ASK THE PROS
Music as a Means Through Which we Encounter God?
The Temptations of Contemporary Music
Who We Should Be Listening To
How Young People Can Evangelize in Today’s World
Bob’s Message for the Youth of Today
Question 1- What is the Sacrament of The Anointing of the Sick?
Junior was a runner. In the fall he participated in cross-country and in the spring he dominated the track and field competitions. Every summer he trained in the intense heat so that he would have enough stamina to race in the annual marathon put on by his town. He watched what he ate, lifted weights and dedicated every thought to his dream of becoming an Olympic marathon runner.
When Junior was 18, he had caught the attention of several university scouts. In fact, it seemed like every day of his senior year he either received a personally signed letter from a division 1 university or a direct phone call from one of their coaches who hoped Junior would sign a contract and become part of their team. Junior was on top of the world.
One day, Junior got a phone call from the United States representative for the Olympic development team. She told him that they had been watching his run times and were confident that if he were to train with them in their facility in the mountains of Colorado, he would be able to take the next step in his athletic career. She told him, however, that she could not promise him a spot in the Olympic games. He would need to prove himself at a year-long running camp with them. She also mentioned that he would need to sacrifice his first year of college to train with the team.
After several weeks of weighing the pros and cons with his parents, Junior decided to forego his first year of college and dedicate his life to the Olympic development team.
Everything was going well for Junior for the first 6 months of his time in Olympic development. In every training session he always finished in the top three, which meant he was guaranteed to represent the U.S.A. in the Olympics the following year.
One starry night, he decided to do an extra training session of 20 miles in the mountains. He had already run 20 miles that day in the morning, but he wanted to push himself to his limit and increase his endurance.
After the 10th mile, his body couldn’t take any more. He collapsed along the highway and fell into a small gorge near the side of the mountain. He broke his leg and began screaming for help.
When help arrived, he was taken to the hospital. There, they called the Olympic development facility and informed them of his injury. They hurried to his side and, after speaking with the doctor, told Junior that he would never be able to run again.
- Put yourself in Junior’s shoes. How would you feel after hearing the unfortunate news?
- What would be your next move if you were Junior? What would you do now?
- Do you believe that Junior will ever be truly happy again?
- Have you ever heard of anyone who has been thankful for a sickness or injury they suffered from?
- Why would anyone be happy to be sick/ injured?
Read points 240-247 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- What does the word charism mean?
- Why are the sick people of the world so important to the Church?
- Why would people be afraid to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
- What does the Bible say about the sick? (hint: check the side citations as well as the commentary of each section in your YOUCAT).
- Who can administer the Anointing of the Sick?
Final Reflection journaling prompt
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 240-247 from the YOUCAT in your response.
What is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
Question 2- What Are My Priorities?
Ray is the youngest of 7 children, all of whom were either in college or had already graduated and had their own families. His parents worked hard at the local newspaper so that they could afford his dance classes and his brothers’ and sisters’ college tuitions. He loved them very much and they him.
Ray was a standout dancer. When he wasn’t in the studio practicing for his next ballet performance, he was on the street corner break dancing with his crew. He had all the moves, an incredible physique, and a creative mind that made him one of the most sought after dancers in Chicago.
In fact, the stage manager for the largest dance studio in the Windy City contacted Ray a few months ago to see if he would be interested in playing the part of Peter Pan in their upcoming production that would take place on his 17th birthday. After an arduous audition, he was the obvious selection for the lead role and began training immediately.
Now, three months later, Ray is ready to make the performance of a lifetime. At age 17, he is calm, well-prepared, and ready to please the audience with his talent and artistic movements.
For the first half of the show, Ray captivated the crowd with his thunderous leaps and strong throws of his female co-dancers. At one point, he received a standing ovation shortly before the people went out on a break at intermission.
Going into the second half, Ray felt proud and confident in his dancing ability. He grew far too confident, however. So much so that he began adding steps to the performance that the director had not included in the original piece. While the audience had no idea what was happening, the director was irate at Ray’s adding of steps because the other dancers were unable to follow him the way they had rehearsed. The director, seeing that the audience was pleased, did not stop the show for fear of embarrassment.
The performance took a sudden turn when Ray, after defeating Captain Hook in the final battle scene, lost his footing and fell into the backdrop scenery tearing it down and revealing the entire stage as an artistic mess. The music stopped, the performers ran off the stage in confusion and Ray remained on the floor, embarrassed. The director stepped out on stage and apologized publicly to the audience and promised them their money back as they left the auditorium.
He picked Ray up and berated him behind stage. He told Ray that he had no right to switch the steps and that if he wanted to continue being a respected dancer that he would need to begin training harder at the director’s personal studio across town that night. He then told Ray that he could not speak with anyone and would need to report to the director’s private studio immediately for a late night training that would regain his dancing credibility and make up for his thoughtless act as Peter Pan. The director left his presence without giving him time to respond and said, “I’ll meet you in the front with my car. Let’s go!”
Ray gathered his stuff and walked towards he exit. There, he saw his parents smiling at him with a small cupcake and a sign that read “Happy Birthday.” He also saw his director sitting in the driver’s seat of his Ford Focus waiting for him with the engine running.
- Put yourself in Ray’s shoes. What would you do in this situation?
- What does Ray risk by stopping to speak with his parents? What does he risk by ignoring them and following the director’s orders?
- Have you ever had to choose between two things that were important to you?
- Have you ever had to suffer the consequences for making a correct/ incorrect decision? What happened?
- What are the things in life that matter the most?
Read points 304-309 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
What are your priorities? Choose from the options in the list below to create a list of the top 7 most important things, people, and activities in your life right now. Place them in numerical order, 1 being your highest priority and 7 your least highest priority. If there is something that is not on the list that you would like to add, go ahead and add it.
- Extra curricular activities (sports, drama, etc.)
- Social activities (going to the movies, to the park etc.)
- Catechism class
- What does the word moderation mean?
- How does faith fit into your daily life?
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 304-309 from the YOUCAT in your response.
What are My Priorities?
Question 3- What is My Vocation?
James comes from a fairly big family. He is the youngest of 5 children. All of his siblings are much older than him and have helped raise him. He is currently in the 7th grade and his next oldest sibling, his sister Angelica, is already a sophomore in college.
One day, James’ oldest brother, Joaquim, invited James to come to spend a day with him at his job. Joaquim is a real estate agent who sells houses and apartments to people. James has always wondered about Joaquim’s job as he is always able to go on expensive trips around the world and take his family out to eat at fancy restaurants. He has always wanted to know what his older brother did to make so much money, so he agrees.
Throughout the day, Joaquim brought James to his meetings, introduced him to his coworkers and showed him the many different skills needed to be able to sell houses well. At the end of the day, he took James to the coffee shop located around the corner from his office building and asked him a very serious question:
“James, what do you want to do when you get older?”
James had never really thought about it. He responded humbly, “I don’t know…”
Joaquim looked at James’ eyes and said, “Now is the time to start thinking about it, little bro.”
The thought of his future stayed in his mind for the rest of the day. As he pondered, he thought about his talents, his passions and his plans. He really didn’t know what he wanted to do, he had so many talents it was hard to focus on just one! The only thing he really knew that he wanted in his future was to be happy.
So, he began to think about the happy people in his life, especially his family. His oldest brother was happy as a husband, father and real estate agent, his oldest sister was happy as an unmarried lawyer. His other older brother was happy as a priest and his other older sister was happy as a wife, mother and teacher.
The question remains with James to this very day, “What will make me truly happy when I get older?”
- Name some people who are using their talents to make an impact in the world.
- Is this impact positive or negative?
- If you were James, what do you think would make you happy when you get older?
- Have you ever heard the call to become a priest/sister?
- Make a list of the talents you have and be prepared to discuss them with the class. There is no limit to the amount of talents you can write.
Read points 260-267 and 249-250 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
Which of the vocations mentioned in this module seems most appealing to you right now: remaining single, becoming a religious/priest, or living a married life? Please provide a few reasons why.
- What is marital consent?
- What is necessary for a Christian marriage to be valid?
- Explain what voluntary celibacy means.
- Why are priests so important for the Church?
- How can you best serve the Church using the talents that God gave you?
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 260-267 and 249-250 from the YOUCAT in your response.
What is my vocation?
Question 4- Why Should I Read The Bible?
Julia and her sister, Anaí, are not ordinary sisters. They are identical twins who, at the age of 16 have been traveling the nation as models. They go from city to city wearing the the latest styles while photographers from big-name companies take pictures of them for ads. Since they are unable to stay in one place, they are home schooled by their parents. On top of that, the whole family is devoutly Catholic. They go to Mass often and only wear clothes that they believe to be modest and beautiful.
On their way to Chicago, a new stylist called the girls and asked if they would be willing to take pictures in her newest design. The girls asked if they could see the images of the clothes they would be wearing first, but the designer told them that they were not ready yet. She said that they would be completed by the time they arrived in Chicago. Julia and Anaí agreed to meet with the designer when they were in Chicago.
When they arrived, the girls entered with their parents as usual. The designer and her assistant, Raul, greeted them and moved towards her office, calling the girls to come in with her. The parents followed, but the designer stopped them and said, “I’m sorry, but I’d like to speak with the girls alone, if you don’t mind.”
Perplexed, the girls’ father was about to open his mouth to refuse her, but his wife stopped him, looked at the girls’ eyes and said, “That’s fine. Girls, remember whose you are. We will be waiting for you in the lobby.”
About 20 minutes went by and the girls walked out of the office with smiles on their faces, happy as ever. The designer remained inside with her hand over her head as if she was troubled or confused.
“What happened?” their father asked.
“We declined their offer, Dad. The clothes they wanted us to wear showed a lot of skin and we didn’t feel comfortable wearing them. Like you said, ‘remember whose you are?’ Well, we’re God’s and we don’t think He’d want us wearing stuff like that.”
The parents hugged their daughters and left for their next appointment.
A few day later, Julia began receiving text messages from Raul, the designer’s assistant. He congratulated them for declining. In one of his texts he wrote:
‘I have been working as an intern here for a year and every girl always feels uncomfortable wearing her clothes. But you were the first to stand up and say “no.” I’m really impressed.’
After having a few text conversations, Julia got a phone call from him. Turns out he was a 17 year-old who was helping the designer as part of his economics class in high school. The two, Julia and Raul, began a friendship over the phone that day, and every time the girls are in Chicago with their family, they meet up to have dinner with him.
- Put yourself in Julia’a and Anaí’s shoes in the office. Would you have declined the offer?
- Put yourself in the girls’ parents shoes, what would be running through their father’s mind while the girls were in the office? The mother?
- How do you think the girls knew to decline the offer? In other words, how did they know that God wouldn’t have approved if they would have worn the revealing clothes?
- Why do you think Raul respected the girls so much?
- How did he begin communicating this respect to the girls?
- Do you think that, in the future, Raul and Julia might have a more personal, perhaps romantic, relationship?
Read points 12-19 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions: The YOUCAT mentions the importance of both scripture and tradition for the Catholic faith. Describe each and tell why they are so important.
- What is the Magisterium?
- According to point 16 in your YOUCAT, what is the Bible?
- Is everything that is written in the Bible true? Explain your answer.
- St. Francis of Assisi once said that “To read Sacred Scripture is to ask God for advice.” Have you ever read the Bible and thought that God had sent you a message? If so, describe your experience. If not, what’s stopping you?
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 12-19 from the YOUCAT in your response.
Why should I read the Bible?
Question 5- Why Should I Go to Mass?
Molly is a street performer. She works nights and days as a mime and kicks it with her break dancing crew on the weekends to make a little bit of extra money from those who pass by. She uses her money wisely on food and rent and, if she’s made any extra, likes to go out with her friends. She missed going to Sunday morning Mass because she was up late dancing and slept through her alarm.
Arturo is a State Representative. He spends a lot of time in the nation’s Capital to help write laws and vote them into existence. He has three kids and a wife who rarely get to see him because he is constantly on the go working to build up the country that he loves. For spring break, he surprised his family with a one-week vacation on a cruise in the Caribbean Sea. There is no Catholic Church on the cruise, therefore Arturo and his family missed going to Mass on Sunday while they were out to sea.
Yvonne is a missionary in Kenya. She lives with a group of religious sisters and helps them take care of the poor and dying. They don’t have much, but they fill their time with daily meditation, prayer and a lot of service to the poor. While returning home from an outlying village on a Saturday evening, they came across a man who was crawling along the side of the road, injured and begging for help. Yvonne sent the sisters back to town to fetch an ambulance while she remained with the man giving him water and company until the sisters arrived. Yvonne and the sisters missed Mass the next morning because they were busy bringing the man to the hospital to help heal his wounds.
- Which of the three situations provides the most valid excuse for missing Mass?
- Are there things that are more important than going to Mass? If so, what?
- Have you ever missed Mass because of something less important? If so, what?
- Why do you think Catholics celebrate Mass?
Read points 212-223 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- What are some of the essential elements to the Holy Mass?
- Why should Catholic Christians go to Mass every Sunday?
- Judging by the amount of attention the YOUCAT gives to it, what is the most important part of the Mass?
- How is Mass supposed to “change” you?
- Have you ever experienced a profound closeness to God during Mass? Explain.
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 212-223 from the YOUCAT in your response.
Why Should I Go to Mass?
Question 6- Why Does God Allow Suffering in the World?
Cynthia grew up in a small town where everyone knows one another. She had been dreaming of the day when she could finally escape from her quiet, rural homestead and spread her wings as a university student in the big city. Finally, that day has come for Cynthia as she sets off to attend her freshmen year in the state capital.
After spending the first couple of days getting to know her roommate, getting herself ready for classes, and meeting new friends, she was invited to a party with some seniors from the baseball team. She isn’t sure at first because she’s heard that this particular group tends to get a little out of control when it comes to parties. She decides to go, but brings her roommate along just in case things get out of hand.
As Cynthia and her roommate walked through the doors, they were welcomed with a shout from hundreds of college students dancing to loud music and drinking alcohol. One attractive boy then came over and offered the girls a drink. Cynthia didn’t want to look weird, so she accepted. Her roommate looked at her strangely then told her that she would be right back because she had seen one of her friends from high school.
After about 20 minutes of talking with the boy, Cynthia began to get dizzy. She tried to stand up to find her roommate, but the dizziness was too strong. She fainted and blacked out in the middle of the party.
The next morning, Cynthia woke up in her dorm room with her roommate staring at her with disbelief. A policeman knelt beside her bed and, after asking her how she was feeling, said, “Cynthia, I’m afraid I have to tell you some bad news…”
- What bad news do you think the officer shared with Cynthia? Decide for yourself what you think happened for the remainder of the questions.
- Who was at fault for what happened? Cynthia? Her roommate? The boy? The University?
- What happens when humans make bad decisions?
- Why would God allow this to happen to Cynthia?
Read points 281-287 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- What was God’s original plan for His creations?
- Why does God allow us to be free to make our own decisions?
- Why does the world continue to choose evil over good?
- How do the Beatitudes bring us to true happiness?
- Have you ever been happy while practicing one or more of the Beatitudes? Explain.
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 281-287 from the YOUCAT in your response.
Why Does God Allow Suffering in the World?
Question 7- What Are the Works of Mercy?
Greg is a lawyer who lives by himself in the middle of New York City. He has climbed up the corporate ladder and is well known as a very successful and effective lawyer throughout the entire nation. The wealthiest people from every state contact him when they need someone to represent them in a case. In short, he makes a lot of money to provide his legal talents and debating skills.
One night, Greg arrived home from a long day of work and flipped on the television. He wanted to watch the basketball game but was caught off guard when a commercial came on for Catholic Charities International. They showed images of what was left of a tiny city in the Philippines that had just suffered through a huge flood. He saw the children’s faces, the mangled houses, the countless items, including food, floating in the water away from the poor families that needed it to feed their families.
Greg felt a sudden urge to help, but he didn’t know how. His schedule was full until the following year and he had other responsibilities that he had to complete for his law certification. Even then, his desire to help the poor people that he saw in the commercial tugged at his soul. He needed to do something now.
- If you were in Greg’s position, what could you do to help the poor? What would you do?
- Are there ways to help the poor that do not involve physically serving them?
- What are other ways that people can be “poor” besides not having any money?
- What do you know about Jesus’ relationship with the poor?
Read points 448-451 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- Describe the importance of the poor in the Catholic Church?
- What are the Spiritual Works of Mercy?
- What are the Corporal Works of Mercy?
- Which of the Works of Mercy is the most important?
- Which of the Works of Mercy are you willing and able to do right now? In the future?
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 448-451 from the YOUCAT in your response.
What are the Works of Mercy? How can you practice them on a daily basis?
Question 8- What is the Culture of Death and How Do We Defeat It?
Sara suffers with depression. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mother who is an alcoholic. She visits her father on the weekends, but he is so obsessed with work that he rarely is home to see her. She spends most of her time listening to music, chatting online and writing dark poetry. She is often absent from school because she knows that when the principal calls, no one will be there to answer the phone.
One night, Sara became so depressed that she stole a bottle of her mother’s liquor and locked herself in her room. She drank too much too quickly and began to lose her train of thought. She watched as the magazines of beautiful teenage girls spun around, laughing at her for being overweight. She fell into a deep depression and began using her pen to draw deep lines into her wrists. As she scratched the tender part of her wrist, she began to wonder if anyone would really miss her if she were to cut completely through.
- What types of pressures cause people like Sara to contemplate suicide?
- What steps could she have taken to choose life?
- What steps could you have taken to save her life?
- What do you think would happen if she did commit suicide? To her family? To her school? To the world?
Read points 58-62, 280, and 379 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side column. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- What are some aspects of the Culture of Death?
- According to point 61 in the YOUCAT, how are all men and women equal?
- What is your soul?
- Pope Benedict had this to say about the union of body and soul: “Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united… should he aspire to be pure spirit and reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity. On the other hand, should he deny the spirit and consider matter, the body, as the only reality, he would likewise lose his greatness.” ~Deus Caritas est. Please explain this comment in your own words.
Answer the following question with as much detail as you can. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 58-62, 280, and 379 from the YOUCAT in your response.
What is the Culture of Death and How Do We Defeat It?
Question 9- Does Faith Conflict with Science?
George loves the outdoors. He is an Eagle Scout, a volunteer at the forest preservation society, and he has a part-time job at the zoo working with endangered animals.
George’s sister, Ruth, loves art. In fact, she occasionally follows him to the zoo so that she can set up her easel and paint landscapes of the forest and images of the animals that George takes care of.
Since George is so busy, he often misses going to Church with his family. On one such occasion, Ruth accompanied her brother to help him clean up animals involved in a recent oil spill that filtered into the river in the middle of the forest.
While they were cleaning the animals, Ruth interrupted the awful silence and asked, “George, I know these animals needed our help today and it is good that we are here helping clean them. But every other Sunday, you know, when there isn’t an emergency oil spill, do you actually try to miss going to Church? Like, do you schedule your volunteer hours to purposely miss it?”
George was caught. He didn’t know what to say. It was true. He DID try to schedule his work and volunteer time when Church was going on.
Then, he stood up and said, “Yes. yes I do try to miss Church. It’s a huge waste of time. When I first started working with nature, I liked Church. I prayed that God would help the endangered animals I worked with or keep stupid people from ruining the forest so I wouldn’t have to clean it up!” He pointed toward the black, oil-filled river, “A lot of good those prayers did. God doesn’t even care. In fact, I’d much rather be out here DOING something to save the world rather than muttering the same words over and over again hoping that God will.”
He then added, “I’ve been all around this forest. I’ve heard it, smelled it, felt it, tasted it, and seen it. That’s why I have more faith in science than I do in God.”
- Put yourself in George’s shoes. Why is science more believable for him than God?
- If you were Ruth, how would you respond to George?
- How do science and religion differ?
- How are science and religion similar?
Read points 23 and 41-43 from your YOUCAT including all of the citations, quotes, and definitions on the side columns. When you are finished, reflect on the following questions:
- Define the word Evolution.
- Why does the Christian faith demand and promote the natural sciences?
- Are Christians allowed to accept the Theory of Evolution?
- Is the world a product of chance? In other words, was the world created randomly? Explain your answer.
Answer the following question with as much detail as you feel necessary. Make sure you quote at least one sentence from points 23 and/or 41-43 in your response.
Does faith conflict with science?
Level Spark: Final Reflection
As mentioned in level 1, Jesus’ final words to His Apostles before He ascended to heaven were “Go out.” Now it is your turn to start following in His footsteps as a modern-day Apostle, if you desire.
To complete level 2, find a way to dedicate some time to serving others. There are limitless options:
- Become an altar server
- Join your parish’s youth group as a leader
- Work in the nursery during Mass
- Teach catechism to young children
- Raise money to help missionaries overseas
- Help at your local soup kitchen
- Create your own way of helping others in your community
Try to find a service that goes well with the talents God has given you. For example, if you are a good reader, become a lector during Mass. Or, if you are a good artist, paint religious pictures and either give them away or sell them and give the money to charity.
Don’t worry about letting us know about your service. In fact, we’d rather you kept it a secret between you and God. Why? Well, because Jesus told us to serve in secret.
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~Matthew 6: 3-4
And don’t worry, if you truly are doing great things in a simple way, we’ll know about it. As St. Catherine of Sienna reminds us, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!”