old in the womb.
Lunch was tasty and affordable for those that chose to stay on campus. A footlong hotdog or ham n turkey sandwich with chips or “cookie” and drink for about $5-6. During lunch, I also had a close encounter with a butterfly.
There’s a good article on the Florida Catholic website about the event as well.
Today, our high school Confirmation class had a Mass in celebration of their Confirmation Commitment this year. At one point during Mass, the teens presented Fr Whyte (pastor) with a contract involving their understanding and responsibilities in preparing this year for the sacrament of Confirmation. It was signed & presented by both teen and parents.
In preparing for Confirmation, I will …
- –attend Mass on Sundays & holy days
- –attend & participate in class
- –pray regularly
- –assume more responsibility for my own faith
- –be involved & journal my Christian service
- –attend any additional activities
- –ask for help from the Blessed Trinity, my family, my sponsor and my friends
[story] “Father + Son + ant hill”
Incarnation = “God becoming man (flesh)”
- We bow & genuflect for the incarnation
- – in front of tabernacle or alter @ Mass
- –@ the name of Jesus in prayers
- –during Nicene Creed @ Mass
- –@ transubstantiation @ Mass
- –before receiving Communion
(p12) How do I experience God? As a parent? Loving Heavenly Father? A powerful & limitless presence? As a close friend? Jesus? my own specific way?
(p13) Aristotle’s 5 Proofs of God
- Prime Mover … nothing moves on their own
- First Cause … everything is caused by?
- Necessary Being … why do things exist?
- Ultimate beauty, goodness & truth … what standard sets good/bad, true/false, etc.
- Great Designer … mind, eyes, creation?
Blaise Pascal, 17th century French math + scientist said, “There is a God-shaped hole in the human heart that nothing else can fill.”
- finish reading textbook Chapter 1 (The Source of All Life),
- do “Pop Quiz” handout with parents,
- pray over 3 events in your life where you felt God present + journal a letter to God after each.
Today, our high school Confirmation class was asked to help greet, usher & lector for a sacramental catechesis for those preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation. It was a prayer service mixed with catechesis by Fr Chris Bartos. Even though about 10 of our kids are also preparing for Reconciliation, their “service” to the parish community is an experience of their “call to service” as they prepare this year to Confirm their faith with their parish family at St Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we discussed our unique identities, our stages in life, vocations, marriage and closed with the story of St Agatha. Lots of interaction and discussion, full of the Lord’s blessings!
–3 BIRTHDAYS … each begins a new life
- –Physical B-day … start earthly life
- –Baptism B-day … start Christian spiritual life
- –Death B-day … start our heavenly life
Who Am I? (back page of journal)
- –Birth name, Nick names, “Hats” (our roles)
- –Spiritual names? What does God call you?
- (we’ll find out as we try different prayers)
VOCATION = “a call” by God to holiness
- ”Primary” Vocation …
- –“to be a beloved child to our heavenly Father”
- “State of Life” Vocation … which one?
- –Single, Consecrated Single
- –Married (husband/father, wife/mother)
- –Religious sister or brother
- –Priesthood (clergy, deacon)
- “Service” Vocation … career, ministry, etc.
Sacrament of Marriage … purpose is …
- –Pro-create (open to children),
- –Educate (evangelize your Catholic children)
- –Holy Mate (get your spouse to heaven!)
St Agatha (3rd century virgin martyr) a beautiful young girl who consecrated herself to Jesus and resisted the advances of a nobleman. He imprisoned & tortured her (even cut off her breasts), but she stayed faithful to God. Died in prison. Feast on Feb 5. Patron of breast, nurses, (bell-makers & bakers – due to statue plater).
[Book QUIZ] on Chapter 1 (Faith)
St Teresa of Avila – (16th century mystic Carmelite religious sister, feast Oct 15) as a teen she lost interest in her faith, instead falling in love with boys & chivalry, mother died as a teen, placed in monastery, love of God rekindled, suffered repeated serious illnesses, struggled with prayer, experienced mystical visions of Christ, raptures (joyful unions with God), taught on prayer, “doctor of the Church” (influential writings).
VOCATION = “a call” by God to holiness
”Primary” Vocation … “to be a beloved child to our heavenly Father”
“State of Life” Vocation …
- –Single, Consecrated Single
- –Married (husband/father, wife/mother)
- –Religious sister or brother
- –Priesthood (clergy)
“Service” Vocation … career, ministry, etc.
Today, in our 7th grade pre-Confirmation class, we had a Prayer Quiz #1 (Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Apostle’s Creed, Act of Contrition, & other)
Then we played an “get-to-know you” game called “2 Truths / 1 Lie”
We reviewed A.R.R.R.
We spoke on VIRTUES: Faith + Hope + Love
- Even demons believe in God, but don’t have LOVE (the greatest virtue)
From virtues, we discussed DISCERNING Spirits in prayer as we look at the “Big 3” (thoughts + feelings + desires)
- 3 SPIRITS: God’s Spirit — My Spirit — Evil Spirit
- if GOD … we GROW in faith + hope + love
- if EVIL … any virtue DROPS
– CHRISTIAN HEART (levels of my personhood) — I kept this a lot simpler in class (they are still 7th graders)
- BODY, (surface, 5 senses, Level 1)
- –easily affected by weather, sleep, food, tone
- MIND, (psychological, attitudes, Level 2)
- –affected by family, culture, DNA, prejudices, life experiences (Pleasure /Pain Principle)
- SPIRIT, (spiritual, the “deep Big 3”, Level 3)
- –thoughts + feelings + desires + imagination
- –the place the Holy Spirit dwells in us
- –Consolation … peace, loved, joy, hope, zeal, trust, courage, contentment, sadness for sin.
- –Desolation … anxiety, loneliness, sadness, boredom, fear, discourage, restlessness, etc.
HOMEWORK: After 3 times of personal prayer, journal a letter to God after each.
Today, in our high school Confirmation class, Jose covered much of Chapter 1: Light of Faith. We discussed a story about Tommy, an “atheist in residence,” who wasn’t sure if he’d ever find God. A priest assured him, “I don’t think you’ll ever find God. But I’m certain that God will find you.” It wasn’t until years later when Tommy developed cancer that his quest for God became more fervent. We realized in times of desperate need, Tommy was looking for a “quick fix” — not for a God to love. Unless he reached out to God in love, his faith would be short-lived and his spiritual growth negligible. God is not a 911 number that you call in emergencies. When we’re lost, how does God find us? God finds us in the sense that God does not give up on us. Rather, God continually graces us to open our hearts to him as Tommy finally did.
- Atheist = denies there is a God
- Agnostic = doesn’t deny or affirm God
- Theist = affirms a personal God
- Deist = affirms impersonal God
- Monotheist = affirms only one God
- Polytheist = affirms many gods
We also had a couple guys (Andy & Principe) introduce themselves and their assigned Saint to present. The pair presented St Francis of Assisi on a awesome display board.
ASSIGNMENTS: handout + read Chapters 1 & 2 + be ready for quiz