Connecting Religion, Culture & History

Using Illustrations in the Classroom

Jesus  understood the power of story-telling and used parables to preach the Kingdom. Likewise, you will find that the illustrations found here can be used to capture student’s attention and introduce themes. However, not all illustrations may be suitable for all ages. Use discretion.
THIS SUNDAYMOVIES/TVDOCTRINESAINT OF THE DAY

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The Fourth Wise Man
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The Fourth Wise Man
When we serve others, we are serving God
The Fourth Wise Man
Based on Henry van Dyke's classic, The Story of the Other Wise Man, this fictional story set in Biblical times is told in gently comic terms. A Magi named Artaban (Martin Sheen) sees a sign in the heavens that he hopes will lead him and his faithful servant to the Messiah.
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Netflix’s The Crown – SE4
Princess Diana's Wedding Dress
Netflix's The Crown - SE4
The Church has always seen the festal dress of a bride and groom as something more than a device to please the eyes of the marrying couple. It is rather a symbol of the beauty of the souls of those who take each other in marriage.
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Cathedral of Brasilia
John the Baptist gives witness to the Light
Cathedral of Brasilia
Just as visitors to the cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecidal in Brasilia enter through a dark tunnel and emerge in a bright space, this Advent Christ can break into our lives and drive away the darkness. 
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Soldier Homecomings
Getting ready for Christ's homecoming
Soldier Homecomings
Homecoming is the central theme of the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent. All three readings focus on the absolute necessity of our getting ready for Christ’s “Homecoming” into our hearts and lives by true repentance, reparation, prayer and the renewal of our lives.
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Mr. Bean falls asleep in Church
This Advent what are we waiting for?
Mr. Bean falls asleep in Church
Mr. Bean falls asleep in church. How do we fight boredom at Mass? To the sleeper lurking in each of us, Jesus now speaks in rousing terms, on the First Sunday of Advent: “stay awake… if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep…Stay awake!”
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The Pygmalion Effect
Pygmalion and Galatea in Greek Mythology
The Pygmalion Effect
Just as Pygmalion fell in love with his sculpture of the woman, God the creator, the divine sculptor, shaped each one of us, and fell in love with those whom he had made.
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For Greater Glory
"Long Live Christ the King!"
For Greater Glory
The Cristero War (also known as Guerra de los Cristeros or Cristiada) in Mexico was an armed conflict that lasted from 1926 to 1929 between the government of Plutarco Elías Calles and militias of lay people, priests and Catholic religious who resisted the application of legislation and anticlerical public policies aimed at restricting the autonomy of the Catholic Church.
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The King of Kings
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
The King of Kings
Today, as we celebrate the feast of Jesus, the King of kings, and as his Calvary sacrifice is re-presented on our altar, let us approach our Lord with repentant hearts and trusting Faith in his promise of eternal life.
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Mayflower Pilgrims Unprepared
The Pilgrims
Mayflower Pilgrims Unprepared
One of the most cherished events in our history was the landing of the Mayflower on these shores. It is difficult to imagine, however, a group of people more ill-suited to a life in the wilderness.
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Pompeii bodies: How will Jesus find us?
Pompeii Body Casts
Pompeii bodies: How will Jesus find us?
The plaster casts of Pompeii illustrate in a dramatic way the two themes of today’s readings. The first theme is that of the suddenness with which the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus will take place.
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The Fourth Wise Man

Movies & Television

The Fourth Wise Man
When we serve others, we are serving God
The Fourth Wise Man
Based on Henry van Dyke's classic, The Story of the Other Wise Man, this fictional story set in Biblical times is told in gently comic terms. A Magi named Artaban (Martin Sheen) sees a sign in the heavens that he hopes will lead him and his faithful servant to the Messiah.
READ MORE
Netflix’s The Crown – SE4
Princess Diana's Wedding Dress
Netflix's The Crown - SE4
The Church has always seen the festal dress of a bride and groom as something more than a device to please the eyes of the marrying couple. It is rather a symbol of the beauty of the souls of those who take each other in marriage.
READ MORE
For Greater Glory
"Long Live Christ the King!"
For Greater Glory
The Cristero War (also known as Guerra de los Cristeros or Cristiada) in Mexico was an armed conflict that lasted from 1926 to 1929 between the government of Plutarco Elías Calles and militias of lay people, priests and Catholic religious who resisted the application of legislation and anticlerical public policies aimed at restricting the autonomy of the Catholic Church.
READ MORE
The King of Kings
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
The King of Kings
Today, as we celebrate the feast of Jesus, the King of kings, and as his Calvary sacrifice is re-presented on our altar, let us approach our Lord with repentant hearts and trusting Faith in his promise of eternal life.
READ MORE
Pompeii bodies: How will Jesus find us?
Pompeii Body Casts
Pompeii bodies: How will Jesus find us?
The plaster casts of Pompeii illustrate in a dramatic way the two themes of today’s readings. The first theme is that of the suddenness with which the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus will take place.
READ MORE
A Man for All Seasons
“I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
A Man for All Seasons
Today’s Gospel reminds us of our dual citizenship. We are citizens of the world and citizens of Heaven. We have an allegiance and an obligation to each. We hope the obligations will never clash. But if they ever do, we must resolve them as Thomas More did, without compromise to our God or to our conscience.
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On the Waterfront
A movie on labor problems
On the Waterfront
In the 1954 movie On the Waterfront Father Barry (Karl Malden) rallies the dock workers and encourages them to stand up to the mob. "Boys, this is my church! And if you don’t think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you’ve got another guess coming! ...He sees why some of you get picked and some of you get passed over. He sees the family men worrying about gettin’ the rent and gettin’ food in the house for the wife and the kids. He sees you..." (2:41)
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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Don’t allow them to turn you again into their prisoner!
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Mandela: "I hated them for what they had taken from me. Then, I sensed an inner voice saying to me, ‘Nelson! For twenty-seven years you were their prisoner, but you were always a free man! Don’t allow them to make you into a free man, only to turn you into their prisoner!''”
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September 11th Anger and Forgiveness
Ground Zero Bible
September 11th Anger and Forgiveness
Paper from a Bible, fused to a piece of steel, was found in the debris shortly after 9/11 by a fireman and given to photographer Joel Meyerowitz.
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Amish Grace
Nickel Mines Community finds meaning in hope, faith and forgiveness
Amish Grace
On October 2, 2006, a shooting occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
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Temple of the Holy Spirit

Church Doctrine

by Fr. Clement D. Thibodeau

Temple of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit in the life of Catholics
Temple of the Holy Spirit
The Christian theology of the human body as temple of the Holy Spirit is one of the best kept secrets in the Church.
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Baptism
Why we baptize
Baptism
Baptism introduces us into the fellowship of God’s people that is the Church by shaping our inner selves into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Just as the Spirit hovered over the waters at Creation and brought forth life, so now,the same Spirit hovers over the waters of baptism and brings forth the life of Christ in us, a new creation.
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Divine Self-Revelation
Having A Catholic and Personal Relationship with God!
Divine Self-Revelation
God takes the initiative in leading us to religious faith. It is our personal experience that God is always the initiator when it comes to salvation. We do not have to go chasing after God as if God were hidden and avoiding detection.
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Family Life
The Family is a Little Church
Family Life
A healthy family life also includes education and formation in spiritual and religious values and principles. Mothers and fathers who themselves possess a healthy spirituality and practice positive religious expressions will pass these on to their children primarily by the example and witness of their lives.
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The Grace of God
Hail Mary, Full of Grace
The Grace of God
The Hail Mary (Latin: Ave Maria) is a traditional Scripture-based Christian prayer of praise for and petition to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic version of the prayer closes with an appeal for her intercession. In Catholic Latin Church, the prayer forms the basis of the Rosary and the Angelus prayers.
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The Rights of Conscience
Bringing Nazi war criminals to justice
The Rights of Conscience
Can anyone, Church or state, coerce me into doing something I believe to be wrong? Who is to decide what is right and what is wrong? In the 20th century, we saw the Nuremberg Trials in the late 1940s, where German leaders from the Nazi era were convicted of war crimes even though they claimed they were just following orders....
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The End Times
Apocalyptic Literature
The End Times
The “end times”have fascinated the Christian faithful from the very beginning. The Church has developed a multiplicity of traditions concerning “the end.”
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Human dignity and the Catholic Church
Created in the image and likeness of God
Human dignity and the Catholic Church
The Feast of Christ the King provides an occasion for a reflection on the dignity of human persons. If the fullness of majesty and power has been conferred on Jesus of Nazareth because of his obedience to the heavenly Father, then surely those persons who share in the same humanity within which Christ lived are doubly blessed with dignity and sacredness.
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Second Coming of Christ
Catholic teaching: The end times
Second Coming of Christ
Most fundamentalist teach their belief in the rapture, where those who are to be saved are taken silently up to the heavens to be with Christ before the great tribulation. This teaching is based on a bad interpretation of St. Paul.
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Communion of Saints
All Saints Day
Communion of Saints
The communion of saints proclaims one of the most ancient beliefs of the Christian people. From the Apostles’ Creed, we claim that we believe in the communion of saints. This does not mean that the saints are lined up to receive Communion from the Lord in heaven! Communion here means fellowship or sharing in the gifts given by God to those whom God has chosen.
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St. Hilary of Poitiers

Saint of the Day

St. Hilary of Poitiers
January 13
St. Hilary of Poitiers
Saint Hilary of Poitiers was converted to Christianity through his reading of the Sacred Scriptures. A married man, he was chosen as Bishop of Poitiers in France where he arduously fought Arianism. As a result, he was sent into exile, but returned home to Poitiers before he died.
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St. Raymond of Peñafort
January 7
St. Raymond of Peñafort
Saint Raymond of Peñafort was a lawyer who used his talents to both compile legislation for easy access and to write legal treatises on penance for the use of confessors. He was named the Archbishop of Tarragona, but resigned due to sickness within two years. He lived to be 100.
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St. André Bessette
January 6
St. André Bessette
Saint André Bessette was orphaned at 12, and eventually worked in the United States during the Civil War. At 25, he became a Brother of the Holy Cross. Having a deep devotion to Saint Joseph from childhood, Saint André built the Oratory on Mount Royal in his honor. Although sickly most of his life, Saint André lived to be 92.
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St. John Neumann
January 5
St. John Neumann
Convert, wife, mother, widow, teacher, religious─Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton did it all. Yet, in many ways, she was an ordinary woman of her time who lived life in an extraordinary way.
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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 4
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Convert, wife, mother, widow, teacher, religious─Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton did it all. Yet, in many ways, she was an ordinary woman of her time who lived life in an extraordinary way.
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Holy Name of Jesus
January 3
Holy Name of Jesus
Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians that Jesus’ name is above every other name. It is the name in which we are all saved. Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus is deeply rooted in Christian history.
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Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen
January 2
Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen
Saint Basil is the Father of Eastern monasticism—as Saint Benedict is for western monasticism. Besides being a good pastor, Saint Basil also lead the fight against Arianism, a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ.
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Mary, Mother of God
January 1
Mary, Mother of God
Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Hers role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.
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St. Sylvester I
December 31
St. Sylvester I
Saint Sylvester lived during the time of Constantine when the Church was coming out of hiding and becoming the Church of the empire. Little is known about him, but much is presumed.
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St. Thomas Becket
December 29
St. Thomas Becket
Saint Thomas Becket, the well-known archbishop of Canterbury, England, is a saint with a checkered past. As depicted in the movie "Becket," Thomas did not at first take his responsibilities as a deacon seriously, but when King Henry II tried to use his friend’s lukewarm devotion to his advantage, he found a converted cleric who was a worthy match for any king.
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The Holy Innocents
December 28
The Holy Innocents
Based on an account in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, King Herod slaughtered a number of male babies in an attempt to rid himself of the perceived threat of a usurper of his throne. What he didn’t realize is that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world─a fact that emerges later in Saint Matthew’s Gospel.
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St. Stephen
December 26
St. Stephen
If it weren’t for Saint Luke telling us about the selection and martyrdom of Saint Stephen in Acts of the Apostles, we would know nothing about him at all. The little we do know, however, speaks volumes about what kind of man he was, his love for Jesus, and the early Church community.
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St. John of Kanty
December 23
St. John of Kanty
Saint John of Kanty was a beloved priest in Kraków, Poland, where he taught Scripture. A simple, humble man, Saint John was often taken advantage of, but maintained his generous attitude to those in need. He died on Christmas Eve of 1473.
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St. Peter Canisius
December 21
St. Peter Canisius
An important Catholic reformer in Germany, Saint Peter Canisius earned a master’s degree at age 19, and then joined the Jesuits. He was a great writer and patron of the sick and imprisoned. Peter Canisius was an active member of the Council of Trent, and implemented its decisions. He also taught at the university level and helped found many colleges and seminaries.
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St. John of the Cross
December 14
St. John of the Cross
Saint John of the Cross was a 16th century reformer of the Carmelite way of life. Together with Saint Teresa of Avila, he lived the primitive Rule of their Order, and paid a dear price for his commitment to reform and authentic living. Saint John of the Cross died in 1591.
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