domingo, 17 de março de 2013

Saint Patrick's Day: Everyone is Irish on March 17th!

           Today the world woke up greener than usual, thanks to all the Irish (by blood or by heart - the great majority by heart) who is scattered to the four corners of this planet.
           Saint Patrick's Day became an official religious feast day in Ireland during the 17th century. Four Christian denominations observe the holiday: Anglican, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran. The celebration, besides its religious significance, it has also become a secular celebration of Irish customs. Maybe it's one of the reasons that made this celebration so disseminated around the globe, it's not just a religious event, there's also a patriotic sentiment.  
        In 1903, Saint Patrick's Day became an official public Irish holiday and in the 1990's, the government began a campaign to highlight the country and its culture. It seems that the idea has caught on quickly! Even here in Brazil, more and more places like pubs and bars (check the poster on the right) have promoted their St. Patrick's Day, with lots of  "green things" from t-shirts and hats to bottons and stickers, serving tipycal Irish food and drink, such as the famous Irish stew and the well-known Guinness or the green draft-beer and all that with the sound of Irish folk music. We almost could say that ireland is here!
      And of course, we can't forget the clothes! "Wearing of the Green" has become a kind of passport and  guarantee that you will be included in this charming celebration as genuine hot tempered Irish person, embraced by this warm hearted tribe of leprechauns, no matter what your ancestry is.
But why has it become so popular? I really can't say for sure, but I guess that the combination of good food, nice beer, joyful music and get together with other people has contributed a lot for its success. It's part of human beings to celebrate and have fun! Some do it in the pubs, others go to the street to participate and attend the parades and others just celebrate it at home, helping children to study for the test. Maybe it's not so nice like the other options, but at least we are wearing green...and counting on the good luck of Irish to help us tomorrow...we never know when it will be necessary! (To get a good mark in a test souds like a good moment to use it!).

Post Question for the students: What do you know about Irish culture? Do you like the Irish singers and bands? Have you ever celebrated St. Patrick's Day?  Would you like to participate in this celebration? If you could find a leprechaun, what would you like to ask him/her?

Tip: To watch some curious videos with intereting information about St. Patrick's Day celebration around the world, go to the BBCNews site and have fun! Just click here. (in the end of the first video, more three others will be available).

quarta-feira, 13 de março de 2013

Habemus Papam! Gaudium Magnum!

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
Habemus Papam:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium 
Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum

(Announce to you a great joy; we have a Pope. Emminet and most revered lord, Dom Jorge Mario, Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Bergoglio. He took the name Francis.)            
          And with these words, the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced to the hundreds of thousands who were in St. Peter's Square and to the millions around the world who were connected to Vatican through the all technology we have available in 21st century, from the radio and television to the smartphones and social network. 
                Although he wasn't in the list that the midia was scattering as the "most probable names" to accupy St. Peter's throne, when Pope Francis appeared, with his gentle words and his kindly smile, lots of people felt that all the waiting was absolutely worthwhile. He captivated people not only by his charisma, but also by his simple way of acting. And that's one important point for a good leader - good acts! Good acts will serve as examples for all the others who follow him. Throughout the history of the Papacy, Francis is the first Pope from Latin America or, as he defined his origin place: "You know that the duty of the conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are." Take into consideration that Ushuaia is in Argentina, we can say that he's right! And besides all that, it's also said that Pope Francis, while living in Buenos Aires, cooked his own meals and rode the bus like all the other commuters. 
 So, due to all that, it wasn't a surprise that, when Vatican Cardinal Giovanni Battista asked him: "What  name would you like to be known by?", he answered: "I shall be called Francis I". The Pope took his regnal name from one of the most beloved saints, St. Francis of Assisi, well known for his love for all creatures and his humble way of living. But Adrian Salbuchi wrote that his choice could also be to honor to St. Francis Javier or even St. Francis de Borja, both of whom were, like himself, Jesuits. Or maybe he is honoring all of these three saints. Every new Pope faces different kinds of crisis and challenges and with Pope Francis it will be the same. But the hundreds of thousands that were in Rome and the millions and millions around the world, for sure, will be praying for him, for a period with so much great joy and hope as we could see and feel today.

Post Question: Do you follow any religion? Is it the same of your family? What aspect (or aspects) of your religion do you like most?  Based on what you've read and seen lately, what is your first impression of Pope Francis? 

Tip: The Vatican site provides more information about the Pope Francis and you can read it in Portuguese and in English. (Of course you are going to choose English) (Just click here) and you can keep yourself up to date following his holiness' account on Twitter - @Pontifex  

terça-feira, 12 de março de 2013

Exhibition: "Vatican Splendors - a Journey Through Faith and Art"

           Since last year (September 21st), São Paulo has received one of the most beautiful exhibition from its history. In Ibirapuera Park, the exhibition Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art,  features the first time to Brazil, presents 200 works of religious art and historical objects. Many of them have never left the seat of the Catholic Church and often are not exposed to the public who visit the city-state. Additionally, visitors can take a virtual tour of the famous Chapel of Michelangelo and touch a bronze cast of the hand of John Paul II.  The high-school students were invited to visit the exhibition with some of their teachers and a monitor, who was very helpful to conduct all of us through the collections organized in 11 galleries, where the artworks are exhibited in chronological order.
3ºD students and the English teacher, Kátia Veloso,
from Eduardo Gomes School
             Public schools were dispensed of the entrance fee and and as the exhibition has been extended until the end of this month, there is a discount in ticket prices. And there is another aspect very curious about our visit: today begins the council that will elect the new pope! We are being part of the History while it's happening now, in front of us! 
        Regardless the student's religion, the visit was proposed  by the english, history, art and literature teachers to show them the connection between these study areas and its influence through the years. It was very curious to see some students identifying elements of other religions in the artworks. And as the representative the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo, Father Juarez de Castro said during the press conference: ""It is important to remember that the Church has always promoted, protected and preserved the art. It's important to remember that God is expressed through the beautiful." And that's true.
3ºD students and the History teacher, Renato Ribeiro,
 from Eduardo Gomes School
          Most of these artworks are here today because through the centuries and after all the wars, invasions and conflicts, they were kept safely by the institution that have withstood all of them.
The effort was worthwhiling! There are so many beautiful objetcs that is almost impossible to choose just one favorite.  The literature teacher, Ingrid Galleazzo, caught my attention to the artwork of Albert Lacombe (1827-1916) entitled Cree Catechism. It shows the two paths, the good and the bad one, starting with the creation of the world by God and the seven days of the week, going all the way up to the Final Judgement. I also got enchanted by the Daniel Seghers work: The vision of St. Philip Neri.  The colors were so vivid that the flowers could almost pop up out of the picture. The last gallery and one of the most important, is dedicated to Pope John Paul II (1978 - 2005), who once said that if people can´'t go to the Vatican, the vatican must go where people are. His wish was fufilled.

Post Question: Have you visited this exhibition? What did you like most about it? Is there anything you didn't like? Why? Could you give any suggestion to make our school tour?
What other exhibiton would you like to see in our city? (it can be one which has being held or one that it isn't created yet but, in your opinio, should be interesting.)

Tip: To get more information about this incredible exhibition, go to its oficial webpage, Just click here.