Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lent Calendar for 2012


You can give up something old this Lenten season…

BUT you can also take up something NEW!

Xt3.com has launched its annual Lent Calendar for 2012!

The Xt3 Lent Calendar is a Catholic resource suited for youth groups, parishes, schools, or for one’s personal Lenten journey. Each day you will be provided with a new feature, including the daily mass readings, scripture quotes, and a small act of penance that you may chose to add to your Lenten commitments. In addition, Xt3 will provide a Lent or Easter themed multimedia feature every day, including inspirational short films, reflective podcasts, apologetics, Lent trivia, information about WYD2013, and much more!

The first calendar door opens today, Ash Wednesday, 22 February 2012.

Every year, the calendar is available online on Xt3.com. This year, we are excited to announce that the 2012 Lent Calendar is also available as an App for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

We hope this resource will make Lent a fruitful time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, for those who use it.

Download the 2012 Xt3 Lent Calendar App today – available now in the App store and Android Marketplace

Or access the Lent Calendar online at www.xt3.com/lent

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Celebrating the True Message of St. Valentine’s Day


Saint Valentine kneeling

Today is the feast day of brothers St Cyril & St Methodius as well as of St Valentine. All three men were early Christians dedicated to the spread of the Gospel in a hostile culture. Valentine in the Roman Empire, Cyril & Methodius in Eastern Europe in the 9th Century. Just as Paul and Barnabas ‘spoke out fearlessly,’ so too did these three men. It cost St Valentine his life.

St Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. There was an Emperor at that time by the name of Claudius II. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those that were married. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of building a stronger military base. Valentine, decided this decree just wasn’t fair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine’s actions he had him put to death.

In the Catholic tradition, some of the most powerful signs of God’s presence are the sacraments. The sacrament of marriage has a vital role in revealing the passionate love that Christ has for his bride, the Church.

Heart shaped chocolates and teddy bears have become a symbol of 14th February in the commercial world. But in an age where everything has become increasingly secularised, it is important to use ideas from the culture around us and reflect on the spiritual side of Valentine’s Day! The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has released a resource kit for parishes, families, students and youth ministers to get the most out of St. Valentine’s Day.

Click on “download this article” to access the 2012 Valentine’s Day Resource Kit – and spread the word about the true meaning of February 14th via the link below!

via Celebrating the True Message of St. Valentine’s Day – Xt3 Library.

Sue Patrick’s Workbox System


An effective teaching system to reduce your organizational time and increase your child’s self-control, independence and learning.

This system will complement your existing curriculum!

Sue Patrick’s Workbox System has two very important components.  The first component teaches you how to optimize the benefits of homeschooling.  One of the reasons we home school is to provide the best teaching and learning environment for our children.  I will show you how to present your child’s work with purpose and fun, and allow you to be more systematic with appropriate materials.

I will explain how to make your current curriculum and work “make sense” to your child.  Often a child’s ability to succeed simply depends on having the material presented in smaller pieces that are especially tailored to him.  Also, presenting his material throughout the day with variety and enhanced teaching “angles” will make sure he truly learns.  While this is great for all children, I can address teaching low functioning children as well as gifted and distractible ones.

The second component is the physical structure of Sue Patrick’s Workbox Systemsm which will allow you to teach your child more effectively, and at the same time help you to better organize your school day.  Children using this system stay more focused and are more successful in learning and completing their school work independently.  With as little as one day’s work in restructuring your classroom, you will provide better organization for you and your child.  It will then be easier to set up a school day of curriculum, variety and fun, while steering your child toward independence and greater focus.

via Sue Patrick’s Workbox System.

Becoming sons and daughters of Christ


This is an article from the Catholic Home Educators of Victoria Newsletter Term 1 for 2012.

By Samuel Rebbechi

Last August I was privileged to attend the 2011 World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, Spain. The event was made all the more special for the great privilege I was given, along with another Australian, Ben Winkels, to personally welcome Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of Australia and walk with the Holy Father through the Puerta De Alcala, the traditional gateway to the city of Madrid.

Blessed John Paul II initiated WYD in 1985 to bring young people together to share and strengthen their faith and through this to strengthen the Church. He saw the urgency of preparing young people for the challenges that would be presented to their faith in a modern world, by an antagonistic culture.

“Young people … of the world, listen to what Christ the Redeemer is saying to you! ‘To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.’ The World Youth Day challenges you to be fully conscious of who you are as God’s dearly beloved sons and daughters” (John Paul II, Denver, 1993).

Since 1987 every WYD has had a motto taken from the Gospels. The motto of WYD 2011 was, “Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (Col 12:7).

On the evening of the Papal arrival for WYD Pope Benedict spoke to us on this Gospel: “There are words which serve only to amuse, as fleeting as an empty breeze, while others to an extent inform us. Those of Jesus, on the other hand, must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives. If not they remain empty and become ephemeral.”

Through these words the Pope had given us a challenge: we must resist becoming absorbed in the temporal needs and distractions of this world and rather fix our gaze on the eternal, opening our hearts to Christ, and building our lives on Him.

It is always surprising how WYD transforms a city. Local families with whom we stayed remarked that the feeling of the city was almost unrecognisable with the spirit the youth brought to Madrid. Their solidarity and happiness brought out an air of generosity of which every local seemed to want to be a part. In stark contrast with the scenes of the London riots, where young people, whose contempt and disregard for authority was the big news topic of the day, Madrid was a city filled by youth with a positive, edifying direction and purpose in their lives.

Many pilgrims, one way or another, experience a conversion at WYD. Yet the question always is whether these conversions will transfer back to the spiritual health of a parish, a diocese or the Church as a whole. One indicator has been that after each WYD there has always been a rise in priestly and religious vocations, such as occurred in Australia after WYD Sydney in 2008. The pilgrims’ experiences build up their faith and, for some, open their eyes to Christ’s message for the first time in their lives.

WYD is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. It has strengthened my faith and, in line with Blessed John Paul II’s challenge, has enabled me to become more conscious of who I am as one of God’s children to take up the daily challenge, not only of practising, but also spreading the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.

A photo from the newsletter: Australian pilgrim Samuel Rebbechi welcomes Pope Benedict WI to Madrid.

Samuel Rebbechi has been home-educated for 12 years and will commence his Yr 12 studies in 2012. This article frst appeared in AD2000 via World Youth Day: Becoming sons and daughters of Christ.

If you would like to subscribe to Catholic Home Educators of Victoria Newsletter Contact Us for details.

This story fits perfectly with this post from last year What do the Catholic Youth of Today want?

The Trees Adventure was fantastic


Trees Adventure is a new, exhilarating eco-adventure in the Dandenongs. It comprises five tree-top obstacle and flying fox courses that weave through the sublime canopy of Glen Harrow heritage gardens.

Soar through the forest on an array of flying foxes and take on a series of thrilling challenges. Adventurers move between platforms between 2 and 12 metres in height, across a series of imaginative obstacles. There are easy courses for those scared of heights to ‘black runs’ for thrill seekers. Each participant will be fully equipped and trained. The obstacle course provides an opportunity to be daring but also requires participants to take responsibility in a controlled environment, which builds capability and ultimately self-confidence.

Glen Harrow Gardens: Once Wurundjeri nation land, the estate now spans eight hectares of mostly forest alongside the Puffing Billy station in Belgrave. It features rare trees, including a magnificent 150-year-old Algerian Oak, used as the ‘home tree’ for the adventure courses, the gigantic Sequoia that rises sixty metres above the earth and two Chinquapin – the only known Japanese oaks in Victoria.

via Trees Adventure.

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All the kids (and adults) had a great time. We will definitely be going back.