RMEC is a Specialist COUNCIL of the The Alberta Teachers' association
Our mission is to improve knowledge and understanding of religious and moral education. We hold yearly conferences from experts in the fields in Religious and Moral Education and we have developed an amazing resource section for educators.
The 2021 RMEC Conference will be held on March 12 & 13 2021, virtually over Zoom. The Key note speaker is Dr. Raymond Moody. Please scroll down to the bottom of the homepage for free registration.
RMEC offers three different awards that are presented at our yearly Conference. To read more about the awards or if you would like to nominate someone for an award then please click here for more information.
The Council members only area has a resource sharing page which includes an extensive collection of curricular resources, lessons and liturgies. In order to access it, you will need to be a member of the Religious and Moral Education Council which is free. Click Here to Join.
Virtual Pub Night
RMEC presents our second virtual pub night on Thursday, May 13 at 7pm on ZOOM. Join us for a free evening of inspiration and entertainment! Register for free at: www.tinyurl.com/WCEpubnight
Register for RMEC's free pub night at: www.tinyurl.com/WCEpubnight
2020 Conference Videos
RMEC 2020 Conference Presents: Dr. Raymond Moody Research on Near Death Experiences Friday, March 12, 2021
RMEC 2020 Conference Presents: Dr. Raymond Moody Research on Near Death Experiences Saturday, March 13, 2021
RMEC 2020 Conference Presents: Dr. Michael Duggan Life after Death in Scripture, Saturday March 13, 2021
Fully Alive News journal - Spring 2021 issue is coming soon!
The Fully Alive News Journal will be sent out to our member soon. For now here are two messages from Dan McLaughin and Mike Landry.
From the President
Well into the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, we teachers continue to journey into our schools and our classrooms—sanitizing desks, wearing masks, social distancing, meeting with colleagues on computer screens, spending weeks self-isolating after exposures, and doing all the other tasks these times have burdened us with. Unable to see our family and friends, or to do many of the activities that bring us joy, we are exhausted from dealing with what seems to be an ever-lasting trial.
The words of Psalm 13 reflect how many of us feel:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?1
Despite this very difficult time we are living through, there are many signs of hope.
The season of spring reminds us that better is to come. As the snow melts and is replaced with green grass, flowers and sunshine, we can anticipate the days when we can go hiking, biking or swimming; have barbecues; sip cold drinks on the patio; and enjoy all the great things we love about the warmth of the season. We can see new life sprouting among the death and decay of winter. With this new life, we can smell hope in the air.
In the news, we hear many promising messages. The vaccine is here. It will not be long now until you, your family and your entire community will receive immunization and we all can return to normal living. We will be able to hold face-to-face meetings, visit family and friends, and even have parties. Just a little while longer, we are told. The news of our world tells us to have hope.
There is also light at the end of the tunnel in our school year as we get ever closer to the end of June. Summer holidays beckon, with all the greatness that they bring. Soon we can stay up late, sleep in and travel to the mountains, the lake or the cabin. The burden we are bearing will be lifted, and we will get to rest. The coming end to our school year brings us hope.
Last, the season of Easter reminds us that God does deliver on his promises. We have faith that our suffering will indeed come to an end. Good Friday appeared hopeless to Jesus’s first followers, yet on the third day Jesus rose from the dead to conquer sin and death. He will bring an end to the pandemic in our time as well, we are assured. Our faith in Jesus brings us hope.
My greatest wish for all members of the Religious and Moral Education Council is that they recognize the hope that is all around us at this point in the pandemic. The end is certainly in sight.
1. Psalm 13:1–2 (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition [NRSV-CE]).
Dan McLaughlin is a religious studies teacher at Bishop O’Byrne High School in Calgary. He has been active in the areas of religious studies and youth ministry for over 30 years. Of special interest to him is leading a sacraments program at his high school, which looks at delivering sacramental preparation to students so they can receive the sacraments of initiation they may have missed. Dan is married to Lynne and has three children.
Chaplain’s Corner - Mike Landry
Hope in the Resurrection
Years ago, I spent Holy Week on a silent retreat. I spent most of my days contemplating the events that we celebrate that week through the eyes of the apostles. For the first time, I considered what that first Holy Saturday must have been like. Holy Saturday, you may know, is a day in the Catholic liturgical calendar when nothing happens. On this day, which is sandwiched between the brutal and devastating death of Jesus on Friday and the great joy of Easter Sunday, the Church offers us silence.
On retreat, I found the silence of Holy Saturday unsettling. What was it like to be an apostle on that Saturday? Following the arrest of Jesus, the apostles fled, and only John was willing to follow the Lord all the way to the cross. On Saturday, Jesus was in the tomb, and the apostles were scattered, with Judas having betrayed and abandoned them all. Not only had the hopes they’d placed in Jesus been dashed by what had happened on Friday, but it’s likely that they were afraid for their own lives. If you can conceive of the depths of their despair on Saturday, you can imagine the intensity of their joy when they discovered that Jesus had risen. By rising from the dead, Jesus likely exceeded even their wildest hopes for who and what the Messiah would be.
As we celebrate Easter in 2021, it’s worth considering the impact of the resurrection on our day-to-day lives. In many ways, the pandemic we’re living through has offered us a window into the struggle and despair that the first Holy Saturday must have brought. The difference for us, though, is that we know Jesus has risen. We know he has conquered death and sin. So those lessons we have learned from the resurrection apply very much to these difficult days. With that in mind, I want to share with you two important implications of our belief in the resurrection.
First, that Jesus rose from the dead means that he is who he says he is. Ask yourself why Jesus was killed. Literally, what was the charge that led to his execution? The answer is found in the Gospel of John. About halfway through the gospel, when the crowds want to stone Jesus, the Pharisees declare, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”1 During Jesus’s trial, they make the case to Pilate, saying, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”2
The idea of being sons and daughters of God is normal to us, so it might seem like the Pharisees overreacted. In biblical times, however, calling yourself the son of anyone meant not only that you spoke with their authority, like a crown prince might, but also that you put yourself on equal footing with them. To claim to be the Son of God was to claim equality with God—and you see this claim manifested in what Jesus teaches throughout the gospels. He forgives sins. He tells the crowds that “whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; . . . and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me”3 and that “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”4 These are the words that bring about his execution. But these same words ought also to be the source of our consolation. Because he also says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”5 and “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”6
If Jesus is who he says he is, then all his words matter to us. His words helped the apostles discover hope after the darkness of Holy Saturday and maintain that hope through the early days of the Church, which had their own share of difficulty. These words should also bring us hope, knowing that God has been and will continue to be with us in these difficult times.
Second, that Jesus rose from the dead means that even in great difficulty, we can find peace. In John 20:19–23, we read that when he first appears to the apostles, Jesus does two things: he shows them his wounds, and he speaks peace to them. In showing his wounds, Jesus makes sure that the apostles know that it is really him. The story of doubting Thomas in John 20:24–29 shows us what a profound experience it was to see, recognize and touch Jesus’s wounds. But the presence of his wounds is also a sign to us that he understands our pain. Catholic churches are often adorned with a crucifix (a cross upon which a figure of Jesus hangs) to remind us that we never suffer alone. So the knowledge of the resurrection should bring us comfort—especially in these difficult times.
I would imagine that the sight of Christ’s wounds did not immediately bring comfort to the apostles. Consider everything they did following the Last Supper: falling asleep during prayer, fleeing in fear and (in Peter’s case) denying Jesus entirely. They likely spent most of Holy Saturday considering their failures and weaknesses. Seeing Jesus alive again, they were probably very afraid. How would Jesus react? Had he come back to avenge his death, to give the apostles what they deserved? Faced with the apostles’ fear, doubt and guilt, Jesus instead spoke peace to them. This peace, along with Jesus’s ongoing instructions over the next 50 days and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, launched the apostles on a mission of worldwide evangelization that we share to this day.
This word of peace should mean no less to us today than it did to the apostles. We believe that a key consequence of the resurrection is that our sins have been forgiven. At the closing Mass for World Youth Day in 2002, Pope John Paul II offered these words to the crowd of more than 800,000 young people: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”7 Coming to believe that Jesus is who he says he is and that he rose from the dead has great consequences for each of us. It means that our sins can be (and are) forgiven. It means that we, like the apostles, can see our fears and weaknesses transformed. And, ultimately, it means that we can continue the mission of sharing Jesus’s peace and the hope of the resurrection with the world.
1. John 10:33 (NRSV-CE).
2. John 19:7 (NRSV-CE).
3. Matthew 10:37–38 (NRSV-CE).
4. Matthew 24:35 (NRSV-CE).
5. Matthew 11:28 (NRSV-CE).
6. John 3:16 (NRSV-CE).
7. John Paul II, Solemn Mass, Homily of the Holy Father, 17th World Youth Day, Toronto, July 28, 2002, www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/2002/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20020728_xvii-wyd.html (accessed May 4, 2021).
Mike Landry is a speaker, writer, musician and diehard Edmonton Oilers fan. He works full-time as division chaplain for Evergreen Catholic Schools, serving students in five communities west of Edmonton. You can find him online at www.mikeisthird.com.