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Response to questions of Chapter 1
by Joe Wathen - Thursday, 4 November 2010, 11:32 PM

Assignment # 7--Response to questions from Chapter 1

10 a--Recall a time when you experienced the presence of a person who was physically absent or the presence of a saint or the presence of God.

In our parish Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was selected as the person of the month for the Dead Theologian Society (DTS) meeting. Pope John Paul II has called him the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.” At the DTS meeting, his life was presented in a prayerful candle lit room with Gregorian Chant playing softly in the background. In this presentation Frassati was best described as a vibrant outdoorsman who celebrated life with laughter and pranks. He had a deep spiritual life and passionately served the needy. Neglecting his own health in caring for others, he died at the age 24. Today his body is in Turin incorrupt.

10 b--If you had to come up with some descriptive adjectives or phrases for the experience you just recalled; which ones would you use? 

If only we could be more like him there would be less hurt in the world.

I felt like I should volunteer for the St. Benedict Shelter for the homeless.

Many people gathered for his funeral to witness how he had made a difference in their lives.

There was a feeling of peace and joy in knowing that Christians can have a vibrant life in         living their faith.

14 b--What are some ways that we perceive social realities rather easily through symbols (for example, uniforms and other kinds of special clothing)? 

In our city there are three Catholic schools which require students to wear navy or khaki uniforms. The majority of them are Catholic children, but no matter, all are expected to follow Christian principles. As these students ride school buses and participate in public events the uniforms are signs of Christian values to the community. In the local newspaper they promote the school as having higher educational standards and Christian values.  

15--Describe something that happened to you that you would be willing to call a peak experience or a plateau experience in a nonreligious context.

While serving as a medic in Cambodia, I was riding on top of a tank when the track came off. While the mechanic repaired the track I jumped down to wait under a tree. While traveling through the area I had seen anyone so I took off my backpack to rest. Almost immediately a young boy came out of the wooded area and he came directly toward my position. As he came near, his gestures showed he obviously needed medical attention. As I took care of him men and women of all ages begin to quietly form a line behind him. I did not know them and they did not know me but the Red Cross on my backpack was a symbol of medical treatment and of someone they could go to for help.   

17c—Think of a symbol that can mean different things to different people.

To some people the cross (red) signifies medical help but the cross is recognized as the symbol of Christianity. It symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus,  salvation to all and the promise of Resurrection. The cross can refer to many geometric shapes unrelated to Christianity. In math the addition sign is a cross. The Chinese character for ten is a cross.  


18 a--Think of a symbol that has more than one meaning for you.

Not only does the symbol of a cross have more than one meaning to me but the shape of the cross symbol has several meanings for Christians. For example, there is Latin cross with or without the body of Jesus. The plain cross usually signifies the Resurrection where the body on the cross (crucifix) signifies Christ’s sacrifice. The Greek cross has arms of equal length and the Cross of Calvary has three steps leading up to the hill of Calvary. The Celtic cross has circles around the cross bar and the Russian Orthodox cross has three bars with the lowest bar being slanted.  The Papal Cross also has three cross bars of different lengths which signify the church, the world and heaven.

18 b--Using examples, discuss how ads and commercials use symbolic elements to manipulate people into buying products.

Nike’s marketing strategy lures customers with well-designed and expensive products by linking their products with professional and college athletics. Other advertisers use symbols of respect and honor such as the American flag in their promotions. Examples include Lincoln Insurance with a profile of the president and Liberty Mutual Insurance with a symbol of the Statue of Liberty. Amtrak’s uses red, white and blue colors in their logo. In religious advertizing we have the National Lutheran Council using blueprints to show that the Bible is their plan to learn about God. In a Catholic Bishop’s add, we see a child breaking his Piggy bank to promote giving money to the poor.


22--Think of a Christmas or Easter pageant that you have participated in, or a movie that you have seen about the life of Christ. What effect did that dramatic enactment of religious truth have on you?

From the movie “The Passion of Christ” Jim Caviezel describes some of the scenes as “unquenchable fire”. While on the cross, he described the cold as so difficult that he would hardy get the lines out of his mouth. He described the cold as knives going through his body. It required him to commit to deep personal prayer and even today there are things that he cannot talk about. It was a very powerful movie to me in showing the suffering and death of Christ.


26 a--Think of some family rituals (e.g., summer vacation, Thanksgiving dinner) that help to pass traditions and values from one generation to the next. How does this apply to participation in worship? 

My family is the host for the Thanksgiving holiday meal.  It is a time when brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and even some neighbors come together for a large potluck meal. After the meal some play cards, young men watch football, girls chat and if the weather is nice the children go outdoors to play. After a few hours we all meet together for one last meal before departing. It is a good time of remembering, of fun and activity. No invitations are sent, everyone knows they are welcome and they just come.  In many ways this reminds me of liturgy on Sunday. Each week we gather for Eucharist and end by going to the parish hall refreshments. After twenty minutes we come together for a few prayers and divide up into classrooms. A few parishioners remain in the parish hall to share stories. On that day we gathered, we shared our stories, we had a meal and we ended by greeting everyone goodbye.

30 b--Give an example of how a religious ritual enabled you to express a religious ideal or to experience the importance of a religious belief.

Between the two Sunday morning masses, parishioners go to the parish hall for doughnuts, coffee, juice and socializing.  In the background there is soft music with a message on a large screen in the front of the room. Before everyone separates for class a young child leads everyone in a short prayer. Children look forward of who will be picked to led the prayer. This practice or ritual after liturgy brings everyone together for food, socializing and prayer which contribute to stronger community.  


Joseph Martos
Re: Response to questions of Chapter 1
by Dr. Joe Martos - Saturday, 6 November 2010, 1:08 AM
Hi, Joe. I'm interested to know whether you are posting these responses on your own or as part of a class. Please write to me at TheSacraments@Gmail.com. --Dr. Joe Martos