10 June 2009

Religious literacy

Somehow I stumbled on a great website yesterday that is full of Catholic articles and resources. Maybe you've already seen it and this is old news, but I've kind of been out of the loop lately.

On Monday, some homeschool moms and I were talking about the requirements for First Communion. It would be nice if the Archbishop would make all the parishes in the diocese have the same requirements, but with cradle Catholics like myself not having been educated in the faith very well, if at all, I can see why some parishes require some classes in faith formation because many kids aren't getting instructed at home sufficiently, if at all!

A friend from the parish I attend gave me the list of things that her son had to know and would be quizzed on by the pastor in preparation for his First Communion. I was thrilled to see that my son knew a great deal of the topics already. His First Communion won't be for two more years, thank goodness, still time to cram.

It was alarming that I didn't know the two stories of Creation which were on the list, especially since a previous priest at our parish had given me, numerous times as a penance, reading the first five chapters of Genesis. I hope this doesn't invalidate my absolution! If only ignorance was a satisfactory defense!

Obviously, time for a refresher course for mom.

The following is from an article, "What’s Your Score On The S.A.T. (Salvation Aptitude Test)?" by Noel J. Augustyn that he recommends you test on any Catholic students who have gotten through eighth grade. He was alarmed at the lack of religious literacy.

1. One of the prayers at Mass refers to this man as "our father in faith." Both Jews and Arabs regard him as their ancestor. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all consider him to be their spiritual father. Name this patriarch.

2. This patriarch and his wife, Sarah, had a son in their old age. God tested the father by asking him to sacrifice this son but stopped him from doing so at the last minute. Name the son.

3. Years later, this son and his wife, Rebekah, had a son who was to be the father of what became the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Who was he? (Hint: "Israel" was the name later given to him by God. He had a brother named Esau.)

4. We all know that Moses led the Hebrews (Israelites) out of Egypt in what is called the Exodus. How did the Hebrews come to live in Egypt hundreds of years earlier?

5. When we think of Moses we think, too, of Aaron and Joshua. Identify either Aaron or Joshua.

6. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. List the Ten Commandments.

7. Pick one of the Ten Commandments and tell why you believe it is especially important.

8. Apart from the Ten Commandments, there are the Two Great Commandments. State them.

9. What is the connection between the Two Great Commandments and the Ten Commandments?

10. State the "Golden Rule."

11. Saul was the first king of Israel. Who was the second? (Hint: He is considered the most important of the Jewish kings, and as a boy he was a shepherd.)

12. The second king of Israel had a son named Solomon. Write something you know about Solomon.

13. After the first reading at Mass we recite or sing prayers and hymns, some of which are very old, so old they are said to have been written by Solomon's father. What do we call these prayers and hymns?

14. There are three books in the Old Testament named after women. Name one of them.

15. Who is Job?

16. In speaking of the Old Testament, we hear the phrase "the Law and the Prophets." Name one of the Old Testament prophets.

17. Write something brief about one of the following: "the Babylonian Captivity" or "the Maccabees."

18. The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels; their authors are called the Evangelists. Name the four Evangelists.

19. What is meant by the term "the Annunciation"?

20. What is meant by the term "the Visitation"?

21. We all know what we celebrate on the feast of the Nativity (which is also called Christmas), but what do we celebrate on the feast of the Epiphany (which is also called the 12th day of Christmas)?

22. Three places of importance in the childhood of Jesus are Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. Pick one and tell why it was important in the early life of Jesus.

23. Who is John the Baptist?

24. Lent has forty days, just as a particular episode in the life of Jesus had forty days, before He began His public ministry. What was this episode?

25. We know that Jesus often taught in parables. Name your favorite parable and tell why it is your favorite.

26. Fill in the blank: One of the most famous of Jesus' teachings is called the Sermon on the ________.

27. Jesus is often called "the Divine Physician" because He cured people of various illnesses. Write something about your favorite miracle or sign where Jesus cured a sick person or sick people.

28. Jesus taught us to pray what we often call the "Our Father." There is a more formal name for this prayer. What is it?

29. What is "the Transfiguration"?

30. There are two kings named Herod in the Gospels. Pick one of them and tell something about him.

31. Bethany is the name of a village near Jerusalem. (There is another Bethany "across the Jordan," where John the Baptist was baptizing.) Martha and Mary, who were friends of Jesus, lived in Bethany with their brother. Name their brother and tell why he is important.

32. What is "Palm Sunday" all about?

33. Why is "the Passion," from the Gospels, read at Mass on Palm Sunday?

34. Whenever we recite the Creed at Mass, or say the Apostles' Creed, we mention Pontius Pilate. Who was he?

35. Name the person who was forced to help Jesus carry His cross. (Hint: He is remembered in one of the Stations of the Cross.)

36. Pick one of these two terms and tell something about it: "the Upper Room" or "the Garden of Gethsemane."

37. Golgotha is the Hebrew name for the hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. This place is also known by another name. What is that name?

38. According to the Gospels, Jesus spoke seven times in His three hours on the cross. Choose one of these seven sayings (also called "the Seven Last Words") and quote it, or paraphrase it (that means, put it in your own words).

39. Tell how one of these men is connected to the Crucifixion: Nicodemus; Joseph of Arimathea.

40. Jesus' first appearance after His Resurrection was to a woman. Name her.

41. There is a phrase in common usage — even today — that contains the name of one of the Apostles. Fill in the blank: "Doubting ________." What did this Apostle doubt?

42. Who is called "the Prince of the Apostles"?

43. The last appearance of Jesus to His Apostles after His Resurrection is commemorated annually by a Holy Day of Obligation 40 days after Easter (or on the seventh Sunday of Easter). It is called "the Solemnity of the __________.

44. Fifty days after the Passover, Jews celebrate God's giving the Ten Commandments to Moses; fifty days after Easter, Christians celebrate God's giving the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and Mary. What is the name of this Christian feast?

45. Before he became a great missionary, St. Paul was a great persecutor of the early Church. He guarded the cloaks of the men who stoned to death the man we call the first martyr. Name this first martyr.

46. St. Paul wrote many letters (the Greek word for letters is Epistles) to early Christians and their communities in the Mediterranean world. In a letter to those at Corinth, a city in Greece, he described what we call "the Three Theological Virtues." The third of these, which is "charity" or "love," Paul called "the greatest." What are the other two?

47. St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero about thirty years after the Crucifixion. They were martyred in the capital city of the empire over which Nero ruled. Name this city.

48. For much of the first three centuries of her history, the Church suffered persecution. Many Christians were martyred and often Christians couldn't worship in public. Then, in the early part of the fourth century, an emperor ended the persecutions. Name him. (Hint: He named the eastern capital of the empire after himself, it was formerly called Byzantium and is called Istanbul today.)

49. Name the Seven Sacraments.

50. Which sacrament does every Christian receive?

51. Name the Corporal Works of Mercy (there are seven).

52. Pick one of the Six Precepts of the Church and tell why you think it is especially important.

53. "Pride" is often' called the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pick another one of the seven and tell why you think it is especially "deadly."

54. A prayer that has been popular since the Middle Ages is called "the Rosary." It now traditionally consists of 15 "decades" where we think about certain "mysteries" in the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. These mysteries are in three groups of five: the Joyful; the Sorrowful; and the Glorious. Take one of these groups and name the five mysteries in that group. (If you can't think of a mystery's title, then describe what event is remembered in that mystery.)

55. Over her history of nearly 2,000 years, the Church has been divided many times. Some of these divisions have never been completely healed. For example, the year 1054 is when "the Great Schism" between East and West occurred. The year 1517 is often cited as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Say something about either one of these two historical events that have seriously affected Christian unity.

56. Name your patron saint and write something about him or her.

57. Name a favorite saint besides your patron saint, and write something about him or her.

58. Name your favorite Holy Day of Obligation (besides Christmas).

59. In what continent is the Holy Land? A. Europe, B. Asia, C. Africa, D. Australia.

60. Ecumenical Councils are meetings when bishops from all over the world come together. Some Councils have been held in places like Nicaea and Ephesus, in what is now Turkey, or in places like Trent, Italy. The most recent Council was held from 1962 to 1965. What name or title is given to this Council?

61. Since Old Testament times, God's people have practiced "fasting." In Lent, for example, adult Catholics "fast" on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (And during Lent all Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays.) We also "fast" for at least an hour before receiving the Eucharist. What do we mean by "fast" and why do you think we do it?

62. What is the Christian virtue of chastity, and why is it important?

63. The Church has four signs or "marks." The Church is (fill in the blanks): One, _________, Catholic, and ________.

64. Why did God make you?

Read the entire article here.
Answers are here.

I haven't done the entire quiz yet. Will have to find a moment and try it.


ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Bonus Question: Question 54 needs to be updated. Why? (A correct answer allows you 1 indulgence of the chocolate kind...)

swissmiss said...

I hadn't gotten that far in the list of questions! Yep, it needs to be updated...to include the Luminous Mysteries. Good catch. Hope there are no more errors!

Ray from MN said...

Hiya, Swissie!

That is a tremendous find that Education Center site. A major league find. Scholarly articles by real experts.

We're currently in religious wars with a lot of secularly educated folks. We need to be able to come back at them with good arguments.

I looked at one article, 12,000 words, 25 pages. No messing around.

With regard to that First Communion quiz, I'm sure I would have flunked (or died of fright) if they had given me that test in second grade.

Sadly, I'd betcha that a lot of adults can't pass it today.