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Nurturing Our Catholic Community Through Word, Worship and Witness

2011-2012 is the Year of Witness
Witnessing Our Catholic Faith – Gr. 12 Curricular Links
Celebrating the third year of the “Word, Worship, Witness” faith program at TCDSB
Welcome to the curricular links page highlighting resources that you can use to celebrate the theme of “Witness” in grade 12 religion.  The links and resources are categorized by issues and themes which are prevalent in specific units.  We trust that educators will know best how to fit an activity into their lesson planning to meet the diverse needs of students. 
You may wish to describe the Ontario Catholic Graduate School Expectations (OCGSE) to students.  They can become aware of the important distinction highlighting what is expected in addition to the normal provincial requirements to graduate.  You can find the OCGSE at: 
Take a moment to also describe the three year faith program, “Word, Worship, Witness” culminating in its final year. 
The focus of the third year is how strongly we witness our faith, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic social teachings.  If you wish to introduce basic Catholic social teachings to your students, feel free to use the following activity and/or a PowerPoint slideshow or PowerPoint video: 
Unit 1 – Called to Be Discerning Believers 


The following resources will help students focus on the themes in the curriculum: 1) Good Teacher, What Must I Do? 2) Good Teachers to Turn to in Our Culture, and 3) Christian Service Project and Reflection 
Activity:  Way of the Cross Video 
Jesus stands as the ultimate role-model for students in his teachings and the way he lived life.  This activity, in particular, looks at the significance of Jesus’ journey to his death and resurrection through a modern day lens.  This short video slideshow, “Way of the Cross: A Reflection on Social Justice” highlights how we can be a witness of our faith in current issues and how others have exemplified virtues through their own journey. 
You can also access the video by visiting:
The second part of the video addresses the theme of “Good Teachers to turn to in our culture” through the study of some of the witnesses featured in this video (how they have been Jesus and Eucharist to others).  The biographies and profiles of these witnesses are offered in the unit resources below (they can be studied throughout the course).  
Furthermore, if it is the season of Lent, you can choose to do the accompanying prayers for each station in the Way of the Cross (the video image for each station can be seen using the PowerPoint slideshow below): 
Activity:  Profiles and Biographies of Witnesses 
Based on the Scripture passage theme for this unit, Mark 10:17-22, here are some witnesses who gave up much to “inherit eternal life”: 
a)  Read the biography of Blessed Mother Teresa and excerpts from her Nobel lecture to examine the message of what it means to love:
b)  Read the biography of Fr. John Lee Tae-Seok, “A 21st century saint you’ve never heard of”, who was called to love and serve the lepers in Southern Sudan (accompanied with reflection questions)
c)  Read the profile of Dr. Andrew and Joan Simone, founders of Canadian Food for Children, who value a life of simplicity and generous giving.
d)  Read the biography of St. Maximilian Kolbe who gave up his life to save Jews from persecution and death.
Activity: Finding Service Projects with Voluntary Organizations
Here is a list of non-profit organizations that work in a wide range of service areas, categorized based on their location in the City of Toronto.  Students can use this as a guide to find volunteer opportunities in a field of interest.
Furthermore, should you wish to look at listings of volunteer opportunities and employment in charities and non-profit organizations, please visit: 
Unit 2 – Called to Be True to Yourself 
This unit has themes that focus on the value of the individual in building the reign of God, the beauty of creation and life as a sacred mystery, and the role of one’s conscience in the way one lives life. 
Activity:  Profiles and Biographies of Witnesses 
a) Read the biography and moving reflection written by Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, “Would Jesus pull the switch?” to gain insight about what it means to accept the intrinsic value of all human life, even murderers.  She calls on readers and the Church to re-examine their position on the issue of capital punishment.  Because of the copyright conditions regarding printing, you may access it online via: 
b)  Read the biography of Dorothy Day who struggled with her conscience as a young adult and witness her transformation from brokenness to love.
c) On the theme of creation and life as sacred mystery, examine Thomas Berry - A short biography (2-pages) about this theologian and cultural historian is available:
To view a brief slideshow (approx. 6.5 minutes) highlighting his thoughts/quotes that were influential in promoting stewardship, visit:
Activity – Short Videos 
This YouTube clip has youth reading a message that starts off sounding cynical and hopeless, but then the message is read in reverse giving a final message of empowerment.
If you want the simple text version of the video to focus on the words, use:
The Awakening Universe film based on Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme’s book, “The Universe Story”, is a 15-minute film that blends science, philosophy and religion.  Viewers are taken on a journey showing the Big Bang (“Flaring Forth”) as a sacred event.  Be prepared to challenge students with a new way of thinking.  The video is available from: 
Finally, in studying how conscience frames one’s decision making, one could discuss the importance of speaking out against what is unjust, as well as not conforming to the majority if you know they’re wrong.  Two video clips of famous science experiments can spur your discussion: 
The Milgram Experiment (Re-enactment) – Examining obedience (6.5 min)
This classic experiment tested the willingness of subjects to obey an authority figure even if the instructions were against their conscience.
If you wish to see a useful commentary about the results and its significance please visit the video site and look at the notes below the screen:
The Asch Line Experiment – Examining conformity (4 min)
This is an excellent summary of the classic experiment that showed the influence of peer pressure on subjects to conform.
 Activity:  Drinking Mindfully Meditation 
This is a meditation designed to encourage us to be mindful of the value and wonders of water, a unique creation from God without which no life could exist. 
Activity:  Creation Prayer Service 
This activity with candles adds additional thoughts to the traditional Scripture reading of the Creation story. 
Activity – Games and Scenarios Online 
With the theme of conscience, explore the Philosopher’s Magazine website that offers a range of games, some which challenge readers to examine how they make decisions. 
a) In the Face of Death – Interactive activity that examines your response to the moral question – Is murder ever justified? 
b) Morality Play - In this activity you will be presented with 19 different scenarios. In each case, you will be asked to make a judgment about what is the morally right thing to do. When you have answered all the questions, you will be presented with an analysis of your responses which should reveal some interesting things about your moral framework and how it compares to others who have completed the activity. 
c) Should You Kill the Fatman? – This activity examines whether you have consistent moral intuitions. 
Unit 3 – Called to Live in Relationship 
Steeped in Jesus’ call to love God with one’s whole body, mind and soul, these Witnesses value the sacredness of the human person. They challenge us to examine the quality of their relationships in light of the profound example of Jesus’ inclusive love.  From their example, we see the value of living in loving community.  Reflection questions accompany each biography. 
a) Read the biography of Jean Vanier who values the sacredness of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable in society.  The handout includes a selection of his quotes and some reflection questions.   
b) Read the biography of Fr. John Lee Tae-Seok, “A 21st century saint you’ve never heard of”, who lived in community with lepers in Tonj, Southern Sudan.  He gave up a lucrative medical career in Korea to serve as doctor, musician and teacher.   
c) Read the profile of Nigerian priest, Fr. Martin Okafor Illozue, working to help the poor in the Philippines.  
Unit 4 – Called to Live in Community 
We are called to live in community with nature and others around us, valuing the dignity and rights of workers.  Here are a few Catholics who role-model this spirit. 
a) Lori Neale – Read the biography of a former Hamilton Catholic District School Board student and her journey from specializing in Chemistry to social activism. 
b) Cesar Chavez also began at a young age to help others around him, growing in faith to lead meaningful social change in the U.S.  
c) Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare movement, has created model communities of peace around the world, promoting interfaith relationships. 
Activity:  Exploring Music on Stewardship – Living in community with nature
There are many songs that touch on environmental issues and challenge students to examine their values in placing materialism over nature: 
a) “Big Yellow Taxi” - You can download various versions of the song from iTunes for less than $2. 
Sung in different styles by Joni Mitchell (including original LP, club, tribal dub, etc):
More modern version by the Counting Crows:
b)  “Beds are Burning” – You can download the song from iTunes for $2.19:
If you wish to explore other songs dealing with the environment you can see the videos on the website:
Students, in particular may be interested in listening to the original version of the song, “Gone”, sung by Jack Johnson, and popularized later by the Black-Eyed Peas.
For an even more comprehensive list (should you be the type of person who enjoys exploring different styles of music rather than feeling overwhelmed):
Activity – Critique of Media Using Subvertisements 
Subvertising refers to the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make a statement. This can take the form of a new image, or an alteration to an existing image. A subvertisement can also be referred to as meme hack and can be a part of social hacking or culture jamming.  
According to AdBusters, a Canadian magazine and a leading proponent of counter-culture and subvertising, "A well produced 'subvert' mimics the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic 'double-take' as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped. Subverts create cognitive dissonance. It cuts through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality and, momentarily, reveals a deeper truth within." 
Examples of subvertisements: 
For the Hummer:
For the iPod:
For the “Take Back the Filter” Brita water:
How to create a subvertisement using Movie-Maker or iMovie:
While the following video clip is not a subvertisement, it gives a message warning us about the effects of media in distorting our image of beauty:
(Created by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund) 
Unit 4 – Called to Live with Justice in the Global Village 
There are many resources that exist on websites dedicated to promoting education and action on social justice, however, the following is what we choose to highlight to meet the needs of diverse learners.  
Activity – Exploring Catholic Witnesses Called to Justice 
a) Oscar Romero: Fighting Oppression in El Salvador 
For secondary lesson plans on the life of Oscar Romero:
For a brief biography about Oscar Romero with reflection questions: 
For an excellent Powerpoint highlighting the Romero prayer:
b) Cardinal Sin: Fighting Oppression in the Philippines 
To explore the non-violent People Power (EDSA) revolution in the Philippines when the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, was overthrown, check out a website designed by students on the ORACLE ThinkQuest Education Foundation:
For a biography and reflection about Cardinal Jaime Sin regarding his key role in the EDSA revolution: 
c) Christian Peacemakers Team 
Introduce students to the Christan Peacemakers Team and their mission (living out the Gospel message to protect groups at risk through direct action as a creative non-violent public witness).  Show a 10-minute video from the site: 
If you wish to explore their work further, they offer a four-lesson study unit based on the Acts of the Apostles, available at:
(Note:  Adapt the lessons for your needs) 
Activity – Simulation Games 
There are a variety of simulation games or activities available for students to experience, in a small way, what life is like for the underprivileged and the need for social justice.  The process enables students to explore the structures, causes, and dynamics of oppression and poverty.  While you may require more time and effort to prepare than average, students tend to appreciate the issues better after walking in the shoes of others. 
Development and Peace offers several simulation games for downloading on their website:
·   Shoes
·   Land Game
·   Peanut Game
·   Water for Profit
 There is also the Bead Game, developed by Oxfam: 
You can also download the Coffee Chain Game  
Activity – UN Millenium Development Goals (MDG) 
The United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) calls governments around the world to make poverty history.  Citizens from all faith traditions are called to demand their governments to re-commit to the goals.  This unit is an excellent opportunity to introduce the MDGs to students who can work towards promoting them in their schools and to their Members of Parliament.
Here are some videos worth showing (and captivating to watch): 
UN Millenium Campaign – a brief funky introduction to the MDGs
1 minute 
UN MDG Campaign – You can make a difference!
1 minute 
MDG at World Cup – There are no spectators – we’re all players!
Facts about poverty and then an introduction to MDGs
Make Poverty History – Bono
Activity - Music Videos 
As a follow-up to learning about the MDG goals in the previous unit, these music videos call for a change in values: 
MDG anthem by various Filipino artists  – call for change
Note: Starts off with a brief advertisement (15 sec).  If you want the version that is a bit fuzzy but no ad, then use the website:
“Be the Change” hip hop song (2:09 minutes)
Make a Difference MDG song (Rap/Hip hop)
Unit 5 – Called to Be Christ’s Witness to the World 
Here are a range of activities that call us to re-examine our values and lifestyle, challenge us to make a difference in the lives of others, and ultimately, to be Christ’s Witness to the world. 
Activity – Slideshow
For an excellent brief presentation to empower students, see the Be More Challenge PowerPoint created by Caritas Australia: 
Activity – Poster Set 
There is an inspiring set of posters that challenge transformation in one’s personal life, family, community, country, and world.  Created by Caritas Australia, it’s colourful images, quotes, and suggested action make for ideal use in the classroom: 
You can divide the class into groups and ask them to think of specific examples of transformation they could take on with each poster. 
Activity – Biographies and Profiles of Witnesses 
The following biographies or profiles exemplify Catholic witnesses who have experienced a transformation and call others to do the same.  They ultimately challenge one to reflect on and revisit their values and lifestyle, and in so doing, help those who are less fortunate.  Each biography or profile includes a set of reflection questions. 
a) Read the biography and reflection of Mary Jo Leddy who looks at the impact of economic culture in our lives and challenges us to live with radical gratitude and the Gospel imperative. 
a) Ryan Hreljak Profile – founder of Ryan’s Well Foundation, shares his story of becoming active and aware as a 6-year old student to begin a campaign to bring clean water to a village in Uganda. 
b) Marc and Craig Kielburger share their experiences, thoughts, and journey through ten years of Free the Children
Activity – Re-examining One’s Priorities
Depending on your class, you may consider using the following activities as a way to examine the distinction between basic needs and wants as part of a discussion on changing the way one lives (as described in the Kielburger and Mary Jo Leddy profiles above). 
Activity – Get Involved in the Board’s Banning Bottled Water Campaign 
The Toronto Catholic District School Board has approved a motion to develop a Bottled-Water Free Policy.  Use the following activity to explore the issue further and how students can become active in the campaign.